As artists we have a slush of emotions surrounding money. Personally I wish I never had to deal with it, but it’s exciting to consider that people actually want to pay you to do what you love. That’s incredible! Commissioners prove that there is some good in this world. Here’s how to navigate the feelings you might have about your pricepoints, when to raise them, and how.
Just a note that this is my own personal take, and there are far more experienced freelancers out there than I, this however has been working for me for the last few years.
Time is money. If you are completely out of time and bogged down in commissions then you have discovered the upper limit of your earning potential. Demand has outstripped supply. This means that it’s time to put your prices up a couple dollars. What I’m trying to say is, if at any point you need to close your commissions because you have too many then it’s time to put your prices up. It’s that simple. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll feel better that you did.
You might be scared that putting your prices up will scare some commissioners away, and yes this will happen. But the commissioners that stick around (of which there will still be plenty), and the ones that will fill that recently vacated space will more than make up the lost costs of the one’s you’ve lost. I don’t generally advertise my commission sheet, leaving it pinned to the top of my twitter profile and furaffinity, so having the excuse of giving it a fresh look and new prices generally gives me a shot in the arm of new commissioners.
Another way to mitigate any awkwardness with current commissioners is letting them know about the new price changes and offering them a bit of a grace period of one more commission at the old pricing.
As time goes on you’re going to find you probably spend longer and longer on commissions. Your skill is improving, and that should be reflected in your prices. You should feel comfortable enough in your prices that you don’t feel resentful about the time it takes to complete them. If you’re in a bad mood or feeling rushed, you’re going to create shit art and most likely burn out. Get ahead of the curve.
Remember that pushing out your prices also gives you the flexibility and freedom to also create new products you can deliver at different price levels. Sketches and flats can be provided to commissioners with more modest budgets for example.
I hope this helps! If you have any suggestions, or points to make regarding any of this feel free to drop a comment, learning off each other is how we grow!