Friday, July 14, 2017

Quoting Custom Artwork

Coastal Cloud
10"x 8"x .75
Framed Oil on Linen

This blog post is geared towards artists who are interested in doing commissioned artwork and things to consider before submitting a quote to your client.
While it may seem like a complex process, taking a standardized approach, much like a checklist, will simplify everything for you and potential customers. The main concept to keep in mind is:

Avoid burdening the client with unnecessary information upon initial contact. Ask only pertinent questions such as:
1.      The painting size – including the depth of canvas edges
2.      The location or zip code of the buyer – to calculate shipping costs
3.      Preferred medium – oils, acrylics, watercolors, etc.
4.      Any variances from the reference image
5.      Deadline for completion
Quickly respond with an all-inclusive quote (within 24-48 hours)
Clients might have tight deadlines and are researching artwork on behalf of other individuals. They will appreciate a timely response to their questions. Additionally, rapid communication will give them an idea of your future interactions and reliability.
Behind the Scenes

 There are several other things to consider in calculating the overall expenses and value of the finished piece:
1.      Work Involved – Before agreeing to any project, estimate how long it will take you to complete the painting, including the drying and shipping time – to their door. Oils will take longer to dry than acrylics. If you need to order special supplies and additional equipment, add this into the equation.

2.      Custom Artwork Markup Fee – Review your current price list for recent and similar paintings of the requested size. Add a percentage for custom artwork. If the painting is significantly larger compared to what you normally produce, you will need to set aside other projects for the duration. Make the project worth your effort.

3.      Supplies & Shipping -  In addition to canvases, brushes, and paints, consider the shipping and handling costs, especially with larger works that require insurance. Check with local carriers to obtain rates for oversized works. You may also want to offer framing or companion pieces.
The client is unlikely to be concerned with the details of the supplies, working hours, and how you arrived at the final cost. If you have a website, chances are great they have researched your portfolio, viewed prices, and decided to contact you based upon their knowledge. Don't we all do the same thing when it comes to online purchases these days? Art is no different - and this is coming from an artist who also collects paintings :)

The Final Quote - The minimum information provided should include:
1.     Price – As if the customer is adding the painting to the shopping cart
2.     Estimated time of completion – when the client can expect the painting to arrive at their location. (I add a few weeks for larger projects with multiple paintings or larger work. It is much better to deliver the artwork early than to be late.)
       3.    Deposit - What amount is required to begin the project? Decide ahead of time if you will
             invoice the client in increments. Some artists may require full payment upfront.

Once you have sent the response, allow the client plenty of time to reply. I recommend waiting at least 5-7 days before following up. If they want to proceed, the next step is to confirm the information and enter a "contractual agreement".
In the next post, I will offer suggestions for setting up a custom artwork contract, as a tool for enhancing communication between both parties.

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