Do you struggle with how to price your handmade craft?

This is probably the number two question I am asked by artists and crafts people: “how do I know how much to charge for my handmade items?” My answer: There is no one single formula. How you price your creative work depends on many factors. The most important thing is that you are making a profit and your market will bear the price.

If you’re crafting as a hobby since you know it’s one of those jobs you can do from home, you may be just covering materials but if you intend to create a business, you need to consider the cost of your own labor, expenses and markup as well.

Wood Sculpture

Click on picture to view this piece.

Depending on what medium you work in, your expenses can be minimal or exorbitant. For example, if you make lamp work beads, blown glass or pottery, your expenses will include the cost of your gas and electric. If you rent a studio, all of your physical costs must be included as should your credit card processing fees, website and online costs and commissions.

When you estimate labor, figure out how much time you spend per piece and how you want to pay yourself for that time.

Solid wood Coffee Table

Click on Picture to view this piece.

Pricing isn’t just about following a formula, though. It’s very much based on perceived value. People often have a preconceived idea of what an item should cost so you have to find a balance between what you think your item is worth and what buyers are willing to pay. Artists new to selling their work may feel they have to explain or apologize for the price, or worse yet, lower the price just to get people to buy. Don’t do that. Please. Ever. Your time and creativity are not up for haggle.  If you find that potential buyers are resisting your price, think about what you can do to make your work stand out from mass produced work.

The price your work commands will also depend on where you are showing it so unless you have some very inexpensive pieces in your line, for example printed cards or items you can crank out quickly or cast and not made of precious metal, stay away from shows where the other exhibitors are low-balling their work.

One area that a lot of artist have difficulty with is pricing their work when they wholesale to galleries and also sell retail themselves online or at craft shows. There is an absolute rule about this. Always, always charge at least as much as your wholesale accounts will price your work. Your galleries will need to at least keystone (double) your wholesale price, so if you can’t afford to sell it to them for half of what you sell for at retail and still make a profit, either develop a completely separate line for retail or rethink your markup. Just be sure never to undersell your wholesale customers.

What questions do you have about pricing your work? Do you work on a specific formula? Do please share in the comments below and check out Craft Biz Blog for more on this topic.

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Posted in Selling Tips

11 Responses to “Do you struggle with how to price your handmade craft?”

  • admin says:

    Great post!
    This is a common struggle with many people in this business. The most important part for me to stress, is do not under price your work!

  • I hate pricing my stuff! almost as much as SEO, and descriptions, and tags, lol. Why are we artists our own worst enemies? (at least I am).
    Great post!
    Debbi
    yankeeburrowcreations

  • First I would like to say “Thank you so much for featuring my piece for this blog”. I was very happy to see this picture when I logged in today. As for pricing I to struggle with this. It is so hard to put a price on my creations and this table is a good example. The making of this table is very time consuming and was concerned about putting to high a price on it. I think the price is fair and maybe a bit low but I feel ok with the price at this point. Good luck to all with all your pricing STRESS!!
    Lynn

    • terribelford says:

      Lynn, I don’t think your table is overpriced at all. It is one of a kind and obviously quite labor intensive. Think of what people pay in an upscale furniture store for a solid wood coffee table that is massed produced. It’s gorgeous, by the way.

  • GiftRepSandy says:

    Obviously, a confusing topic that needs some research to come up with a good pricing structure. I have several posts on the topic, but you might want to sign up for my FREE ecourse on the subject: How to Price Your Products.

    Find the sign up here: http://www.selltogiftshops.com/

    Good luck,

    Gift Rep Sandy

  • trusk4u says:

    Fabulous article! This is something that I believe most of us struggle with. It can be very difficult to stick to your prices when the local market doesn’t always want to support them. I know many that say “a sale is better than no sale.” BUT, underselling yourself is no good either. I think we need to decide what the acceptable minimum is for our work and go from there.

    • terribelford says:

      I agree with you, trusk4u. You do have to decide what is acceptable for you and go from there. I don’t believe “a sale is better than no sale” when it comes to handmade. When a crafts person prices his work too low, he is hurting other crafts people as well.

  • […] “Pricing isn’t just about following a formula, though. It’s very much based on perceived value. People often have a preconceived idea of what an item should cost so you have to find a balance between what you think your item is worth and what buyers are willing to pay.” — Handmade Artists blog […]

  • garycmpro says:

    Pricing doesnt need to be so difficualt if you understand the principles of being able to work out your fixed costs for your business and the correct costing of your creations by the parts and labour that go into them.

    In saying that I know a lot of people do struggle so that is why I wrote this piece on how to ensure that you calculate everything correctly – http://www.craftmakerpro.com/a-z-handmade-business-guide/key-pricing-handmade-products/

  • Thank you so much for this.
    I have a hard time figuring out prices and I’ve been told by other jewelry crafters that I am undercharging and need to raise my prices a bit. I’ve just now started timing how long it takes me to get a piece done, but I still struggle with how much I should ‘pay’ myself.

    Vincenza


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