How to Price Your Mosaic Art
This blog post will not give you a "magical" way to price your work. There is no hard and fast rule, unfortunately. There are many variables that play into how you price your work, so I will talk about how to know what your minimum baseline is. It's a starting place.
Pricing your work is truly a challenging quest. The variables are many, as I mentioned above, and here's a few that are important for you to consider:
1. What is the economy like for buying art where you live? What is the household income in your market?
2. How is art sold? Do you sell in art galleries or at local Sunday farmer's markets?
3. What is the supply and demand like? Do you have a lot of competition or are you one a few mosaic artists selling in your area?
4. What is the appreciation like for mosaics? Does your community consider mosaics as something an artist made or do they consider it a crafty, DIY project that anyone can do?
Knowing your market is essential. Here in Florida (except for a couple small pockets in south Florida), mosaics do not have the appreciation or value as it does in other states like New York and California. Being aware of this is critical for making the right decisions, avoiding disappointment and having unmet expectations. Knowing your minimum baseline probably helps more for commissioned work than it does for speculative work. If you know of a good gallerist, they can be a good guide in helping you set a price for your work.
So, here's a good formula to establish a minimum baseline so you will know what you need to charge in order to make a living creating mosaics:
Monthly overhead + monthly lifestyle requirement / #days per month you can produce mosaics (leaving time for marketing, admin, etc.) / 8 hours in a day
For example: Say you need $5,000 per month to meet all your overhead and maintain your lifestyle and you can truly work 3 full days a week just creating mosaics, it would look something like this:
$5,000 divided by 12 (3 days a week x 4 weeks) = $416 daily rate or $52 per hour
Your minimum hourly rate would be $52.00. So if a piece takes 4 hours to make, it should fetch $208 plus material costs PLUS the variables and other factors. Remember, this is just your baseline.
There are additional factors like your personal brand and scarcity. For a living artist, scarcity is the difference in supply and demand. Demand is created by good marketing of the artist and supply is limited by the time the artist has to produce. If you can create demand that would require you to produce 5 days a week and you can only produce 3 days a week, then you have a supply gap and your prices should be higher in this situation. If you have 3 days to produce and you can only sell enough art to use up one of your production days, then you need to market more and create the demand, not lower your price.
So, know your minimum baseline. It's a starting point. Then take into consideration all the other factors and variables around you.