Art pricing, when to raise your prices, how art prices go up

In this episode of the podcast I answer some of the questions that i get asked the most from artists, and in particular around pricing -

Should i show prices on my website?

When should I raise my prices?

How do art prices / values rise?

Given there was so much i wanted to share on just these three questions it turned into an episode of it’s own.

Listen to it here

I’ll summarise the answers here if you havent time to take a listen!

  1. Should I show my prices on my website?

    What comes up for me with this question is that someone is asking for permission to share their prices or avoid showing them. I really think that you get to decide to do whatever you want. If you are feeling some kind of resistance to showing your prices online then that is something you might want to work through with a coach or mentor.

    It would be easy for me to give you a quick yes or no answer, but I wanted to instead, share my experience of doing it both ways.

    I have to say having the prices online is much easier, and low touch in terms of making sales online.

    There is a school of thought that says that you cannot sell high ticket items online without first nurturing and building trust with your audiences. That much i think is true. However you can be doing the trust building posts for example through your social media where you likely have a more frequent presence.

  2. So with my business consultant hat, firmly in place, I would ask If you are driving people to your website, what is the customer journey you would like a visitor to take?

    When you show the prices along with a lot of other pertinent information they can follow through to checkout.

    If you do not show your prices, then you likely want to give your visitor some other action to take such as ‘email me for prices’ or ‘ use the contact form below to get in touch’ etc.

    This latter approach requires you to answer promptly, and give good sales talk. The success of this enquiry turning into a sale relies on your ability to have a good sales conversation, provide the info they requested and convincing them the art work is the right choice for them. It can be some back and forth, you may need to send follow up emails, or you might get ghosted.

    There is no rule as such though I have heard a lot of people say that artists shouldnt put their prices online so they can have these email conversations and as the artist you get to decide how comfortable you are with that.

    The other reason I’ve heard that artists should not list their prices online on their own websites is because they can undercut galleries they show with.

    The only rule is that any prices shown online - your website, a gallery, an aggregate artists site, Etsy or anywhere else, is. that the prices need to be the same across all places.

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When should I raise my prices?

There is no right time or year or point in your career that you would do this. Raise your prices when you feel that the current prices are not serving you.

However, you might have some career points that would definitely be a good time and these can include

When you are down to the last few prints of a limited edition run, you can raise the prices on the remaining available pieces

When you create a new body of work

When your art works enter a public collection

When your work enters the private collection of a prominent collector

When you are given increased exposure that increases demand for your work - these can include being in a publication, showing at a biennale, festival, event or something similar,

It can also include commissions such as a public commission, a private commission like Alex Gallagher and her mural for the cruise liner - that’s a huge piece of work that brings a lot of attention.

it can also be commissioned work by a brand such as the artist collabs you see with fashion brands such as Vans or Gucci

when you are awarded a prize for your art work.

Or simply because your prices have remained the same for quite some time and you wish to raise them. It really is up to you. But remember, they need to be the same increased price across all the places you show which can include galleries, your own website, or other art marketplaces.

How do art prices/ values rise?

This is not unlike the question before. On the primary market, which is the place that most artists that I work with, and likely anyone reading or listening to this will be selling, their prices rise because it is all a marketing game.

When art work enters a public collection such as a museum, this gives the artist more credibility and prices typically will rise both for new works out of the studio and any work that appears on the secondary market such as at an auction house.

The same is true if the artist is awarded a prize in recognition of their work, or any kind of major exposure such as being on the front page of the WSJ or an album cover of a popular musician. The increased exposure gives the artist a larger audience and it typically follows, there will be increased demand for their work.

And similarly as above, when an artist is given a show at a public institution such as an art foundation, museum, public gallery or commissioned for established biennials, festivals, or public installations, this too can be the time their prices rise.