Advice on what to charge for Commission work...
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Thread: Advice on what to charge for Commission work...

  1. #1

    Question Advice on what to charge for Commission work...

    I haven't done commission work in a long time and with the change in economy and such I am nervous about either trying to charge too much, or short selling myself.

    I don't consider myself anywhere near "Heavy Metal" standards but I get many compliments whenever I pull my stuff out at local shops so I know I am pretty good comparatively speaking. I have mid range green stuff and converting skills as well.

    I plan on only doing either "Characters" or single figures, or at most "Command Squads". I learned my lesson several years back when I took on too much large scale work and it got to be overwhelming.

    I have a bunch of examples of what I can do up here on CMON for anyone that cares to look.

    Basically, what would think to pay, or charge for a good "centerpiece/hq" single mini. Or say maybe a "Command Squad" of like 5-10 minis all painted to stand out above tabletop quality. Just a "fair ballpark" would be great. All input and advice is welcomed!

  2. #2

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    It's a tough one.

    I recently did some commission work, and charged 7 dollars per model (did 10 of them). But, I had to do some pinning, conversion, etc. work as well.

    On the next batch, I told the client I needed to up my charge to 10 dollars per model, and they have balked at that.

    For a 'above tabletop' squad 10 dollars per mini seems fair to me (if not a bit on the low side). A character model 15-20. Higher quality would obviously equal higher price.

  3. #3

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    The easiest and the way I do most of my math for commissions is to figure what the minimum you would want to get payed an hour and that's what you charge. Which for a unit at a high gaming standard yep about 10 per model. At lest for me as it will take about a hour a model. Characters tend to be in the 100 range because I'm usually looking at 10 hours or more on the model.

    In the end just don't go under minimum wage and you should be ok.

  4. #4

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    I'm in a similar predicament only in the model horse world. Here's a couple of questions for you:

    How long does it take for completion? This is primarily how long it takes you to finish a basic project. For example, I have a full time job, so I can't paint full time, and it takes me longer to complete stuff, sometimes several months, so for that I lower the price and offer longer time-payments.

    Have you won any awards? Okay, it doesn't have to be a GD but even winning local and online contests proves you got more chops than the next guy. The more you win, the more that price nudges upward (and if you don't enter contests, start they are great for the portfolio if you do want to increase those prices).

    How much are you in demand? People filling up your inbox with requests for work? Up go the prices again. On the other hand, if there are crickets chirping and a spider weaving a web, maybe offer some specials and discounts.

    Here's one thing I learned, do all you can to get your name out there - another easy commission/promotion is to offer a commission slot as a raffle or silent auction prize if a local or online group is hosting an event. Say you'll paint a basic orc or whatever customer supplied mini but any extras they want - NMM, customs, etc, would be beyond the raffle price but negotiable.

    So those have been my observations/learnings thus far. Ultimately, you're only worth what someone will pay.

  5. #5

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    I usually charge €30 per hour. I tell the client this, we discuss how and what, I give him an estimate of the cost as a maximum and when the piece is finished I either charge my maximum estimation or the actual cost, whichever was lower in the end.
    Quote Originally Posted by TrystanGST View Post
    The secret? Practice, and a desire to get better. A little talent goes a long way, but as long as you're open to advice, you can do amazing things.

  6. #6

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    Meh, I like to shoot for about $20 per hour. I give the added benefit of an actual quote, but I'm pretty darn good at estimating how long it will take me to paint whatever it is needing painting. I can do a unit of 10 to a good quality army standard (something that would get voted high 6s to mid 7s on CMoN) in around 3 hours (4 if extra attention is needed on some). Now if only I had the customers lined up at the door I could consider taking a pay cut and quit my job.

  7. #7

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    if you're in it to make money unfortunately everyone wants something for nothing, think about what the piece cost you to produce then knock about 90% off that should keep the customers happy, if youre in it for the hobby and the challenge then you wont be too disapointed.

    ive lost track of the enquiries i've had for sculpts once they hear the price you never hear from them again lol (of course a lot of the cmon bunch take advantage of my kind and giving nature....mates rates you say)larf i split my sides
    Last edited by cassar; 06-17-2011 at 12:27 PM.
    LAAARRFF, I SPLIT MY SIDES!!

    cassar [demigod] |ˈdemēˌgäd|
    noun ( fem. demigoddess |ˈdemēˌgädis| )
    a being with partial or lesser divine status, such as a minor deity, the offspring of a god and a mortal, or a mortal raised to divine rank.
    • a person who is greatly admired or feared.
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: translating Latin semideus .

    on a serious note, i do commissions, no really i do, ask and ye shall receive


  8. #8

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    Cass, for the amount of time and effort you put into these things, you're practically giving them away LOL
    Proud owner of a Cassar!

    #1378/9460
    You are ranked 1351 out of 9441 artists.



  9. #9

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    tru that...im doubling your bill.
    LAAARRFF, I SPLIT MY SIDES!!

    cassar [demigod] |ˈdemēˌgäd|
    noun ( fem. demigoddess |ˈdemēˌgädis| )
    a being with partial or lesser divine status, such as a minor deity, the offspring of a god and a mortal, or a mortal raised to divine rank.
    • a person who is greatly admired or feared.
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: translating Latin semideus .

    on a serious note, i do commissions, no really i do, ask and ye shall receive


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassar View Post
    if you're in it to make money unfortunately everyone wants something for nothing, think about what the piece cost you to produce then knock about 90% off that should keep the customers happy, if youre in it for the hobby and the challenge then you wont be too disapointed.

    ive lost track of the enquiries i've had for sculpts once they hear the price you never hear from them again lol (of course a lot of the cmon bunch take advantage of my kind and giving nature....mates rates you say)larf i split my sides
    If I priced an hourly wage with the model horses, no one would be able to afford it except maybe Bill Gates or whoever is at the top of the food chain right now. So yeah, compared to the labor involved, not making any profit there.

    Another thing I've noticed too, if someone wants work by a particular artist enough, they do all that they can to get it. If that means scrimping and saving, or even selling other pieces of a collection, they will do it and to them it will be worth every single penny.


    Quote Originally Posted by TrystanGST View Post
    Cass, for the amount of time and effort you put into these things, you're practically giving them away LOL
    I agree but if you say that too loud....

    Quote Originally Posted by cassar View Post
    tru that...im doubling your bill.
    ....Too late.

    Hijack time -well not a hijack since it's still on commissions. But joking around on the forums is one thing, especially with friends you've known for years, but please, please, please if someone responds to a commission request, either a post, or a potential customer emails you, or just a general information request, please do not respond ..."Hey dude...u r...kewl! I rlly lurv paint ;p Price will be ch33p!'

    Leet, slang, SPELLING ERRORS and internet shorthand honestly do not convey the best business attitude or ethics. When someone puts their money on the line, it's business and they want professional results.

    Sorry, but that's a little pet peeve of mine. I see it (and it's not just model horses and minis - but other artists and other trades too) all the time. If artists or any other business profession wants to make money, take a little extra time to type out a well written and well thought out reply.

  11. #11

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    If you're doing your first commission then pick a reasonable price that seems to make sense to you and your client. When you're done evaluate how you felt about the process. Did you feel like you needed to make more based on the work involved? Then increase your fee the next time around.

    You're going to find that it's really difficult, in general, to come up with a fee that works for everything so you're going to have to play it by ear to start.
    Jayadan.com - Commission Miniature Painter
    My YouTube Channel - My Flickr Photostream

  12. #12
    Senior Member armornv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassar View Post
    tru that...im doubling your bill.
    ROFL BUUUURN!!!
    Sorry, that was too funny. Sigh...I really should get back to work on my warrior now......

    and sorry, I have absolutely nothing of value to add. I've only built one mode for a commision which was for a friend. He bought the model and the display case for it then gave me like 50 bucks to do it. No real negotiating/figuring of prices there. I'd say, start with a price you feel comfortable with. The more commissions you do, the better feel you will have for what to charge.
    Last edited by armornv; 06-17-2011 at 10:06 PM.

  13. #13

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    I was thinking about writing an Guide for Commissioned Painting since I have been doing that for quite a while by now and have seen it all (Professionals, Semi-Professionals and Painting Something On Commission For Friends...), so... If there is enough Interest I will write it and upload it on massivevoodoo...

    Is there Interest...??... It would consist of an Introduction, a Q&A Part to get to know about your own Situation and a price range according to personal skill (always with a min. and max.)... And it should be clear that this is just a Guideline, not a Dogma...
    "I think we will see a lot of such diorams in the future because Pandora box is oped, interest is huge and forum butthurt is just great." --- Decoy

    Simply Wonderful......

    ---
    Visit us at http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/ ...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cexwish View Post
    I was thinking about writing an Guide for Commissioned Painting since I have been doing that for quite a while by now and have seen it all (Professionals, Semi-Professionals and Painting Something On Commission For Friends...), so... If there is enough Interest I will write it and upload it on massivevoodoo...

    Is there Interest...??... It would consist of an Introduction, a Q&A Part to get to know about your own Situation and a price range according to personal skill (always with a min. and max.)... And it should be clear that this is just a Guideline, not a Dogma...
    I think that's a fantastic idea and you can bet I'll direct my horse painting friends to it - the question of commission comes up there a lot too.

  15. #15

  16. #16

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    sensible time the bottom line is until you find your feet and get established, plenty of good word of mouth, then you should bite the bullit and charge to the lower end of the scale. Once as i say word gets around (its a really crowded business as is loads of people doing it) you can start then to ease your clients up to the upper end of the scale.

    good luck with it cass.
    LAAARRFF, I SPLIT MY SIDES!!

    cassar [demigod] |ˈdemēˌgäd|
    noun ( fem. demigoddess |ˈdemēˌgädis| )
    a being with partial or lesser divine status, such as a minor deity, the offspring of a god and a mortal, or a mortal raised to divine rank.
    • a person who is greatly admired or feared.
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: translating Latin semideus .

    on a serious note, i do commissions, no really i do, ask and ye shall receive


  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cexwish View Post
    I was thinking about writing an Guide for Commissioned Painting since I have been doing that for quite a while by now and have seen it all (Professionals, Semi-Professionals and Painting Something On Commission For Friends...), so... If there is enough Interest I will write it and upload it on massivevoodoo...

    Is there Interest...??... It would consist of an Introduction, a Q&A Part to get to know about your own Situation and a price range according to personal skill (always with a min. and max.)... And it should be clear that this is just a Guideline, not a Dogma...
    I would like to read that!
    My Rank -

  18. #18

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    Sorry, have not seen it before...... I will be working on the Guide then... Will take some time, though... Stay Tuned......
    "I think we will see a lot of such diorams in the future because Pandora box is oped, interest is huge and forum butthurt is just great." --- Decoy

    Simply Wonderful......

    ---
    Visit us at http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/ ...

  19. #19
    Brushlicker dogfacedboy uk1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cexwish View Post
    Sorry, have not seen it before...... I will be working on the Guide then... Will take some time, though... Stay Tuned......
    Look forward to it.

    I did a couple of conversions a while back of two ogre battle standard bearers, just practicing my gs skills really and I got £37 each I think. I was happy with that. If you dont charge enough for your time people will take advantage so keep your prices reasonable and explain how much time you will be putting in to the customer, they might realise then that people who offer commission painting services do not magically pull the finished product out of their arse in a blinding flash of ninja magic.

    dfb


    My Gallery Here

    CMON Rank: Will paint for Jelly Beans...

  20. #20

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    If you earn more $ per hour than the average Korean sweatshop worker you'll have to let us know your secret.

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