The Pricing Wall

Been running into the Pricing Wall of Doom lately. Also known as James saying “Dear god! What are you THINKING?!” It’s not commissions this time, which I’m fine with, it’s the originals.

I know I probably underprice my work. A bit. I mean, my stuff almost always sells, and I like it that way, because that keeps cash flow flowing. And when I grit my teeth and raise my prices a little, it still sells. Usually. Takes a bit longer, mind you. But still, the majority of paintings I sit on for less than six months, and some of them go the same day, even when I price them in the $300-400 range. So I am comfortable with that range. That’s a nice safe range where the art seems to move well. I get twitchy going beyond that. $450, $500, okay, since I started taking installment plans, that’s been going, too. Get into $600 and the stuff screeches to a halt like a…screechy thing. Get into the thousands, and I’ve still sold them, but usually to friends or long-time buyers who circle the piece for several months, presumably looking for a sign of weakness, and then finally succumb and start making payments on it. (Or maybe the painting circles them…okay, the metaphor is breaking down…) But still, the good sales range seems to be between $300-450 for the medium sized acrylics.

So I spasmed like a kicked duck when James baldly quoted me $1200 on the voodoo woman. “WHAT? Are you MAD?” (I had, in my more delusional moments, been contemplating as high as $600–I mean, I spent most of a week on that piece, and I do like it quite a lot, and I don’t mind if it doesn’t sell immediately because I like looking at it, but upwards of a thousand? Jesusmurphy. What am I, Picasso?)

On the other hand, “It Gnaws the Walls” went the same day, and I had tacked on an extra $100 at James’s insistance (and he wanted double what I charged for it, and got a lot of people to IM me with quotes in that vicinity, too…)

Now, if James had his way, my work would be so prohibitively expensive that I suspect it would probably never sell, but I am willing to concede that perhaps I do price myself too low, particularly when James hauls in the witnesses for the prosecution (I’m lookin’ at you, Dave!) who start flinging numbers at me. His argument is that I’m not hurting my reputation by asking for more money, my argument is that I’d like to, y’know, occasionally SELL the stuff! I like getting money!

So I dunno. Accepting that I price too low, I’m trying to inch them up a bit, but nowhere near the rareified heights James is quoting me, because…well…y’know. He loves me, and I worry that his confidence in me is tainted by affection.

Anybody got any thoughts? I figure that this is one area where I could use outside input, and y’all were so instrumental in getting me to raise my commission prices…*grin*…

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