How I price my paintings

For years I have struggled with how to price my paintings. If I overprice them, I might scare people off. If I charge too little, people will think something is wrong.

So it became a guessing game. The larger pieces priced higher than the smaller ones, unless they were more elaborate or somehow “better” in my mind.

I even tried pricing them according to how long it took me to finish, multiplying by an hourly rate that sounded nice, but wasn’t ideal either since paintings don’t always complete themselves at the same pace. A large painting might be completed quickly, and a small painting may take a long time to finish.

Then I discovered 2 reliable pricing structures

Recently I found a post by Melissa Dinwiddie on The Abundant Artist about how to price your paintings. My eyes were opened.

You can price by the square inch or by the lineal inch. You still total the width and the height, then multiply them by something, but there is a big difference in the end.

Square inch pricing multiplies height and width, then multiplies the total against a set rate.

h × w × r = price

Linear inch pricing adds the height and width. Then the sum is multiplied against a set rate.

h + w × r = price

I prefer the linear inch method.

This is because there is less of a giant difference between a small and a large piece. Square inch pricing results in a dramatic jump from one size to another. A linear inch pricing structure is easier to stomach. It’s also easier to calculate.

If a painting is 12 x 12 inches, that is 24 linear inches, right? Multiply that by $11. That’s $264. Why $11? I’ll be honest, it just feels right to me at this point. This results in a reasonable starting point as I jump back into making a serious effort to sell my art.

If I apply the 99-cent rule, I can adjust the price $264 to $259.

My Pricing Table

So, here is what my pricing structure looks like right now. I add the height and width of canvas sizes, then multiply the total by $11 to arrive at a base price. The base price is then adjusted to something akin to the ’99-cent’ rule.

Canvas Size Price
8 × 10 $198
12 × 12 $259
11 × 14 $275
14 × 18 $349
16 × 20 $395
18 × 24 $459
20 × 24 $495

That’s how I price my work these days. Chances are it’s going to work out just fine. I may add or remove sizes from time to time, or raise my rate as my work becomes more recognizable.

How do you do it?

Let me know in the comments how you price your work! I’m curious how other people do it.

Neon Dollar Sign Photo Credit: mag3737 via Compfight cc