NOTE: This post is Part 1 of 2 for week 5.
How do I price myself?
I am currently working as a graduate junior graphic designer and in my role I get paid around the average pay rate in Australia. On a creative networking site that I have an account with, I state that my freelance hourly rate is $80. I worked out that sum by breaking-down the benefits I currently have as a graphic designer working for someone else. My hourly wage, in this said role, is approximately $20 but I am also covered by workplace insurance, my superannuation is being paid towards, I have annual leave/ day-in-lieu and my hours of work is a standard 9am-5pm with a break. I also don’t work weekends. However, as a freelancer I pay for my own superannuation, I purchase my software and tools myself and my job is not necessarily 9am-5pm. There is also a greater risk that I may not have a steady income as well. These are just a handful of reasons to why I charge higher for freelance works. Frankly speaking, from my observations, $80 is mid-range freelance rate.Regardless of how much you charge, someone will always ask ‘Why are you so cheap?’ or ‘Why can’t you price match Joe Blow’s?’
When I was freelancing for approx. 8 months last year my handful of projects were very short. So short that I didn’t need to factor in the amount of hours I was working on them. Instead I mainly charged for the final work I produced for the clients. So, even I don’t follow my $80 per hour rate most times.
My Pricing Resource
Jessica Hische is a San Francisco-based graphic designer who specialises in hand-lettering typographic works. Many of her clients are usually magazine giants. Her blog, I feel, is one of the best for resources for students on their creative journey. One of her blog post is called ‘The Dark Art of Pricing’ where Hische openly discusses how she charges her clients in various scenarios relating to her submitting works for a magazine publication. I found this most helpful as this is the path I intend to take. This article was also the first time I learnt that artists make most of their money from ‘Licencing’ their artworks rather than selling it.
Selling my prints online
I am working on a little side project just for fun. I am in the middle of setting up an online store to sell some of my personal art prints. The following list are the ongoing discussion points I have with my peers whilst I am setting up my new project:
- Online Store setup fees
- Printing by myself or outsourcing
- Packaging for art prints for postage to customers; and finally
- How to price my artworks
Currently, in the online art print market (if that is exactly what it is called), the average A4 sized print sells for $25AUD (although this can significantly vary between each artists). I considered buying my very own dedicated mid-range art printer (Canon Pixma approx. $550+) to print my artworks myself as this would be much cheaper in the long-term. However, realistically, I don’t think I would be printing and selling enough of my prints to even break-even after the purchase.
I have found a local printer who I have started to out-source printing activities to. They specialise in high-quality art prints ($6 per A5 print, which I found out is about $2 cheaper than other commercial art printers). This means that I may be able to justify the higher than average price I put on my works as quality archival ink and paper stock has been used to produce them.
Additional to selling my digital art prints online, I am planning to sell original artworks as well:
The next component that I have yet to sort out is the packaging materials that I will need protect my artworks when being posting to clients. The research I have conducted thus far suggests that protective plastics sleeves and a roll of craft/ tissue paper are cheaper to buy in bulk online from China. However, I am starting to think about the environmental impact of excessive packaging for posting my artworks. I may need to rethink my strategy.
I think the very rough charges I calculated for posting an A4 letter/ envelope is between $1.60 – $3 depending on the weight of the contents. Anything larger than A4 sized is guaranteed to be much more expensive, so I think at this stage I am only comfortable to sell A5 and A4 prints. Stay tuned for updates!
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