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5 Pricing Mistakes You’re Making As A Beginner

I'm bringing to you the second part of our Pricing series to help you in your journey to build a creative business around your passion.

Pricing can be a daunting task especially when you're starting out in a niche field like calligraphy.

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that artists make while pricing their calligraphy work that you wanna steer clear of -

1. First things first, Quote the right price - You may be wondering "But Sanjana, how do I know what's the right price?"I know, it can be nerve-wracking to find the sweet spot where you're not underquoting so much that it's not feasible for you in terms of time and efforts as well as overquoting to the extent that your client may find it expensive.

Here's my Pricing Formula = Expenses + Expertise + Time Consumed and I've spoken about it in detail in the below blog.

Another thing to keep in mind is, you can't take your quotation back and change it once the client has approved it and the work has begun. So if you're working with something that's relatively new or unfamiliar to you, it's wise to do a sample to understand what you're getting into so you can make an informed decision.

2. Starting the project before agreeing on a price - Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. In all the excitement, we get started on a project without the final approval of the quotation by the client. It’s very well possible that the client may refuse to pay what you think the project is worth and you may find yourself in a position where you’ve invested your time, efforts, and money for which you’re not compensated eventually.

Once you've negotiated and agreed on a price, it’s absolutely crucial to document every bit of your communication. Make sure you’re sharing every detail on ideally mail or any text form like a WhatsApp message including what’s included in the project, your final quotation, and get their approval for the same. This will prove to be very useful if and when there’s a conflict and the client disputes your invoice.

3. Working on a project without receiving a minimum of 50% advance payment - For the millionth time, CHARGE IN ADVANCE, a minimum of 50% at least. As artists, we put in a lot of time and effort into a project before we start the actual ink on paperwork. We may have to prepare drafts/layouts, put together a mood board for a client's requirement, or simply just invest in tools and supplies based on the nature of the project.

You don’t wanna end up in a situation where you’ve done all the initial work and the client refuses to go ahead with the project. So it’s imperative that you add it in your Terms and Conditions that a 50% payment minimum is required to commence the work and the pending 50% payment should be made before dispatch.

4. Quoting the same for personal as well as commercial work - You always wanna talk to your client and understand what your artwork will be used for. Your quotation will be much higher if your work is used for commercial purposes as compared to personal.

Now you must be wondering what commercial use is, it’s basically when your work is further going to help the client make money either by reselling or it being a part of their overall brand (Example would be an artwork you’ve designed for a brand’s logo). Keep in mind that your work will be used multiple times over a long period of time. Therefore, the price of your artwork should be higher.

5. Not accounting for hidden costs - Have you had instances where you’ve charged your client an X amount and later realized that you’ve actually made way less? Haha, virtual hi-fi! This happens because we tend to not account for our hidden costs like logistics, packaging, or taxes (if you’re a registered company)

Bonus: Always remember, you don’t charge a client for the 5 minutes it takes you to address an envelope, you charge them for all the years you’ve invested to build your expertise in this art form to be able to write it for the client in that five minutes.

As you gain more experience with client work, you will understand the nitty-gritty and be able to price more confidently! 💪🏻

If you find it useful, be sure to let us know by taking a screenshot of your favorite part of the blog (the one that gave you an 'aha' moment) and posting it on Instagram, don't forget to tag us @bombaylettering ❤️


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