Here's a comment I posted on another fellow Deviant's
journal regarding about how to estimate the total costs when you want to sell your artwork. Fellow deviant
also asked me this question some time ago.
Although there's no exact way to do this and each artist can try to define their own rules, prices and rates, based on my own construction estimating experience some of these same principles for setting a price can be applied as follows. (and I'll try not to write a novel
First of all, prices described are in Euros, but could very well be substituted by Dollars, Pounds, Pesos, etc. and some products like canvases, brushes, paints and copic markers have been estimated, so make sure you are using updated prices for these items as well.
The price for any finished piece of art can be estimated by making sure you are covering four main parts involved.
These 4 parts are:
1) Materials - Part of Direct costs
2) Labour - Part of Direct costs
3) Indirect costs - Percentage of Direct Costs
4) Profit - Percentage over all of the above Costs
1) For the first part you want to recover the cost of the main materials for doing your commission.
As an example:
Lets say a canvas you used is 20 Euros,
A full bottle of specific paint you used from start to finish is 4 Euros,
You used a palette of three other paints but let's say you only used one quarter of the container for each of the three paints:
4 Euros x 3 paint bottles x 0.25 (one quarter from them) = 3 Euros
For brushes, markers or other accessories it can be tricky, but you can try estimating also how much you spent on the 'useful life' of these.
You could say, two copic markers were used for one tenth of their useful life so:
4 Euros x 2 copic markers x 0.10 (one tenth of their useful life) = 0.80 Euros
A fancy high quality brush 10 Euros x 0.10 (one tenth of their useful life) = 1 Euro
So when you add up all of the above, you end up with 20+4+3+0.8+1= 28.80 Euros.
This is only what you've already spent out of your pocket for materials.
2)The second part, any artistic work involves doing it over a period of time you should be compensated for.
In construction we have different types of rates depending on the type of work someone does, like a carpenter or a mason but let's be very basic and say that a minimum wage in Europe is around 4 Euros x hour. (maybe could be more or could be less, but this is just an example)
It took you 5 hours to complete the commission from start to finish, so 4 Euros x 5 hours = 20 Euros
When you add up materials and labor, then you have 28.80 + 20 = 48.80 Euros
The total of these two is typically called 'direct costs' in construction.
3) The third part is easier when considered as a percentage of the direct costs, and these are called indirect costs.
It can be very hard to calculate exactly, but the idea behind charging for this is that you probably had other little expenses involved in doing your commission like, paying for the electricity of the place you work, the furniture you used, the cost of buses, transit or vehicles, fuel just to move around when you went and bought the canvas, the paints, the brushes, the rent or mortgage you pay at your studio, etc.
So, without digging too much into all that, a typical indirect cost can be estimated at say 10% of your direct costs, so for our example, it would mean
48.80 x 0.10 = 4.88 Euros
So your total costs with directs plus indirects are 48.80 + 4.88 = 53.68 Euros
On a very basic approach, you want to at least make sure you sold your commission for 53.68 Euros.
(What you spent is what you get back)
4) The last part that is entirely up to the artist and depending who is buying, how likely you are to sell your work, and because after all, art should not be downgraded but rather also considered with its own importance and value, is the profit.
you can again, calculate this like a percentage of the total Costs (Direct plus Indirects) so if you want to make 15% of profit (money in your pocket) on this piece,
you would have 53.68 Euros x 0.15 = 8.05 Euros,
So the final price would be 53.68 + 8.05 = 61.73 Euros.
The profit percentage is not fixed, so by all means play up with this percentage to your advantage!.. Art most definitely should not be undervalued.
Hope this rant helps a bit and Happy Creating!