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Old 06-15-2015, 09:10 PM   #1
Grieverjoe
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Default Commission rates questions

Hey, dudes.

A couple of people have recently started asking me about commissions, and, having never done a proper commission before, I have no idea what to quote/charge.
I know some of you here have done commissions before, so I figured I'd present my questions to the board as a whole:
How do you know how much to charge? Do you go by an hourly rate, or is it per-piece (or does it vary)?
I was thinking about going for an hourly rate of 10USD an hour. I think it's a fair rate, since is half what I make at my day job, but I want you guys to be honest, too; you guys know my work. Would you pay 10 dollars an hour for it?
I would like to get opinions and experiences, both good and bad, so I can try and form an educated opinion from people I know. I don't want to drive customers away by charging too much, but I also don't want to undersell myself, and undermine other, better artists.

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:53 AM   #2
muzz
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$10 is way too low.

I personally charge $30 an hour, minimum for large jobs.

On small jobs i charge on an entire piece basis. Sometimes hours spent doesn't directly relate to the quality of the final piece. For example a $100 piece from an industry titan, while would be a sketch, would be far higher quality than a $100 from a beginner who spent three weeks on it. I tend to charge based on quality and a bit lower than my normal rates on deviantart, as im not as good an illustrator, as i am a game animator.

You can get an idea of those rates here.

http://muzzoid.deviantart.com/journa...ions-536740973

But in the end, it depends on the client. If it's a university or large institution. $250 day rate minimum.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:07 AM   #3
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thanks for sharing muzz.

Those people approached you themselves. Which means there is no reason to undersell yourself.

I hate going by the hourly rate, because that means I have to track my time. I hate tracking anything (I also hate talking to the client, or working on their sad little project). In the past I worked anywhere between $15 - $30 an hour. (it is important to note here that I live in a piss poor country - add 50% for the US).

Another reason why I do not like the hourly rate is, as muzz pointed out, that my stuff tends to be... not very good after just a few hours. On a piece by piece basis I feel I can spend as much time as I want on it until I am satisfied. This is much more fair towards the customer who expects a certain degree of quality without the overall shifting of the price ("this will look like this" is a much more precise prediction than "this will take this many hours" in cases like these).

My rate for anime girl illustrations is $112 a piece.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, dudes. You've given me some good information.
I was able to present a price to the client that he was happy with, and one that doesn't undersell me ($200 for a MTG-style playmat).
Lamb, I like your approach. I think I will adopt it.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:06 PM   #5
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Sounds like you reached a good price point .
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grieverjoe
I was able to present a price to the client that he was happy with, and one that doesn't undersell me ($200 for a MTG-style playmat).
I have been planning on making one of them playmats for myself. Maybe this inspires me to finally do it.
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamb
I have been planning on making one of them playmats for myself. Maybe this inspires me to finally do it.
Maybe you can commission a certain individual to do it for you...
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:32 AM   #8
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I'll do it for $195 .
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muzz
I'll do it for $195 .
'e terk mur jerb!
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:24 AM   #10
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Whenever I charge per project, I always have a clause in my contract specifying the scope of the project (usually revision count) and if the client needs more time or further revisions, I default to an hourly rate.

Smaller clients have smaller budgets, so per project fee works well for them. Leaving the door open for further iterations helps give them a sense of control while also absorbing the idea that any indecision on their part has a consequence.

Also, since I'm babbling about contracts, it's a good idea to have a holding fee in your contract. Say the work you do is dependent on their feedback, but they take a long time to get back to you. that's bad because they probably have a final deadline in mind and even if they don't do their part communicating they will blame you. Also, you need to get paid and have a steady workflow. A holding fee states that after X days of no communication, the project incurs a daily holding fee that's added to the original price. So, their communication has consequences as well.

But yeah. Besides my random babble, 10 dollars per hour is criminally low, especially if you're doing freelance. I don't go lower than 30 per hour. I do a variety of work (animation, web development, graphic design, game art, illustration), so the nuances of how the final pricing is handled depends on the scope of the project and the nature of the work I'll be doing, but I use 30 as a baseline and go from there. It's something I've had to feel my way through, and honestly, various industry contacts are chiding me for keeping my base rate at 30 (they say it's way to low). All of this is stuff I've figured out as I've gone along.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:37 PM   #11
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Thanks, Wigz.
I'm always open to criticism and good advice, and what you provide here is both.
Like I said, we both agreed on a set price of $200, given my current skill level and what the commissioner wants. I'm busting my ass to surpass where I'm at, but I find I'm learning a lot by doing this commission, and even though I'm moving slower than usual, I'm gaining a lot of insight when it comes to painting in general.
But anyway, as I said, always open to criticism. Thanks for dropping by.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:38 AM   #12
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How did the commission go? Complete? Happy customer?
I've only ever done stuff outside of studio work for friends and they tend to have been trades more than sales, so I'm very curious to see how this freelance stuff goes down.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:43 PM   #13
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Commission is done, waiting on full payment before I release it.
Customer was happy and said he'd hire me again in the future and spread the word to his friends, so that's good.
Learned a lot of things from working on this one, and from getting some awesome feedback from the awesome people on this awesome forum. I'm not overly happy with, but I rarely am, which is a good thing, I guess.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:00 AM   #14
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Honestly I started at way less than $10/hr, but those were desperate times when building a resume of finished commissions, and any amount of money, came before being paid fairly.

If you're not under pressure to turn out revenue from commissions, it'd definitely be nice to get good pay rather than lowball just to draw more clients.

I'm under that pressure to maintain jobs and revenue consistently, so I've generally priced myself lower than similar skilled artists to myself, not to "compete" (to me that concept is a joke, a client looking at a more expensive artist isn't likely to know I exist, much less know I'm cheaper) but instead to regulate the number of jobs coming in. You'll be surprised how each little increment in price effects who can afford you.
That said, I currently work for $35/hr, and do covers for Battletech that pay $2000 each, pretty nice I think.

There's my unconventional and often times counter-industry opinion
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