The Importance of Pricing Consistency

Do your art prices remain constant, whether selling directly to collectors, online or through a third party? Here’s why consistency matters.


Merchandise at an art show. Art pricing should be consistent for a number of reasons. Read about it at


When you have set prices for your artwork according to a formula that pays you a fair wage for your work and includes profit, you can grow your business. It’s important to know that your prices are competitive in the marketplace, but also allow you to earn what you’re worth.

If you set prices arbitrarily, without regard for your costs or the perceived value of your work, you may be cheating yourself. Or you may be inadvertently overcharging, and missing potential sales. Knowing how to price correctly at the start will help you:

  • Include a profit margin on everything you make
  • Calculate your price by charging per square inch (or linear inch) for like products, in a systematic way that makes sense to customers
  • Spread your price points for a collection that offers something for your customers, regardless of their budget
  • Keep your prices stable, and increase them when appropriate

Sometimes, artists don’t realize that “the price is the price is the price” and vacillate when selling their work. This also happens when there is a lack of clarity on pricing basics.

One artist declared, “I’m no longer working with galleries, and I’m cutting my prices in half, since I don’t have to pay their commission.” What he forgot was that when selling directly, he expends time, money and effort, just as a gallery would. If he’s selling his work at half price, he would be performing all of those marketing and sales tasks without payment for his labor – or getting any compensation for the money he spends to do so.

Knowing how to price, and staying consistent on your prices, puts you as the artist in control. You know how much to charge and why. And, even if you choose to have a temporary sale on your work or offer a discount to a collector, you are aware that you are not losing money. Your regular retail prices remain unchanged.

What can happen when artists lack pricing consistency?

  • When prices fluctuate without a clear reason, your existing collectors may feel that they got a bad deal – if they paid more, and now your prices are lower, your work seems to have gone down in value. This discourages repeat sales, and creates distrust.
  • If you unfairly compete either with your wholesale customers, or with galleries where your work is consigned, you are undercutting their price. This may give the impression that those vendors have an excessive markup, and are overcharging customers, when they actually are not. It’s a recipe for ruining your relationship with these clients, especially if you are selling online, or at events in their local area, at lower prices.
  • Unstable prices give the impression that the artist is not a professional, and doesn’t have a good handle on how to price their work, or what it is worth.
  • Every time you arbitrarily set prices, you are at risk of underpricing your work, and not being profitable. Losing money on sales of your work sets your entire business up for failure.


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