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JGroeling

Reasonable commission rates ($?)

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I've recently been posting some of the minis I've painted (here as well as my art pages and social media). Have now had people asking about pricing on purchasing or commissioning painted pieces, and even possibly some custom sculpts and paints.

 

My question, what are reasonable rates for mini sculpting and painting (seperately or together). In my experience, prices tend to vary from field to field, and the going rates for 'amateur vs professional' is also drastic in each field. I know what I can ballpark in the other art fields I work in (comics, murals, illustration, tattoo and concept art), but minis are a new breed for me. 

 

Any experience, suggestions, advice, much appreciated. 

 

InB4: "Figure out time to make project, what your time is worth, that's your rate".

::P:

Because for some art jobs I've charged 20/hr, and for other jobs I've made 200+/hr. Just need some ranges to figure out where I can charge that isnt overcharging a client, or screwing myself. 

 

Thanks in advance

(Also feel free to move post if this isnt the right forum for it)

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there was a post about just such a thing a while back.  I'll see if I can find it.  In reality, the answer is it depends.  I'm sure that some of the sculptors and commission painters can weigh in.  I'm pretty sure that most of them charge on a per piece model, with differing levels of quality (tabletop, table top plus, display), rather than an hourly rate.

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10 minutes ago, Dilvish the Deliverer said:

there was a post about just such a thing a while back.  I'll see if I can find it.  

Thanks, I searched a bit but didnt see anything pop up. May have just been using the wrong wording. 

 

Per piece rates are great as well. I just have zero knowhow on this. Tabletop and tabletop plus I'm not sure the difference. Display only pieces I understand can be far more delicately built and finely detailed. 

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A friend who does regular commissions for I think Tabletop+ said he charges $12/hr on a figure, with a 2hr minimum fee, plus the cost of the figure. He's a faster and more efficient painter than I am, so he can whip out a bunch. I've also heard that unless you're doing it a lot and can command the higher prices, the most you can really hope for is offsetting hobby costs.

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Not sure if I should post the link, so I won't.  But White Weasel Miniature Painting has 5 levels (from basic to Legendary) with a range of $12-100 for an infantry size/style mini and $60-300+ for large vehicles or monsters.  $100 sounds nuts, but I've put lots of hours into a single mini, and there are costs on top of that.  Looks like a good way to gauge how you charge.  Hourly rates isn't typical that I've noticed.

 

Addedit:  They also offer assembly and basing (not sure if basing is included in Legendary, but I would include it if I felt I could Legendarily paint a mini and assume it is in this case).

Edited by BLZeebub
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Trade's another option! Frex, if you and they live nearby and play boardgames, you can always send them your BGG want list and hopefully they can trade a game for your services. Or if they have a bunch of miniatures they don't want (eg. extras from a KS), they could pay you in mini's (not that you have time to paint them, either!). IMO, If you're not making a living off of it, take it in trade!

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1 hour ago, Cyradis said:

A friend who does regular commissions for I think Tabletop+ said he charges $12/hr on a figure, with a 2hr minimum fee.

Guess I need to figure out the differences between tabletop, tabletop +, and legendary. Haha. 

 

1 hour ago, BLZeebub said:

range of $12-100 for an infantry size/style mini and $60-300+ for large vehicles or monsters.  $100 sounds nuts, but I've put lots of hours into a single mini, and there are costs on top of that.  Looks like a good way to gauge how you charge.  Hourly rates isn't typical that I've noticed.

 

Project pricing works for me too. With more experience I'll be able to better gauge my time needed. For now just trying to find a ballpark. This is helpful, thank you.

 

1 hour ago, ced1106 said:

Trade's another option!

IMO, If you're not making a living off of it, take it in trade!

Looking at this as another art field to work in and generate income. My entire career and income is based in the art world, so the more arts I can make, the more money I can generate. 

Thanks for the suggestion though. 

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The only commission pricing I've checked out was to see what Roman pulls down for a mini, mostly out of curiosity.  What I saw ranged from 150-500 euros for single figures and busts - though there were a few more expensive larger pieces. 

 

I know Chest of Colors did some artist commissions but I never tried to find out pricing.  I'll just paint my own stuff.  ::):

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First, nobody but you cares how much you make per hour. Oh, you can use the shibboleth of "living wage" to help justify the price you end up at, but really, all anyone cares about is how much they have to pay for some specific level of quality.

 

Second, almost nobody places a reasonable value on well-painted minis. They'll pay some amount for "tabletop" or "wargaming" quality figures that are barely above MageKnight level paint jobs, but they won't pay three times that for a figure that takes six times as long to paint.

 

Result: If you're very fast at painting "good enough" minis, you can probably make a living at that. But even the best painters have a very difficult time making a living at painting really, really well.

 

And just so you know what you would be competing with, you might want to take a look at the website of Fernando Enterprises.

 

Good luck, though.

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My wife commission paints, with 5 distinct tiers. 90% of her business is Tier 2 (High Tabletop) which nets about double mini-cost.

 

As Doug Sundseth says, your buyer may or may not listen when you say "took me 6 hours, so I need $15 an hour, so $90", most likely they won't. They'll care that they asked for the $25 job, and so that's what you give them.

 

In the end, build a name. Period. THAT will enable you to raise rates, otherwise, you're probably going to be stuck trying your darnedest to build a customer base painting $12 per.

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36 minutes ago, Auberon said:

The only commission pricing I've checked out was to see what Roman pulls down for a mini

Roman? I know nothing John Snow. Interested in seeing other artists work though. 

 

21 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

First, nobody but you cares how much you make per hour. 

 

even the best painters have a very difficult time making a living at painting really, really well.

It's not information I discuss with clients. That's just how I think of monetary projects when budgeting, cost/time. 

 

I know this well. Will look at that company's page later. 

 

18 minutes ago, Reaperbryan said:

My wife commission paints, with 5 distinct tiers. 90% of her business is Tier 2 (High Tabletop) which nets about double mini-cost.

 

Definitely going to have to figure out where the industry standards for these tiers are. 

Hypothetically, a 3$ bones figure would cost a client $6 for her to paint to Tier 2? 

 

As above, I dont discuss hourly costs with clients, it's just how my brain processes numbers for projects. 

 

Thanks all

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17 hours ago, Reaperbryan said:

My wife commission paints, with 5 distinct tiers. 90% of her business is Tier 2 (High Tabletop) which nets about double mini-cost.

 

As Doug Sundseth says, your buyer may or may not listen when you say "took me 6 hours, so I need $15 an hour, so $90", most likely they won't. They'll care that they asked for the $25 job, and so that's what you give them.

 

In the end, build a name. Period. THAT will enable you to raise rates, otherwise, you're probably going to be stuck trying your darnedest to build a customer base painting $12 per.

 

Would Tier 2 equate to close to a certificate of merit or Bronze in Reapercon judging? 

 

If so, that may give @JGroeling a reference, if he scrolls through the Reapercon galleries. 

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Just now, Thes Hunter said:

 

Would Tier 2 equate to close to a certificate of merit or Bronze in Reapercon judging? 

 

If so, that may give @JGroeling a reference, if he scrolls through the Reapercon galleries. 

Not really. Her website explains it better but forum rules prevent me from linking to it.

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