How to price a commission and not shoot yourself in the foot

Sometimes at an early stage of discussing a commission the client wants a ball park idea of the price of the work. This can be quite a tricky thing to do when you don’t necessarily know what materials you’ll be working with or how complex the final work will be.

There are two things people tend to worry about:

- quoting too high a price and risking putting the client off

- quoting too low a price and having it not cover the time and materials and end up making a loss

The simplest solution is quote a range of possibilities, ideally with pictures so that the client has a clear idea of both ends of the scale. The challenge for the client is to understand what their money will buy so that they can manage their own expectations of the commission.

If they don’t know how to connect either the complexity of their request or the refinement of ideas into something simple but powerful then they can’t be expected to know how these elements of time and ideas affect the price. It’s also worth bearing in mind that what might seem like a simple idea to them may be difficult or time consuming to realise so again helping them with their expectations is useful to both of you.

Once you both have an idea of the ball park for the cost of the commission then you can look at how much value you try to squeeze in to the project!


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