How much should you charge for a commission? You are not sure, you have a dilemma, from a marketing perspective you want to be able to "close" the sale at all times, especially at that critical point when having your commission meeting. On the other hand you don't want to either screw yourself or your patron; you must be fair to both. I have word...
Easily said, right?
So let's discuss how you get it. Obviously experience helps, lots of artist clearly have it yet still have a very difficult time with this. I'd say it's mind frame, it is how you see your work. I would venture to say you when looking at your work you see lovely incredibly beautiful finished art object. I see time. Let's look at this through my marketing guy's / painters eyes. I am a proponent of sq inch pricing, this is exactly how I price my work. I to do commissions, I charge a slight premium, but for me it usually goes something like this, "could you do this pose and with that one but in these colors cause it will match my stuff better". Hardly high brow, I just think: a) will I enjoy this (meaning do I like it, maybe I'll do 2), b) how demanding are these pose(s) going to be, c) if I made this without parameters, what would I have charged? d) how do I get on with the commissioners (exactly how demanding, difficult, fun or interesting is the patron), e) is there a particular deadline I'll need to meet? This may sound complicated, but really it is so simple, it is practically automatic. So let's do some math:
Base price per sq. inch: $2.00
a) will I enjoy this (price up per pain level) answer, not going to love this…………1.00
b) how hard is this (number of long horns) answer, lots of longhorns 1.50
c) this is the base price so lets leave this with the starting $2.00 n/a
d) These are folks who are past patrons; I really like them, soooo -1.00
e) he almost forgot their anniversary, so he needs it NOW (said I liked ‘em, didn’t say he was smart) 1.00
Price per inch =5.50
Will this exact system work for you, probably not, but you could base yours on the stuff that makes you tick and the stuff that winds your clock a bit too tight.
I hope this helps,