why is art so expensive?

Why is Art So Expensive.png

 

Making art can get expensive; and knowing your costs ahead of time will help you to price your work as well as keep within your budget. I've been trying to do 2 pieces of original art each month. That comes to roughly $800 a month in expenses. There are many different factors that can increase or decrease your costs, which is why it's important to know where your money is going ahead of time. If you can't afford the most premium materials just yet, that's totally fine! As your profits grow, so can your budget for each piece.

 

My Monthly Estimated Costs

Paper.............................................. $40 ($20 ea.)
Art Supplies*.................................$20
Office Supplies*............................$20
Art Scans........................................$100 ($50 ea.)
Photography..................................$100
Website...........................................$55
Google Business...........................$15 
Facebook Ads...............................$50
Self-Employment Taxes.............$396 (est. 30%)
 Total Cost per month: $796 ($398 ea.)

*The art and office supply costs covers paints, pencils, charcoal, masking tape, masking film and printer paper, ink cartridges, packaging tape, and packaging supplies. I don't need to buy these every month. I just budget a rough estimate for when I need to restock. 

From a business standpoint, those are some pretty low costs! But from a starving artist standpoint...ouch. Starting out, I didn't have my art photographed or scanned, and I wasn't buying $20 sheets of paper. I also didn't use Facebook/Instagram ads or have a Google business account. These were things that I slowly added to my costs as my budget allowed. I also recently stopped using Etsy because the costs to relist my items every day just wasn't worth it anymore.

 

Taxes

Your taxes will be calculated at 30%-40% of your annual income, so keep a close eye on your profits every month to make sure you're setting aside enough come tax season. The number shown in my budget is calculated if I only sold 2 original pieces of art that month; the estimated amount doesn't account for the sale of art prints. It can be helpful to keep a spreadsheet of your monthly sales to keep track of for tax purposes. But keeping the amount in my estimated monthly budget helps to remind me that I need to set money aside for taxes. Also, there is a sales tax of 7.25% if I sell locally. Squarespace also lets you set up your checkout to automatically charge sales tax in your area. Just look online for the percentage you need to charge and add it to your checkout settings. 

Make sure you're keeping EVERY SINGLE RECEIPT! With the self-employment tax being so high you will want to write off as much of your expenses as you can. I keep all of my receipts in a drawer and add them to a spreadsheet at the end of each month. This will help to bring down the amount you owe at the end of the tax year, and it can be a pretty substantial amount considering the cost of art supplies.

 

Creating Your Budget

I know looking at your budget can be scary, but you should want to know where your money is going. If you're over-spending in a certain area you need to be able to catch it and adjust. This also helps you to feel confident in the amount you charge for your artwork and will allow you to invest in better materials, services, or advertising as you grow. From the numbers above, if I charge $660 for an original piece of art, my profit would be around $262. If someone tells me that my art is overpriced, I gladly tell them about my prints that would fit their budget. I don't, however, start to feel insecure or doubt myself when it comes to the price of my art because I know the costs that go into each piece. 

When you write out a list of your costs, try to consider everything you have to pay for in order to make your business run. This includes items that you might not have to purchase each month (like office supplies or random art supplies), but keep room in your budget to replenish those items so you don't get blind-sided by the extra expense when it comes up. 

 

in conclusion

You may have to simply guess what your costs are for the first couple of months while you begin tracking your expenses. Eventually you'll have a pretty good idea of what it takes to keep things going and your budget will be close to perfect each month. It's a learning process, so be patient and go easy on yourself in the beginning.

If you haven't broken down the costs of your art, you might be a little disheartened to learn that you're making less then you originally thought. That's ok! Those feelings pass and you're left with the information you need to build your business. It doesn't do you any good to feel excited about each sale, just to feel like you're sinking at the end of the month. It's hard at first, but learn to detach emotionally from the costs of making your art so you can price your art right and start actually growing your business. 

 

 

 

Shaylene ReynoldsComment