When asked to potentially do a commission, or when shopping around for one, there are several things that need to be taken into mind when it comes to pricing. I’m going to break it down into the steps I use.
1. Check the portfolio. When I am shopping around for a piece, I always take a look at the portfolios of costumes offered up. So for those wanting commissions, always put your best work into your portfolio. People want to see what they can expect out of you for work.
2. When getting ready to purchase a commission, get your basic breast/chest, waist, and hip measurements. THEY WILL BE ASKED FOR. If you’re not sure how to do it, look around online. XD It’s pretty easy to find and do, promise!
3. Commissioners: Ask right off what all they want for the costume so you can do your research. Some people want wigs and/or contacts, while others don’t. Some want a whole costume, while some may only want the top half. Always check. And for those buying, try to think of all this stuff and get ready to answer!
4. Commissioners at this point will start researching patterns, fabric, wigs, and other such items and pricing out things. I know I usually look between pricier items to cheaper items to give variety of prices to those commissioning me, that way they can save some money. At this point in time, I will be very up front on if it’s in my skill set or not.
5. Deciding your cost of labor, at least for me, has a few things I think about. How much work will this have? Do I have to do some special things to make this work? And when is this needed by? If there’s a lot of alterations, special designs, and a quick due date… My prices go up. If not, I’ll work in a deal, so I can still get paid for my labor, but make it less costly in hopes I’ll have a returning customer.
6. For those wanting the commission, always be patient at this point in time. It takes awhile to figure out pricing on everything. Usually there’s a lot of questions thrown back and forth to figure out exactly what is wanted as well, so the commissioner can get started as quickly as possible if you choose them.
7. Finally, you get your pricing. Those shopping round can easily haggle a fair price and get a payment plan designed, just be polite and professional when doing so. Prices are usually very high-sounding, but remember, you’re going to get the quality you pay for. So if you go with some Chinese Ebay thing for $50 versus the same costume for potentially $200 from a commissioner, just remember, you get what you pay for.
It’s a process, but it’s not difficult. 😀 Promise!