This Is How Much You Should Charge for Commercial Use

One of the ways amateur and professional artists earn money is through commissioned work. But what if your customer wants your art to be used for their commercial gain? How much will you charge the client so they can use your work for their purpose?

You should charge at least 50% of the baseline price of the artwork for commercial use. The baseline price will depend on the client’s budget, the current market price, the artist’s rate, and preference in charging the client for the artwork’s commercial use.

This article will explore how to determine the price of the art commission for commercial purposes. We will also discuss possible venues where you can get art commissions and the difference between private and commercial commissions. 

How To Price Your Commercial Commissions

Every artist must determine the price for their artwork before accepting any commission. Artists may want to put some premium on their pricing, primarily if a potential customer will use it for commercial purposes. 

However, they should consider the current market rates so they won’t go off that range. Here are some things you must take into consideration when pricing your artwork for commercial use:

Calculate Your Hourly Rate

In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that a creative or fine artist in the United States earns an average of $24.02 per hour. Some of them are charging twice this rate. As an artist, you are free to set your fees to offset your living and working expenses.

A freelance artist computes his hourly rate by doubling the total of his monthly expenses and then dividing that number by the number of hours he can work in a month.

Track Your Time in Creating the Commissioned Work

An artist must be able to record the time spent in processing the commissioned work so you can factor it into the final price to be given to your client. You can track your processing time manually or use an app to do it.

The processing time of finishing the commissioned artwork depends on its size, medium, details, and the artist’s schedule.

Calculate Your Commission Price

Once you learn the average processing time in creating a commissioned work and your hourly rate, you have to multiply them to get the art commission’s base price. You may have to charge additional fees depending on the complexity of the artwork.

Unlike private commissions, a commercial commission will entail additional costs so the client can get the rights or license to reproduce or distribute your artwork in their paraphernalia for business-related purposes. 

Artists usually charge 50% of the base price as an additional fee for those rights. Others have the price negotiated with their clients in a contract. It will depend on the client’s capacity to pay and for what purpose the client will use the artwork.

Places Where Artists Can Get Commissions

To get art commissions for private or commercial use, artists must set up their shops to showcase their artwork to prospective clients.

It can be a traditional brick-and-mortar shop in a location where many people can see your work. You can also get art commissions in your local art guilds or organizations that hold events that feature several pieces.

But most of the art commissions these days are being sourced online as it is convenient for people to look at the works through their mobile devices. 

Reddit has several threads where people can ask artists about possible art commissions. Artists can also post their work on their websites and social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest to attract potential clients and sell their craft.

Digital artists drawing images from fantasy, cartoons, and anime can also get commissions from websites such as DeviantArt and ArtStation. These sites have respective policies about commercial usage of the artworks posted on their platform.

But the most famous venue to get art commissions is Etsy. Thousands of people across the globe use the platform to sell their artwork and earn commissions for commercial use. Many people have made a profit by selling their work and clinching deals through the website.

If you plan to use Etsy to sell your artwork or get prospective clients for commissions, here are my articles about the fees involved and the difficulty you may encounter in selling your artwork through the platform.

Difference Between Private Commissions and Commercial Commissions

Here is a table summarizing the significant differences between private and commercial art commissions: 

Private CommissionsCommercial Commissions
Type of clientsUsually individual clients, but some companies also buy artworks in privateSmall businesses and large corporations
What clients are purchasingActual, physical artworkDigital version of the artwork
PurposeFor display in the client’s residence or workplaceBusiness-related purposes that are used to generate revenue, e.g., company logos, signages, packaging, merchandise
Opportunities for revisionYes, depending on the artist’s discretionYes, depending on the client’s preferences since it will represent their company or product
Ability to reproduce or distribute the artworkNoYes, but it is limited to what has been agreed by the artist and the client
Method of paymentInitial 50% payment to begin the process, and then the client will make the final payment once the artwork is readyThe client does not make any deposits, payment is made after the artwork is finished and an invoice is issued
PricingPrice is based on the artwork itself, which covers the cost of, and hours worked in, creating the productThere is a baseline price for the artwork, and the client will also be charged for the rights to use the artwork for commercial purposes

Final Thoughts

An artist can charge an additional fee to his customer to enable the latter to use the artwork for commercial purposes. However, the final price should sync with the current market price, as a higher fee for commercial commissions may drive potential customers away. 

Artists must have diligence in pricing their art commission to ensure that the effort made is commensurate with the price. They can calculate their hourly rate and track their processing time to determine the commission price accurately. 

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Hi’ my name is Simon. I am the owner of Top Work Life.

Together with a my team, I write content about income generating ideas, entreprenurship and growth as a person

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