View Full Version : Print pricing and compensation agreements

Don Boyd
30-Jul-2004, 09:10
If inappropriate for this forum, please redirect me if possible.

On my recent 2 month spring trip to the Colorado Plateau, I was fortunate to find a heavily traveled tourist outfitting/cafe store in Utah who is willing to show and sale my work from the trip. Both the business owner and I are novices at showing and selling photographs and are looking for some guidance on the business relationship. I will display approximately 5 20x24 inch (image size) framed and matted prints on the walls and will have smaller matted-only prints in a bin (5x7, 8x10 and 11x14). We realize that whatever we agree to will work but we are looking to see if there is a standard that would help us with an agreement that is equitable to each. Currently, he is suggesting that everything be put in the store on consignment, even the smaller prints. Obviously, the matting, printing and framing are big costs to me and my preference would be to recover the expenses for those by charging him for the smaller prints, even if the larger ones are placed on consignment.

Let me emphasize that each of us wants to do the right thing. If the cost of having the prints in his shop is too large for him, it would nix the deal. And, what is most important to me is to get my work up and see if it sells. What have the experiences of others been? Many thanks.

Ralph Barker
30-Jul-2004, 09:50
It would seem to me, Don, that one of the basic issues you and the shop owner need to address is whether, and to what extent, you want to facilitate "impulse" purchases. That is, having pre-framed prints available for immediate delivery, as opposed to customers ordering prints based on display samples. There are positives and negatives to both approaches, I think. Which would be preferable is probably a matter of the shop owner's assessment of what will work with his client base, what sort of volume of sales might be expected, along with the economics involved. It would seem to me that your situation falls somewhere in between the typical gallery situation (selling individual prints on consignment) and that of conventional retail sales.

Having "stock" on hand would be similar to conventional product sales, I think, where the shop purchases the stock at a "wholesale" price and then sells the products to customers, retaining any profits. Here, the risk of sales (or, lack of sales really) is borne by the shop keeper, and the producer (the artist) is paid up front. In contrast, the display-print approach is probably closer to typical commissioned sales scenarios, where one-of examples are individually sold and replenished as needed. In the latter case, all production expenses are typically borne by the artist, and the commission is deducted when the sale is made. The former "stock-on-hand" approach probably assumes reasonably brisk sales turn-over, while the latter assumes a slower sales pace.

If the shop owner wants to have a wider selection on hand for impulse buys, it would seem appropriate that he at least share in the risk of up-front production costs. You and he might, for example, split the hard costs of production, and then split sales proceeds at a different level than would be expected for consignment sales.

jim Ryder
30-Jul-2004, 16:35
Art galleries generally get between 40 and 50 percent of the sale. I think that could be a good place to start. However, since this is not a gallery but some sort of store, you may want to build in some consideration of a commission to the store clerk who actually makes the sale. Ten percent may be right. That way instead of blowing off a custumer who comments, "nice pictures" the clerk may offer the customer a closer look and facilitate a purchase, rather than moving on to the snowshoes in the corner. Everyone in the place must want to make the sale.

45, 45 10 maybe an equitable distribution and keep your prices low especially at first to test the market.