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I was thinking...I'm probably going to start up a painting service for people. Well, people that are outside of my area. I've been painting for some people locally, but I've never done it via the internet.
Now, since I haven't got anything to show anyone - I just sold my Guard army to somebody for $400, now I'm pretty happy.
But, I'll probably go buy some new stuff anyway...so you'll have pictures probably by some time tommorrow or Sunday.
But, my plan was to go cheap. Not in painting quality(Because I love painting, I could do it all day.), but in the price. Alot of people are charging $10 - $15 for just regular Rank and File infantry. Why!? That's pretty bad. And that's mostly for 'level 2' painting.
What if I said that I would do 'level 2.5' for $5 a model? Even less for Skeletons and stuff like that. I'd say that's pretty cheap, don't you? You'd pay more than that for a 'level 1' paintjob at some other places.
I'm pretty sure you'll have to make up your mind on whether or not to even try me out when I get pictures up. So just wait a couple of days(Maybe even one!), and I can have them up.
Good idea? Yes, no?
Here are a few of my thoughts on this matter:
First and foremost I wouldn't count on making a living doing this. I guess it really depends on where you are at but for most people you simply won't make enough to pay your rent/mortgage and support yourself. If you just want a little extra spending cash this is a good opportunity.
First and foremost you really need to get your name out there. Start by selling on E-Bay. I have made several repeat customers from selling on E-Bay. Start your prices a little low and keep your quality high to gather interest.
Create a website to feature your work. Pictures are worth more than words anyday. I would stay clear from labeling your skills as "level 1, level 2.5, etc." rather show the potential customer what they will get for their money.
There are usually 2 types of painters for hire - the mass painter where quantity over quality is the goal. The other is the quality over quantity guy.
As for pricing - don't sell yourself short. Your time is worth something and if you are doing things for less than you want you will start to resent it. If you offer quality work people will go with you. You can always lower your prices a little if you are not getting work or raise them a little if you are getting too much work. I myself have gone through several pricing phases to find an area where I am confortable.
Do research and see what others with similar skills are charging. This should help you build a price list and better market yourself.
Take every opportunity to freely advertise. User signature fields to link to your website. Trade links with people. Join different painting forums. keep things subtle as most people don't like things shoved down their throats. Let them come to you - just provide them with easy access.
Above all else the most important thing is provide world class customer service. People like to be treated well. Keep them up to date on how you are progressing. Let them know of problems as soon as they arise. Work out solutions with them. Get back to them as soon as you can if they contact you. Remember over deliver and under promise.
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I've seen this business started many times before and the two primary reasons it doesn't work are:
A) Most people want to paint their models themselves. Even a crappy paint job that you do yourself just feels better than walking in with someone elses Golden Daemon painted army. I won't even buy models that have paint on them and neither will most of my friends.
Time vs. Reward. To honestly make enough money for painting miniatures, it requires a huge investiture of time. You will want to be rewarded for your time so you will have to charge accordingly. Many times, just painting the models will cost the buyer twice what he paid for the models and when that happens, the customers will be happy to slap some red and green paint on them and be done with it.
These are good points- especially about the time cost. Sure, you can spit out 'level 2.5' figures for $5 but how much time are you spending. Think about how much any skilled worker would expect to receive for an hours work and convert that to a $ per figure price- it'll be higher than you'd think.
I paint for money but I certainly don't count on paying bills from it- buying my own toys, maybe. I managed to pay for a year of university tuition from painting but I had a regular customer who needed several armies painted.
The least you can do is get stuff painted and in the LO gallery- I've got several pictures there plus a photobucket account that I can pick and choose from to email pictures to interested clients. But also get yourself out to local tournaments and clubs- I once had a standard bearer with a 'painter for hire' banner that followed all my tournament armies around- anyhting that lets people know the service is available. Just never forget that for most people painting is an enjoyable part of the hobby and they enjoy doing it themselves.
No more NG spearmen, thanks! Now I need some pump-wagons!