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I need you help as I would like to start painting for commision. I need money to fuel my addiction so I thought why not do something that I love and get paid for it.
I need some help with the basics. Like pricing, quality of models etc. Pics of some of my models are in my Dark Angels Blog (link in signature) , it would be helpful if I could get thoughts on them and how much you would pay for the paintjob on a particular model. Also any help from experienced commision painters would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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OK this is one way (and i beleive most popular) of going about it.
1.Make your own website/page, with introduction about yourself and the hobby with history of prizes you have won ie; Golden demon, chick challenge, local comps etc..
2. Paint three models (or more?) to three seperate standards (1,2,3..getting better as it goes on, 1 will be just basecoat highlight and painted base, 2 will be a decent job with sanded base and shading etc, 3 will be to your best ability with damage/dirt/freehand, watever your cleint sees neccesary.
PUT THESE THREE MODELS UP WITH GOOD PICS ON YOUR WEBSITE!
3. on the website put up a price tag
STD1 : 60% of models cost
STD2: 120% models cost
STD3: 200% of models cost
And characters for atleast 400% of modles cost but it varies ALOT dependent on the size and type of work requested by client.
4. GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE!!
put your website on your sig and tell people about it, advertise, make announcement through forums, if anyone enquires about commission..POUNCE.
5.Learne from the masters by checking out other peoples sites....YOUR A KIWI CHECK OUT IRON HALO!!..its the home of the only decent painter to come out of NZ Rachel Borthwick:
IronHalo.net Miniature Painting - Main
check it out it is good for ideas ad that kinda stuff!!
Hope that helped!!
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My primary question is how fast do you paint? Check out Blue Table Painting's pricing guide. That should give you a good idea about what the market will bear (in the US), not sure how much competition exists out where you are.
I'm one of your competitors
I've been doing it in NZ for a few years now and I can tell you, the market is pretty small.
Most people don't want to pay much for commission work. You won't be able to get much money compared to what they get in the US.
Iron Halo has a pretty bad website but her painting is damn good if you can afford it. I know she gets most of her work from overseas and works to the top end of the market. Your best bet is working to the local tabletop level market and trying to gauge what people are prepared to pay.
I focus mainly on the south island and wellington and tend to get most of my work doing large army lots. I can't make a living off it but its a decent way of getting some extra cash.
I chose not to put a pricing structure on my website as people are often swayed by first impressions. Its also very hard to definitively price the massive range of figures avaliable. They all take different amounts of time and technique.
You will find you get most of your work from word of mouth and not a website. A blog would be a better and free way of displaying what you can do.
Any questions, I'm happy to help. Maybe we should combine efforts and you can do the north island?
As Dwayne said, make a site, even CMON, show your work on forums as much as possible. Go to your local stores and ask around someone will have a pile of plastic needing to be done, if you offer to do it in a reasonable price range.
Get multiples of the model and paint it to one standard then paint the next one up to the next standard to show the difference and so on. Have a look at other commission sites for pricing ideas.
(Maybe, I need to launch my own site building company soon xD...)
I'd also encourage you to do a realistic evaluation of what you think you can make per hour and compare that to the nearest job, or even doing chores around the house. You might be able to make more money in less time and not turn a hobby into a job.
Get a job! (ide check ebay and compare to painting from companies that sell painted there) Who wouldn't want to paint there own army though?
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As a commission painter here are my thoughts on this subject:
1. A website where you can collect a wide range of pictures and have some sort of pricing structure is very good. There are a lot of free options out there - I myself pay for a web hosting service. You want to fill up your galleries with examples of your work. The more the better. You might also want to start selling on eBay just to see what a general price you can fetch... Research is your friend!
2. I agree with others with the suggestion of seeing what is out there. Do your research. Find who is painting out there and to what standard you compare to. Set your prices accordingly.
3. Advertise, advertise, advertise... (did I say advertise?) LOL The more you get your name out there the more business you will get.
4. Customer service is king. Be very helpful. Be honest. Kill with kindness.
5. I would suggest asking for 50% of the total cost up front with the last 50% due upon completion. Usually agreeable and if something bad happens and you don't get paid at least you are not at a total loss.
I am sure there are a lot more suggestions to give but I will say that very few are able to make a career out of this. Especially in the current world economy you may find it hard to get work. If you are looking for extra pocket change and to pay for the hobby that is a good idea. That was my primary reason to do it. I definitely don't make a huge sum when you look at the $ per hour... but I find it enjoyable and if that is your case then you will find it kind of nice to make some extra income as well...
Best of luck to you!
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Also if you've got a FLGS, just put the word out. At the local game store in my city, the owner/manager will recommend three or four different commission painter locals to anyone who is asking or complaining about painting their army or whatever. Since the commission painters are all frequent regulars, he even knows how many jobs they have on the table and if they'd be able to take on another job. Anyways if you have access to a game or hobby store that traffics in this type of thing it's worth a shot.
Oh and at the store here, it is generally accepted that the painters we have will just do a nice job (not just tabletop, but not golden demon either) for the same price as the unit box cost.
I have done some commision work over the years and I find that it varies. One thing you can do is paint up and army and put it on ebay. People there may buy it if they think it is good enough. However most people go to ebay for bargains and cheap stuff not something that will cost them more than a shops prices. You can meet people and paint for them. I was in the habit of painting huge amounts of Zombies. I got very fast at it and must of painted over five hundred of them. People liked my Zombies because they looked good (not awesome but good enough it would be hard to better and would take far longer) and they were produced in huge numbers.
I think to do commision work you need to provide good quality and provide it fairly quickly. The better you are the longer you can take but often people won't wait long. Sometimes people just want their army to look good and they can't be bothered to paint it themselves. Make sure people know what you can do. They may ask for something very elaborate that you can't do normally. People will expect their models to be perfectly trimmed and this is often up to you.