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Handling complex commissions.

I wasn't sure where else this could be discussed, so I was hoping the people here might have some good input.

As some brief background, I make plushies and I have a pretty standard price that I work with. I make my prices outlined clearly on my page so that people are aware of them (and so that if there is ever a price increase people are aware of that, too.) I already make < minimum wage at the prices I work at even with simple commissions but would rather continue improving and getting more practice in before I raise my prices again like I have in the past. I feel like certain skill levels are also worth certain amounts of money and I feel that my prices reflect what I feel the quality of my work is at this point in time.

Anyyyyway, the issue is that -- furries being furries -- you sometimes get commissioners that come in with insanely complex character designs. Considering that all of my plushies are made stitch by stitch and in yarn, an extra tail or set of wings or limbs or something of that nature is not simply a matter of a few more lines drawn on a page or something. Sometimes it's hours and hours of more work. Not that I'm not willing to do them -- actually, a lot of the time I enjoy commissions like this as they are a challenge and I get a lot of great practice.

I've started putting things like "65+" for a large plushie instead of just "65" just in case someone pops up like that and I feel it is appropriate to charge more for the amount of work I'm putting in.

Unfortunately I've had people in the past get really angry about it and almost demand that I charge them the minimum price for their insane, many-limbed, special snowflake character, or that they don't understand why I should charge more if they want clothes, etc., etc., because their character "always wears clothes like that so its part of their design" or whatever.

I'm just wondering how you guys deal with situations like these and how its more effective to explain this concept to commissioners that might just not get it. I've tried explaining that it takes more time, that I have other commissioners waiting on things and how its not fair to them if I charge the same price for a crazy complex character plushie as I did for their simple grey wolf or something, blah blah blah.

Also, is it more effective to have a list or something of things that make prices increase and by how much, or to just do it on a case by case basis?

I just don't want to be taken advantage of and I already have more than one thing on my queue for which I was underpaid, and as it is extremely discouraging to be paid little for a complex project, it doesn't do any favors for me or the commissioner.

Although I'm sure a lot of this is just me having to be more assertive, too, which I am aware of and working on. :<

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( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 30th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
I've seen someone set their prices by inch. She said however many inches it is, add a zero to the end of it. 4" = $40, 8" = $80, 12" = $120 etc.

I'd say do that as a base price then add something like "+$10/15 for complex markings" or whatever.

Not sure if that helps or not.
Jun. 30th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
I've had the came problem in the past.
My style of illustration is heavily detailed, every tuft of fur is drawn out colored, shaded and highlighted. It'll take me a solid hour to finish a basic tail.. so if the character has 9 tails I tend to change more.

I think you should go into more detail in your price guide. Mention that it is only a guide, and depending on the complexity of the commission the price may be higher or lower.

For your current commissioners, you could say something along the lines of:
I am flattered that you want a plush of your character made and I'd love to be able to do it for the same price as a less complex character, but you need to understand that these things take allot of time to sew.
Something like an extra tail might take me x-amount of hours extra, and adding clothes can take me x-days more work. If I where to give you extras for the same price as something without those extras it would be terribly unfair to my other commissioners and I just can't do that to them. It would be unfair to everyone else.

If their response is rude, or of they continuously harass you for a lower price (even after you've explained why you can't do it) stand your ground and say that you either do it for that price, or you don't do it at all.
Jun. 30th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
Not being a plush maker myself...I would expect for $65 a very basic plush about 15cm tall...all 4 limbs (possibly tail) and something plain when it came to clothing (plain T and pants) nothing spectacular. I guess you could always do a break down for materials for people who argue the point (if you do still wanna go through with it.)

Personally if they demand a lower price then just tell them sorry you can't do it.

My friend Gilligan makes plushies and she sells them for around $65+, they are all monsters or squiddy type things :3.
Jul. 1st, 2010 07:56 am (UTC)
RAISE YOUR PRICES NOW. I just peeked into your FA gallery and your work is amazing. You are Underselling yourself. Really. I make custom plush also and know how it can be (I don't take commissions BECAUSE of complex designs and demanding whiney brats), but the few I've sold have been around the $150 mark.

I don't crochet though, I handsew stuff like Beanie baby fur, minky, patterned stuff with shortpile.

One of the more well known people in the Custom Plush circle (not a furry fandom specific person) charges $150 for her SIMPLE 6 - 10" anime plush. I've bought dragons with moving teddy joints from her before that cost me $200+.

TL;DR: Raise your prices. Add more for complex stuff. If people cry about more complex stuff costing more, tell them how much longer it will take to make X/Y, and if they don't like it, tell them to "feel free to take their business elsewhere".

I hate cheapskates who cry about quality One-Of-A-Kind custom work not being cheap enough for them. ~_~
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