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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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poto_heart
Jun. 29th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Another plush maker! :3 And after a quick glance at your LJ (...*is a creeper*) it looks like we have some other stuff in common too~ mind if I friend you?

Anyways, for the topic at hand...I'm not really good enough to do proper commissions yet, but from what I've seen, one of the most successful ways to do commissions for physical things (plushes, sculptures, all the way up to fursuits) is to give a rough estimate of the price range (like 'starting at (minimum price)') along with a quick list of cheaper vs. more expensive options; and then if somebody wants to commission you, they send you all the information, and you give them an individual price quote then. That way they're clear from the beginning (hopefully - it might help to state the minimum as the 'absolute LOWEST' that you'll charge) that they'll probably be paying a lot more than the minimum. Also, that'll allow you to adjust prices fluidly if, say, you're busier than usual, or you have an excess of some color of yarn you want to get rid of.

There will still be some furs that will kick up a fuss...just remind them that they can't get something for nothing, and if they're not going to pay, they're not getting a plush.

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