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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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Jun. 29th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
I tack on the phrase "and up, depending on complexity" after the price.

Never had a problem with it at all, but given that it's plushies, if you feel the need, I'd include an extra phrase like "Extra limbs, wings, tails, etc involve more material, and details like horns and complex facial scales take a great deal more sewing time, which must be factored into the price."

After that, if they don't like it, don't take the commission--if they start by whining about the price, they're gonna whine about EVERYTHING, and your time is far too valuable to deal with people like that.
Jun. 29th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
if they start by whining about the price, they're gonna whine about EVERYTHING

This. had a client for FREE art recently ask if she could see a pic before i mailed it... after bothering me a TON just about me doing it in the first place... uhm, no. cuz no way in hell am i modifying something that wasn't even paid for, good grief. >:(
Jun. 30th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Your assumption that she asked for a pic so she could tell you to modify it is rather annoying me. She wanted a pic just because she wanted to enjoy and appreciate the art.

And for fuck's sake, it wasn't free. Just because YOU screwed up and lost money doesn't mean she didn't pay you.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
$5 just covers shipping and supplies and by her own admission she was being bothersome
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
And by your own admission it was your fault she didn't get her original art.

It doesn't matter whether you made money or not, you agreed to charge her $5 for this. $5 is NOT FREE, even if you lose money at that price.

You are twisting this situation, badmouthing somebody who's tried very hard to be polite, and dragging it on long after it should have been finished. Quit trying to make everybody feel sorry for you and let it drop already.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
i did not claim to be bothersome. i said, "i appreciate your offer and im sorry if i seemed pushy or seemed to be overreacting."

please dont put words in my mouth. thank you.
Jun. 30th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
it wasnt FREE, i *paid*, if theres doubt about that, id be happy to screencap the original posts, our conversation as well as my paypal history to prove it. i have it all saved. this issue was already resolved. and i didnt ask for a pic so that i could fuss about it or nitpick it when it was too late to change anything. i asked very politely, "could i bother you for a pic before its sent?" because i get genuinely excited about new art and i was excited to see it. i didnt once ask for a modification and its a bit rude of you to assume that i would. im not an idiot, i realize that its sealed under resin.

i am really tired of all the snide remarks and jabs at me. im tired of you making me out to be the bad guy like i was begging everyone for free art and then being a huge spoiled bitch to them. all i did was ask you to honor our agreement. this has been going on for 3 days now and im tired of it.
Jun. 30th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
Would you please PM me? Nothing bad, I just want to talk to you. :)
Jun. 30th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
absolutely. done.
Jul. 4th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
Ys. When they start with whining and "negotiating", they are going to take up an HUGE amount of time just in DEALING with them, and you need to either turn them down or make sure you're getting paid for it.

I have sometimes added a pain-in-the-butt surcharge to my commission work, though I prefer to just decline those commissions; they're going to make my life hell, take lots of time, and be unhappy anyway.

Also, if you do decide to do something for someone like this: make sure you get enough up front to cover your expenses, preferably in a non-renegable form (like check or money order, NOT Paypal or charge card), and get the final payment also in non-renegable form before sending anything out and make sure it clears before mailing. Because these are just the sorts of people who will also try to get out of paying.


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