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Not a beware, just a tough question for me.

This is not a beware post about anyone, just a small pickle I've found myself in and I wanted to get some advice before I moved forward.

So, I make plushies -- crocheted plushies. They take me a looong time and consequently it takes me a long time to get through my queue. I've been closed for commissions for a while so I can catch up with what I have.

When I first started I charged like literally next to nothing -- like *supply costs* for them. Relatively recently I raised my costs to a more reasonable level so that I actually get some profit, but for the larger plushies especially it still doesn't really compensate me for my time. Whatever. I plan on figuring that out when I open again. (I charge around $65 now for plushies that are generally around 15" tall.)

Some around last year I was commissioned for a *really* rather large plushie -- 3.5 feet including the ears! It also needs to have wings, which is a rather big extra for a plushie because they are a lot of work. Most of my plushies just include the four limbs, tail, etc. I agreed to do it because I was excited about doing something so large. It would be a really cool project to showcase, you know? But this was still at a time when I was really undercharging myself and actually terrified to ask for money lol. I still sort of am. I have some issues with anxiety and communicating with people is hard enough already for me. Lul.

Anyway, I asked her $200 plus shipping costs (which I said we'd figure out what they were later). I told her it was a really big project and I had a long list ahead of her already but that I would start it when I got to it and couldn't really even guesstimate a time when it would be finished because I'd never done something like that before and it was huge hahaha.

ANYWAY. It was really months and months later and I still hadn't gotten to it much besides buying the supplies for it and fiddling around with a pattern and starting the base. She noted me on FA and let me know that she ran into some money problems and asked for a refund, which I totally understood and refunded her everything except what I spent on supplies for her (which was around $50). I also told her that of course if she wanted to in the future I would not charge her again for supplies, which I think is fair.

That was pretty much just background, though, so here's the question -- she just messaged me again today saying that she is in a better place financially and that she is interested in the project again. I would totally have no problem taking on the commission again except for two things, and this is what I need help with -->

1. I would pretty much be obliged to put her on the bottom of the list again. It wouldn't really be fair to other people who have been waiting such a long time to have such a huge project put ahead of them.
2. I... don't know if I feel comfortable only asking $200 now. :/ (Well, I would get $150 now since I will not charge her for supplies again). Only getting $150 for such a monumental project that will take me WEEKS of work (I anticipate it taking more time than the *partial fursuit* that I made myself recently. :/) is just not worth it for me.

So, I guess what I'm asking is... what should I do? I am mostly concerned about asking for more money and I don't even know if it would really be proper to do that. I quoted her originally at $200 and I feel pretty obligated to stick to that quote, even though I've really reevaluated the worth of my time since then. I mostly just don't want to be rude to her. I don't even know for sure that she would object to being charged more! I just want to make sure I'm not a jerk or something. It's sort of an odd situation and I just wanted advice, haha. :/

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Personally, I would just explain "I would be happy to take you up on it (assuming you actually are), but I'm afraid I have re-evaluated my prices since then, so this project would now cost $Xxx. If you're alright with that, let me know, if you're not, that's alright too and thank you for the interest, I'm flattered! :)". That way it's upfront and not apologetic in saying 'I cost this must now' but it's also friendly.
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
To add, most people raise their prices over time, so it's not really a big deal. I wouldn't worry.
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)

^IAWTC. That's pretty much what I would say.
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
"I cost this must now" *facepalm*. Should be "I cost this much now", but it's probably obvious. MY ENGRISH, LET ME SHOW IT.
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)

XD I didn't even notice to be honest. Besides I've seen worse, I have a sweet pot somewhere that includes in the list of flavours the word hankerchief, I didn't find any hankerchief flavoured sweets inside the pot though.
Nov. 13th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
Have you seen those paragraphs of text where nearly every word is misspelled or mixed up (like: wrod instead of word)? I think they call them "word envelopes" and the paragraph is not only a mess itself but until you get to the end of the paragraph you had no ideayou were reading a block of text ripe with mistakes until it tells you so. Those paragraphs are to point out that usually only grammar nazis notice those things, most people breeze right over the casual mistake (or a whole paragraph of them) like that without notice.
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I've already said it, but it probably bears repeating. :) You have no obligation whatsoever to honor an old price on a canceled commission. It may be the same person, but it's not the same deal. You're a more experienced artist now, and you know better what your time is worth. Every artist out there sometimes increases their prices, and unless you specifically promised her that your prices would never go up, you're completely within your rights to raise them.

Nov. 12th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Pretty much what's been said. You have no obligation to charge for the original price, so you're more than in the right to raise it.
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I think your plushies are definitely worth it. They're very unique and have a definite style to them. I love the two I bought, and I agree you were charging dirt cheap then XD Had I the money, I would have made them bigger, but I'm so happy with the way they are now.

Since it's been a while, then yes I'd politely tell her that your prices have changed. I think as long as it's not outrageous, like doubled or something, then you should be fine. And if she declines, don't take it to heart! You're worth every penny.
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
See, I wouldn't find doubled to be outrageous at all in this case. $300 for a three foot tall detailed plush with wings, etc. is less than I would charge for that, and I don't crochet, so I could do it faster than the OP here can!
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm just trying to see it from the other side, I'd be discouraged if it were doubled X3;
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying. *nod* But I think that trying to keep the customer from being "discouraged" sometimes traps artists in deals they soon wish they'd never made. I've been in a few places where in hind sight I wish I'd just quoted the higher price I really wanted, because I'd rather have lost the commission entirely than be stuck miserably resenting having to work for peanuts.
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
It's true, it's true. It's all about the compromise. And yes, I hate working for peanuts. It's awful and kills enthusiasm instantly -w-
Nov. 12th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
If you've updated your prices in a visible place (like your journal), then she probably already knows that her project will cost more and she still came to you, which means she can accept the price. I don't think you should worry about quoting her more.
Nov. 13th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
Your prices are what they are, you don't owe someone who asked for a refund the original price. They had their chance at your old prices, now they pay like anyone else =) Don't sound apologetic, you have experience under your belt--it's earned! If they don't want it anymore then that's that, or maybe they can negotiate the details for a smaller, more affordable plush.

I think Kayla's suggested response is perfect.
Nov. 13th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Nothing new to add... but I'd like to see this crochet plus when it is done. I crochet myself and the biggest I ever made was about 22 inches a little less than 2 feet. I can't imagine how long a 3.5 foot crochet plush would take
Nov. 13th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Not much else to add aside from what everyone else said and: be firm and decisive when you do reply to her. Also, since it costs so much and WILL take a lot of time I'd recommend writing up a contract.
Nov. 13th, 2010 08:48 am (UTC)
Yep, I see nothing wrong with telling her that if she wants it now, it would cost more.

Personally, I would add a note about the supplies, mentioning something on the lines of if the new prices are too high for her I'd refund the remaining 50$, just so there's no chance of a misunderstanding like "wah, I gave her money and she wants to just keep it!"
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Agreeing with pretty much everything said here so far. Also, if she happened to then decline on grounds of expense, I'd also offer the opportunity to renegotiate the size of the plush to something closer to her price range or perhaps offer her a payment plan if she still clearly wants a product from you :) Which I'd say she probably really does since she remembered and came back all this time later :D
Nov. 14th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
I very much agree with what Kayla said *nods*
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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