Not to say all I do is jewelry, but one thing I thought was really a good thing to learn about pricing came from the Jewelry depatment of the art school I went to.
Basically when you make something you have several costs:
Some of these are considered "overhead" beacuse you pay once and it covers multiple things. For example: Spending money to create postcards announcing a show that you will be showing your art in.
Others costs are specific to the piece: the amount of plaster and latex you use to make a wax casting.
How I approach pricing is this:
assign yourself a hourly wage. If you do complicated stuff, or things that involve a lot of processes you may need to get specific.
For instance When I work on a sculpture I have a wage I pay myself when I am sketching and working out the design on paper, usually $10/hour because I don't focus that well and I am usually in front of a TV when I do it. Now the actual construction of the piece, I charge $20/hour because, though I am not the highest level of professional I do have a BFA in Metal and have been selling for six years. I totally suck at mold making, so when I do it it takes forever and I feel it is not right to charge the wage of a skilled laborer when I'm not. I usually go for minimum wage for things like that. I don't actually sit and log hours, but when I think back through the week I will estimate. and maybe scribble it on paper if I'm organized.
Then you have your cost for materials: Silver at $12/ounce, solder, paint, resin, etc. NOTE: the price you paid for your supplies should be doubled. Essentially you are buying wholesale, and when you convert those supplies to the finished artwork, you are selling retail.
You should have a basic amount of money you ad on to every piece because of the overhead expenses. This amount represent the fraction of the overhead costs that should be reimbersed to you at the sale of the piece. I make a lot of stuff in one year, so I only tack on about $15 for each piece. If you only make, say 20 paintings a year, you should be adding about $500.00 to each painting. That might sound weird but think of what you're spending: Rent/mortgage on studio space (whether it's in your house or not.) Transportation to and from studio, supply stores, gallery, etc. Brushes Paint (in my case hammers, sand paper, Propane, all my machinery) Shipping costs for your supplies, photography fees, printing fees for ads or flyers, utilities that are involved with your studio space, and don't forget your security fees to the Mafia, it's always good to have their protection.
All this should be considered in your pricing. And this is just to
eak even. Add a percentage on top as your profit. For me it is important to remind myself to make a profit. Though you usually don't hear anything like that from an artist. Yes you are charging for your labor, but that is just
eaking even, that money goes into buying groceries and fulfilling basic needs. The profit covers your tickets to burning man or buying yourself a nice artsy scarf. I know this is all a very lengthy bit here, but just try this once with one of your pieces, estimate if you have to, and see what the price of the piece would be if your did it that way. For me, despite the description here, I estimate very vaguely. However, I have done specific calculations in the past, and my estimates seems to be right on.
You might think you are not good enough to charge that much for your work, but no matter houw good or bad you are, everything you make is in extreemely limited commidity, only one (in most cases). And on top of that you are attempting to enrich the culture you are in, and that you can't put a price on!