Commissions can be an excellent way for Artists to not only make more money, but to experiment and push themselves outside their own creative boundaries. Commissions mean taking other people's ideas and creating bespoke pieces of art, usually within a set period of time. Although commissions can be fun and exciting once they start to come in, it can be difficult to build up a reputation and a bank of contacts in the initial stages. Here are several points to remember when starting to seek out commissions.
1. MAKE IT CLEAR THAT YOU DO THEM!
Whether you have a website, a gallery, or links with local art communities, it is important to publicise the fact that you undertake commissions. That is not to say that some customers will not ask you directly, but sometimes all it takes is a friendly reminder for somebody to contact you regarding a commission. If you have a website or a social media platform, add a link to your page, explaining that you take commissions and some information for potential customers.
2. MAKE IT EASY FOR CUSTOMERS TO CONTACT YOU!
Plaster your contact details on every page of your website if you must! There is no greater loss of custom than appearing unavailable and unapproachable to potential clients. It's also useful to have a set of professional business cards and always carry them with you! You never know when you're going to meet a potential client!
3. COMMISSIONS START AT HOME
Commissions aren't going to fall from the sky and until you have built up a bank of contacts, it's important to remember that commissions start at home! Most Artists will start painting commissions for friends and family, before building up a reputation and gaining more outside work. Try to share your work with friends and family whenever you can. You never know when a mutual friend may want a painting done for their home, or a sculpture made for their husband. A good way of doing this is using your own personal platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, to publicise your work.
4. BUILD UP A PORTFOLIO OF WORK AND TESTIMONIALS
Once you have started to build up a portfolio of work, collect examples and testimonials from happy customers. Display these proudly on your website or social media platforms. Knowing that others have been happy with your work will only encourage others to get in touch too!
5. HAVE AN IDEA OF PRICING BEFOREHAND
It's important to know how much to charge your clients before starting long and potentially expensive commissions. This can be done on an hourly rate plus expenses, or it can depend on the size and medium of your work. Many Artists charge clients more for commissions, as these are bespoke pieces of artwork. Either way, it's important to be able to give potential clients a fixed price before starting work on a commission. Not only is having a fixed rate for commissions more professional, but it can save a lot of upset if clients are not given a realistic idea of what to expect beforehand. The last thing that you should do when undertaking a commission is raise your price after an initial idea has been given.
6. STAY PROFESSIONAL
Regardless of who your client is, whether they are a complete stranger or a personal friend, it is important to stay professional throughout the whole process. This means drafting and signing a contract and keeping in contact with your client with regular updates. Not only does this cover your back if anything goes wrong, but it is also a good habit to get into for future work.