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  • Writer's pictureKat

Thinking of doing commissions? Read on...

Hey there,

Hope all is good. This week I want to share why I have decided to not offer commission work any more.

So I have been very lucky to have very positive experiences with commissions and they have all turned out well with no issues with my customers, who have been lovely. However in the last 5 years of running my art biz I have seen countless artists get horribly burned by this process and sadly scams are also rife in the world of commissions. However it can be a fantastic way of earning money and getting regular work. Let's dive into the common mistakes and how to avoid them..

  • Not being able to tell a real customer from a scammer. Please see last weeks blog post about this, but basically if someone comes out of nowhere and wants a commission be very wary. Most customers will follow you for a long time before reaching out for commission pieces. Always be polite but firm and if your instincts are off, listen.

  • Not taking an upfront deposit. I have seen many artists agree to take on a job, start the work, liase with the customer and then weeks later get ghosted when the customer changes their mind or it doesn't turn out how the customer imagined in their head. Always take at least a 30% deposit to cover materials and your time. Personally I asked for 50% upfront and 50% after. I also charged a higher price for commissions than my usual originals as I usually work in batches to save time, which you cannot do with a one off piece.

  • Not communicating effectively. You must communicate with your buyer at every stage. When you first discuss ideas, right the way through the process, buyers will want to be sure you are working on it and its all going to plan. It can be stressful for both sides so be clear and open with your communication. Make sure to check in with your buyer at least once a week with progress reports and even progress photos if you are comfortable doing so.

  • Allowing multiple changes. Again this goes back to communication but I know an artist who agreed to so many changes that it no longer felt like her work. And then when the buyer received it they didn't like it! This is because the buyer paid for her style but then interfered so much it was no longer the artists original can end up a real mess of ideas and conflicting suggestions. I would agree to the number of changes you will agree to, say two major changes otherwise the buyer will be charged a fee, or you could state no changes are permitted.

  • Not getting it done in a timely manor. I have also seen instances where a buyer has paid for a commission and then the artist is posting all over social media about all the other pieces they are working on. If you are working on other pieces especially publicly make sure you explain that to the buyer and also you give them a realistic timeline..and stick to it as close as you can. Great service is all about great communication, and making every customer feel prioritised.

So all in all, I personally decided to not agree to commissions any longer. Personally for me I want to create things that bring me joy and then hopefully someone also likes them enough to buy! I find them way too stressful, it gets me out of my flow state and I think often the buyer can have a very different vision to the artist. What do you think?

If you need more advice and help, head over to my Patreon, Hobby to Hustle, here

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