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Unread 02-09-2013, 10:06 AM   #1
peacelovepandas
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Question Whats a reasonable price for a comission?

Hey guys! I was just wondering, what would you consider a reasonable price for a comission? I got cursed out because I am on a budget, and didn't feel the need to pay more than $50 for a simple shirt. However, at the same time, I see people paying upwards of an arm and a leg for a costume I could make for $30 or less. I understand a lot of comissioners pour their heart and soul into their cosplays and need to get something out of it to make it worth while, but still, isn't there a point when it is just too expensive? I ain't looking for a fight, just wondering!

Btw, I do comissions on the side. I haven't charged anyone more than $125 for a costume. I don't see a reason to charge someone more than what they would pay for one online.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 10:14 AM   #2
Mangochutney
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The only free labor is your own. Remember that. Other people deserve decent compensation. Ebay Chinese sweatshop prices do not count as decent compensation.

"Too expensive" is just something that's too expensive for you to pay, which is fine. It means that if you want something like that, you'll have to make it yourself.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
Asezuna
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Unfortunately, I think both the costumer and the one who makes the costume thinks about different reasonable prices. While you see something that looks... Somehow, you can't really know how much trouble the other went through just to find the right material. And then we haven't spoken about all that comes after!
Although if it is a number that would make the Devil shudder... Like 150 $ or so, for a white T-shirt, with one black dot on it, that is a far shout away from reasonable...
Ah, by the way... The thirty dollars you're talking about, is the material you bought for yourself, and the time YOU spent on it. Not the time somebody else spent on it for YOU.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:12 AM   #4
Tangledinblue
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It really all depends on the complexity of the costume. Something that is complex and say involves big dresses, or armor is going to be much more expensive( Maybe upwards of $300), while something rather simple is going to be less (Lets say around $150). I'm possible severely underestimating. Also I think it depends on the level of experience when it comes to the commission. If the person is say a professional costume designer with 15 years experience, yes, they're going to charge more.

Mangochutney said it best, the sellers on Ebay are not making a decent compensation off these cosplays. So comparing prices to that off Ebay is not a great idea, unless the commission doesn't want to make any money. Cosplay is an expensive hobby, and nothing is going to be cheap.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:15 AM   #5
ichigo_m.
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I kinda hold the same mentality...
I don't charge by the hour. I charge a base labor fee depending on how complex the outfit is, then I add on fabric and shipping.
I just don't think that people would want to pay $400 for a cosplay. I know I wouldn't.
I am a college student and right now commissioning is my only source of revenue, but really I don't need to make that much anyway, so it's ok if I don't.

I also want to say the most I've ever charged for a costume is $200. Again I don't live off of this, but I do use what I get for all my con going, costuming, theater going, etc. I don't think getting a good costume should charge people an arm and a leg.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
Monocle_Complex
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Locking onto a set price for a commission is hard to formulate, considering each outfit is different and may require more time to make. But for the most part commissioning in general is you paying for the time and effort spent along with quality of a piece. Asking what's a reasonable price for a commission is too vague of a question.

It really depends what you're having commissioned.

Honestly-- if I'm commissioning someone I firmly believe for the most part that I am paying that person basically for their time that they spend making it more than anything else. I shouldn't expect them to cut me a break just because I could make the same thing for cheaper. And if that was the case-- I would probably do it myself then.

Quote:
Btw, I do comissions on the side. I haven't charged anyone more than $125 for a costume. I don't see a reason to charge someone more than what they would pay for one online.
Again, this really depends. Considering in some instances I believe there is a very valid reason as to why some people who commission overprice some of their work opposed to retail made cosplays. Depending on the time they spent, the materials they've made the cosplay out of, the details they've put into it and the skill it took the make it. It's the only way people actually make a profit out of their work.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #7
Lemon-Squeezy
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Like everyone else is saying, it really depends on the costume being made.

Another thing to think about is the fabric. Depending on what you want to use it can really change the price! I was once talking to a commissioner and if I remember correctly, the dress I wanted made was going to range in price from about $170 all the way up to $350. That huge jump came from using some okay-bleh cheaper fabric versus the one that was much costlier but also looked much better. The more expensive option also had some neato burrito embroidery (:

And I wonder what you mean by a simple shirt? And what have you made that ended up being less than $125 for other people? Did you still make a profit? Or just break even?
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Unread 02-09-2013, 05:12 PM   #8
Mehdia
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I do a lot of commission work myself, and even though sometimes I feel bad throwing out the high end figures, I refuse to not make something off of them because the time I use to make the costumes could be used for something else, like making my own costumes or resting after my real job.

Like recently I finished a Madam Red commission to be exactly like the one I made for myself years ago (which not to sound arrogant, but it's an award winning costume, so it's a good representation of the character). The customer asked me also to purchase the wig and boots to go with it so that it could all be sent together. With time, shipping, and materials cost, it came out to be nearly $600. I've made a decent profit on it and allowed them to make payments since that is a very high price to pay, but to get what I made (the whole costume including the hat and a nice little drawstring purse, the historically accurate corset, brooch, boots, and wig), I feel that it was a decent price.

I've had some customers agree while I've had others go "Well I can get it cheaper from [insert website name here]" and they never contact me back. It's always hard to decide what is going to be a price that will help you make a profit without turning away a customer. But I guess I must be doing something right since I've had several repeat customers over the last few years.

In the end, a lot of it is all about the individual and what they think is appropriate, and of course not everyone will see eye to eye on these things.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 10:12 PM   #9
CapsuleCorp
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Pretty much what everybody else said.

"A simple shirt" means different things to different people. What kind of shirt is simple? A t-shirt with something painted on it? A knit shirt with a unique collar or shape? A button-down shirt? A button-down with peculiar collar and cuff configurations that can't be found at a thrift store?

It does help to know how garments go together and what your own costs on your own costume are, because then you can judge whether you're being fairly charged for the work. But you're not just paying for the materials to make the shirt, you're paying the commissioner's labor and overhead as well. Now, if it's a commissioner who's only doing it for a little cash on the side, nothing complicated, perhaps they don't value their time that highly and lowball the price for a fast sell. But when you're talking about commissioners who do this as a full-time job, there is a LOT factored into their labor prices that will naturally skyrocket a price much higher than the bootleg costumes sold online from overseas shops.

Think of it this way: it's the difference between going to Krispy Kreme to get a dozen doughnuts that are churned out by a machine, versus a dozen custom-decorated gluten-free red velvet cupcakes from a local bakery that baked them this morning. Of course the mass-produced doughnuts are going to cost less. Commissions are artisan work, they're not mass-produced. If you don't want to pay the price for hand-made work, then by all means buy it online or do it yourself.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 10:55 PM   #10
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This much money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l91ISfcuzDw Everyone else is lying and has an exceedingly poor grasp of evil.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 06:37 AM   #11
Tigress
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I'm actually going through this situation with someone that wants to commission me. So I'll illustrate this with a story:
Quote:
A housewife calls a plumber to unclog a pipe. The plumber comes by, bangs on the pipe for a few minutes with his wrench, and then says:

"Okay, problem's fixed. That will be $100."

"Why do I owe you $100?" the housewife asks. "You only banged on the pipe for a few minutes!"

"Well, ma'am," the plumber replies. "The banging was only $1. Knowing where to bang on the pipe was the other $99."
When requesting any kind of service requiring a specific skill set, be it a plumber, electrician, doctor, lawyer, computer technician, etc., you are not just paying for the person's time. You are also paying for the time they invested in acquiring their knowledge.

The same goes for a cosplay commission. While you do get an end product (instead of an intangible like good health or your stuff still works), you are not paying for the end product. You are paying for the commissioner's time and knowledge that creates the end product.

For a lot of people, this is a difficult concept to wrap their heads around. But let's think about a prom dress or a wedding dress. Would you demand to get a wedding dress for less than $150? Generally not. So why is a custom-made costume any different?
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Unread 02-10-2013, 08:41 AM   #12
Cyanna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigress View Post
When requesting any kind of service requiring a specific skill set, be it a plumber, electrician, doctor, lawyer, computer technician, etc., you are not just paying for the person's time. You are also paying for the time they invested in acquiring their knowledge.

The same goes for a cosplay commission. While you do get an end product (instead of an intangible like good health or your stuff still works), you are not paying for the end product. You are paying for the commissioner's time and knowledge that creates the end product.

For a lot of people, this is a difficult concept to wrap their heads around. But let's think about a prom dress or a wedding dress. Would you demand to get a wedding dress for less than $150? Generally not. So why is a custom-made costume any different?
Buying my wedding dress was frighteningly similar to buying my car with all the games played at the sales level.

Speaking of weddings...at my sister's a few years ago, I paid about $120 to have my bridesmaid dress altered.

Not made.

Altered.

Why? Because the seamstress in the store we bought it from was either overwhelmed or really didn't care. She didn't didn't sew the hem on my (other) sister's dress high enough but waved it aside as "good enough". We took our dresses and went elsewhere to finish the job. This guy loved what he did and was really proud of his work. Really...he would not let us go until he was satisfied. He even offered to come in to do some work Christmas Eve if my dress was not to satisfaction (my dress should have been ordered 2 sizes bigger to accommodate a pregnancy...it wasn't).

Yeah $120 is a lot of money. But it was well spent. This was his full-time job and what he did to my dress took time and a bit of tailoring magic. I had never seen such a desire to make other people happy before.

This is kinda the reason why I'm dipping my toes into commission work. For all my adult life people have told me I should be a professional knitter and go to craft shows and all that. But then these same people admit would not pay more than $25 for an earwarmer when a similar one for a LOT less money can be bought at Kmart.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all. People want to save money. I'd do the same thing if I had the option. I admit it. That's why my listing includes a link to where you can buy uniform sweater vests. I just can't compete with that.

But when I WANT a personal touch instead of a mass produced one. When I want custom work done to create something that does not exist out there. Then yeah...I'm willing to pay more for that.

Maybe when I was in high school/college I would have thought it overpriced too. Maybe it's only easier to swallow because I'm an adult with a child and a mortgage and the husband and I have no one to depend on monetarily so I understand that time is worth an awful lot (I'm giving up quality nap time here! :P). Maybe it's because I've made stuff by hand...I don't know. But I find the higher cost of commission work easier to swallow. In turn, I don't sell my services below minimum wage unless I receive some other benefit from it that I value as being worth the deficit. I'm ultimately in this to make people happy (seeing people get excited over progress pics is the best part!) but I'm not Santa Claus.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 09:52 AM   #13
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Unread 02-11-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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Cost of commission is a combination of the commissioner's expertise in costuming, materials, and studying reference pictures for your character. So while it may seem absurd to drop, say, $800 for a coat for your costume (I use this example because this is something I need to do for Jack), but you need to consider what material it is made of, the skill of your commissioner, the techniques use to make the coat, how long it takes, the accuracy in terms of detail and proportion, etc.
So yes, you will be receiving just the end result, but if you think about everything that goes into it, then the price starts to make more sense. For example, a commissioner who is going to do a great deal of pleating, embroidery, or hand stitching on your costume is going to charge much more than if they were going to use alternative techniques to create the costume (i.e printing a design onto a costume in lieu of hand embroidering, or substituting cotton for linen)
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Unread 02-11-2013, 04:12 PM   #15
Lithium Flower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
The only free labor is your own. Remember that. Other people deserve decent compensation. Ebay Chinese sweatshop prices do not count as decent compensation.

"Too expensive" is just something that's too expensive for you to pay, which is fine. It means that if you want something like that, you'll have to make it yourself.
Mango; the voice of the people.

And keep in mind that what you may charge for commissions is based solely on your own circumstances. What someone else charges is based on their own. Such as how many years they may have taken to gather formal training in costuming, costlier supplies then what you own, more skill's or specialties then yourself, and other elements.

You charge your prices based on personal elements and choices. Other people do the same. If everyone charged the same and had the same abilities we'd have a much less diverse market then we do now.
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