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Unread 01-16-2013, 11:49 PM   #1
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Wonderful Blogpost About Commissioning!

I stumbled upon this wonderful blog post written by an Etsy shopowner.

I hope it clears up a few things for those of you thinking about asking people for commissions on these forums.

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Unread 01-17-2013, 12:27 AM   #2
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Can definitely agree, also I don't like to send out anything that isn't up to my standards...which in other peoples eye's have been scary high? they could also be paying for you to have earned the knowledge with your time and personal research..
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Unread 01-17-2013, 12:42 AM   #3
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That article voiced pretty much everything I've ever tried to explain to people when they ask why I charge so much more than something they could buy off of eBay or something. Everyone should read that before deciding to commission someone for something.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 12:42 AM   #4
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I really wish a basic economics course was required to graduate high school in the US (it's apparently true only in 8 states or so). Then, that person would have no need to make a blog post about something that really ought to be common knowledge.

EDIT: That said, I don't think asking for a breakdown of costs is unreasonable, though...?
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Unread 01-17-2013, 01:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by usuyukisou View Post
I really wish a basic economics course was required to graduate high school in the US (it's apparently true only in 8 states or so). Then, that person would have no need to make a blog post about something that really ought to be common knowledge.

EDIT: That said, I don't think asking for a breakdown of costs is unreasonable, though...?
Internet says something about 22 states that actually require it; Living in Florida, I also took the course and honestly? It's really not that hard. It was an easy course, with a fun teacher. Who looked Like Howie (Deal or No Deal Host).

On topic, definitely found this a nice read and if someone could get this to every person thinking about commissioning that would be nice. The commissioner could also have the link to the page in their profile and direct any customers that ask to that article.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 01:46 AM   #6
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This needs to seriously get stickied to the marketplace commission forum >.> I'm tired of people wanting ebay prices for something that takes 7 hours to make..
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Unread 01-17-2013, 01:59 PM   #7
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Yeah, I remember asking around a few local stores, about selling my leathercraft. One place I won't ever deal with- the owner stated that ALL customers would ever want to pay for a collar was $30, and that was retail. She would pay me a fraction of that. Bitch, please! I make more than that sitting on my ass as a security guard, and I couldn't even cover material costs for what she would have been willing to offer me.

I don't even bother trying to make the plain collars with 10 spikes or one bondage ring- those are mass produced at prices I can't compete with. I do more elaborate work- bezel conchos under the spikes, designs tooled into the leather, painted borders around the edges, and so on. In other words, unique and high end designs that nobody else does. I've sold them for $50-55 before, no way in hell would I accept somewhere around $15, which is what that lady wanted to pay me. In other words, made in China prices. $15 wouldn't even pay for the brass spikes I want to purchase for a design I'm working on.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 04:02 PM   #8
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As a person who buys/commissions costumes, versus making them, you have to remember that people asking for quotes don't know anything about the time/materials cost/and labor! I understand how commissioners get offended, but I think most people just don't know the price of fabric.

I just went with my friends, who make their costumes, to Joanne's and I was astounded at how quickly fabric cost added up! Most of us really don't know what goes into it, and if you calmly explain why and give a price breakdown, I'm sure you can shed some light upon the buyer.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 04:03 PM   #9
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Great blog posting! I will totally use this next time I get a customer asking "why so much!" -- I think the issue really is that people don't think about the cost of time spent making the item or driving to purchase supplies.

I find it insulting that some people don't see my time as worth anything. I have also increased my costs as my skill level/quality improved. Experience is also a factor like in a hair salon where you have to pay extra for the more senior stylist.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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Really great post. It is something I think everyone who plans on asking for a commission should read. It really gets to me when I see people asking for like really extravagant costumes N have a budget of only $50. I have a friend who does prop commissions and she was talking about how crazy it is how many people are shocked by the price quotes.

On another note, I don't find it all that insulting to break down the cost. I think it lets the person who is asking see where their money is going.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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I always give breakdowns of cost. That wasn't the part that I found helpful. It's the whole, "time and creativity is worth money" that I thought was valuable info. I dislike strongly when people say things like, "please give me a reasonable cost," or, "don't overcharge me." As though commissioners charge for the fun of it. I think it's a huge problem on these forums.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #12
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This is a really good article; I do understand this concept and I do really value commissioners taking their own time and money and doing these things for me- the only thing I dislike is when commissioners very obviously overcharge and use this/the customer's "incompetency of the costs" as an excuse.
No, paying $300 for an elaborate costume is reasonable. But paying $300 for a costume that should only cost $100-150 including the extra costs, such as, say, a coat and shorts that uses some different fabric? I see that as being very overpriced. And it has happened to me before, and this marketplace is the worst about it from what I've seen.
So, while any potential commission-seekers do need to keep this concept close at hand- you also need to have that voice in the back of your head asking if it's a reasonable price or not. If you feel it isn't- ask politely for a breakdown of the costs, and see just what exactly they're charging you for what. Usually, to me, if they don't list labor prices and still have a large chunk left from all the other aspects, they're probably overcharging you. I was lucky enough to have a commissioner (I asked her for a general cost for a few costumes at one time) that broke each one down for me- the ones around $125, she said nothing about, but the ones over that, she explained in detail why it would cost so much, and it was all reasonable after looking over it.
I just know there are some people out there who would try to take advantage, and instead of using this to explain, they would use it as an excuse to make people pay them more money; any people new to commissioning might have seen this and went "Oh, that's why..guess I'll have to pay [ridiculous amount of cash] if I want it.", which is just as bad as those uninformed of the costs of everything.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 10:32 PM   #13
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Oh, Matt Munson! I used to know him way back when via the RPF. Good to see he's still doing great work and being insightful as always.

I don't find it insulting to ask for a price breakdown and I'm happy to provide it, and that includes every last hour - to the quarter hour - spent on the customer's project. People may be astonished to realize that even an accomplished seamstress who sews very quickly can take 8 hours to make a tailcoat. What looks simple when finished may not have been simple to sew - pockets, for example, add so much time to a project. Secure zipper flies on pants. Waistbands with belt loops. Lining properly. A hand-stitched, pad-stitched under-collar on a tuxedo coat. These are not things that take 15 minutes to sew.

The problem is, many of us offering cosplay commissions are competing with Chinese sellers who are churning out mass-produced, unlicensed costumes in shops overseas for half of what a commissioner will charge. Why? Because so far they've been able to get away with it. And that's why people come to us thinking they can get a complete costume for $50. We can't lower our prices to compete, so we have to be more up-front about what we DO offer that may be better than getting a cheap price - we have better quality fabrics, better construction, a guarantee that it will fit you with no alterations needed, better customer service in case you do have issues, and so on.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #14
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^I remember reading an interview with one lady in Gothic Beauty magazine- she made hats, and these were not bodged together pieces of crap, she had gone to a lot of trouble to learn hatmaking. Her creations were well made, using lots of high quality materials, as well as unique vintage fabrics and accessories that she went to a lot of effort to obtain, scouring vintage clothing stores and other places.

She said that she routinely got customers complaining about cost, as they were used to "made in China" prices. She would make an attempt to educate them, explaining cost of materials, and how labor intensive her creations were to make. A decent amount of the time, it worked- the customer would understand that they were not being ripped off or overcharged for fun, and that they were getting something far nicer than any "made in china" knockoff.

As for charging $300 for a coat, my mother made a cloak for me a few years ago- the thing's fully lined, and almost 15 feet around the bottom hem. Due to the amount of work that went into it, and how much of a pain in the butt it is to lay out and work with such large pieces, she said that she would feel quite justified in charging close to $300 for it. I've seen similar handmade pieces in my local Pagan shop selling for anywhere from $275 to $400, and they've tended to sell quickly.
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