A lot of commissioners do this as their main source of income, if not their only source of income and most charge anywhere from minimum wage to $10/hour. So, by that logic I usually put it in the way as, you may have a normal part/full time job for your main source of income to pay rent and bills and you clock in and record every hour you work and get paid for every hour you work, same for us. You pay taxes and so do we. You buy groceries, so do we - etc. So charging a little more than minimum wage isn't unreasonable by any means as we aren't just greeting guests, taking orders, stocking shelves, whatever.
Labor generally breaks down like this:
*Researching for and purchasing materials
*Finding more references
*Drafting/modifying a pattern to your measurements
*Cutting out the fabric according to the pattern
*Making sure it fits on the dress form (or you, if you're local)
*Serger-ing and finalizing hems/seams
*Making adjustments as necessary
*Detailing: i.e. beading, painting, etc
*Digitizing embroidery patterns/files
*Adding zippers, buttons, snaps, velcro, etc
-Casting final forms in resin
*Cutting out the wood/metal/acrylic
*Hand sewing in wefts
**May also require accessories to be made
It's easier to set price points for things such as wigs as they can be treated much like regular salon services. Keep in mind though that wigs are not the same as your own head of hair. There are a lot less fibers/hairs to work with and usually extra has to be added in order for the base wig to style-able like normal hair. Some salons have wig services which are almost, always a lot more costly than normal hair styling services due to the nature of wigs. So, prices can be set according to length of the wig and or what type of service is needed: cutting, dying, styling/up do's/spiking.
Same with plushies. I've has someone compare a plushie commission to a costume commission before and I assure you that material costs and time are vastly different between the two. So, to compare the two and expect the same prices is rather unreasonable.
Shipping will vary per item and destination. Wigs that do not require a custom box can fit in a flat rate priority mail padded envelope and be shipped for about $8 within the US. Something like a school uniform can fit in a medium flat rate box and be shipped for about $12. Full costumes and armor vary. International prices also vary and of course there is a price difference between the post office, UPS and FedEx and extra fees apply for services like tracking, signature confirmation and or insurance (and perhaps customs for non US deliveries).
Everyone works at a different pace. A partial costume or small piece can take 5-10 hours, full costumes start at around 20 hours and fully elaborate costumes and armor pieces can take 50+ hours. So the more detail and material, the more material costs, time and labor it will take.
After having read all of this, I hope that everyone is more well aware of what goes into making cosplay costumes and anything else that may be related. I also hope that people understand a little more about the material and labor costs and why commissioners charge what they charge and why the prices may seem "ridiculous."
Now, if you've read and understood all of this and are still wanting to have someone commission something for you, please do the following when seeking a commission, whether you are contacting someone directly or posting on a forum. It is best if you title your post with what you're looking for, rather than "Seeking a quote/commission" because...you're already posting in the "Commissions Wanted" section.:
*Instead of seeking out quotes in order to know how much to save up, here's a general price range of things. Remember, the more detail and materials, the higher the price will be:
Pieces of a costume, such as a tunic starts at $50.
School uniforms are $150-200, possibly even over $300 depending on design, whether a custom embroidered patch is needed and whether you want it to be fully lined or not.
Full costumes are expected to start around $300.
Disney princess gowns start at $400.
Costumes with armor pieces start at $500.
Costumes with a lot of armor start at $800.
Full body armor can range between $1.5-3k+
Bodysuits starts at $300.
Corsets starts at $200.
Bunnysuits start at $300.
Another way to to calculate price is to double or even triple the costs of ebay/China prices.
It's best that you look for a commission at least a month or two in advanced. Many commissioners are booked months in advanced and not everyone is available on the spot. Though if you are in need of something rather quickly, be prepared to pay rush fees and possibly for express shipping. I can't say I suggest looking for something with a deadline of about a week or two.
Not everyone knows what character or item you may be referring to as not everyone has seen or played every video game, anime, movie, etc, so high-res screen caps, or concept artwork is the best way to go. Figures are also handy.
Earlier i mentioned that not everyone is the same size and that everyone requires a different amount of fabric and materials which makes a world of difference when determining material costs so more or less may be needed. I'm not sure why some people absolutely refuse to give measurements and expect us to give a quote. I mean, they are just quotes but I like to be as thorough as possible, to prevent any under/over charging for materials and it just makes things less messy.
Lastly for both sides: BE RESPECTFUL.
It really should go without saying, but some people just can't ever be happy and they have to be like that old lady who complains that their soup is too hot or cold or something. We are human beings just like you and we work hard. We can't answer emails within 30 seconds and sometimes it just takes a few days (though if you've asked a question and waited over two weeks, I'd start to worry).
If you have a problem or concern, do try to discuss it with your commissioner (before making a bad review or something because it happens and I've seen it happen from both sides). We do listen and we tend to be very open minded and understanding.
We may not be able to respond right away or as thoroughly and detailed as you like, but we like to keep communication lines open as best we can.
Things can be frustrating (also for both sides), but that doesn't mean you have to lash out at us. We might've made a mistake, some times things do come up and we may miss your deadline, progress or updates might not be as frequent as originally wanted but again, we're human. Understand that your commission is probably not the only commission we have nor is it the only thing we have going on in our lives (and to not expect this is rather selfish, ignorant and inconsiderate of others who have commissions with a person). We have emergencies, bad days, school, maybe a job outside of commissioning, etc just like everyone else. Don't cuss at each other, don't yell at each other - proof read and think about your words before clicking "submit" or "send". Ask yourself, "Would I like it if someone treated me this way?" So really, we just ask that you show us the same calm, respective manners, understanding and patience that we (hopefully) give you.
If you have read all this and still can't comprehend commissions for whatever reason, then I suggest you purchase a basic sewing machine (which can be bought for less than $100) and learn yourself. Only then, will you truly understand the time and costs it takes to cosplay.
I think I've covered everything... There's another great tid bit on artists and commissions written by someone else here.
Good luck everyone and be happy
because the cosplay community already has a bunch of other drama llamas and crap to deal with :c
Scrll down or click for Part 3.