Video – Ask a Gallery Owner: Dealing with Different Consignment Percentages

In this Ask a Gallery Owner session, I discuss pricing art and how to maintain consistency across different venues. I share my thoughts on why it‘s important to keep the same price point no matter where the work is being shown, and how to adapt to different commission percentages from different galleries.

Have questions you would like me to answer in future sessions? Leave a comment below!

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

11 Comments

  1. Thanks, Jason!

    That was a really helpful answer to my concern: for some reason I kept mentally stalling out on the idea that ME making more for the work if I sold it through a venue that charged a lesser percentage was totally not acceptable.

    The thought of just adding the highest percentage of the commissions I am currently paying had occurred to me, but my nit-picky little mind decided instantly to shy away from that because “That’s not fair to the buyer!!”

    It occurs to me that if the buyer sees the work at the same price everywhere, that’s actually fairer to them than making them shop and search all over the place for the best price: art isn’t actually a commodity market, is it! (Can you tell I come from a long family line of grain producers?)

    Thanks again for all that you do for us!

    1. Hi Leah,
      Here’s how I’ve rationalized selling at the same price across all venues. Essentially, I think that whoever sells the work gets the sales commission. Galleries have many expenses and put quite a bit of time and thought into attracting buyers and selling artists’ work.

      But I have expenses as well. I put a time into my email newsletter and stay in contact with my collectors (just like a gallery owners does) so if I sell my work from my website or at an outdoor show, i simply say to myself, “I sold the work, so I get the sales commission.” That keeps prices stable across he board.

      Perhaps Jason might think this strange, but it alleviates any guilt or confusion for me.

  2. Jason,
    As I am looking more at galleries, I am finding that many of them will not talk to you if you stop by without an appointment, not really surprised as I requested appointments in my business also. But if you ask for appointment, you are referred to their website. The website specifically states that you may only submit examples of your work through the website, they will not acknowledge receipt, do not want you to follow up and will be in touch if they want to see originals. I understand a process but do these galleries have so much business that they can use this approach? What suggestions would you have for novel ways to approach that might get them to at least look at my work as opposed to wondering if anyone even opened the email. Thanks,

  3. Really sensible info Jason about keeping our prices consistent across the board.

    If I re-enter the gallery venue, I will probably continue to sell from my website and possibly other venues. Do you, as a gallery owner, prefer that artists offer something different their website than what they are sending to your gallery? Are you comfortable with artists selling the same types of work that you show in your gallery (as long as the prices are consistent)?

    For example, I’ve seen advice that suggests gallery artists might offer prints, studies, small unframed works, cards, etc from their website while sending larger, framed, or higher priced works to their galleries while avoiding selling the same size and price works from their websites.

    Lori

  4. Hi Jason,
    As an Australian artist, I sell my work in local galleries, and online internationally. Given that a majority of online sales are to collectors in the USA, I should theoretically include an exchange rate in my pricing. Today’s rate is AUD0.64 = USD1.00. Tomorrow’s could be very different.
    So, I simply price my work in dollars, and smile broadly when a USA collector pays in USD.

    1. Things definitely get a bit more complicated when you cross borders. Pricing in the currency where you see the most sales makes a lot of sense – especially when that currency is rising 🙂

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