Customs: Commissioned Kitbashers..Question for you.

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by SamiWCP, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. SamiWCP

    SamiWCP Guest

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    For a little while now, I've been working on custom repaints for people on here. I am new to it, and haven't ever really asked anyone on how they go about it, with charging etc...But apparently I've been doing it wrong.

    I usually go by the price of the figure I'll need ot purchase. I add in 10$ for supplies, paint and brushes and tape (which usually comes up to more then 10$) then the price of shipping, 5$ for smaller figures, and 10$ for larger. Then there is the labor cost. I'll usually just charge between 10-15$ for labor. There doesn't seem to be anything on the whole "minimum wage" of kitbashing. What's a good going rate? People have seemed to like my work, I've had no complaints, I turn them around in pretty decent time, and I can say I've gotten better with each one I do.

    Now I've had a few people ask me about the ones I've done, yet whenever I mention the price, they go away. I can't really go any cheaper. What do you guys all do then? What's a good labor price? Go by hour, or just by total labor job rounded off to a certain price?

    Any info and or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. bigkid24

    bigkid24 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a customizer but I've asked around and prices are usually a flat fee. I think you have to take into account the complexity of the project and balance that with how valuable your own time is to you.

    From the repaints I've seen from you and your quick turn around the price structure you've laid out seems more than fair. If people are running out on you after you quote them a price then they aren't taking into account the labor. I assume they are just looking at the price and what they are ultimately getting in return.
     
  3. Keiichitron

    Keiichitron Not a physicist, dammit

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    you should also take into account that people are sometimes cheap. they always think they can get a better deal. i had a guy on ebay buy something from me, then message me after the auction ended trying to renegotiate the shipping costs.
     
  4. SamiWCP

    SamiWCP Guest

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    Yeah, I understand the cheapness of some. When I bought from Vector, I just asked him what he wanted for them, what he thought they were worth, and I bought them at that price. And they looked great. Labor? Hell, by the time I'm done doing them, I'm so tired of doing them I keep swearing that I won't do anymore, until the next person does it. As soon as you get paint on your nails, then--ok, well, most of you won't have that problem, but, finished nails and new model paint doesn't work out well. It's not clean or neat, it's messy. And then just when you think it's dry, you touch that one place that wasn't and that little drop seems to get over everything. It's very time consuming. How do you charge for that frustration?
     
  5. autobotx23

    autobotx23 Banned

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    I don't think you can charge for that frustration. I paint murals as a side job and only you the artist can appreciate the attention to detail, ya know? The customer wants the quality, not be concernerd with how you get to that level of quality. They want that "fair price".

    The good thing is, after you get more experience and get it down, you get the ability and confidence to charge more of what you want. I can charge a grand for a mural now, and have the body of work to stand by that price. Sorry if I'm off base.....
     
  6. Dark Magnus

    Dark Magnus Your opinion is wrong!

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    Don't sweat the cheap guys. You want a commisioned kitbash/repaint, you're going to pay a premium for someone else time and energy. Don't like it, then those people better learn how to do it themselves on their own time. Keep doing what you do, you're price structure seems very reasonable.
     
  7. cuters

    cuters Diabolist

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    i don,t think you charge to much $35to$40 dollers is not a lot of money i just started kitbashing and allready my friends want me to do work for them and i,ll probably charge the same until i get better then i,ll charge more but not much just to cover the frustration to detail they will want.
     
  8. Keiichitron

    Keiichitron Not a physicist, dammit

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    actually, that's part what you're charging for. you're charging people so they don't have to go through the frustration/learning curve of kitbashing. labor is really only part of what goes into a product, research and development also is included in the cost of things. you learned it, you're applying it, you can charge for it.
     
  9. AutoCon2076

    AutoCon2076 Brightest can in toolshed

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    As a mechanic, I have this to say. When it comes to a commisioned work, or in my case a car with a work-order, you do what you have to do to get it done right. For example; I can install a cheap car-battery in ten minutes, and the bill might be $45 in all. Or, I could install a proper battery in ten minutes, and the bill would be closer to like $95.

    What does this all boil down to? In the long run, you get more usage out of the better battery. In regards to you, your customers would get better eye-candy out of your current practice. Don't change the way you do things just to make them happy. If they're serious about wanting a good piece, they'll stick with you. The cheaper the price generally means the cheaper the work. That's bad.

    ~Z
    "Cheaper means shittier in retail. We say less expensive." ~ Roy Robinson, Strauss Discount Auto
     
  10. ROCK_LEE

    ROCK_LEE Well-Known Member

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    well it depends on how well known you are. Starting off cheap isn't a bad thing as it gets your name out there. You can see looking at the marvel legends on ebay that the more famous kitbashers will get hundreds for a figure, while the lesser known won't even sell theirs for enough to cover materials put into the figure. Most people wouldn't mind paying Tfmaster (rip) 100$ for a custom, but they'd be hesistant to pay someone else half that amount for the same custom.
     
  11. Ravenxl7

    Ravenxl7 W.A.F.F.L.E.O.

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    Honestly, the only reason that I haven't bought any commisions from anybody on here yet, is do to lack of funds. The only money that I spend on TF's any more are the $2 a day that I would of normall spent on lunch, and any money I get from holdays. Everything else is going towards college, a laptop, my first car, and other more important things. Yeah, if I had the money, I would definetly pay premium for a commision.
     
  12. Wreckgar

    Wreckgar Anthony Stark Veteran

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    People are cheap. Basically people want the figure at cost and don't realize what else goes into it. They don't factor paint and labor. They think "You got the alt for 20 so I should also"
     
  13. Sculpt-bot

    Sculpt-bot So waddya want, a medal?

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    I have the same issue Sami. I do understand that folks want to get a good deal, but I don't think some take into account the amount of time and work that go into the bash before posing the question. The only people that have asked me for a commission and have followed through on the whole thing, are people I have seen do astounding work themselves. Therefore the understanding is built in with them. I tend to spend about twelve hours total on an Alternator kitbash, I often provide the custom head myself (molding and casting supplies involved), as well as any custom parts needed. My asking price is between $40 and $50 depending on the complexity. This doesn't include the price of the original toy. So you are looking at me getting about $3.75 an hour, minus the cost of my materials, And I have still had people say "whoah! that is a lot" or just not ever respond once I give them a quote.
    Some folks want the quality but they don't want to pay for it. If they try to barter me down in price, I tend to just decline, because I don't want to go into it half-hearted. I want to give them a quality kitbash, but I also want to be paid for my time.
     
  14. plowking

    plowking I'm with ErechOveraker. Veteran

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    So, I want to make sure I understand, let's say I ask for Alt. Skids painted up as Ratchet. Would it go something like this?:

    Alt Skids: 21.20
    Supplies: 10.00
    Shipping: 10.00
    Labor...... 15.00
    Total....... 56.20

    If I have this correct, and people are complaining about a price such as this, then you are dealing with a bunch of cheap-skates.

    I've paid MORE than that, and thats with supplying the figure to be painted!

    Sami, if you do good work/never had a complaint (I would like to see some of your work btw) and your customers are always satisfied, I say you should pay yourself more than $15 for labor....you're ripping yourself off if you don't.... hey, I know there will be people who may say I dont know what I'm talking about, but I've been bashing for almost two years now, and I wouldn't do ANYTHING, bash or repaint for $15 labor.
     
  15. Boggs6ft7

    Boggs6ft7 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I would say in most art projects, people are rarely paid what they are worth. They aren't called starving artists for nothing.

    You could figure a professional anything would start out at about $20/hour and go up from there. I have friends that are sometimes paid $120/hour in their line of work. Getting upset at someone who wants to do a figure for you for less than minimum wage is down right rude.

    Of course I'm just speculating because I'm in in the commission biz.
     
  16. vector

    vector City Commander

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    Now how I do it is.....
    If I provide the subject then I charge for that.....
    Supplies.....
    But my labor depends on the job......A masterpiece is more expensive than an Alternator. An Alt. is more expensive than a Classics figure.
    And lobor also depends on the extent of the work. But I try to be fair.
     
  17. revlimiter

    revlimiter Bot Hacker

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    The first time i was approached to do a commission, I turned it down. To do the figure the guy wanted would be about 20 hours of work. At $10 per, that's $200, plus the fig, plus the shipping. And $10 per hour is damn cheap.

    Instead, the guy asked me if I'd be willing to trade. Something cool from his collection for this figure. Instantly, that became worth it. Money? It comes and goes. But trading toys for toys? Totally worth it. Especially if it's something rare I've been scheming to get.

    Since then, I've done all of my custom work that way. The figure to be modified plus a trade figure and split the shipping. In fact, my next one's going to Mr. plowking just a couple replies up! I'm eager to start work on it.
     
  18. Optimus Scourge

    Optimus Scourge Arcee's boy toy Veteran

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    Sami, your prices are more than fair, (it's a steal at your rate) and once you finish off the batch you're doing for me now, you can show how your work has improved. I can see it.

    $30-50 (not including the toy) to repaint a toy, is more than fair. Most people don't understand how complex it is and the disassembly and such to do it right. Not to mention how involved the fine detailing is.

    Some cheapies don't get it, but don't let that bring you down. You are providing a service to people who can't or don't want to bother to do it themselves, and probably don't consider or appreciate the effort it takes you if they are complaining about price.

    I have never argued the price of my comissions, and I had a few hefty price tags from TFMaster. (Totally worth it) I also own customs from JAF and Orodruin, and soon, you.

    I have never regretted the money I spend on my customs. It really is an art. Some appreciate it more than others, unfortunately.

    And as revlimiter said, getting something cool in trade is even better sometimes. ;) 
     
  19. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    yeah, I would say $20 is a MINIMUM per hour. I mean, you can tell quality work, and I certainly wouldn't expect to get something done well from someone only charging $10-$15 per hour labor. skilled work (which you have) is definitely worth the price. people don't want to pay it? learn to do it yourself and save the money. simple as that.
     
  20. SCPrime

    SCPrime Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to clarify, you charge $10-15 TOTAL for labor or $10-15 per hour? If total then you are basically doing the commission for, well, no commision at all (i.e. pretty much free). Don't sweat it if people complain about the price. That's just how alot of people are. Some people such as Anemis who is pretty well known for making quality work charge only roughly $5 per hour labor yet people still complain because the overall price (upwards of hundreds of dollars) is too much. People don't think of the intense labor put in to the work. These are probably the same people who complain about the cost of exclusives being so high. Exclusives are limited production runs which increases production cost. Commissions are the same. If you are a factory who can shoot out a custom in minutes then $20 for a custom is no sweat. But you are not a factory and it takes you hours to finish a work. Just know that there are relatively few people who would pay a higher price for exclusives and there are even much fewer people who would shell out alot of cash for one of a kind customs. So don't sweat it if you have people shy away from wanting a custom after you quote them a price. If there are many people out there willing to pay alot for customs then it'll be good business/job.
     

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