Pricing Adoptables

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Astralseed's avatar

Adoptables Week

Hello everyone,
Today I will be discussing how to price Adoptables. Hopefully any of you who are currently selling Adoptables, or any of you thinking about selling them will get a good feel for how to go about pricing them after reading this article.

It's no secret that there are plenty of artists who make a lot of money selling Adoptables, but I think it is worth noting that the vast majority of artists selling them do not make 1000's of dollars off of a single adoptable. Since there is such a wide range of prices for Adoptables as a whole, it's no wonder that many struggle to find the right pricing for theirs.

A while back I wrote a handy dandy article on Pricing Your Commissions and I'll be covering a lot of the same things from that article in this one since pricing art is still pricing art. However, I will also go over some pricing situations which are more Adoptable specific in this article as well.   

Before we dive into the specifics I want to take a moment to make it very clear that creating art that you plan to sell is work.  It doesn't matter if you enjoy the task at hand or that you aren't slaving away for 40 hours a week at it, at the end of the day you are providing a skill/service with your art which you are selling.  Please don't treat it as something other than actual work by under selling and devaluing your skill and time.  If you wouldn't allow an employer to under pay you, why do it to yourself, right?  

The basic formula for pricing your art is time + materials + other expenses = price.  

It's best not to price your art below minimum wage so if you spent 2 hours designing your adoptable, you should not price it below 2 hrs of minimum wage for your area.  That means if the minimum wage for your area is 10$/hr the adoptable that took you 2 hours to create should not be priced below 20$.  

For those of you who are visual learners:

1 hr at 10$ minimum wage = 10$  
2 hrs at 10$ minimum wage = 20$
3 hrs at 10$ minimum wage = 30$ 

See, and you thought you wouldn't need math anymore after you left school!  Anyway, at this point I'd like to plug my Pricing Your Commissions article again since it also talks about considering the cost of taxes you must pay on this income as well as calculating your prices while considering extra expenses etc.  Please do give it a read if you're serious about wanting to sell Adoptables (or any other type of art for that matter).  

The upside of selling Adoptables over normal Commissions and how this should affect your pricing. 

The really cool thing about selling Adoptables is that you get to create what you want to create.  Nobody is standing behind you demanding specific poses or colors.  You have total artistic freedom to design the kind of Adoptables you wish to design.  All the fun with the added bonus of cash in your pocket when it's all said and done.  

This upside makes a lot of designers feel like they aren't doing actual work and as a result they will often drop their prices on adopts where as the same piece commissioned from them would cost more.  
There isn't anything wrong with dropping the price a bit for this type of work vs straight commission work, however it's important to still stick with the minimum wage rule from above.  
Instead of viewing the benefits of being able to create freely as a reason to lower your prices, it's better to view the lack of creative freedom commissions can bring as a reason to charge slightly more.  
In short, it's okay to price your Adoptables at a base minimum wage price if you like, but if you feel your Adoptables should be cheaper than your straight commissions, you should charge more on commissions rather than dipping your adoptable pricing below minimum wage.  

How to figure out a base price for your Adoptables

As mentioned above, Adoptables can go for a wide range of amounts and this tends to confuse people on how to price their Adoptables sometimes.  Finding the right balance in your Adoptable prices may take a bit of time but I'll go over some tips to help you find a good price range for them.  

Auctions are your most valuable tool in gauging where the community that will be buying your Adoptables values them at.  Don't be afraid to use these to decide on flat pricing or Auto Buys (AB) for future Adoptables.  Auctions can also be used if you feel it's time to reevaluate your prices again.  Auctions are your friend, use them as much as you feel you need and/or want to.  

Auctions are pretty simple to set up and run and allow the community to decide the final price on the adoptable rather than you having to set it yourself.  If you are unsure how to price your Adoptables, selling a few via auction can help give you a general idea of how much the community is willing to pay for them.  

When setting up auctions it's important to add a starting bid amount.  This amount should be no lower than you're willing to sell the Adoptable for.  Please refer back to basic minimum wage pricing and don't list the starting bid below that price. 

I suggest not having an AB on auctions which are intended to help you figure out your pricing.  What if the community had been willing to go higher than the AB? What if other community members would have tried bidding but didn't get a chance because someone snagged it quickly with the AB.  ABs are great generally, but can hinder you from finding the basic price the community is willing to pay, so save them for another day.

Know Your Community
While auctions will absolutely be your best bet in helping you gauge your pricing, there are other things that can also be helpful in giving you an idea of your Adoptables worth. 

If you have some time to kill, and really it's in your best interest to know and understand your respective community, dig into your community and see how well similar Adoptables are selling.  Figure out what is working for other Adoptable makers and what isn't.  
Does the community hate pink ribbons in the hair but love green ones?  Take note of this and price your Adoptables accordingly.  
Talk to your community, both sellers and buyers.  Ask for their feedback and input.  Being involved in your community is an amazing tool that not only will help you understand the community's wants and needs, the general prices things are selling for, but it will also help get you and your Adoptables more seen.  

A word of caution

If you are new to selling Adoptables and assume that it's the new quick and easy way to get rich because you saw someone consistently sell Adoptables for 100's or 1000's of dollars at a time, please take a step back and re-evaluate things again. 

It is true that the community has some Adoptable sellers who do make bank on the vast majority of their Adoptables, however for most sellers this simply isn't the case.  Attempting to flat price your Adoptables like theirs will likely not go in your favor unless you have the reputation/popularity/product to back up such prices.  If the community is willing to pay those kind of prices for your Adoptables you will find out easily through using the Auction method listed above.  

In Closing

I hope this article helped give everyone an idea how to price your Adoptables.  I realize that this community is riddled with Adoptables being undersold, but education is the key to solving such problems.  I hope any of you who have been under selling your Adoptables will feel confident to adjust your prices to reflect a more reasonable wage.  Remember, time x minimum wage should be your minimum price.  

© 2018 - 2021 Astralseed
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SinistrosePhosphate's avatar
This is a lovely article! 
I learned quite a bit from it (and I don't even sell my work! ^^;) I love the bit about "you want to get paid fairly", though. It's nice to foster the culture of art being valuable and "worth it". 

Thanks a lot for the article! :thanks:
Stygma's avatar
The problem is nobody wants to pay a fair price for adoptables or commissions, so you get stuck with your stuff. And when you are not that experienced, it takes you a long time producing something that is low to average quality. The quality doesn't match the value! For an adult, it is easy to see that the effort is not worth it. But for a kid that has no money to buy points, it is very tempting to sell their adoptables cheap to get something that they can't afford anyway. 

You need to be very experienced to be able to produce something in one hour that is worth 10$ or so. 
Astralseed's avatar
It's true that a lot of people don't want to pay liveable wages for art.  And it is true that lack of experience can make prices go up quite a bit if you're looking to make a proper wage.  
Even low quality art can be sold at proper wages if people market it properly. 

There are definitely several different things which factor into actually selling things, but for the sake of this article I only intended to focus on the pricing aspect.  
teddybearcholla's avatar
What are adoptables?
Astralseed's avatar
Norvastar's avatar
I think this is helpful, although most of the time I use just bases in auctions so I don't know if that makes a difference.:dead: But it helps for the future ^^ 
Is it okay to just sell adopts cheap slowly as I'm still young then raise them one day when I'm older? (I spent like 3 hours completely on an adopt and set OTA on it with a min of 100:points:/$1.00) Ah... I might have just fell out of the subject. 
Astralseed's avatar
I think using bases just makes a difference in the time it takes to finish a design.  I thought really hard about adding a section here on using bases and how to price but then felt at the end of the day it's still a matter of how much work you put into it so I felt it wasn't necessary to add a section on using bases.  

You are welcome to price as you see fit, there aren't specific rules as to how you must or mustn't price, however.. pricing low is bad for you and bad for others.  We already have a big problem with artists under selling themselves, it's easiest not to be part of the problem.  

I don't think age should have any bearing on how much a service or skill is worth.  I have my 8 year old offering commissions and they are priced at minimum wage for him.  He may not sell a lot because most people don't want a commission from a less than skilled 8 year old, but he is learning that his time/service/skill has worth.  
Norvastar's avatar
Ah okay, thank you, this is a big help ^^ :tighthug:

Btw, I wish him goodluck, especially for the future :D 
Astralseed's avatar
No problem, and thank you :hug:
Carameja's avatar
would that work the same as for points?
I mean isn't 1 dollar like 10 points or something like that??
So 10 dollers is a 100 points??
Estherella's avatar
Careful! To add to Astralseed's response:

Easy way to remember: $1 = 100 points
That means 10 points is only about 10 cents.
Carameja's avatar
Oh thank you! =o
Astralseed's avatar
If you are purchasing points from DA it costs 1$ for 80 :points:

If you're selling art for points via the commission widget or via premium content it's worth keeping in mind that DA keeps 20%.  That means you will earn 1$ for every 100 :points: you made via commission widget or premium content sales.  Most artists on DA price their point sales accordingly, so that the buyer covers the 20% that DA keeps.  
Carameja's avatar
Oh I see! =o
So if I have adopts on that I sell for points
is asking 500 points ridiculous of me?
Astralseed's avatar
if you're asking for 500 points, you're basically asking 5$ for it.
Carameja's avatar
so that's fair? I never turn my points into money currency 
so thats why I ask.. ^^;
DexinProgress's avatar
This is great information, thank you for sharing. Will there really be a whole week of adopt tips and info? That will be really helpful to me. Even though I've been selling adopts for a while now, I'm still fuzzy on some of the finer points. Like it took me a long time to figure out pricing and I'm still sometimes unsure of myself when pricing my adopts (mainly because not a lot of them actually sell, much less if I price them at actual wage). But yes. Thank you so much for the incites :D
Astralseed's avatar
Yep, just keep an eye on projecteducate.  This whole week is dedicated to adoptables so more articles will go up about them :)
I think pricing art is something many artists struggle with be it adoptables, regular commissions, or even something like selling prints.  Marketing your art is a huge huge part of selling art too and when people fail to realize this, I think they often just lower their prices to try to make up for it.  

When things don't sell it helps to look at if it didn't sell for lack of marketing/lack of marketing to the right audience, or if it didn't sell because it's simply not something the community wants.  Things not selling or not selling well can always be used as a great tool to help you figure out what to adjust in order to avoid such setbacks in the future.   
DexinProgress's avatar
Cool, I'll be keeping an eye on the group then for more articles :D

And yeah. I think a lot of people (me included) do forget about the impotence of marketing or other factors involved. As my own worst critic I often automatically assume that my adopts are just "not good enough" instead of thinking about it logically. Like did I submit to enough groups, did I tag them well, is the thumb version wonky or blurred, etc. Drawing the image is only half the battle when it comes to selling. So yeah thanks. I'll try to look at it from more of an analytical perspective next time :meow:
SeaAng's avatar
This article is great interesting, thank you for its advice and its informations ! :D
Astralseed's avatar
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