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 - 2022 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: