File puptcrit/puptcrit.0707, message 115

To: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 21:53:25 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] PRICING Fairly

Hi collegues. 

I'm wondering what a "fair price" for a puppet  should be nowadays.

 Everytime I need to price my puppetmaking services, I have to calculate so many variables, I'd like to know how you all go about it.

-Can you share what prices you offer for each type of puppet?
-Do you stick to your mathematical formula?
-Do you adapt to (or try to beat) the prices of your collegues around the world?
-Do you accept to work in exchange for supplies or services (such as free advertisement)?
-Do you stick to your level of complexity and price, or do you offer a choice, to allow the customer to pay less?
-Do you believe it is a "treason to the whole Discipline" to offer lesser prices than most?

It's been discussed here before (mostly formulas on how to calculate), but maybe the newcomers can benefit, and share new approaches.

My input...


With true quality and originality, a fair price should come. It is not often the case. 
The "market" is screwed-up. The emotional value of puppets seems to be out of whack with the reality of their nature and power. For generations, people have been conditionned to buy manufactured things at low prices, regardless of quality. If they have to throw "item" away in a few months, it's ok because it was cheap enough.

 So when it comes to buying a one-of-a-kind, they don't understand the time and work that went into it.
People will pay 1000$ for a small painting on canvas (cliché landcape you see by the thousands), and find it acceptable "It's ART, of course it's expensive!", Half that price for a performance-worthy puppet seems to be unreasonable for them: "how can you ask so much for a simple doll???"
Believe me, I get that kind of argument even from people in the Theatre business. Lots of P.R. needs to be done for Puppetry!

Some makers greatly undersell their talents, and end up working for well under minimum wage, when time and all expenses are considered. I've been guilty of that, and am getting better at avoiding it. I admit to compromising when the project is fascinating and can lead to other contracts, but I try to avoid that now, as bills need to be paid after all.

So, what would a reasonable price be for a custom-made puppet?
I think at the very least 200$ for a very simple puppet, and up as the details and steps increase in complexity. And even higher depending on the use of the puppet. A TV puppet can often be worth twice (at least) as the same puppet for theatre.

That strange Market again...

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