How to Charge What You’re Worth

If you’re teaching art as a business owner compared to an educator in a school system, there is ONE factor that can make the difference between success and failure.

Charging a class fee.

The mere thought of charging for an art class can make even the most seasoned entrepreneurs run and hide. 

What if you charge too much? Will you be snubbed by your local art peeps and criticized for being overconfident or money hungry?

What if you charge too little? Can you make enough to cover your expenses? Will your customers take advantage of you?

The hesitation of tacking on a fee associated with your services is an age-old fear that lures many aspiring creative entrepreneurs to abandon their carefully crafted plans and settle for offering their services for free.

But hey, what’s wrong with free? 

I get it….

Everyone loves your Saturday afternoon art sessions with the neighborhood kids. Families rave about your talents and capable nature and sing you praises for being just so generous with your time.

Goodness, you might start to feel so great about this community art event that you consider starting a business.

Surely everyone will love it!

And you know what? Most will.

But there will always be some friends who won’t love that you are looking to earn money. They say things like,  I love what you used to do.

This used to tear me up, too.

I remember when I started to sell my membership, The Sparklers’ Club.

I had over 200 free lessons on my website and about 100 new lesson plans available through my membership. The lessons in my membership included more options for the art teacher who wanted to explore a project deeply with added handouts, standards, instructions and resources. 

They took quite a bit of time to create and even more time to publish.

The initial fee for the membership was about $20 a month and members could access all of the projects. It’s important to note that all 200 free lessons remained on my public website. 

I received long letters of how disappointed teachers were that I no longer offered free lessons.

That I was a teacher and how could I expect other teachers to pay for lessons?

It hurt me to know that some of my followers were upset and didn’t value the extra work, but the truth is, for every 1 teacher who was disappointed, I had about 100 teachers who were thrilled!

It’s just a fact of business that not everyone will be your customer. But if you have a great product and/or service, you will have many more happy customers than disappointed ones.

Here’s our 7 Step Roadmap to Starting YOUR Art Studio Business….

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How to Set a Class Fee

Determining a profitable class fee for your studio art classes, private classes, online classes or after-school art classes is based on knowing one thing:

Your Fixed Expenses

When you add up major expenses like rent, general supply fee, business services (like a website hosting fee) plus the cost of your time, you have a general idea of how much it will cost to host an art class.

When you have that number, you can quickly understand that the bulk of expenses are fixed. Meaning you have to pay them whether you have 2 kids or 20 in your art class.

So the more kids you can enroll in one class means a higher profit and more sustainability for your business.

How the Type of Class Can Determine Profitability 

Depending on where you host your art class, your class fee per student can vary.

Afterschool art classes typically have a larger number of students for a shorter length of time. Your one-on-one time for each student might be lower than if you are offering private art classes, so your per student fee might be lower.

Private art classes typically have the highest fee as you are offering a highly personalized service.

An art class hosted in a brick and mortar studio on main street can also command a higher price point due to higher costs but also access to materials and space that is unique to a studio.

Online classes with an unlimited number of students accessing your pre-recorded videos are typically less than an in-person class due to the work involved on the parent’s behalf compared to dropping off a child to an in-person class. 

But the lower the monthly or class fee, the more volume you might have due to location not being a variable.

The more students you teach and the more exclusive the art experience, the more you can charge.

Getting Over Your Fear of Charging What You’re Worth

We can come up with a dozen reasons to undercharge for our services….

My community can’t afford it

I will lose my customers if I raise my prices

My competitor charges less

I can’t compete with the studio across town

I’ve really heard it ALL and I completely understand. What I recommend is to start your Studio Art Business with a fee that represents the quality of your work.

Are you charging less than a 16 year old babysitter? 

Or are you sharing years of art knowledge and growing confidence and creativity with a child?

Is your art studio the place where parents drop off their kids to create art or create chaos?

You get to define your business in a way that represents who you are. And YOU are worth it!

And believe me, parents can’t wait to meet you….

I see the potential in your art business and understand how overwhelming it can feel to get started. You know you have the ability to teach art but the marketing and business stuff can feel a bit out of reach.

But it doesn’t have to.

Whether you are just starting out and want to test out an art class or you are an experienced art studio owner, Primerry PRO can get you to the next stage of your beautiful business one step at a time.

Where are you at with your business? What do you charge for your art classes?

Here’s our 7 Step Roadmap to Starting YOUR Art Studio Business….

Click here to subscribe

What do you think?

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  • Patty Harari

    Hello Patty!
    I hope you’re doing great. I really want to subscribe to Primary Pro, I missed by mistake the last day for subscribing and I really want to start my business as soon as possible because I found the ideal space. If I wait till spring, the renting space will be occupied. I really will appreciate if I can suscribe before.
    thank you very much

    • Bethany

      Hi Patty! Thanks so much for your interest in Primerry Pro. Please reach out to Customer Support at support@primerrypro.com for more information regarding enrollment opportunities.

  • Rehab hamdy

    Hi Patty, I’m very, very happy to have you for all the workshops, and I’m also a member of Deep Sparkle with you. I discovered my passion while studying with my students in first, second, and third grade. I also discovered that I have a wonderful ability to work with children in school, and currently I dream of making a frame with… My friends’ children are in the club so everyone can see me and I started advertising my workshop work. Is this a correct step or not? Because renting any place currently without capital is very difficult. I hope you can help me with how to start and with what to start with children in terms of artwork. Please help and thank you again. I’m glad I can learn from you, thank you

    • Bethany

      Hi there! These are the types of questions we receive a lot of in our Primerry Pro membership which is designed to help anyone who would like to run a business teaching art classes to children. It’s an ideal program for an art teacher looking to teach part-time to add extra income or go full-time hosting art classes, birthday parties, and online classes for children.

      The program helps aspiring entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of operating an art business, either online or in-person. Enrollment is currently closed for the year, but it will re-open again on January 31, 2024. If you want to be emailed a reminder when we open again, or if you are curious how teaching art for income can change your life, add your name to our notification list https://join.primerrypro.com/waitlist/.

  • Dani

    I am interested in teaching my own art classes to homeschool kids and having recreational classes available as well as offering art parties. How can I tell if that would be successful in an area? What do I need to research to find out?

    • Bethany

      Hi Dani! First of all, how exciting! Did you know that Deep Space Sparkle has a new membership that can help you work through how to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true? That’s exactly what our Primerry Pro membership is for.

      If you want to learn more about Primerry Pro and get on the waitlist for our next enrollment (in February) you can use the link below https://join.primerrypro.com/waitlist/.

      We’d love to help!

      Primerry pro can 100% help you get there

  • Ina Niday

    What do you charge if another artists wants to hold regular classes at your location? I am helping an artist friend who just opened a new studio in Northwest Arkansas. We are wanting to offer the studio to other art instructors for weekly or by-weekly classes but do not know how much to charge, whether on a student or class basis. Can you please help? Thank you.

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