Archive for the ‘pricing’ Category

Quality Costs2

It seems today that I am dealing regularly with people who tell me “We found someone half your price and he/she promises to draw everyone!” and I am at a loss to explain why they should not book them. People just don’t seem to care what they are paying for, so long as its cheap! Alan Sugar has a lot to answer for and society is suffering a deluge of cheap quality items as a result! “CHEAP IS BEST” has never been my mantra.

A Colleague – Just quoted someone on the phone who said I was double the other quotes she had. When I asked her had she looked at my work she said no, I then asked had she looked at anyone’s work, she said no!

Would you buy a new car without looking at it, just because it was cheap? Why do the public expect the same quality for less money?? Its insanity!

Quite simply look around and you will find many cheaper caricature artists than me to hire for your wedding, but that’s because I am good, at the top of my class in fact and never let you down. Buy cheap and expect disappointment!

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

i do this for a living

I do this for a living – so trust me, I know what I’m doing.

I do this for a living – so I will give you the best service your money can buy.

I do this for a living – so I’m guaranteed to turn up to your event, unlike other part timers.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me for help or advice to get you started as my competition.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me why I charge so much. Its my weekly wage!

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me to draw at your community event ‘because it will be good exposure’ without offering me a weekly wage.

I do this for a living – so please don’t email me random selfies, saying ‘I wonder what you’d do to my face?’ without paying me first.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me to donate a week’s wages for a charitable cause, by attending your charity event without pay.

I do this for a living – so don’t compare me to some random part time hobby artist you met in the pub, who busks for spare change or draws for pin money.

I do this for a living – so please let me go home when I’ve finished, without threatening violence because I won’t draw you for free.

I do this for a living – so have the decency to let me know if you have cancelled your booking, before I lose a week’s wages.

I do this for a living – that’s why I sit here writing these notes, to educate the public, so one day they may think twice before treating me like an amateur.

 

At the end of 2016 I decided to create a group and a website to promote full time professional caricaturists in the UK and I called the project ‘Pro-Carix’. A Facebook group was formed and later a website launched, in an effort to galvanize the most experienced artists in the UK, but it was met with mixed reactions. Basically it was hard to classify some as professionals worth membership and others as amateurs not worthy. I invited everyone I knew and let them sort themselves out. Some thought themselves ‘too good’ for the group and others proved themselves ‘not good enough’ and left. One scribbler in particular, notorious for bargain basement prices and low ethics, made a habit of letting clients down due to ‘family bereavement’, which came in to question only after he lost two fathers! I sent my condolences on FB and sure enough he left the group! Natural selection I guess. Another scribbler made a very public attack on me and told me to mind my own business how he traded. Fair point, but I will be sure to advise clients to steer clear of these charlatans.

The group is still running and we try our best to promote professional behaviour in the industry, with or without those who don’t want to play ball. Take a look at the website www.pro-carix.uk  and maybe search the FB group if you’re a pro and interested in joining and using the group resources?

Came across a new group of young caricaturists yesterday, all advertising their services online, as a collective. They took the unusual step of advertising prices for various counties, on their site and the fees were roughly half the industry standard! They clearly do not have a long term business plan!

I am self employed. I am trained and qualified as an artist. As such, my business mentality has always valued my services and artistic talent, while realising that I would never be given a wage rise, unless I made myself worth it.

These new artists clearly do not value their services or their place within the industry and by pricing themselves so low, they will only make themselves the poorer and less popular! They exhibit a ‘short term gains’ mentality and encourage existing artists to compete by lowering our prices in turn. Be aware that lower prices do not encourage new jobs, it just means you work harder for less money at the same job! The logical conclusion being that we will all have to offer more hours for less money, in order to win the same jobs; pretty soon we will all be working a 40 hour week, while earning a little above the minimum wage! Is that all we caricaturists are worth??

Get a business plan guys! If you want to stay in business, then find your worth, find your place in the market and charge accordingly. The only way you will get a pay rise in the next 25 years is if you make it your self and that will never happen if idiots like you keep lowering our market value!!!! WISE UP SUCKERS!

 

 

Recently opened up a debate regarding new competitors in the Carix market and it became clear that a few artists just have no clue what is potentially controlling their business’ fortunes. Some were unaware of competitors within their own geographical patch and one was surprised to come across a Carix who’s been caricaturing for at least two decades on their doorstep!

I thought it was  a good time to remind all fellow Carix to check their SWOT analysis, which should be done on an annual basis anyhow. SWOT is an analysis of your Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats, which should give you an idea where you sit in your own marketplace. If you do not carry out this simple task, then you may as well be fishing in the dark, because your business will be beyond your control!  Visit this simple page which gives you a few good business models to look into, including basic advice on Competitors and Pricing…

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/compare-business-model-competitive-strategy-76349.html

Strengths and weaknesses are internal qualities, determined by who you are and how you have chosen to operate your company. These include your USP and your chosen Mode of Operation.

Opportunities and threats relate to the business climate in which your company operates. These include competition and business trends.

If you are unaware of your target market, your selling points, your competitors, your potential markets and potential threats, then frankly I’m amazed you’re still in business! Get on Google and give it a look-see, it could be the making of your business.

Each year it takes us all by surprise and each year we end up crossing our fingers and hoping that the spirit of celebration takes the nation by storm again. So far its the usual slim pickings for me, with a stark November and and even bleaker looking December ahead. I am comforted by the steady stream of random last minute commissions, from bosses who remember they have to produce a calendar within 5 days or love struck boyfriends wanting to show their affection by spending £5 on a scribble!  Most of these enquiries I tend to shrug off, unless my bank balance tells me otherwise, as they tend to be a huge waste of time, often ending with the blunt email, telling me that after a week spent chasing the project, they have found someone cheaper!!

I am currently whittling away at a studio commission which will pay my mortgage and help me into December, but my diary is still clear. I have fielded a couple of dinner party enquiries “Could you pop to Guildford/Blackpool for an hour to entertain my 20 guests?” which all ended predictably in the negative.  That said, I have just negotiated a booking from a new agent who thought he would school me on what my fee should be and how lucky I should feel to get an enquiry in today’s climate… The cheek!  I was probably entertaining diners when he was potty training and have survived 23 years without his help!!  But beggars cannot be choosers and so a deal was struck and I now count 4 bookings so far this Xmas season.

Gone are the days of 18 parties and too much work to manage, thanks in no short part to the influx of new artists, who believe the agents that dictate their fee and remind them how lucky they are not to be stacking Tesco shelves!

My standards have not slipped, my quality of work is still very high, yet I am suffering at the busiest party season of the year. Punters are still hiring caricaturists, according to tales from my many colleagues, therefore I must surmise that its simply down to a flooded market with increased competition. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so!

 

UPDATE: 16/12/13

One more Xmas party tomorrow, a last minute booking as usual, then I have no more weekly wage until… perhaps March?  The perils of self employment.  Along with the freedom of being your own Boss, you have to endure the hardships of no guaranteed wage and when you are used to being paid a weekly wage, that can be harsh!

Merry Christmas

Never let it be said that I am uncharitable, I have my charities which I contribute to via DD on a monthly basis and I rarely pass a beggar by without offering some coins, not to mention my Lottery donations. However I do suffer regular begging emails from various charities, all asking for my time and assuming I would lose nothing by offering them it. On the contrary, as caricaturing is my full time occupation, every day which goes unpaid is the equivalent to losing one week’s wages. How many of you would gladly give £450 to a charity and go hungry for two weeks??  How many of you would work without pay EVERY week, foregoing your income in order to aid a charity? Every charity event I attend means one less paying job.

This week I have received three requests from charitable organisations, asking me to do just that, which is equivalent to losing £1300 of my wages. In an effort to redraw the balance, I have drafted a response letter which I shall send to each charity who contacts me from now on:

Dear Sirs,

I am a sparse profit making creative venture, founded in 1991, with numerous celebrity endorsements, but desperately in need of funding. Rises in inflation, fuel prices, materials and competition mean that surviving as a sole trading artist is painfully difficult. All little Georgie wants is the chance to make people smile and offer all the equal opportunity to enjoy his works of art. I write to you in the hope that you can offer Georgie gainful employment and help raise cash for the ‘Help Art Live Fund’. As a profit making venture I cannot offer his time for free, but he would love to entertain your guests for the full going market rate of £420.

Please help make little Georgie smile again, pay the full fee so another artist doesn’t end his days as a tearful voice at a McDonalds’ drive-thru.

I look forward to your response.