Archive for the ‘underpricing’ Category

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.

 

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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?

Just breathe…

Posted: May 18, 2018 in Uncategorized, underpricing

Just been publicly attacked by a UK scribbler whose big business idea was to teach others how to do his job. I pointed out the obvious flaw in his plan – that he was training his replacements – but my polite advice was taken as an attack on his skills, which was met with a tirade of personal abuse on a public forum.  I did not rise to his baiting, as I have learnt better from previous public clashes and so chose to keep my exchanges to a minimum, but I feel my own blog is a suitable place to vent my amazement.

After 27 years of top quality caricaturing and an endless effort to raise the standards and profile of my industry, I think my opinion merits some consideration, especially by any ‘entrepreneur’ hoping to make a quick dollar in hard times, at the cost of my living. So be warned; if you are looking to undercut, underprice, undermine or underestimate me in any way professionally or personally, I will take great pleasure in watching you fail. As another untalented caricaturist once said to me “Stick to selling your bullshit in your own backyard and stay out of mine!”

Not a great start to my friday, but as my therapist once said “You can’t please everyone” LOL

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!

 

 

To all cheap caricaturists:

While discussing fees with colleagues recently we found ourselves divided into two camps; those who knew their value as artists and entertainers and those who didn’t care and were grateful not to be jobless! Unfortunately the latter camp are driving our prices down as they battle to get paid less and less!!  One northern caricaturist publicly boasted (to paraphrase) “I charge low fees because I’d rather be working every night than charge silly fees and be sat at home!”  Great business plan brainiac! So what is the net result of your pricing structure? You work more frequently because you win jobs from other artists by undercutting them, you do not create more work by under-pricing, no-one ever said “Wow I found a cheap caricaturist (he’s shit but cheap) so lets put on an extra party every night just to hire him!” No! There are a finite number of gigs available in any area on any date, no matter what you charge. You simply now have to work three times as hard to earn what you should be earning in one night, while other full time artists go hungry, unable to drop their prices lower than you. Well done – great ethic.

Know your value and stop undervaluing your colleagues by association and if you are grateful not to be stacking shelves, then maybe its because that’s closer to your true vocation, but I trained all my life to do the creative job at which I excel and will not be comparing my talent to that of a shelf stacker or fairground busker anytime soon!

Do some basic research, find out what your competitors are charging and value your skill by comparison, then endeavour to raise your prices and standards, instead of lowering theirs to meet yours. If you still find yourself at the lower end of the price scale, then maybe its down to the quality of your work and you should consider retraining?….

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