Recently, I was asked, “How much do you charge for a centerpiece?” Like most balloon artists, I look at what the market is charging, and then, based on what is involved, I create a price. Yes, I create a price. A unique, one of a kind centerpiece has no comparisons and can really be any price I set. That is the advantage of creating unique centerpieces. I am not a shop with employees, my overhead is minimal, I do not work on a standard mark up, and so this gives me full control over pricing.
I calculate in the cost of material, then guesstimate how much time it will take, and then look at what the market is charging, and then I develop my own price. If the design is complicated, I may have to look at a small fee for research and development.
I have learned that corporate gigs understand R&D and have no problem paying a little more to see samples. This insures that they get what they want.
Weddings and private events are not into R&D and many times will give you a picture taken from the Internet and ask you to recreate it. Yet, being a craftsman, I will always build customization into the final product, which again allows me to create a unique price.
I once had a restaurant owner ask if I charged more on holidays. I was baffled by the question at first, then it hit me. There are only so many people who have the skills to do what I do. There are hundreds of banquet halls, florists, and bakeries, but there are few skilled balloons artists in any area. If the client really wants it, they will pay the price. If they do not, they will find something else to spend their money on.