Tag: sand sculpture pricing

Sand Sculpting Ethics 101

Sand Sculpting Ethics 101

When I was first introduced to the world of professional sand sculpting, I marveled at the level of comradery and cooperation I witnessed. There is a wonderful vibe that surrounds you when in the company of such talented artists. For years I believed that the sand sculpting business was somehow immune to the trappings of cut throat practices. Unfortunately, I would soon learn first hand that, while a majority of sand sculptors have exemplary business practices, there are those in the business that make us all look bad.

In any business there are certain ethical standards that must be followed in order to advance the industry as a whole. Those that disregard these practices, may at first glance appear to be unaffected by their actions. Some might even refer to themselves as shrewd business men. I can assure you shrewd is not the word I would use to describe them.

So here they are, the top 5 reasons ( in no particular order)  that you might want to take an ethics class.

  1. You charge your clients $$$$ for additional sand sculptors but you only pay those sculptors $.
  2. You consider drinking and or smoking on the job part of your “artistic license”.
  3. Your idea of business marketing is to check  out your competition’s website calender of events and  then call all their clients.
  4. You’ve actually yelled at a competitor’s client for not hiring you.
  5. You market yourself at a fellow sand sculptors event, saying you could do a better job for less.

I’m sure there are many more  reasons you might need an ethics corse. I would love to hear any personal experiences from other sand sculptors. Please omit any names. The purpose of this blog post is to raise awareness, not to vilify any particular group or individual.

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What is a sand sculpture worth?

What is a sand sculpture worth?

The value of a good sand sculpture can be a tricky thing to calculate. First of all I’m not talking about the sand castle you built on vacation with your kids. I’m referring to that sculpture you just spent three days creating for that major hotel chain. Perhaps you are relatively new to the professional sand sculpting industry or this is your first big client. Your first instinct might be to sell the project at a steep discount in hopes of being able to secure more projects down the road. You might even think that once you’ve shown your client your amazing skills, that you will be able to get full price for the next project. The fact is, by selling the project at a steep discount, you have in fact devalued your work. Once you have set a price with a client, it is nearly impossible to convince them that somehow it is worth more.

Working for exposure
The same rule applies for clients, such as not-for-profits that ask for you to create a sculpture in exchange for exposure. While there are a few exceptions to this rule, unless the client is offering you an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, you should seriously reconsider doing any projects like this. Always ask yourself, what is the actual value of the media exposure. If it is your desire to raise money for a particular charity, take the initiative to organize your own fundraiser. This way you will have total control of who benefits from your hard work.

The bottom line
Let’s face it, you are running a business. If you ever hope to be successful, you will need to show a profit. Even the most frugal business incurs expenses. By establishing a reasonable fee for your services, you establish a value for your work. The key word is ” reasonable”. I once read an article in an artist magazine that established an hourly rate for professional artists. The calculation was based on full time artists, assuming this was their own source of income. The article stated that any self respecting artist should charge a minimum of $75.00 for every hour that went into creating the piece. Keep in mind when reading this, the article I’m referring too was  written over ten years ago. In most instances, sand sculpture is created as a part of a performance in which spectators get to experience along with the artist, the creation process, struggles and passion of the piece. Few other mediums offer this opportunity to the spectator. This fact alone increase the over all value of your time. This is especially true if you are a great performer.

Travel and other expenses
Don’t forget to include these costs as part of your quote. Make this mistake and you could easily find yourself working for free after all the expenses are calculated. Typical project related expenses to include are travel (including ground transportation), lodging, and a daily meal stipend. Additionally, you must factor in all of your material expenses. Never assume that the client will know that these costs are above and beyond your cost of labor.

Ask a trusted source
If you’re still not sure what to charge for your work, don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted source. I stress the word ” trusted”. Calling a fellow sculptor who also happens to be your biggest competition may not be the best source. In the end it, will be entirely up to you what your time is worth. My advice is to be consistent, in your pricing as well as the consistency or your work. By doing this you will develop a loyal following of clients and most importantly, the respect of your peers.

Infinity

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