My 1st Commision, How much do you think its worth?

SnailBait

New Member
IMG_1845.JPG IMG_1847.JPG IMG_1849.JPG IMG_1852.JPG

Hi, new member here. I have just about finished my first commision, which can be seen in the images above to be a gears of war lancer. But I dont really know how much its worth,or how much people would expect to pay for it, and would be really intersting in hearing peoples thoughts.

The prop itself is fully (well mostly) 3d printed and is done entirely in PLA as this is all I can reliably print with at the min. It weights about 4-5KG took approx 200hours total printing time and Ive been working on it for about 5-6 months gradually. It also cost me about £250 to make, give or take £50, I didnt accurately take note, its being made for a
mate of mine so the relationship with the customer is somewhat informal.

Thanks in advance to anyway who takes the time to help xD
 

Valor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So, it's a little odd for you to complete a half-year commission for a customer without ever discussing price. You mentioned this is for a friend, but still. You REALLY run the risk of being on entirely different pages on this.

For your second, and subsequent commissions be sure to agree upon a price BEFORE you spend a minute on the project and before you buy a single supply. If possible, get that agreement in writing.

That said, the question of "What is this worth" is something you're going to have to answer. It's something I struggle with for every piece I create and sell. I tend to think it comes down to three things:

1) Materials Cost – How much do you need to spend to make AND ship the final product. And this means everything. Materials, fasteners, paint, tape, glue, sandpaper, brushes, tools you'll need to purchase, shipping supplies and postage cost. You can really lose money on a project if you don't take time to estimate every single thing.

2) Time –First: What's your time worth? This is different for everyone. This is time away from your friends and family. You deserve to be compensated for it. Second: How much time do you think this will take to complete? But you need to get good and understanding how much time tasks take you and what you want to be reimbursed for.

3) Value – If you're just billing on Time and Materials you're missing your value. Check out similar props that people are selling. Is your's better quality? How much do they charge? Is yours of better or lower quality? .. And the big question: "How much profit to I want to make after the sale of this item?" ... or, What would make this project worth your while?

Your rifle is amazing. Clearly you put a TON of time, love and talent into it.

Good luck.
 
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SnailBait

New Member
Hi Valor. Thankyou for taking the time to reply its much appreciated.

An I agree it is odd that I did'nt seek to agree on any kind of price prior to starting the build. This was simply due to not having any clue as to how long it would take me to build or how much it would cost, or even if I could do it, this was literally the 3rd replica weapon I made and the first 2 were small personal projects. I made sure he understood it wouldnt be cheap and the agreement was simply that I would make it and if we could agree a price at the end it was his, if not I would keep it, hes a buddy so I could get away with an informal arragement. I was mainly motivated by using it as a learning experience rather than actually seeking to make any money.

Hence I am now at the point of agreeing a price and so was thinking more of market value in my question. All three of your points are %100 on, I definitly underestimated how much time and money it would take me to build and did'nt accurately record how much of either I spent, so I will be taking your advice and not making that mistake again. Likewise I will be organising myself in the future and agreeing on prices beforehand.

Finally your 3rd point links perfectly into the market value aspect. The reason I am primarliy concerned with market value here rather than being also concerned with personal investment is simply because I consider the personal investment to be far higher than it need be had I been more experienced when I started the project, hence I am not concered with charging him for that, I could'nt possibly charge him for 6 months of work (albeit part time). After all I would essentially be charging him for my education.

However taking your 3rd point into account I guess what you are saying is specifically that the market value is determined by what else is on offer, the competition, and that I should do some "market research". So thankyou I think I will do just that xD.

Perhaps then I should refine my question and ask what price this kind of commision work normally sells for. How much would I expect to pay if I were to go to an already establisbed prop maker and ask them to build the above? Or a similar scale rifle. Or is this so dependent on the work itself that it's impossible to say?

But anyway I will wrap this up. Thanks again for the taking time xD
 

Kokanee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You should cast that in some molds and crank out a limited run to garner some extra cash with that model; it's fantastic looking.
 

SnailBait

New Member
Thanks. I modelled it in fusion 360 using the tri-force lancer as a reference. I had actually tried my hand at making matrix molds at the start of the project and came to the conclusion it was far to pricey for me at the time. But maybe I should look into again xD.
 

Kokanee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Smooth on makes some excellent molding products, although i reckon you'll need to jacket them for an item that big.
 

Gordon Gekko

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks. I modelled it in fusion 360 using the tri-force lancer as a reference. I had actually tried my hand at making matrix molds at the start of the project and came to the conclusion it was far to pricey for me at the time. But maybe I should look into again xD.


That's one thing you have to get over with mold making. It seems expensive, but for about the same or less cost that you have in the original (£250) you can make a first rate mold. Once you have that done, you can then cast in hours what took you months to make. And if you do your molds right, each one will be as perfect as the original.

Honestly, you can't charge a fair price for an original, one off like you have made. Even if you only charged for print time you would be looking at well over $1000.
 

DylanRose

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
$1200-1500 would be generous. Time is money. The finish and paint look really great and i've seen similar quality/size go for much more. $1200 for a handmade prop of that scale would be a good deal for your client, keeping in mind that that's still probably well-below minimum wage if you factor in the hours that you spent on this thing.

Really great work though, that looks fantastic!
 

chrisnupp

Member
For my non-commissioned pieces (meaning I make a batch of something and sell them online) I have a rule of thumb in place. Cost of materials + $15 per hour of work (not including paint/glue drying times). Have to keep track of how many hours it took to build. That's what I do, and people don't bat an eye at prices with me.

With commissioned work i've found it easiest to get a quote from your client of what they are willing to spend. Either you make do with the budget you're given and write up a quick and dirty contract with set amount and a time for completion. OR you tell your client their budget is not a realistic amount for the materials, research, and building of the prop and you give them a quote and go back and forth until a number is reached (like haggling). If you can't reach a number you both like, he or she is free to contact someone else. It's all business in the end.
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
I would maybe look on Etsy or eBay for something similar to see what they are selling for. What I've thought something I made was worth, and what similar things were going for were very different. Also if it's too close to a licensed version, people would probably go for the licensed version.
 

Valor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great conversation. Just to clarify for SailBait ... I don't believe market value is determined by what other people are offering. Market value is determined by what someone is willing to pay you for something. You might be offering something at a higher or lower quality than what others are. Or there just might not be the interest in the product you're selling.

What you made is a piece of art. Price it accordingly.
 
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SnailBait

New Member
Thanks eveyone who has chimed in an offered advice, it's much appreciated.

So I guess the answer to my question can be summarised in Valors first post; the price of a prop is determined by factors 1, 2 & 3 as he outlined and that these factors produce common price points of $1000+ for professionally made commision work, especially work on the scale a full size replica rifle.

And thanks everyone for the advice on how to arrive at pricing in the future. It is clear I should do much better accounting of spent resources (time and money) and negotiate prices before beggining work. xD

P.S thanks also for all the compliments on my work, its genuinely very motivating to know that the work I am doing is well recieved xD.
 

SnailBait

New Member
Well I have sort of been modelling for years, but not really. Arguably the first thing I did was modelling levels in a PS3 game called little big planet when I was a teen, I got pretty good too, hence I am ok at "sculpting" shapes in software. But other than that I dabbled in blender about five years ago and I modelled basic stuff in design spark mechanical whenever I wanted to print things. I actually learnt fusion 360 specifically to model the lancer. So I wouldnt really say I have any real experience, certainly not proffesionally xD.

But since you asked, heres some picks of the model in fusion 360 xD
3D Model Progress 9.JPG 3D Model Progress 9B.JPG
 

avagoyamug

Active Member
Mate, I'm a modeller for a living, and if that is what you build in your free time, without any professional background, you should really consider making something out of that talent, you clearly have! Keep it up!
 

SnailBait

New Member
Thanks man, I do intend on making a lot more 3d printed guns xD so I will be doing something with whatever ability I have xD.
 
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Well I have sort of been modelling for years, but not really. Arguably the first thing I did was modelling levels in a PS3 game called little big planet when I was a teen, I got pretty good too, hence I am ok at "sculpting" shapes in software. But other than that I dabbled in blender about five years ago and I modelled basic stuff in design spark mechanical whenever I wanted to print things. I actually learnt fusion 360 specifically to model the lancer. So I wouldnt really say I have any real experience, certainly not proffesionally xD.

Happy to see a fellow LBP vet on the forum, finally!
I've just started modeling myself; fooling around in Blender. Nothing actually good yet, unfortunately...
It's amazing to see what can come with some hard work and practice, really helps folks like me not to get too discouraged early on :p

What would you say helped you most to get to the point you're at now?
 

SnailBait

New Member
Happy to see a fellow LBP vet on the forum, finally!
I've just started modeling myself; fooling around in Blender. Nothing actually good yet, unfortunately...
It's amazing to see what can come with some hard work and practice, really helps folks like me not to get too discouraged early on :p

What would you say helped you most to get to the point you're at now?

I dont really know tbh. I certainly never planned anything. I always liked making stuff and being creative, and I always invested a lot of time and energy into doing it because I loved it so much. But I never knew what I wanted to do/make, so the things I would make would change all the time as I haphazedly pursued whatever I was interested in at the time. For example playing LBP made me interested in modelling, so I learnt a bit of blender, which then lead me to want to make games, so I learnt c++ and made some basic games, that then lead to electronics and robotics, which then lead to 3D printing which then lead me here, to prop making. And there were countless other distractions along the road, like for a while I spent far too much time making model cities in sim city 4 haha xD.

So I guess the thing that got me here, the thing that most helped, was simply interest in a broad range of things and enjoyment of being creative, since pursuing all the things I have over the years meant that when I got here I already had alot of the skills I needed to get me started.

Probably not the most useful answer haha. I guess the point would be that it just takes persistant work and practice, and if you truly enjoy what you are doing you will find you will get there xD.

On another note, what is it that you want to model? and what is your application? If its non-organic things like guns I would really recommend you take a look at fusion 360. Blender is a vertex modelling program which is great for organic shapes like faces but somewhat inefficient for non-organic things like guns and machines. Fusion 360 is a parametric modelling program, where rather than manipulating individual vertices you describe shapes as a sequence of mathematical operations. For shapes that can be described that way it is much quicker.

It also depends on your application though. If your modelling for games I would stick with vertex modelling software like blender. I model for 3D printing and general design work thus fusion 360 is better for me xD.
 
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