How to Take Art Commissions and Protect Yourself
Ensuring Your Customer Likes It
One of the biggest concerns is what if your customer doesn’t like it? That could be a nightmare, you don’t want to do all the work over again, nor do you want to refund their money.
The best thing you can do is include your customer in ever step. Proofs are a great way to do this. Emailing proofs and getting confirmation in writing is always the best, so you always have proof of what they said. Email them a proof of the initial drawing, the first coloring’s, completed background, the characters, and so on until you reach the final step. Then send them a proof of the completed work. By sending all these proofs, they can’t say they didn’t expect it to head in that direction or they don’t like the color scheme, because they saw it every step of the way.
Keeping Track of Your Hours
Assuming you have decided to charge the customer by the hour, they may want proof that you put that many hours into the work. While there is no real way to prove that you did work that many hours. They will feel better if they get to see a detailed list. Use a spreadsheet, you want to record the date you worked on it, the hours you put into it on that day and what you did to the work.
Sending the Artwork
It might be a digital file, in which case you don’t have to worry about shipping. However maybe it’s a canvas or watercolor or jewelry, then you need to ensure you ship it right. First find a shipping company you feel safe with. You want to ensure they have an insurance policy (double check that it includes art). You also want to pay to have taht extra insurance and a tracking number. That way if it gets wrecked or lost, you get paid and the customer gets their money back. You’ll want to build these charges into the price of the commission.
Ensure that you have packed it just right, you can’t afford any damage, I doubt the shipping company will pay insurance on poorly packaged work. So make sure you have something sturdy to keep it flat and safe. Have corner protectors, wrap it in plastic to avoid water damage, extra padding, etc. Do whatever it takes. It will piss your customer off if it shows up damaged.
Getting Final Payment
So you’ve done the work and now you want the last payment. If you sent a final proof of the work, there is no reason why they shouldn’t pay you prior to them receiving the work. Besides you’ve shown them that you are hard working and committed to it. However, some people might not want to pay first. But even in shopping, like on etsy, people always pay first before receiving the final product. I wouldn’t really suggest sending the art out without receiving payment, it’s just not safe for you. Again try to use paypal.