Experience and fees

More experienced artists will command a higher rate than recent graduates, just as in other forms of employment; the tricky element in this is that there is no defined ‘career progression’ in the visual arts, so there is nothing to base an increase in rates on other than your increasing experience.

Every year you have more experience, so you could arguably raise your rates (fractionally) every year – most public sector jobs will attract a very modest annual increase (academia, for example, currently attracts 1-1.5% increases each year).  This needs to be balanced by ongoing relationships with organisations who may be put off by increasing rates – remember you can only negotiate your rate down, not up, so start a little higher than you would expect and work your way down during negotiations.

Some things to consider when thinking about your experience:

  • How long have you been practising as an artist?
  • Have you taken part in similar projects in the past?
  • Have you led projects, or administered them, or just been ‘employed’ to work on other’s projects?
  • What transferable skills do you have?  Transferable skills might be computer literacy, administration, working in a team – general skills that can be used in a variety of contexts
  • Are you ‘recognised’ in the art world – have you had exhibitions, residencies, commissions or critical reviews?
  • The organisation you may be working with could have a policy of annual staff salary increases, and may therefore be happy to negotiate an increase in your fee if you have an ongoing relationship with them.

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