Mural Pricing & Negotiation: Strategies for Artists
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Evaluate your work and experience level
  2. Conduct market research
  3. Calculate materials and labor costs
  4. Consider overhead expenses
  5. Develop a pricing strategy
  6. Negotiate effectively with clients
  7. Create a contract
  8. Maintain ongoing client relationships

As a mural artist, setting the right price for your work and negotiating effectively with clients is an art in itself. This blog post aims to help you navigate the intricacies of pricing and negotiation for mural artists. We'll take you through a step-by-step process, from evaluating your work and experience, to maintaining ongoing client relationships.

Evaluate your work and experience level

Before you can even think about pricing and negotiation, you need to take a good, hard look at your own work and experience. Here's how you can do that:

Determine Your Skill Level

It's important to be honest with yourself about where your skills currently stand. Some artists are great at creating large-scale works, while others excel at intricate details. Here's a way to assess your own skill level:

  • Beginner: You're still learning the ropes, practicing techniques and honing your skills.
  • Intermediate: You're confident in your abilities and have a solid portfolio, but you're not quite a pro yet.
  • Advanced: You've mastered a wide range of techniques and styles, and your work consistently impresses.

Assess Your Experience

Experience isn't just about time—it's also about the range and quality of the projects you've completed. Consider these factors when assessing your experience:

  1. Number of completed projects: How many murals have you completed? More projects mean more experience.
  2. Variety of projects: Have you worked on different types of murals, from small indoor pieces to large outdoor works? Variety shows versatility.
  3. Client satisfaction: Have your clients been happy with your work? Positive feedback is a strong indicator of your expertise.

Compare Your Work

Finally, compare your work to that of other mural artists. This isn't about competition—it's about understanding where you fit in the artistic landscape. Look for artists with similar skills and experience levels, and see how your work stacks up against theirs.

By taking the time to evaluate your work and experience, you'll be in a stronger position when it comes to pricing and negotiating for your mural artistry.

Conduct Market Research

Now that you've evaluated your work and experience, it's time to get a sense of the market. Understanding your position in the mural artistry landscape is a key aspect of pricing and negotiation for mural artists.

Research Mural Prices

Start by researching what other mural artists are charging for their work. Try to find artists with a similar level of experience and skill to your own. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Hourly rates: Some artists charge by the hour. Keep an eye out for these rates—they can give you a benchmark for your own pricing.
  • Project rates: Other artists charge by the project. These rates can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the mural.

Analyze Client Budgets

Next, try to get a sense of what clients are willing to pay for mural artistry. If you've already worked with clients, think back to their budgets. What were they willing to pay for your services? If you're new to mural artistry, you might need to do a little more digging. Look at job postings for mural artists, and see what kind of budgets are listed.

Finally, look at the bigger picture. Are there certain styles or themes that are particularly popular right now? Are clients looking for eco-friendly materials or socially conscious themes? These trends can impact what clients are willing to pay.

By conducting thorough market research, you'll have all the information you need to set competitive prices and negotiate effectively with clients.

Calculate Materials and Labor Costs

Working out the cost of materials and labor is the next step in pricing and negotiation for mural artists. It's all about understanding your costs before setting a price for your work.


First, let's talk about materials. These are the physical items you need to create your mural—paints, brushes, scaffolding, and so on. Here's how you might tally them up:

  • Make a list: Write down every single item you'll need for your mural. Don't forget the small stuff—things like masking tape or cleaning cloths can add up!
  • Price it out: Once you have your list, find out how much each item costs. Be sure to include delivery fees if you're ordering items online.


Next, think about labor. This isn't just about how long it takes you to paint the mural. It's about all the work that goes into a project, from initial sketches to final touch-ups. Here's how to think about labor costs:

  • Estimate your hours: Start with the actual painting, but also include time spent meeting with clients, creating designs, setting up and cleaning up your workspace, and any other tasks related to the project.
  • Set an hourly rate: Decide how much your time is worth. This isn't just about making a living—it's about valuing your skill and expertise as an artist.

Remember, the goal here isn't just to cover your costs—it's to make a profit. By carefully calculating your materials and labor costs, you can ensure you're pricing your work in a way that reflects its true value.

Consider Overhead Expenses

Beyond materials and labor, there are overhead costs that play a significant role in the pricing and negotiation strategies for mural artists. Overhead expenses are the indirect costs associated with doing business. They might not be as visible as paints or brushes, but they're just as real.

Studio Rent and Utilities

Whether you're renting a studio or using a room in your home, there's a cost associated with the space you use to create your art. Don't forget about utilities like electricity, water, and internet either. Here's a quick way to account for these costs:

  1. Calculate your monthly expenses: Add up your rent and monthly utilities. If you work from home, estimate what portion of these costs relate to your work.
  2. Factor it into your pricing: Decide whether to include these costs in the price of each piece, or to spread them out over all your work.

Business Expenses

Running a business involves several other costs. These can include everything from marketing and website maintenance to insurance and professional development. Here's how to handle these expenses:

  1. Track your expenses: Keep records of all your business costs. This can help you see where your money is going, and it's essential for tax purposes.
  2. Include them in your pricing: Just like with your studio costs, decide how you want to account for these expenses in your pricing.

Remember, considering overhead expenses is an important part of the pricing and negotiation process for mural artists. By taking these costs into account, you can set prices that not only cover your direct costs but also contribute to the ongoing health of your business.

Develop a Pricing Strategy

Now that we've covered your overhead expenses, your next step in mastering pricing and negotiation for mural artists is to develop a solid pricing strategy. This strategy will guide you in setting fair and profitable prices for your work.

Price by the Square Foot

One common way of pricing murals is by the square foot. This method ensures you're compensated for the size of the project. It goes like this:

  1. Determine a base rate: This should cover your materials, time, and overhead expenses.
  2. Multiply by the size: Multiply your base rate by the number of square feet in the mural.

Value-Based Pricing

Another option is value-based pricing. This method involves setting prices based on the value your work provides. It might seem tricky, but you can follow these steps:

  1. Consider the value: Think about the impact of your mural. Will it attract more customers to a business? Add beauty to a public space? This value can justify a higher price.
  2. Set your price: Based on the value you've identified, set a price that reflects it.

Whichever strategy you choose, remember that it should reflect the quality of your work and the market rates in your area. It's all part of the art of pricing and negotiation for mural artists.

Negotiate Effectively with Clients

After locking in your pricing strategy, the next step is to ensure you can negotiate effectively with clients. Remember, negotiation is part of the process of pricing for mural artists. Here's how you can approach it:

Communicate Clearly

Clear communication is the key to successful negotiation. To ensure everyone's on the same page:

  • Explain your pricing: Walk your clients through the costs involved in your work. This includes materials, time, and any other factors contributing to your pricing.
  • Share your value: Help them understand the value they're getting. For instance, the aesthetic appeal and potential customer draw of a mural can significantly benefit a business.

Seek a Win-Win Outcome

Effective negotiation isn't about winning or losing—it's about finding a solution that benefits both parties. To do this:

  • Be flexible: Show willingness to adjust your prices within reason. If a client has a tight budget, consider offering a smaller mural or simpler design.
  • Maintain your standards: While it's important to be flexible, don't compromise the value of your work. Stand firm on a price that fairly compensates you.

Remember, negotiation is a skill that develops with experience. Keep practicing, and you'll find the balance between meeting client needs and maintaining the worth of your art.

Create a Contract

Once you've negotiated terms with your client, it's time to put everything in writing. A well-crafted contract is a crucial part of the pricing and negotiation process for mural artists. It helps protect both parties and sets clear expectations from the start.

Include All Necessary Details

When creating a contract, ensure it includes all necessary details:

  • Scope of Work: Outline the specifics of the project. This includes dimensions, location, and any specific designs or themes agreed upon.
  • Payment Terms: Detail your pricing, payment schedule, and accepted payment methods. It's also helpful to include what happens in case of late payments.
  • Timeline: Include a schedule for the project. Specify when work will begin, key milestones, and the expected completion date.

Protect Your Interests

A good contract also includes clauses to protect your interests as an artist:

  • Copyright Clause: Ensure you retain the rights to your work. This can allow you to use images of the mural in your portfolio or for promotional purposes.
  • Cancellation Policy: Include terms for what happens if the client cancels. This could involve a kill fee or partial payment for work already completed.

Creating a contract can seem daunting, but it's an important step in the pricing and negotiation process for mural artists. Consider consulting with a legal professional to ensure your contracts are comprehensive and fair.

Maintain Ongoing Client Relationships

After you've completed a mural and the client is happy with your work, it doesn't mean the relationship ends there. Maintaining ongoing client relationships can be beneficial for future pricing and negotiation for mural artists. Here's how you can cultivate these relationships effectively:

Stay in Touch

Don't let your clients forget about you. Reach out to them periodically:

  • Send updates: Share any news or recent projects. This keeps you on their radar and can lead to referrals or repeat business.
  • Ask for feedback: A simple email asking for feedback about their experience can show you value their opinion and are always looking to improve.

Offer Maintenance

Murals are exposed to the elements and over time, they might need some touch-ups. Offering a maintenance service not only provides an additional revenue stream, but also gives you a reason to stay in contact with clients.

Request Referrals

Happy clients are likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. Don't be shy to ask for referrals. It's a cost-effective way to attract new business and it speaks volumes about your reputation and the quality of your work.

Remember, pricing and negotiation for mural artists doesn't stop at the point of sale. By maintaining ongoing client relationships, you can ensure a steady stream of business and create a network of satisfied customers who can vouch for your excellent work.

If you're looking to expand your knowledge on mural pricing and negotiation, don't miss the workshop 'Creative Mixed Processes: From Traditional Sketches to Large Murals' by Bryan Sánchez M. This workshop will not only help you refine your artistic skills but also provide valuable insights on how to effectively price and negotiate your mural projects. Take your art to new heights and bring your creative vision to life with this amazing workshop!