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Paying by Commission or by Monthly Fees: Which would You Choose?

When picking a website or online service to display your art, you’ll usually have to choose between paying a small fee each month or paying a percentage of every sale you make through the website.

Occasionally a company will mix the two together, or have a limited “free” service, but those are rare.

The thing is, most of us are already used to art galleries taking a percentage, or commission, on the sale of our art—usually between 40-50% of the sale. But with the rise of the internet, there are now online galleries with lower commission rates, or with monthly fees instead.

So do artists still prefer the commission-based payment plan? That’s the question I asked this week, and so far the answer is “yes” by a fairly strong margin. (You can see the current poll results at the bottom of this article.)

Personally, I’d tend to agree with the majority on this one. I don’t want to pay someone anything unless I’ve gotten something in return—in this case, a sale.

But on the other hand, companies that charge monthly fees can usually provide better services, more features, etc, because they DO have that steady income each month. So I understand both sides.

And the online art galleries which accept ALL artists, regardless of skill level or history of past sales. . . well, they pretty much have to charge a monthly fee or they’re likely to go out of business.

For that reason alone, my guess is that more and more companies will back away from offering commission payment plans down the road. It’s just too risky, at least from a business standpoint.

Of course, the online art market is still fairly new. . . and I suppose, at any moment, another innovative service could came out of nowhere and totally turn the game around for artists. A new way to pay, a new angle for selling art—anything’s possible.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that one. : )

In the meantime, if you’re an artist and you haven’t voted yet, please do. We’d love to hear your opinion.

When it comes to displaying and selling your art through an online gallery, would you prefer paying a small monthly fee (whether you sell anything or not) or a commission fee only when you do?
View Results

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

This week's poll was a simple one—what artistic medium do you like the best? Originally I asked this question because I'd like to try and post more articles on the subjects that you’re all interested in. . . but it's also just fun to see what types of artists visit EmptyEasel. The results are below. Feel free to vote if you haven't yet! {democracy:15} . . . read more

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