This is a very common saying where I grew up. The more people there are doing a job, the easier that job is. The less time everyone spends doing that job. Teamwork makes the dream work! It’s cheesy to say and hear, but it’s true! So I am going to run you through an example.
One important saying is “Time is Money” and it’s true. Time is the only resource many people have, and we all have the same amount of hours in a day as the next person. Digital art, at the very least, technically only costs time. Sure, you have your upfront cost of buying a computer and the accessories to draw, and if you pay for your drawing program, there is also that, but otherwise the actual material cost is pennies worth in plastic for nibs, electricity, and the internet, all of which you likely already use if you’re a digital artist, unless you only use your computer to draw.
Other people like to throw the time it took to develop the drawing skill, but that’s objective. One person could spend 10 years learning how to draw and still be worse than someone who spent 5 years. Is the former worth more money than the latter in the eyes of a customer removing every other subjective aspect? No. People don’t like spending money, and will spend as little of it for the most they can get.
This has lead to a trend of artists charging less and less for their work so that they can remain competitive. They rely on customers being good people and paying more than they ask for to get a good wage. This has lead to artists who pay themselves a fair price suffering because they are being undercut by artists who undercharge themselves. It’s not uncommon to see artists telling other artists to charge more for their work because it’s worth more, and not realizing that if said artist does that, they would lose business to cheaper artists.
So how do we solve the problem? Well, let’s do some simple math.
You have 1 artist charging 100 dollars for a single character commission that takes them two hours to draw, but 8 hours to get the actual job.* They are only making 10 dollars an hour of work, but the customer is paying 50 dollars an hour of work for what they are getting. That’s a problem.
Now the artist is a part of the Studio. The Studio charges the customer 25 dollars an hour, but pays the artist 15 dollars an hour. Both the Artist and the customer wins, but now the Studio is working 8 hours for 20 dollars. That’s 2.50 an hour. Now the studio is getting shafted on that one artist.
But wait! That 8 hours, supports 10 artists! Now the Studio is making 25 dollars an hour! Now 10 customers are paying 25 an hour for two hours of work, 10 artists are getting paid 15 dollars an hour for 2 hours of work, and the studio is making 25 dollars an hour for 8 hours of work!
The Studio has 1 employee that isn’t an artist per 10 artists managing all 10 artists commissions, paying them 15 an hour just to deal with the 10 customers. From experience, that part is hour to hour. 20 hours of artist work generally equals 2 hours of negotiating.
The Studio, in 10 hours, made 500 dollars. 10 customers paid 50 dollars each.
The Studio paid 10 artists 300 dollars. 15 dollars an hour, 2 hours of work each, 30 dollars per artist.
The Studio paid one employee 30 dollars. 15 dollars an hour for 2 hours.
That leaves the studio with 170 leftover. About 150 of that goes to marketing and benefits, leaving 20 left over to be squirrelled away for future projects and taxes because taxes suck!
Now, let’s say we managed to get 160 hours in a month for all employees mentioned. That’s 160 times 11, which is 1760 hours. We wish! But for arguments sake.
That’s 44,000 dollars! that’s 2400 dollars for each employee, which is 26,400 dollars. That leaves the studio with 17,600 at the end of the month. We don’t like taxes though, and we only get taxed on how much money we have after expenses. Advertising is an expense. Benefit funds are an expense. Publicity events are an expense.
Though, eventually, we will get more people and make too much money to reasonably put into all those programs. Then we will start making money, and we will become an evil mega-corporation and everyone will hate us. Ah well, was fun while it lasted!**
*This estimate was made with a small sample group. To make it more accurate, contact [email protected] and tell us your experiences.
**This is a joke. This explanation as a whole does not delve into the complexity of actually running a business in depth. It is deliberately over simplified to get the point across, and because the writer isn’t smart enough to explain every facet of how this business benefits people. Or when to stop talking. I like the sound of my own voice, okay?!