Life As An Itinerant Artist

Stories and anecdotes from fifteen years on the art show circuit. 

A Show Expense Estimator

The Forrest Gump Road

The cost of doing business at shows

It’s a tough business, and requires a lot of physical labor, long hours at the wheel getting to and from shows, and more than anything, it costs money to make money. It’s a long road, and before you set off down the path, you may want to figure out how much you can make at any given show.

This sheet will help you determine whether or not it’s worth it for you to do a specific show by estimating the downside costs and potential sales income. Plug in your own figures as indicated in the notes and the sheet will do the heavy calculations.

Before you do too many estimates, you’ll want to know what your manufacturing costs are. So gather up the following information:

  • Cost for each of your print sizes
  • Cost for each of your mat sizes
  • Framing costs, including glass or plexiglas for each of your sizes

For each show you do, you’ll want to know how much the booth fee and the application fee is, and how far you’ll have to drive to get there and back.

A Show Expense Estimator

You’ll need Microsoft Excel to open the file. There is no support supplied with the file — it’s merely a template to get you started. Making shows into a full-time business requires dedication, hard work and you’ll find that the road to the final destination is much longer than you had originally estimated.

Happy Trails!

October 16, 2006

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