Ever wanted to paint miniatures for money? Or perhaps you already do paint miniatures as a pass time hobby and are now wondering whether or not you can make money while at it. The good news is that you can make a good amount of money painting all sorts of miniatures.
Miniatures are small figurines used in role-playing games. They can be in the form of gaming pieces such as dragons, vehicles, accessories, furniture, dollhouses, bottles, and dungeons.
Miniature painting business
There are three levels of the miniature painting business. That is, the Low- Level, Mid-Level, and the Top Tier Level. If you are a beginner at painting miniatures, you might want to start on one level, preferably the Low Level before exploring the more advanced levels.
This level mostly consists of demo sets and tabletop miniatures. It is great for practicing speed painting as miniatures here mostly consist of one color. With this, you can take on as many sets as you can paint. With low-level painting, you can choose to sell the items as individual pieces or as a set.
At this level, the best option to move your painted miniatures is to sell them to your local game stores.
This is a great level in the sense of offering a variety of selling options. At this level, your best bet would be to sell the miniatures as individual pieces that are more profitable. If you cannot do this, then you can group them and sell them in sets of maybe five or ten pieces.
Top Tier Level
Selling options for this are limited therefore making it a high-risk level to venture in. However, if you have ready clients lined up, then this level is guaranteed to make you good profits. With this level, the miniatures produced are of very high quality and would look good on display cabinets or tabletops. This level is more about precision than speed.
Working at the top tier level requires you to do a lot of research on which miniatures are most profitable and how much they are priced at to help you choose what to work on and how to price them.
Selling painted miniatures
The miniature market is still reliable and growing despite the many new and advanced games available in the market today. Take for instance Warhammer, it is one of the biggest companies that sell miniatures and has recorded great sales over the past years. This means that selling miniatures is still a profitable niche to dive into.
Where to sell
The most conventional places painters sell their miniatures are on online platforms such as eBay, Etsy, Facebook ‘Buy and Sell’ groups, on Pinterest, and on Instagram.
With eBay and Etsy, you have to keep in mind that these sites normally deduct a certain percentage of your sale (about 5-10%) as a fee for allowing you to post on their website. Another thing is that there are a lot of similar products listed on these sites hence you have to ensure the prices on your painted miniatures are competitive.
Pinterest and Instagram and not quite reliable although when done correctly, they are a great platform for marketing your products and getting your clients.
Another option is to sell your craft at your local gaming stores. This is great for exposure as your painted miniatures will be showcased at the store.
A more unconventional option for selling your painted miniatures is to have your store, physical or online. With this, you get to retain 100% of the profit you get from selling your painted miniatures. The only disadvantage of this option is that you have to put in a lot of work into marketing your products because unlike on Ebay and Esty, you will be starting from scratch.
Tips on how to sell painted miniatures
Sell in bulk: Selling a single piece of miniature tends to be costlier in terms of fees charged and the shipping fee. It is therefore advisable to group your miniatures into related lots. This helps you save a lot on shipping fees. You need to be strategic about how many pieces will go into a single package. Not many people will want to buy a package with so many pieces in it
There is however an exception to this and that is with ready to play armies. With such, selling them in full packages makes more sense than selling individual pieces.
Market Research: before listing your miniatures on maybe eBay or Etsy, you should first conduct market research to see the prices and the market for other similar products. This is especially important to help you determine the price to set for your items. Generally, items that have low prices are likely to attract more buyers. Timing is another aspect that you need to research on. Do your research and find out what days and times most people tend to be on their computers or phones. This will be a good insight to determine when to post and be sure that many people will come across your post.
Listing: Online selling is all about image. It is therefore best to showcase your products with good quality images that cover all dimensions. With this, the client can be able to judge the quality of the item before making a purchase. Another important aspect here is your choice of words when describing your product. Avoid using words like cheap or pro-painted. These raise a lot of speculations about the products. Be specific about things like the material of the miniature (metal or plastic), the dimensions, shipping cost, etc.
How much you can make from painting and selling miniatures
Different types of miniatures tend to sell at different prices. A quick search of painted miniatures on sites such as eBay, Etsy, or Amazon will reveal the price of miniatures ranging from as low as $1 for an individual piece to $60.
The price range depends on a variety of factors such as cost of raw materials, level of demand of the item, the time and effort put into the work amongst other factors.
As much as there are no standard rates for miniatures, a professional miniature painter’s salary is estimated to be about $50,958 per year. This amount might however vary depending on individual sales throughout the year.
Making money from selling painted miniatures is a tricky business. The amount of time and effort you put into the work will not necessarily be in sync with the amount of money you might get from selling them. However, if you are a pro-painter, you are guaranteed to make a good sum of money with this business.