Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma
Should you charge for patterns or offer them for free? That is the question many designers struggle with. It’s even been a popular topic in some crochet groups, and it can become a heated discussion at times. Before you make any decisions there are a few things to consider.
Welcome to Part 7 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.
Should You Charge for Patterns?
The Free vs. Paid Dilemma
Should you charge for your patterns? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, it’s more of a preference. But there are some things you should at least think about and consider. The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’re just sharing your patterns as a hobby or do you want this to be a business? If it’s going to be a business venture then you need to decide how you’re going to make money (Ex: Are you going to have a website set up, or if you’re going to use a site like Ravelry for your patterns, or even both). There are various reasons each designer chooses the path they take. If this is your hobby, you can pretty much choose either without recourse. For today’s purposes, I’m only going to list one very obvious difference that comes from a business perspective.
When a designer offers their patterns for free, the majority of the time they have ads on their website and that’s where their income comes from. I personally decided from the very beginning that I did not want ads on my website. (I do have a few affiliates which is slightly different.)
When a designer charges for their patterns it is because they are charging for their work, and not relying on outside sources of income. I charge for my patterns – this is my business and I need to make money – but I do from time to time offer a free pattern on my website, or even coupon codes for a discount or free pattern.
Another thing to consider is this – most paid patterns will be tested and possibly even tech edited. That cost is somehow left to the designer if they don’t charge when they sell them.
There are always exceptions, but the majority of designers I know would fall into one of those 2 reasons. Whichever way you decide to offer your patterns just make sure you believe in your decision because you will always have those who will not agree with you or question it. Stand firm and know you’re doing what’s right for you and your business.
For more on this series, read:
Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters