The Business of Longarm Quilting – Charge What You’re Worth

The-Business-of-Longarm-Quilting-Large

The hardest part of being a machine quilter is knowing what to charge. Is believing that you are worth it. Because you are.

Seriously, you are.

I have had many people tell me “oh, I can’t charge that much because there are so many local quilters who charge less.” THAT IS NOT A REASON FOR YOU TO CHARGE LESS. Someone else choosing that their time is worth nothing does not make your time worth nothing. So charge what you’re worth. If someone is not concerned with making money, you can’t compete with them anyways. People who want cheap quilting will always go to the cheapest person. You probably don’t want them as your customers anyways. So don’t compete on price.

How to Deal With Price Concerns

  • Clarify price concerns with questions. “What price were you expecting?” (Maybe you can quilt less densely, do an all over design or pantograph, and meet their price expectations).
  • Add value. Almost everyone is at a disadvantage when it comes to price — only one person can be the cheapest. So add value. Maybe you have a quick turn around time, you have mad skills, you’ve taken classes, have more thread choices, you’re a friendly person who doesn’t smoke or have pets around your machine, etc.
  • Don’t make price the focus of your sales pitch — focus on your turnaround time, your skills, and what you do great. Your customer will be so excited about how amazing you seem, the price won’t be such a big deal.
  • Price vs. quality– as with everything in life, the highest quality is not the cheapest. Yeah, if someone is a terrible longarm quilter, then they probably shouldn’t charge that much. But YOU aren’t terrible. You have quality. You put time and effort into making sure each quilt is done as well as it possibly can be. You get what you pay for.
  • DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR PRICE. State your prices in a confident and straightforward manner. Not even a hint of apology in your voice. You believe that your price is fair, and there is NO REASON to be sorry for it. And no being bullied into a lower price. This is your price. Stick with it.

Remember… someone came to YOU because they want you to quilt for them. They specifically want you. If they want super cheap quilting, they can do it themselves. Value yourself.

It is not your job to make someone else’s hobby affordable. You have so much invested– your machine itself is a huge investment, then you have the space the machine is in, time spent learning about your machine and how to quilt with it, both on your own and in classes. Not to mention the money you’ve spent on classes. You use electricity to run your machine. It all adds up quick. Not to mention, you are worth it. The is no “I’m not good enough to charge more” or “I’m not as good as so-and-so so I have to charge less. ”

If you are stressing out because your waiting list is too long… it’s time to raise your prices.

 

I’m lucky in that quilting is not my main source of income. So if someone decides I’m too expensive, that’s fine. I have enough people who are willing to pay my prices that I’m not worried when someone decides to go with someone else. And the honest answer — more than half the people who initially ask me to quilt for them, in the end decide that I’m too expensive. But I’m still booked 6 months in advance, so I’m not that worried. I refuse to work as hard as I work on a quilt and not be paid. Not to mention, that even at my current prices, I’m not making crazy money. I’m certainly not getting rich by quilting. I work in the evenings and weekends, taking away from time with my family, times I could spend just relaxing, and make barely more than minimum wage a lot of the time. So there is just no way I’m going to lower my prices. I quilt densely and that takes time. If you want something less expensive and quicker, then I’m not the quilter for you. And I’m not going to apologize for that.

When someone emails me to request that I quilt for them, I send them THIS information. And then they can decide if they want to proceed with the booking.

My basic rules for LAQ pricing (in $CAD)

  • You don’t even touch a quilt for less than $50
  • If you touch a ruler in your quilting process, $0.10/square inch or higher
  • If you change threads multiple times, $.02/square inch more than if you are using one thread colour.

 

 

You can read more about my thoughts on longarm pricing HERE.

 

That’s it for now! Later days!
Kathleen.

 

The Business of Longarm Quilting is Sponsored By

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10 responses to “The Business of Longarm Quilting – Charge What You’re Worth

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! I just started a longarm business about 2 months ago and am so grateful for all your insight & expertise!

  2. As usual, such great advice! I have no desire to be the cheapest option out there. That doesn’t mean I’m out to gouge people, but like you said, charge what we’re worth 😊. The type of person that is looking for the cheapest option isn’t usually an individual I want to deal with anyway – so it all works out 😉.

  3. Thank you for re-affirming my pricing, I make quilted shweshwe and leather handbags. I am not going to drop my price as it is very time consuming and labor intensive to create unique bags, I have learned by now that someone that wants a handbag created just for her will pay my asking price. Thanx for a great blog.

  4. I’m in complete agreement! Time is our life and I’m not giving it away for free. People go to quilt shows or browse beautiful quilts\quilting on the internet and want the same treatment on their quilt top…some understand the pricing and others suffer sticker shock. It can be hard to explain pricing by the square inch but convert that into an hourly wage and it can make more sense to people. For my skill level and speed I charge between $20=25.00 an hour this roughly translates to 10-15 cents per sq inch for custom quilting. However if your a super fast quilter your price per hour should be higher as you shouldn’t be “punished” for being fast! I learned my pricing the hard way, the first few custom quilts had over 70hrs with pricing that put me at $5 an hour! It’s not worth it! I didn’t feel good, as all my work wasn’t truly compensated for and I lost the clients when I placed my pricing appropriately. Thanks Kathleen for such well written post.

  5. Pingback: Cost of craft work | Rhonda Bracey: At Random·

  6. I also think that we have to encourage *everyone* to charge what their worth. So many of the quilt designers are giving their patterns away to companies for use, and expect that because they are doing the work for free, our rates should be less somehow. I am off to go take a hard look at my prices, because most of what I do is ruler work and custom and after reading this I know I am for sure not charging enough.

  7. Last year when I first read that you charged .10 psi I couldn’t believe it. That depressed me a lot. I sat for several days asking myself how the heck can she earn that much but I can’t. I’ve got 34 years experience for heavens sake! I knew you don’t really need the income so you can afford to be without customers if necessary. For me, a little income was better than no income because the alternative was homelessness. Yes, I am one of those who charges less. I’m no different than any other person who accepts a minimum wage job just to survive.

    I have several obstacles to overcome when it comes to getting customers. I live in an extremely high crime area. I live on the opposite side of our county from all fabric stores. There is a machine dealer very near all those fabric stores that has several machines to rent cheap along with free classes. There are other obstacles but I won’t bore you with them. Low prices are the thing that convinces customers to overlook the obstacles.

    Thank you for starting this series! Something you said made a light bulb turn on. You’ve given me ideas about how to earn a decent wage at last in spite of the obstacles. I’ll be making several business changes as soon as the Christmas rush is over. I hope you won’t mind if I ask questions?

    Looking forward to your next post.

    Anita

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