The Business of Longarm Quilting - Answering Some Questions

The-Business-of-Longarm-Quilting-Large WEDNESDAY! Wednesday is the weirdest name for a day of a week I think. Just sayin'


I've enjoyed all the questions and comments on the past posts, so much! Today I thought I'd address some of them.

Q:If you get quilts late, could you charge customers a fee for rushing it? Just a thought. I think that’s fair. - quiltyhabit A: I do usually charge a rush fee when quilts arrive late, anywhere from $75-$150 depending on the size of the quilt and how late it is.

Q:Can you address when you have quoted a price and the customer ups the custom quilting (and the price), you tell them the price is going up and they say fine, until they get the bill!!? How do you charge for partial bobbins? - farmquilter A: I've never had anyone dispute the cost after I've finished quilting. But the answer... I have their quilt. I state in my contract the charges and that the quilt will not be returned until the invoice is paid... so I have there quilt, and they don't get it back until I get paid. Final answer. As for partial bobbins -- if the bobbin is mostly empty then I'll charge for it, but if it's still fairly full, then I don't. I try to err on the side of the client. The $2.50 that I get per/bobbin is not going to make or break me if I round down, so I try to give my customers a bit of a break here.

Q: How do you handle the opposite of cancellations. The rush order quilts for customers who want it done right away and are willing to pay double? What does that do to your two week scheduling? NaNa A: Honest answer, this has never happened to me. Likely, it would depend on my schedule. I only book 2 quilts a month, because I can easily quilt two quilts a month. So if there isn't much happening in my life outside of quilting, then I'd likely accept. I do try to leave some open time around Quilt Market, as I know  many of those quilts are booked last minute.

Q: Would you please explain what you mean by a Paypal invoice? Is that something you’ve set up through your Paypal account or just allows them to use Paypal to pay. - NaNa A: In PayPal there is a tab called "Invoicing" and I use this to create an itemized invoice for each quilt I longarm.

Q: How do you handle customers who add blocks to their quilt backs, which then have to be centered, etc. I’ve had several like this lately and they can be a pain! Thinking I should have an additional charge for that… - Andrea A: I don't. I will not guarantee that piecing on the back will be centred. It is too hard to guess the movement on the top to do this. I treat a pieced back the same as an un-pieced back, and the piecing on the back ends up where it ends up. I don't have the time or patience to be fiddling with this.

Q:Any suggestions on how to handle the Credit Card processing fee? - Jeannie A: This one got a lot of comments on the blog, and I was surprised to find how strongly I felt about it :D. Here's the deal -- when you go to any store, whether it's your local quilt store, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, whatever, when you use your credit card, the business you used it at is going to be charged a processing fee. It's part of the cost of doing business. In my quilt store I don't charge people more for paying with a credit card, and so I don't charge extra in my longarm business for using a credit card. It is simply a cost of doing business. If I'm quilting for someone in a different country, there is no way they are going to mail me cash, and so credit card is the only way that I can make my business viable. So if I want to have a business, I have to accept Credit Cards, which means I'm going to have processing fees. Such is life. Charge what you're worth and the credit card fee's won't be the end of you.

Q: I think in one of the posts somewhere it stated that you trim the quilts and the customer gets none of their excess batting/backing back…why is that? - Monica A: There are two reasons I do this. One, is to save on shipping costs of sending excess fabric back. The second is to avoid having excess backing sent to me. I had several quilts in a row with meters of extra fabric that I had to trim off before I could load it, and so I implemented this plan. If a customer really wants their trimmings back I am happy to oblige.

Q: Hi Kathleen!  I was wondering what you feel the benefits of a website versus a Facebook page are? - Andrea A: A Facebook page is a great way to connect with clients and potential clients, and provide snippets of information. However, it is much easier on a proper website to provide more information that easier to navigate. I can easily have my blog, my booking process & costs on my website, and always have them visible. Information I post on my blog over time moves down the page until it is no longer very easy to find. I think it's important to have both.

I think that addresses all the questions I got! If you have any more, please leave a comment! Later days! Kathleen.