Happy 2016 and a Situation

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2016 filled with LOTS of customer quilts for you to work on!

January is typically a slow(er) month for machine quilters. This is the time to take a break and re-charge yourself, clean your quilting room (mine is a disaster), work on some of your own projects, and maybe make some samples of new techniques and patterns you have acquired last year. You can then offer these new patterns and techniques to your customers at a higher fee!

The start of a new year is a great time to raise your prices! Even if it is only half a cent raise, at least it is a raise. If you are normally charging one and a half cents per square inch (,015), change it to two cents per inch (.02). You just gave yourself a raise – which you deserve!

You also do NOT have to let your customers know that you are raising your prices. Just do it! The next time your customer comes to you, quote them the new, higher price and don’t say anything about it. I will bet that your customer won’t even notice the difference.

Here are some numbers – A Queen Size quilt, 90 x 108 inches = 9720 square inch (psi). The old price of .015 cents psi would equal $145. The NEW price of .02 cents psi equals $194.40, which I would round up to either $195 or $200.

By raising your price by one half a cent, you just gave yourself a $50 raise! And, if you quilted 5 Queen Size quilts per month, you would have an extra $250 for doing the same kind and same amount of work you did in the past!!

I now want to change subjects completely.

I have been talking and emailing with a professional machine quilter and she has a very unique situation. With her permission, I am going to outline what her problem is and see if you have any suggestions to help her.

This quilter lives in a medium sized metropolitan city. The area she lives in, over the last many years has changed considerably and it now considered “un-safe to live in” (her words) and her customers don’t and won’t come to her home to drop off their quilts.

She has enough customers, does quality work, charges a very good price for her services and needs her quilting income to help support herself.

Because her area is has a high crime rate, she has no vehicle (too many times her car was stolen or vandalized) and must use public transportation to get around. If needed, she can – and has – rented a car for the day, but must travel by bus to the car rental office.

She is in the process of moving to a different, safer location, but that is still several months away, if everything works out well.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for her and her situation? If you do, please write them in the comments section.

I have given her some suggestions (I’ll post them later) and now we both would like to hear from you.

This quilter does subscribe to this blog and will be reading your comments.

I thank you in advance for any thoughts, suggestions or comments.

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About Cindy Roth
Mother of 3, Grandmother of 11 and quilting forever!

15 Responses to Happy 2016 and a Situation

  1. Pingback: Situation Update | Machine Quilting Business

  2. wandaquilter says:

    For transportation, Uber is the newest thing. My 24 yo daughter uses it often when she is going out with friends. She doesn’t drink much but NEVER drives after. She loves the way they have Uber set up and has never felt unsafe. She is always alone when she gets dropped off too. She should check it out.

  3. Caryn S says:

    I agree with the meeting people at safer location like a coffee or quilt shop. Does she have a business card to allow people to contact her? Where did she get her steady clients? Is it a shop that she already uses and create a relationship there to allow drop off/pickup?

    I also suggest that she start collecting a mailing list of all her steady clients to let them know where she is moving once that location comes through. She may also consider creating a flier and place it in with the quilts for her newer clients with the new location.

  4. Kim Brening says:

    Have her offer a “special” if her customers wait until she is moved to get their quilts quilted.

  5. Veronica says:

    Would shipping the quilts be an option? She can send a “drop box/empty prepaid box” to client and then ship back to client when done? If she sets up a Fedex or UPS account, she can send preprinted slips to her clients- with a deposit. Just a thought.

  6. Leeanne says:

    Thank you Cindy, I always enjoy your posts. I live in rural New Zealand, only a small percentage of my customers come to my home. Local people have two quilt shops that they can drop off/pick up their quilts from, the others post to me. Many of my customers live way outside my area and they post, when the quilt arrives I let them know. We have usually had email and or phone conversations about the quilt/s. I have also worked in with customers to met at the library or coffee shop. Best wishes and luck!

  7. njreaders says:

    Meet at third party site such as at a friend’s or quilt shop. Make sure customer knows this is temporary by including a card saying ‘stay tuned for our new permanent address’. Review, and increase if necessary, insurance coverage for quilts on site.

  8. njreaders says:

    It definitely sounds as though she needs to meet clients at a third party site, perhaps at a friend’s house or at a quilt shop. She can use Uber to get back and forth with the quilts. She also needs to check on her insurance coverage for said quilts as it sounds like they are going to be at a higher risk of being stolen. I would also make a card to include with customer’s orders, saying something like ‘stay tuned for our new permanent address’ so she doesn’t lose clients before she moves .

  9. My suggestion would be to meet with the customer at a nearby quilt or fabric shop. It would be safe and the shop shouldn’t mind because it will bring in prospective customers. You should check with the shop though before telling your customers to meet you there.

  10. Leslie H. says:

    I live in a mountainous area and most of my customers do not want to drive to my home studio. I meet them at a local quilt shop or a coffee shop. If you plan well, you can make all of your meetings at the quilt shop in one day (both pick-ups and drop-offs) maybe about once a month. Part of this is “training” your customers to also plan ahead and reserve dates for their quilts a month or two in advance.

  11. Leslie Aflatooni says:

    I would suggest maybe sending and returning quilts through the post office. Get a po box though so they aren’t stolen off the porch. It may not be convenient but would work for a short term situation.

    Another option would be to meet somewhere else like a local quilt shop or even a Starbucks.

  12. Glenna says:

    I have two thoughts.
    1. Work out a drop off at a quilt store and then use email or phone for quotes etc.
    2 Perhaps she has a friend who would be her liaison and deliver quilts to her once or twice a week.

  13. SMW says:

    I have a store front for the longarm but do not work weekends and frequently am away for a week or two at a time. I have developed a great relationship with a local quilt store to have customers drop off/pick up quilts at her store. She is happy to provide service as it brings quilters into her store and she can’t deny that is a good thing. My customers simply drop off with any specific instructions and when I return I collect and contact them. If picking up a quilt the invoice is attached and a cheque or cash is left at the store.
    If this gal could strike such a relationship, she could perhaps go to it once or twice a month using a vehicle……

  14. barbara stroup says:

    If there is a convenient UPS store or post office, she could resort to that, and offer to pay postage and insurance both ways.
    She could also make arrangements with a willing quilt store to use their space to set up client meetings, then use UPS to both pick up (from that quilt store location) and deliver to her home. Unwieldy, but better than nothing.

  15. Kathy Harris says:

    Is the quilter able to meet her clients at a coffee shop or other safe location? I do this sometimes when my client is coming from a far distance, gives me a chance to get out, grab a sandwich or shop. Sometimes I meet at a quilt shop.

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