You Don’t Have to Justify!

A few weeks ago I was teaching a class about the “business end” of a machine quilting business. In this class, along with a lot of other things, I talked about offering additional services, such as binding quilts, to your customers. In my opinion, binding quilts is not that hard to do and you can make a fair amount of $$ at binding quilts.

In my quilting business I have four different pricing levels for binding. They are –

Binding #1, $2.50 perimeter foot – Trim the quilt, make the binding (straight binding, cut selvedge to selvedge) and apply the binding to the front of the quilt using my home sewing machine. The customer is responsible for hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.

Binding #2, $3.00 perimeter foot – Trim the quilt, make the binding (see above) stitch the binding to the quilt, front and back, using my home sewing machine. (This binding in totally applied with the home sewing machine.)

Binding #3, $3.50 perimeter foot – Same as Binding #1 except that I hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt.

Binding #4, individually priced – This is Custom Binding such as bias binding, piped binding or any other type of binding that is different from Bindings #1 – 3. There is no “upper limit” to the price on this type of binding.

Example – a Queen Size quilt is 90 x 108 inches (the size of a pre-cut Queen Size batting) which equals 33 perimeter feet. (90 +108 x 2 divided by 12 inches per foot = 33 perimeter feet) Of course, the number of perimeter feet would be different on different sizes of quilts.

Using the example above my prices would be –

Binding #1 – $82.50 – and it takes me about an hour to make and apply this binding
Binding #2 – $99 – it takes me about 1-1/2 hours to make and apply this binding
Binding #3 – $115.50 – it takes me at least 2-1/2 hours, probably more, to make and apply this binding.
Binding #4 – is not included in this example.

I stated that of the customers who have me apply binding, they usually chose Binding #2. And, I love the $$ I can make applying Binding #2!

Everyone in the class seem receptive to the idea of charging for binding and for the prices I was suggesting.

Note: If you are NOT offering binding services to your customers, please think about doing so!

I would also like to say that in my business, only about 15 – 20% of my customers have me put the binding on their quilts. I don’t tell my customer how much time it will take to apply the binding to their quilt – I also don’t tell my customers how much time it has taken me to complete the quilting on their quilt.

A few days ago I received an email from one of the students in that class. Among other things, she stated that, in her opinion, I was “gouging” my customers in my pricing for my binding, mainly because it takes me such a short time to apply a binding (Binding #2)!

Fair warning – I am going to rant for a little bit!

In my classes, I tell people how I run my machine quilting business. I am not saying that my way is the “best” way or the “right” way to do things – it is the way that is working for me, at this moment in time. YOU are an independent small business owner. If you feel that my prices are too high or too low, you can charge what YOU want in YOUR business! I am NOT going to come and re-possess your quilting machine, or do harm to your quilts if you don’t charge the same as what I charge!

Here is a definition of “price gouging” from

Price Gouging – The practice of raising prices on certain types of goods and services to an unfair level, especially during a state of emergency.

Also on the same page is this –

In most states with price gouging laws, the act is defined by the presence of three criteria:

Emergency or Crisis Situation – applies to abrupt price increases during a time of disaster or other emergency
Essential Items or Services – applies exclusively to items or services that are essential to survival
Price Limit – sets a limit on the price that can be charged for essential goods or services

In my mind, “gouging” the customer is also when you are the ONLY person in an area who can do “something” and you charge a huge amount of $$ to do so.

Personally, I don’t think my charges for my binding services fall within the legal definition of price gouging. (I am not a lawyer – if you are, and I’m wrong, please let me know.)

I do feel that something should be said about experience. I have been applying binding on my own quilts and customers quilts for well over 20 years. I am efficient at applying binding and I almost have a “system” when I do so. Because I can apply the binding efficiently in a relative short period of time should I charge LESS for my binding services? I say No!

The same could be said for my quilting. Because I can quilt some patterns efficiently and in a relatively short period of time, should I charge LESS for those quilting designs? Again, I say NO!!

Here is an example in my own life – In my backyard I have a tree limb that is broken and hanging in the branches of the tree. It is about 20 – 30 feet in the air. I am afraid that someday this branch will fall and wipe out my fence and possibly hurt someone or the neighbors dog. I can’t reach the branch, my son can’t fix this, neither can the handy man I hire on occasion. I have to hire an arborist to come and get this dead branch out of my tree. I will have to pay him $$, probably a lot, to fix this for me. He has experience doing this and will probably get it done in a short amount of time. Is the price he will charge me “gouging”? Probably not. Will I pay his price, YES! Will I grumble about it, possibly. But the job will be DONE!! And I don’t have to worry about that branch anymore! (He is coming and fixing the tree on Saturday.)

If my customer is willing to pay the $$ for me to bind their quilt, it is their choice. I do a good job and the job is done well. In my opinion, it is NOT gouging!

I am now finished with my rant and I hope that you will feel free to post your comments about this.

About Cindy Roth
Mother of 3, Grandmother of 10 and quilting forever!

11 Responses to You Don’t Have to Justify!

  1. Peg says:

    Very well said,

  2. Tina Seevers says:

    Thank you for your informative post. I am looking to start a business in a few months, and I had considered offering binding services but was on the fence. Your information shows this is a viable option to earn additional money for my skills. I believe that you are entitled as a business owner to offer a service, and I as a customer am entitled to either pay for that service or perform the service myself. Your rates seem very fair. I have seen other quilters charge very similar. Again thank you for the wonderful information.

  3. Janet Conte says:

    I can’t believe anyone who took one of your classes would say something so hurtful and insulting! I don’t quilt as a business but strictly for myself and when I think of the amount of time and effort involved in any phase of the operation I am surprised that people who do it for money don’t charge more for their services. People who do think the services are too expensive are always free to quilt and bind their quilts themselves

  4. Diane Norden says:

    Cindy, I too agree with you. I had a person tell me that I charged more than the other long arm quilter in my area. My response to her was that you are welcome to take your quilt to whomever you want, but these are my charges. She decided she wanted me to quilt her quilt – and has come back again!

  5. Leslie aflatooni says:

    Hi Cindy I don’t think you are price gouging at all on your binding prices. In fact I think they are too low! I charge more than you do and not one person has ever complained. I only have a handful of customers do the binding mostly because they hate to do it! The last year or so I have contracted binding services out because I’m too busy. I have two stay at home moms who do it and they need the extra $ so I’m happy to have them do it.

  6. Mariann deTracy says:

    Bravo, Cindy!

    On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 5:55 PM, Machine Quilting Business wrote:

    > Cindy Roth posted: “A few weeks ago I was teaching a class about the > “business end” of a machine quilting business. In this class, along with a > lot of other things, I talked about offering additional services, such as > binding quilts, to your customers. In my opinion, binding” >

  7. Jeanell says:

    I agree with you. Why is it that people think our time and skills are not as valuable as other professions, Doctor, nurse, lawyer, CEOs, etc.? They don’t get questioned about their pricing for the most part. I heard a speaker at quilt market one time telling about a quilt she turned down because it did not lay flat, I think it must have been quite extreme and another quilter in town was eager to tell her that she had quilted it and was able to make it lay flat, and the speaker told her good now I can refer all my problems to you 😘

  8. Virginia Lantz says:

    Thank you for this post.  I too am pretty good at applying binding on my quilt.  I do not machine bind because I feel that it’s a short cut on my own projects but this too takes a lot of practice.  I know some who quilt for others and machine bind for their customers.  From the final look, I have come to the conclusion that it takes more practice to make it look as good as the hand tacked version.  I really enjoy your posts.

    From: Machine Quilting Business To: Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 8:55 PM Subject: [New post] You Don’t Have to Justify! #yiv2718920747 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2718920747 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2718920747 a.yiv2718920747primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2718920747 a.yiv2718920747primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2718920747 a.yiv2718920747primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2718920747 a.yiv2718920747primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2718920747 | Cindy Roth posted: “A few weeks ago I was teaching a class about the “business end” of a machine quilting business. In this class, along with a lot of other things, I talked about offering additional services, such as binding quilts, to your customers. In my opinion, binding” | |

  9. Dar in MO says:

    I too agree with you. Prices for long arm quilting vary across the country and so do binding application. I say charge what you feel comfortable with and what your customers will pay without complaining. Not everyone offers this service and when they find one that does, I find that are willing to pay whatever you charge. Our rates are less in the Midwest.

  10. Deanna says:

    Cindy, I agree with you 100%. You alone are in charge of your prices and what it takes to accomplish a project. Customers can either pay what you are charging or find someone else. That’s called Free Enterprise!!! ;-}

    • Robin says:

      Although I do not quilt (nor bind) for a business … I agree with you! (I follow you just in case I ever want to.) But sadly it goes farther than binding … to the quilting … and even to the piecing. It is a pet peeve of mine when I hear people comment that quilting (or anything related to quilting) is not worth what is being charged. Sadly many of these are friends … who don’t quilt. When some started quilting, they started changing their opinions … but only after beginning to quilt.

      Why does it seem that the “business of quilting” is not as price worthy as the “business of mechanic” or “business of house painter” or “business of silversmilth” or fill in any other business. Is it because in the minds of some (perhaps most) it falls in the category of “arts and crafts” which is somehow less worthy? But the other occupations are CRAFTS which the dictionary defines as “an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill.”

      Perhaps in their minds they think, “I could never be a mason or jeweler, but I could make a quilt/do a binding.” But they neglect to count up the many hours expert quilters/binders have put in to become expert quilters/binders. IF they put in as many hours as we have then THEY would be experts and have that skill. They are not just paying for the hours, they are paying for the skill of the person applying the binding (or doing the quilting or piecing.)

      If you can piece a quilt, quilt it and apply the binding as well as I can … do it. I’m sorry, I think I went on a rant.

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