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Thread: Anyone with a Longarm Business or anyone who has had a quilting lonarm-quilted...

  1. #1
    Senior Member HomespunHandmaiden's Avatar
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    Sep 2011

    Anyone with a Longarm Business or anyone who has had a quilting lonarm-quilted...


    How much do you charge per square inch?
    How long did it take to make a profit quilting?
    Is it worth buying a longarm for business purposes?
    What is your turn-around time?
    Approximately how much do you make quilting per month (just ballpark)?


    How large was the quilt?
    How much did it cost?
    Was it a custom quilt design?

    I'm thinking about starting a business and I really need someone to break it down for me as far as these questions go...I can't seem to find straight answers to my questions. Any help would be so appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    My Sewing Room
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    I've had a couple of quilts done, queen sized, for about $100 each for edge-to-edge designs.

    A lot of cost will depend on what part of the country you are in, how the economy is doing, and the expertise of the LA quilter. If you're just starting out, you probably won't command as much as someone who has been doing it for years. Another factor might be your equipment; whether it is computerized or not, does it have a stitch regulator, and the actual size of your LA machine. For instance, my 15" stitch regulated, non-computerized Bailey won't produce the same result as a Statler Stitcher.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
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    I can't answer your questions. However, at the last state quilt guild show I attended last year, there was a table dedicated to pamphlets and cards for quilting-related businesses. There were perhaps a dozen or more pamphlets from longarm quilters, and most listed their cost per square inch plus additional information (sometimes equipment used, sometimes years of experience, sometimes awards won, etc.). That would be a good way for you to find out what the going rates are in your community. At this show there were pamphlets from longarmers in the metro area, but also pamphlets from longarmers in rural areas, including a neighboring state.

    Another thing you might want to do is to join the homequiltingsystems group on groups.yahoo.com . It's quite a large and active group, and quite a few members run their own longarming businesses.

    You will ultimately have to find your own answers to the questions you asked because so much depends on (1) the cost of the equipment you purchase (can be anywhere fropm $3,000 to $30,000+), (2) whether or not you have a dealership for your equipment where you can take classes (speeds up the learning curve, but also increases cost), (3) how fast a learner you are, (4) how much you can do physically (not everyone can stand and longarm for 8 hours a day!), (5) whether you live in a metro area or rural area, (6) how many established longarmers are already in your community, (7) the local economy, (8) how much interest there is in quilting in your area, (9) whether or not you want to establish a website for your services (can help a lot in the longrun, but requires another learning curve unless you are already computer-savvy), etc. That's a *lot* of variables to consider!
    Last edited by Prism99; 04-14-2012 at 03:10 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
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    Disclaimer: I handquilt and am an accountant.

    This is a business by business decision based on several factors like
    1 How much do you want to make per hour?
    2 What is your overhead: depreciation of machine, thread costs, utilities, rent or business use of home, insurance, marketing costs etc.
    3 Do a time study. How long for allover v custom? Set up and marking? That determines throughput.

    Figure prices from that. Compare against compitition for what the market will tolerate.

    Most states have small business programs that will help set up a business plan. This plan will help determine ROI, margins, etc.

  5. #5
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    New Jersey
    Start up may be slow until you build a group of clients and word spreads. I would recommend listing what state you live in. Paying shipping across the USA is costly so people will be more likely to contact you if they know that they live near you. I just sent 3 quilts out and it cost me $25 just for shipping... You can get some business off this site and there is a place on this site to list yourself as a LAQ.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Central Missouri
    My boss (the owner of our local quilt store) was short about $50 a month after a divorce. Her mother had just had a quilt quilted by a longarmer and, I guess, was surprised by the cost. My boss bought a machine and pretty soon made the extra $50 she needed; then $100; then $200. This all started about 20 years ago. She now has 2 Gammills. She charges $ .0125/sq inch for edge to edge designs and $ .025/sq inch for custom quilting. We are in the midwest, but she quilts most of my quilts.

  7. #7
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    The book "Ultimate Guide to Longarm Machine Quilting" by Linda Taylor has several chapers on setting up a business. It's a good book on long arms in general and the info on setting up a business has lots of things to think about.
    I have a long arm that I use for personal use. One of the local long arm quilters in my area wanted me to take on some of her overflow work. After spending a few days with her, I said no! Lots of hassles I wouldn't have thought of. Many (not all, but a fair number) of the tops she gets in require additional handling. Threads all over, wavy borders, backing dropped off just yardage - not sewn yet. Backing and tops needed pressing. tops that are pressed have seams going every which way. She does charge extra for some of these additional services, but to my mind, not enough! Didn't want a hobby I loved to become a job that I hated!
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    You've had some really good advice from everyone above. Longarming is not for everyone, and it does take practice to become proficient. IMHO, that practice shouldn't be on a customer's quilt! If you can rent time on a longarm, you might learn whether you enjoy it or not, and whether you have a talent for it. I've had my longarm for just over two years and have recently been trying to decide whether to take the plunge and quilt professionally. So far, all the problems that PaperPrincess mentioned (and a few more) have been on my mind. Another thing to be aware of is that the initial cost of the longarm will not be your only expense. As a professional you will probably need to buy lots of pantograms (and they are not cheap!), templates, a big assortment of threads, battings by the roll (if you offer to supply batting, and you should), and you will eventually be tempted to add Pantovision or computerized quilting. Just like piecing, longarming is expensive. You should also check into local licensing and taxation, another expense.

  9. #9
    Senior Member coldquilter's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    northern Minnesota
    I just started my business about 1 year ago and have been charging $.015 per square inch for edge to edge designs but that includes the thread. I have seen that price for others and then the thread charge on top of that. It does depend a lot on the area you are in. Seems like it's a little less expensive in the South and maybe a little more expensive in the West. Try looking around on the internet, that's where I came up with my price. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    .017 medium to large stipple, .02 for any pattern edge to edge. Had a SR machine, then for the last 5 years, a Statler. Either way you will be standing and concentrating for long periods of time. Once you build a reputation, you will have more than enough business to keep you working full time. But, for me, it is too strenuous and confining for full time, but that is just me. I think many handle it fine. Quilters find you once your name is out there. A reasonable turn around makes you super desirable. I won't take in quilts if I can't keep them moving right back out the door within about 2 weeks cuz, a stack of undone tops makes me stressed

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