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Thread: Quilting for Hire - To Be or Not To Be

  1. #1
    Member andifar's Avatar
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    In recent weeks I have been asked to quilt for hire. The first project was a hand quilting an antique feed sack quilt from the 30s (it is coming along and I am okay with how I am being compensated - it has to be completed by April 1st in time for the first granddaughter. But no more handquilting for hire - learned my lesson.)

    The second approach came today - I have been asked to do quilts for a team - the size is not yet determined - but each one will be unique. If the first team is sucessful, then the business is launched. I am feeling these repeated requests are a sign that it is time for me to jump into my own quilting business, with the goal to leave the corporate zoo behind as the activity ramps up. I would be honored to have your input - should I consider making a shift from hobby to professional. I have a mid arm quilting machine and frame, 4 sewing machines, serger, and low-end embroidery machine. Equipment is not an issue to get started.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member crochetetc's Avatar
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    I would say no, reason being is that once it becomes a job you might lose interest and not enjoy your hobby anymore.

  3. #3
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    First of all, I'd strongly suggest that you do this on the side for at least 6 months. Making a living is terribly important these days, and all the benefits of your present job have to be figured in. Remember to write every single thing down that you spend money on, and every penny that comes in and what goes out. And every cent that is paid by your company for everything, medical, etc besides wages.

    Talk to a lot of the long arm folks on this forum, then go visit one and ask some sharp questions. When you quit a job that pays real money, there are masses of other people who will fight to get a chance to be hired, and it's unlikely you would ever be hired back in the same company.

    Then, if your mind is made up and family, if any, are agreed, then go with your dream and work at it.

  4. #4
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
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    I'm NOT in the business, just a hobby, but from what others have said, you would probably do youself a big favor if you worked out how you will be paid for ea project before you start. Like how much up front before you ever start on a project, & who's supplying fabric etc. There have been several posts about people changing their minds, not paying up,etc. I'm sure you will get a lot of help from the board. Good Luck!! But I'd not give up a real paying job right now, I'd start part-time in my "spare time" first.Job benefits alone would make me think REAL hard about it.

  5. #5
    Super Member bamamama's Avatar
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    It would suddenly go from something you enjoy doing to something you have to do. Working from home requires alot of self dicipline. Any business venture is a risk. If it dosen't work out can you get another job? To earn a decent income would you have to work more hours than you can realistically do? Do you have enough savings to get by on until the workload becomes steady enough to replace your current salary?

    I've been a business owner for many years. Alot of self examination is in order, a good solid business plan, and write down the pros and cons and be honest about both.

  6. #6
    Jim
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    Super Member Jim's Avatar
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    Being on the side of having an in home quilting business. If you have a job with an income, its best to keep it and continue to do the quilting art time. Have to warn you..there are times if you depended onthe quilting..you could starve, others that there's not enough hours inthe day to fulfil all the work. Also it gets to the point of "HAVING" to o something. It's not a choice or to do it for enjoyment anymore its a requirement. Luckily, It's my wife and myself so its best that way , not like I am doing it totally on my own.

  7. #7
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    Hi,
    One important question you need to ask yourself to is can you physically handle all the hours you would need to put in on a daily basis to do quilting full time. There are days when my shoulders and back ache from longarming too much. Plus if you happen to be lucky enough to have quilts coming in regularly than it cuts into your own sewing time. There are times when I haven't even been able to touch my own sewing for 6 weeks and then when I had the time I didn't have the energy to sit down to sew. There is alot to think about - plus the current economy does effect how much business you might have - people are tightening up everywhere they can.

    Good luck on your decision,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter

  8. #8
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    You'll probably have all the work you want if the price is reasonable. If the price is reasonable, you won't be able to support yourself without that corporate job. Part time quilting is best for your back and shoulders. A computerized system saves the back and shoulders but not the feet.

  9. #9
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    My friend who started a full time LA business about two years ago has recently returned to her nursing job. Her LA business while mostly supporting her left her with no time, energy or enthusiasm to work on her own projects. Making quilting a full time business took a lot of joy out of quilting and "having to" spend long hours in the studio each day was different than wanting to be there to play with fabric and experiment with designs. Now she will quilt a little on the side for selected customers but mostly work on her own neglected projects.

  10. #10
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    I have been doing longarm quilting for several years. If I had to depend on the profit from it I would starve, lose my home, my business and be broke and barefoot.

    If you have a job, KEEP IT. The headaches of dealing with people who change their mind from original, and written, discussion of terms, patterns, threads, etc. to pickup time is not always worth any amount of money. I feel lucky to make .50 cents to a dollar an hour on a quilt top, definitely not anywhere near minimum wage usually.

    The sad thing is that although the prices on everything else is increasing my customers don't think I should raise my prices. When I did a very slight increase I lost cutomers. Plus there are more people doing this all the time because they see the ads saying they can pay for a longarm machines in weeks or months, always less than a year. (That's a laugh!) Customers also think I am making money like crazy because after all I've been doing this for years and it only takes an hour or two to custom quilt a king size, right? WRONG!

    If I knew then what I know now, I would never do it if I had the chance to start over.

    Longarm

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