Business Question

Old 09-17-2016, 09:11 AM
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Last year I started a sewing business. Recently I was hired to make a quilt for a church friend. I gave her an estimate based on the hours I thought it would take to piece the quilt and we agreed on a price based on the hourly rate I have for quilting. But the quilt is taking longer to piece than planned. I'm not sure what to do. I want to be honest and fair. I've told her that it's taking longer and she said OK, but I haven't told her how much longer it's taking or that it means that the price would go up because of the hours I have invested into the quilt. I'm not sure what to do. I've thought of a few different ways to handle the situation, but I'm not sure what is the best way of handling it.

I could just leave it as is, because I did stress in the beginning that this was only an estimate.

I could charge her just my sewing hourly rate ($12) as opposed to my quilting hourly rate ($15).

I could give her a percentage off of the price, but I'm not sure how much percent to take off.

I could just comp her the price for the actual quilting price ($150/King sized) and just charge her for the piecing, or charge her for the quilting and not the piecing.

I could just comp her for the extra hours that were not included in the estimate.

I'm really not sure what to do here. Any thoughts? What would you do, or what would you expect if you hired someone to make you a quilt?
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:08 AM
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Tough one! I think I would charge her for the time up to when you expected it to be finished. Yes, you will not get what your time is worth but you won't lose a friend over it either.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:22 AM
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I would stay with my original quote, keep notes & accurate time involved & figure out why my estimate was so far off so I wouldn't make that mistake again.
One way to remedy this would be to come up with a formula And base your pricing on the quilt size and complexity of the design. Such as (72" x72" square quilt = 36 square feet. - simple piecing @ $5.00 square foot = $180; more complex piecing $8.00 sq. ft = $288; complex quilt with applique, custom quilting etc $12-$15 sq.ft = $432 - $540) this is just an example your own formula needs to work for you. Or, figure cost of materials, X 3 plus cost of quilting. Cost based on time is always difficult - you never know when something might cause it to take longer than anticipated and, if you are making a quilt you've made a dozen times you are probably much faster than the first times- so you are then under cutting yourself.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:31 AM
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i agree with the others... when getting 'estimates' from contractors and car repairs, i expect to pay the quoted amount. accurate estimating is difficult but part of the business.
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:31 AM
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I agree with ckcowl, that's the way I do it. In the situation I think I would just go maybe 50$ over my estimate and suck it up. You don't want hard feelings (spoken or kept quiet) at church and like Tartan said learn from your mistake . I worked for almost nothing a few times because of that, you can't expect them to pay for your mistakes. My ex father in law used to say "bought learnin' is the best learnin'" and that's true, you don't soon forget it when it costs you, LOL. good luck, hope it all turns out with no hard feelings.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:26 PM
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When I do hand quilting or repairs for someone else, if I give them a quote, I stick to it. Better to give a "range" estimate than a single figure. But I don't want to leave my customer with a bad taste because they ended up paying more than they thought they would.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:41 PM
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As a customer I always asked for a high estimate. In your case, you have the estimate you gave her. Get your figures down on paper so you can see the difference and if it were me, I would go with the one closest to the estimate you gave her. Say you gave her a $150. estimate and it ended up going to more like $225. 225-150=75x50%=37.50 +150=185. That's one figure. $12 (sewing per hr) or $15. (quilting per hour). take each total and figure the average. Go from there!
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:42 PM
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This is the price of education. CKCowl is on the right track. This is one of your first jobs.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:43 AM
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You keep using the word "estimate." To me that means just that and the final price can be higher, or lower. I think you can charge her more. You have let her know that it is taking longer than originally quoted. I don't know how much you are over the original estimate, but I think adding 10-15% would not be out of line. In the future, I think I would give a written estimate in which you spell out that this is an estimate and the final price may be different and then it is signed by both parties.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:45 AM
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I would just eat the extra cost with the understanding that she must show it to other church ladies. That is good advertisement for you. It would hurt your credibility badly. I usually put in an incidentals charge on my invoice that states if any extra things come up , that a call will be made and additional charges will have to be approved by the client.
Hope this helps
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