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Thread: Customers who DON'T PAY

  1. #1
    Hindsight's Avatar
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    OK ~ first I will admit that I don't usually have customers. I'm a quilter who LOVES the art of quilting, the process of making something beautiful out of small bits of fabric.

    With the economy the way it is ~ in the toilet ~ I decided to say YES. [FIRST mistake] When a 'friend' asked me to finish a quilt she had started. [are you kidding, to do something I love? AND get paid? Honey I was all over that like white on rice]

    So, we talked a bit about cost, what is involved in completing a quilt, and how she would like it quilted. NOT having seen the quilt I gave her 'ball park' of 200-250 dollars. Remember I said 'friend'? Me personally, if someone was going to send me back a completed quilt for that price....well I'd sell all my fabric to get the cash for them. :)

    NOW, when I told her 250, because I have to purchase backing for the QUEEN sized quilt.........

    She says, and I'm quoting, "$250.00 it's just a F%@*ing blanket!!!"

    Really? Really???? Great! Now I'm stuck with yet ANOTHER UFO!!!
    :shock: UGH!

    So, have any of you ever come across this problem? Nothing I can do about it now, but, I was just wondering how others have handled something similar to this.

    Piece Girls & Boys!

  2. #2
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    Can't say that ever happened to me,but I'd not be a happy camper if it did!
    Yrs ago, I had several ppl ask what I'd charge to make them a quilt.My reply was to point them in the direction of the LQS with a list of needs,from fabric to batting & backing & thread.Once I knew the size....we'd figure out my labor charge.Not one ever got back to me...thankfully!


    Quote Originally Posted by Hindsight
    OK ~ first I will admit that I don't usually have customers. I'm a quilter who LOVES the art of quilting, the process of making something beautiful out of small bits of fabric.

    With the economy the way it is ~ in the toilet ~ I decided to say YES. [FIRST mistake] When a 'friend' asked me to finish a quilt she had started. [are you kidding, to do something I love? AND get paid? Honey I was all over that like white on rice]

    So, we talked a bit about cost, what is involved in completing a quilt, and how she would like it quilted. NOT having seen the quilt I gave her 'ball park' of 200-250 dollars. Remember I said 'friend'? Me personally, if someone was going to send me back a completed quilt for that price....well I'd sell all my fabric to get the cash for them. :)

    NOW, when I told her 250, because I have to purchase backing for the QUEEN sized quilt.........

    She says, and I'm quoting, "$250.00 it's just a F%@*ing blanket!!!"

    Really? Really???? Great! Now I'm stuck with yet ANOTHER UFO!!!
    :shock: UGH!

    So, have any of you ever come across this problem? Nothing I can do about it now, but, I was just wondering how others have handled something similar to this.

    Piece Girls & Boys!

  3. #3
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    rule #1 for the future: set a firm price and get the agreement in writing before you accept the commission.

    rule #2: when it comes to business, friends are not friends. they are providers and customers. ;-)

    do you still have the quilt? if so, finish it and sell it. if she demands a percentage, give her $15. i believe that's the going price of "just a bleeping blanket" these days at walmart. ;-)

    if you already gave it back, then consider all the time you have now for quilting and for new friends since you don't have to waste that time on her anymore. ;-)

  4. #4
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justme2
    Can't say that ever happened to me,but I'd not be a happy camper if it did!
    Yrs ago, I had several ppl ask what I'd charge to make them a quilt.My reply was to point them in the direction of the LQS with a list of needs,from fabric to batting & backing & thread.Once I knew the size....we'd figure out my labor charge.Not one ever got back to me...thankfully!
    Ditto! If someone asks for a price, I tell them the total and provide a breakdown. It's not usually the labor part that they freak out over ... it's the cost of fabric! One guy thought he was going to get smart and buy the fabric himself, thinking he could get it a lot cheaper. (Keep in mind that I'm a big-time bargain hunter! ;) )

    I waited and waited while he looked for fabric ... but never heard another word from him. :lol:

    Even if they agree with the price, I won't start on anything without a deposit that's at least enough to pay for the materials. Been there, done that, got left holding the bag. :evil:

  5. #5
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    Woo! Patrice is spot on today!

    And, ummmm....that speaks volumes that she called a quilt "just a bleepin blanket". Wonder why she didn't finish it? Too much work for a bleepin blanket?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sunflower Girl's Avatar
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    I think if was a "real friend" she wouldn't have spoken to you that way. By the way, ask her (if she works) does she get paid? If you do it for a living she would understand - - - it is no different that ordering Pampered Chef or Avon or anything else, even if you do it on the side. Take her on shopping trip and let her buy fabric and supplies for your next quilt and maybe she will get an idea of what it costs to make a quality product. Pack it up and send it back to her before you get started on it.

  7. #7
    Hindsight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunflower Girl
    I think if was a "real friend" she wouldn't have spoken to you that way. By the way, ask her (if she works) does she get paid? If you do it for a living she would understand - - - it is no different that ordering Pampered Chef or Avon or anything else, even if you do it on the side. Take her on shopping trip and let her buy fabric and supplies for your next quilt and maybe she will get an idea of what it costs to make a quality product. Pack it up and send it back to her before you get started on it.


    She had started it, didn't want to finish it....I'm going to finish it. Not sure what I'll do with this one. She's not getting it back. May try to sell it at LQS or on ebay. I haven't got anything in it except for labor about 9 hours, and counting. It's gonna be beautiful and when it's done I'll post photos. Maybe one of you will need a quick gift. :)

  8. #8
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    Well, I am asked to do a quilt for someone, I have told them to go shopping at the mall or catalogs because they can find cheaper quilts there than what I would charge. But one person ask me to make a quilt and lap quilt and she did pay me.

    I would have said"It not a @@##$$%% blanket, its a quilt and you pay more for quilts."

  9. #9
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    Years ago I was told to stand in front of a mirror and practice saying "NO" over and over again. I've had no problems since. Family and friends can be the worst to do business with.

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Is this right?
    A friend asks if you'd finish a quilt she started.
    You give her an estimate, discuss what she wants, and start working on it.
    You then give her a firm price of $250 because you will have to buy backing.
    She balks and is rude to you, in your opinion (we cannot hear her tone of voice remember, it could easily have been sarcasm).
    Now you are confiscating her quilt, plan to sell it and keep the proceeds for yourself.
    Is that all a friendship is worth to you? Nine hours of doing something that you say you love to do anyway?

    Return it to her, as is, and chalk it up to experience. All you have lost is time. Never again do business with someone before you have a written agreement in hand.

  11. #11
    Junior Member shortstuff's Avatar
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    Hey hindsight i'm in Griffin too. Where do you teach?

  12. #12
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    When someone wants a Quilt I just tell them I'll teach you to quilt.

  13. #13
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    As a handquilter for hire I always give the customer a price sheet that tells how much per square inch for the quilting and brakes it down into various sizes etc. I also state that the closeness of the quilting raises the price. and also list those charges. I list charges for binding, marking if they have a particular pattern in mind, and my expenses for batting and backing if I provide those items. I also require a $50 deposit.
    The only kind of quilt I would make for hire from start to finish is a wholecloth or preprinted panel.
    My major customer was a lady who was also a musuem curator who now owns her own custom framing business. I finished at least 6 quilts for her that her grandmother had pieced the tops. She understood handwork and was more than willing to pay.

  14. #14
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    I had a friend ask me to do a quilt for her. She wanted it 100 X 100 with specific colors, and somewhat specific design. I told her I would work on the pattern or two, send her pics and after she decided which one I would give her a price. I also told her that she would have to pay me UP FRONT. She said that would not be a problem, she didn't expect me to do it for free.

    I had done other work for her several years earlier and one piece I still have because she did NOT pay me. (It's a wood burn portrait of her grandson when he was just a few months old - he is now 7 or 8!)

    I spent hours designing the quilt, more hours searching for the one fabric she wanted. I came up with a price once she and her DH agreed they loved the design, sent her the price which included having it quilted, ------ she hasn't talked to me since!

    The general population does not understand the difference a quilt and a 'blanket'.

    I'm glad I had not purchased any of the fabric for it. My DH was upset I was spending so much time just in designing it!

    So - work done for friends or anyone ----- at least 1/2 the money up front to cover all my costs for large, time consuming, and costly items such as quilts.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tortoisethreads's Avatar
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    I've had a few acquaintances ask for me to make them quilts and how much. I usually send them to my Etsy site to get an idea of prices. One person freaked out because a baby quilt cost $130.00. She did mention that the quilts at "Babies R Us" are much cheaper. Either people don't understand the difference between handmade and mass produced in China or I don't know what. I have learned to be very particular about who I give or make quilts for.

  16. #16
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    My friend and I did shows a few years back. I had a really beautiful king size, my own pattern entirely, for sale $850.00. This man start looking it over back & front and finally comes up to me with about 5 other people standing around, says I'll pay you $500.00 not a penny more due to the poor workmanship. I asked that he show me what he considered "poor workmanship". He proceeds to show me two points , they were pointed one side slightly skinnier than the other, out of hundreds of points and then on the back two places where I had stopped and restarted and cleaned up to the point you had to be 4 inches away to see them. As luck would have it a lady walked up and said "I'm back to pay for this gorgeous quilt for the new library center. Here is $1000.00, we think you are undercharging for your work. The man almost fainted, but insisted he was there first and wanted the quilt. The lady said the price just went up if you want it but I was here earlier so I get it. That was the most exciting thing I have been through with my quilts.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    Is this right?
    A friend asks if you'd finish a quilt she started.
    You give her an estimate, discuss what she wants, and start working on it.
    You then give her a firm price of $250 because you will have to buy backing.
    She balks and is rude to you, in your opinion (we cannot hear her tone of voice remember, it could easily have been sarcasm).
    Now you are confiscating her quilt, plan to sell it and keep the proceeds for yourself.
    Is that all a friendship is worth to you? Nine hours of doing something that you say you love to do anyway?
    Return it to her, as is, and chalk it up to experience. All you have lost is time. Never again do business with someone before you have a written agreement in hand.

    I must agree, I can understand the hurt and frustration on the broken agreement, but if you have not been out any money on it I would return it and not agree to do anything else for her.

  18. #18
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Hobo, I love your story!!! Now it will be appreciated by so many people!!!!!! Instead of that cheapskate :D:D
    Kudos to you! !!!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granna of 5
    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    Is this right?
    A friend asks if you'd finish a quilt she started.
    You give her an estimate, discuss what she wants, and start working on it.
    You then give her a firm price of $250 because you will have to buy backing.
    She balks and is rude to you, in your opinion (we cannot hear her tone of voice remember, it could easily have been sarcasm).
    Now you are confiscating her quilt, plan to sell it and keep the proceeds for yourself.
    Is that all a friendship is worth to you? Nine hours of doing something that you say you love to do anyway?
    Return it to her, as is, and chalk it up to experience. All you have lost is time. Never again do business with someone before you have a written agreement in hand.

    I must agree, I can understand the hurt and frustration on the broken agreement, but if you have not been out any money on it I would return it and not agree to do anything else for her.

    That is what I was thinking. She started it, she must have bought some of the materials. If you are wanting some kind of payment for work/labor done, take her to small claims court.

  20. #20
    Senior Member MomtoBostonTerriers's Avatar
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    Same story, second verse: In my younger years, I used to make wedding cakes as a hobby because I loved doing so and I wanted to participate in the happy events. I did this only for people in my church and/or brides I knew personally. I finally stopped making cakes after several mothers-of-the-bride complained about my prices which covered ONLY the price of ingredients. Now when I go to a wedding, I think about the going price for cakes and am so glad that I am not involved in the entire process.

    There's no way I would quilt for money for the reasons discussed here. I want to keep the fun in my quilting projects.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I do consignment quilts. All the money is paid up front, I need to buy fabric, and they might need to wait 1/2 yr for the quilt. I do spell everything out and it is all written down. Most quilts are made for people that I do not know but it is by word of mouth.

  22. #22
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I don't make quilts for money either. Then it would be a job and would take away my enjoyment. :D

  23. #23

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    People who do not quilt do not understand the hours of work that goes into one. They need to go price quilts at
    the LQS and quilt shops, Not JCPenny;s or cracker barrell.
    They do not know the differents in quilts, before I started quilting I bought a quilt at a ARK quilt shop it was $300
    for a king size I thought that was an expensive quilt,since taking up quilting I think I got a real bargain.
    Give the quilt back and mark it up to finding out that when it comes to charging friends if they expect something
    for free, they are not real friends. Sometime you have to take the high road even though it seems unfair.

  24. #24
    Super Member KathyAire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzy519
    When someone wants a Quilt I just tell them I'll teach you to quilt.
    I do the same thing. I have given many quilts away. I have more quilts than I will ever use or need. I love to quilt. I'm not a professional. My work pleases me. I find that when you give a quilt away the recipient isn't critical at all. Many people have asked me if I would make them a quilt and they would pay me. I tell them that I don't do quilts for hire but I will teach them to quilt. I've had two people, out of many, many that I've told that to, take me up on the offer. I enjoyed the time with them and I got a blessing from it.

  25. #25
    mygirl66's Avatar
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    I think it is funny how everyone wants a quilt, then when you tell them how much it cost, they give you that blank look! I had one woman tell me at a show I was doing that she could go to Macys and get one for $59.99. I told her she could go ahead and go to Macys, mine were hand quilted, and made here, in the USA.

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