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How much to charge?

How much to charge?

Old 01-06-2016, 03:59 PM
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Default How much to charge?

I'm beginning to be asked by people to make quilts from start to finish. While I don't intend to begin doing this for a living, from time to time under special circumstances I would be willing. However, when I look on the 'net, I can find what people are charging to long-arm quilt, but can't find any prices on a start-to-finish situation.

Do any of you do this or can you point me to a site?

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Old 01-06-2016, 04:54 PM
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You can look on etsy for completed quilts to get a general idea.
Prices can vary widely by geographic area.
To figure it out for yourself, keep careful track of all your time spent on your next quilts. This should give you an idea of how many hours it takes for an average quilt. Multiply the number of hours by what you would be willing to work for. It should be at least minimum wage, even though it's skilled labor. Add to that all your costs. Fabric, thread, batting, patterns, needles, rotary cutter blades etc. Use full retail prices, not what you paid with a coupon or on sale. Many customers will balk at the final price, but don't sell yourself short or work for peanuts.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:59 PM
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I make quilts for customers all the time and I can tell you from experience that you will never get the dollars out of that quilt that you put into it in time. Most people run when you start talking how much fabric costs. My suggestion is to figure up all the costs of fabric, pattern, thread, batting, backing, etc. and double it for your labor cost. Experience makes me tell you to get the cost of materials up front (non-refundable), before ever buying the first yard of fabric. Then require complete payment of labor costs (within 30 days of notification) before releasing the finished quilt. That way if they default on the labor costs, you still have a quilt to sell. Get EVERYTHING in writing, with customer signature. This prevents any future issues on what thread color, quilting pattern, binding and such. It is hard sometimes to do all this with a good friend, but you need to protect yourself first. And if you let one friend do it with no deposit, the next one will say "But so and so didn't have to give a deposit". For some quilters, making quilts to order becomes a job, and not near as much fun, so be careful that way too. Good Luck!
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Old 01-06-2016, 05:13 PM
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Thanks Buckeye rose and PaperPrincess. I'm thinking that I may not do this after all. I am a musician and worked as a choir directress in the public school system for 21 years. I learned that music for a living was not nearly as pleasurable as it was when I wasn't a professional. I am really enjoying quilting. After reading your responses, I'm fearful that doing it for pay may change joy into work. Thank you both for giving me your view.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:21 PM
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:32 PM
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You have some great advice here--especially putting it into writing! I charge 9cents/in. on t-shirt quilts and refuse to lower the price although have been tempted with friends--but just not as fun to make so I stick to my price.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:20 PM
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If you ask this question to 100 different quilters, you will get 100 different answers. Some people don't mind making quilts for friends either for free or only the cost of the fabric, batting & thread. The very best way to know what to charge is to have the quilt appraised by an AQS certified appraiser.

Barring that, it really depends a lot on the size of the quilt, the details & skill involved in the design, whether it is an original or a commercial design, the materials used and if you have won any awards for your quilts in the past + how much past quilts have sold for.

I like nvb50's post. I break down my labor differently & while my fabric costs are less, the above list doesn't include anything for overhead (water, electricity, machine maintenance) or items like needles, markers, rotary blades, pins & thread that need to be restocked on a regular basis. That said, $800-1000 is about what my 65x65" baby quilts go for. I do a lot of hand applique, but usually not a ton of piecing. I've been fortunate that my local market supports that price for quality baby quilts. Not every market does. And the interesting thing I found was that while I can sell baby quilts for that price where I live, I would be hard pressed to find a buyer for a king or queen sized quilt at that price. There are some out there, but most often the larger bed quilts will only sell for $300-500.

Do your research to see what your local market will bear & go from there. Personally, I don't sell to friends & neighbors. They aren't in any better position to afford a nice quilt than I am and, other than my very best friend, I wouldn't find it appropriate to give any of them a $600 baby gift (i.e., only ask them to pay for materials & maybe "chip in" $50-100 toward my time). When people ask me to make a quilt for their child, I tell them very sweetly that quilts are so expensive to make that for the longest time my clients were puzzled as to why I didn't own a single wall/bed quilt. I explain that materials alone usually run me around $125-150 and then can take anywhere from 50-200 hours to complete. By the time I tell them that my baby quilts usually sell for $800-1000, they have already decided they don't want a quilt that badly. As for actual clients, I still love making quilts for them every bit as much as I enjoy making quilts for family members.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:01 PM
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Browse the (Quilts for Sale) website and see what people are charging ( and getting) for the style quilts you make. Also, that post above showing * why quilts cost so much* is a great base to show what to include. I charge $20 an hour instead of the $10 they listed and you would add in any additional supplies ( pattern, fusible, anything else you might need/ use.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:08 PM
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The previous cost-of-a-quilt form came well after the one I often post (found in the late 1990s online, author unknown)....I admit to updating the prices every few years.

One thing I strongly urge you to do is to make a both-signed written contract with anyone asking you to do this work. Include the design, the colors, the method of working (hand or machine piecing/quilting), who will quilt it, when the project will be due -- that sort of thing. Then ask for enough up front to cover the cost of the fabric and batting; the balance to be paid on their receiving the quilt. If there should be a dispute over the finished product, you will not be out the monetary expense of the project.

Jan in VA

What It Really Costs To Make a Quilt



Fabric 12-16 yards @ $9per yd. $108 - $144
Batting $25 - $40
Thread $8 - $16

Total $ invested $141 - $200


Piecing 20 to 60 hours
“Setting” (designing your quilt) 10 to 20 hours
Quilting 100 to 750 hours

Total hours invested 130 to 810 hours


Paying $1 per hour (Would you do this type of work for $1 an hour?!)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor $130 - $810
Total $271 - $1070

Paying minimum wage $7.25 (by law in 6/2009)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor (130-810hrs) $942.50 - $5872.25
Total 1083.50 - $6072.25

Paying skilled labor wage $20 per hour (Don't you consider yourself trained and skilled in this craft?)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor (130-810hrs) $2600 - $16,200
Total $2741 - $16,400

(Found on the Internet 1995; unknown author) I can see I need to readjust $$ again.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Buckeye Rose View Post
I make quilts for customers all the time and I can tell you from experience that you will never get the dollars out of that quilt that you put into it in time. Most people run when you start talking how much fabric costs.
I agree with what Buckeye Rose stated. I did custom quilts and it is just not worth your time and effort. People who don't quilt don't understand the cost of fabrics and labor. They see these hand quilted quilts coming from China for under $100. It is not as much fun making quilts for others as it is to make your own quilts even tho most of mine go to charity.
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