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Thread: LA Quilter's "going rate"

  1. #1
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    LA Quilter's "going rate"

    So, I've been quilting just personal stuff on a friend's LA machine for a couple of years now, and she is super awesome! She has allowed me to use her machine if she didn't need it and just pay her for the thread (I provide all my materials, top, batting, backing). And I have to get it done in one day so she can use it the next day, which is totally understandable. So, when I say I just got my machine, it's not that I am totally inexperienced.

    Anyway, I've just gotten my very own LA machine and love using it! So, I am wanting to start doing quilts for people. But I am newer at this, I've never been paid to do quilts for other people and I really usually only do stippling. I'm planning to just do stippling for people to start. I'm thinking about offering different designs when I have more practice at the other designs, but really for who knows how long I will only offer stippling.

    So, I'm wondering, what is the going rate for a quilter to charge for stippling? I had a lady ask me for pricing just the other day, and since I'm new at offering this to people I just told her $85 for a queen, and that I'm currently just doing stippling. She said that was pretty good.

    So, now I need to work out the pricing for all the other sizes.

    I'd love some input! Maybe I should also ask around so I know what others in my area are charging?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    I love my new machine!
    (Babylock Crown Jewel)

  2. #2
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    You are establishing a business and therefore must approach it as such.

    Have diagrams or pictures ready of the designs you are using up to date in a large ring bound notebook.

    Make a listing of all you want to discuss with your 'clients' and put it in a written format. This will hopefully prevent customer complaints. You will be able to show clients what you discussed as far as design, thread, etc. Also have room for any special comments on what is desired.

    It is nice to have receipts for customers so you can prove they paid and when you said you would have the quilting done by. Also the receipt numbers will help you keep track of incoming quilts. This means you will need to keep some sort of a record book.

    If a customer makes any changes then get it in writing before doing it!!!

    Make it fun and keep it affordable.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Around here stippling goes from any where between .01 - .02 per square inch... but some charge a mimimum set up fee ..some charge for bobbins.. some charge for thread..some charge a trimming fee if you what the excess fabric trimmed... some charge for all of the items I listed ! I can tell you what I feel comfortable paying.. .0125 or .015 per inch .. no set up charge no extra charges that is for stippling. It also depends on how tight or close the stippling is. I paid a LQS .0225 for all over stippling , paid the mimium set up charge .. and got stippling that was about 5-6 inches apart... needless to say I found others .

  4. #4
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Are there any LQS's in your area? Often they have brochures for long arm quilters in the area. You can get an idea of what is reasonable for your neighborhood. It does vary across the country. Also, you can look on line and get an idea for any additional charges: pressing, sewing yardage to make the backing, extra charges for thread color changes etc.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  5. #5
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    It totally depends on your area. Some areas the going rate for meander is as little .005 (one half cent) per square inch. Other areas it is .015 (one and a half cents) per s/i. As Lori S points out, it also depends on how dense your meander is.

    True stippling is a micro stitch and very densely placed but that is just semantics. Micro quilting (very, very dense background quilting, can be stipple, pebbling or any other dense small fill design) can command upwards to .06 to .10 cents per s/i and more but it should never be used as an all over. It is a background fill used to make other elements such as applique or a quilted feather wreath pop.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 11-29-2012 at 09:47 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    It totally depends on your area. Some areas the going rate for meander is as little .005 (one half cent) per square inch. Other areas it is .015 (one and a half cents) per s/i. As Lori S points out, it also depends on how dense your meander is.

    True stippling is a micro stitch and very densely placed but that is just semantics. Micro quilting (very, very dense background quilting, can be stipple, pebbling or any other dense small fill design) can command upwards to .06 to .10 cents per s/i and more but it should never be used as an all over. It is a background fill used to make other elements such as applique or a quilted feather wreath pop.
    Agree with Feline Fanatic - you don't state what your location is.

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I agree with feline fanatic's semantics, as far stippling being (technically) a very tight stitch. What many call stippling is actually meandering, which is just a bigger version of stippling. Whatever... I think we know what you mean.

    Part of running a business includes paying taxes. If you make more than a small amount ($400???) you will have to pay your social security and medicare taxes on the profit from the business, and that's a hefty percentage (over 13%?) that has nothing to do with your overall taxes. (In other words, even if your total income is so low that you don't pay income taxes, you still have to pay the social security and medicare tax.) Be sure you account for that in your pricing and keep records! There may be additional business costs, such as state and local taxes, business license, additional insurance if people are coming to your home, etc.

    $87 for a queen is about $.01 per inch (figuring 87"x100") so it's definitely not too much for meandering and might be very low, depending on your area. Some people make much larger quilts and still call them queens, so you might want to state your charge by the square inch. Good luck with your new business.

  8. #8
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    Sorry, you're right, I didn't state where I am. I'm in Utah, Salt Lake County. There are a few LQS, I will ask them for info as well. And yes, meandering I suppose would be a more accurate term for what I'm planning on starting with.

    Thank you for all your input! I am finding it very helpful!

  9. #9
    Member KyTriplets's Avatar
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    I think you'll find the majority of longarm quilters price by the square inch since everyone's "queen" is a different size "queen". Of course, there are also charges for batting, binding, backing, etc. For a basic meander quilting I charge .017/sq inch. For an actual edge to edge quilting pantograph I charge .02/sq inch. Custom starts at .037/sq in and goes up from there. If you are interested, you can check out my pricing on my website- QuiltedJoy.com It is always a good idea, though, to see what the going rate is in your area. Keep track of your time spent working and determine what you are actually making an hour. Operating a longarm machine takes practice and practice takes time so don't lowball your pricing. You are selling your skill and expertise. I'll get off my soapbox now.

  10. #10
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    Good luck with your new business. Hope you get lots of quilts to do. Don't forget to take photos of every one you do and post them here so we can enjoy them too.

  11. #11
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    I too am thinking about starting a business and I too have a Crown Jewel. I have had it for about a year and a half and have done about 25 quilts on it. Some have been for others in our guild who are doing charity baby quilts. Only one was not charity for a 92 year old friend for her great great grandbaby. All have been free so far, but now I am being asked to do quilts for others for pay. I do meander, pantographs, and some freehand. Some are looking quite good. I got the forms for a business license, trade name and tax forms. But I haven't done anything with them yet. I still have that fear that once I start a business, it will no longer be fun. I absolutely LOVE longarm quilting - much more than piecing. I wonder how longarmers who have businesses feel about the work now. Do they still love it?
    Beth in Maryland

  12. #12
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    Mooshie, are you aware of Baby Lock's Getaway weekend in St. Louis? It is 4 days 8AM to 8PM with Kay Capps Cross. I think they are still doing it. You get your own machine and frame to work on the whole time and if you have computer too, they let you use one of those also. I went and it was an expense that I can write off for my business. I had to pay for transportation and room in St. Louis. When I bought my machine at a quilt show, Kay was there and I was able to get the cost of the class included as free. It was absolutely wonderful and well worth the cost. I felt so comfortable with my Crown Jewel afterwards. PM me if you would like more info.
    Beth in Maryland

  13. #13
    Super Member Normabeth's Avatar
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    That is VERY reasonable - I paid my LAQS $80 plus tax for a twin size last week. I supplied the top, batting and backing and they supplied the thread.
    Be kinder than is necessary because everyone you meet is
    fighting some kind of battle

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Arm Long View Post
    Mooshie, are you aware of Baby Lock's Getaway weekend in St. Louis? It is 4 days 8AM to 8PM with Kay Capps Cross. I think they are still doing it. You get your own machine and frame to work on the whole time and if you have computer too, they let you use one of those also. I went and it was an expense that I can write off for my business. I had to pay for transportation and room in St. Louis. When I bought my machine at a quilt show, Kay was there and I was able to get the cost of the class included as free. It was absolutely wonderful and well worth the cost. I felt so comfortable with my Crown Jewel afterwards. PM me if you would like more info.
    I was not aware of this retreat. It sounds like a lot of fun though! What time of year do they usually have it? It could be tricky getting there and back for me as I have 5 kids in school. But that doesn't mean it'll never work out. If I plan far enough in advance it could work out.

  15. #15
    Member needlefruit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyTriplets View Post
    I think you'll find the majority of longarm quilters price by the square inch since everyone's "queen" is a different size "queen". Of course, there are also charges for batting, binding, backing, etc. For a basic meander quilting I charge .017/sq inch. For an actual edge to edge quilting pantograph I charge .02/sq inch. Custom starts at .037/sq in and goes up from there. If you are interested, you can check out my pricing on my website- QuiltedJoy.com It is always a good idea, though, to see what the going rate is in your area. Keep track of your time spent working and determine what you are actually making an hour. Operating a longarm machine takes practice and practice takes time so don't lowball your pricing. You are selling your skill and expertise. I'll get off my soapbox now.
    KyTriplets's suggestions are totally in line with the going rate in South Central Texas. Every LAer I know charges by the square inch measurement of the unquilted quilt top, taking into consideration the quality of the piecing, etc. You really need to see the top before you quote. A nice, square, securely stitched top is one thing; a top that needs special handling because of open seams here and there, a wavy border, etc. is quite another thing. Remember what KyTriplets said: Don't lowball your pricing!!! I made that mistake at first and ended up working myself stupid for nothing.

  16. #16
    BMP
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    Width x Length x .012 is the fee in this area when top, batting and backing included . Sometimes extra charges for pressing/cutting the backing ...
    Example 84 wide x 100 long =8000 x .012= $96.00

  17. #17
    Senior Member mshollysd's Avatar
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    If it is for charity or very simple quilting, I will go as little as a penny a square inch. Most of the time it is 1 1/2 cents per square inch for what I call mindful meandering, which is freehand quilting. You really can't go wrong on that. I do charge about $3-5 for thread depending how close it is stitched. I only use the Egyptian top thread and bottom line bottom thread which are very expensive but my machine doesn't get linty with them. It isn't the whole cost of the thread but nobody has complained about it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cat-on-a-mac's Avatar
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    sorry, wrong thread ...
    Last edited by cat-on-a-mac; 12-01-2012 at 07:31 AM.
    Cathy

  19. #19
    Super Member Belfrybat's Avatar
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    The LQS in town (rural Texas) charges $65.00 for twin which includes polyester batting and binding the quilt if the customer provides the extra fabric. Warm and natural cotton batting adds another $12-15.00. Full sized is $75, queen $85, and king $95.00. They post their min and max dimensions for each size. This is for an overall medium to large stippling or looping pattern or a simple laser pattern (can't remember the name). Anything fancy costs extra, of course.
    Last edited by Belfrybat; 12-01-2012 at 07:32 AM.

  20. #20
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    Good advice here! Do get your customers to "sign off" on their design so they can't say they don't like when it is finished. Have plenty of pictures for them to look at so they have some idea of what the finished quilt will look like. Good luck. You must be well-organized if you are to succeed.

  21. #21
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooshie View Post
    I was not aware of this retreat. It sounds like a lot of fun though! What time of year do they usually have it? It could be tricky getting there and back for me as I have 5 kids in school. But that doesn't mean it'll never work out. If I plan far enough in advance it could work out.
    Look on the Baby Lock website. You can click on the getaway. They had one every month last year. Thursday thru Sunday.
    Beth in Maryland

  22. #22
    Super Member AnnT's Avatar
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    My LAQ charges .01 per square inch for basic meandering and her prices go up for custom quiltings. I think she charges a flat rate (depending on the difficulty) plus .01/sq inch but it's been a while since we discussed her rates and I've been very happy with her meandering so haven't wanted anything else so far.
    Take time to recharge your batteries. Itís hard to see where youíre going when your lights are dim. Robert H. Connelly

  23. #23
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    I did some searching online to see what others did in their LA business. I made up a brochure to give to people so they know what they have to do to their quilt before they brought it me. It made it easier to LA quilt for sure. I know Ididn't give you exact answers, but researching online to see what others do and then customize it to what you want. Good Luck and enjoy!

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