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Thread: Repair quilt price to charge?

  1. #1
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    Repair quilt price to charge?

    Ok, this will be the 3rd repair quilt I've been given but from a different person than the first. The person asking was impressed with what I had done on the other two and had thought maybe I could do something for hers.

    I really went over it today. Nothing too scary really, some things will need to be replaced completely and such and I explained that in quilt repair it's not the same as quilt rebuilding...I can do either but re-doing an entire quilt and salvaging the blocks will be much more expensive and time consuming. Of course the choice is hers, just how much of the original does she want to try and preserve.

    Anyway, the issue is how much to charge for my time? The last two quilts I got robbed really. My fault as they were my first and I didn't know what I was getting myself in to. This on the other hand is my nephew's mother in law. So kinda family. He and his wife want to pay for it as a late Christmas gift to her.

    Normally I charge $10/hr but usually end up with less than that..I know, I know, softee. Still, the last person I did a quilt for I ended up making only about $4/hr and it was 48 hrs of work total..she complained!!! I asked her if she thought she should work at her job for $4/hr or less. That was the end of it. Honestly, people. SO, not trying to complain or whine but I am thinking this job might take me as many as 35 hrs to complete due to the squares needing embroidery done to them, it has all come apart. It's not fancy, just straight line outline of doors and windows. Then there is some hand applique that will need to be done for the houses in each square that need to be replaced. It might even take me longer. I have no idea.

    What do you think? ugh... I hate this part. I know some in-laws think I should just do it for free. But, I am a business....but they are family...but seriously....I don't know...Love to hear your thoughts so I'll stop rambling.

  2. #2
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I would charge at least $400. You are running a business, not a charity. If the in-laws think you should do it for free, let them do it for free. If you start doing things for free, you'll find that all your time is taken up by doing free things. Sadly when you need something done for free, the recipients of your generosity often can't be found.
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  3. #3
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    You are so right but, I was thinking of $6/hr for them....they are young so I know they don't have much money. Ugh..I can't escape the guilt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashs_mom View Post
    I would charge at least $400. You are running a business, not a charity. If the in-laws think you should do it for free, let them do it for free. If you start doing things for free, you'll find that all your time is taken up by doing free things. Sadly when you need something done for free, the recipients of your generosity often can't be found.
    this x100. I am a generous person and I've been taken advantage of so many times...I'm still working on learning this lesson.

  5. #5
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I do not enjoy repairing and only do it for my loved ones.. I see back in 2010 there was also another thread here https://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f...on-t42019.html

    Hmmm. this site has a link showing a $390 charge to hand wash an antique quilt, but you may find it interesting reading. http://www.rockymountainquilts.com/r...tion_index.php
    Last edited by thimblebug6000; 01-18-2018 at 04:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    I wish I didn't have my pictures on my phone. I will try to get them over to my computer so I can post them. This quilt is in very bad shape. I mean, thread bare. I've done those types of repairs before and while it's not my favorite thing to do, it is cool to see something come back to life and the recipient so happy. *sigh* Still, it's going to need a full backing, binding and the front will need new borders and sashing. The hardest part is the restoration of the blocks themselves. I have to create templates for everything. The main blocks had appliqued houses with trees and the houses are outlined with embroidery floss plus embroidered windows and doors. That is going to be the time consuming part. I'm thinking of "cheating" and using my machine to do that part. That would save them money and my sanity as embroidery is not really my "thing".

    I'll see about those pictures....
    “'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'” ~Gandalf

  7. #7
    Super Member Teen's Avatar
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    Can any of the work be taught to a non-quilter? Like template making etc? I ask this because it may be kind of cool to ask nephew's wife to come over and give a hand and take some part ownership to the restoration. This may save you time and therefore, charge them less. Having an honest conversation with them about the time involved and offering solutions to keep costs down may encourage support for your efforts (and your prices...).
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  8. #8
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boykinsmommy View Post
    You are so right but, I was thinking of $6/hr for them....they are young so I know they don't have much money. Ugh..I can't escape the guilt!
    You have nothing to feel guilty for. You don't owe it to people to do things for them just because there is some tenuous familial relationship. If they come over regularly and do things for you that's different, but just because they are related to you doesn't mean you have to do things for free for them. And always remember when you estimate a cost, you have to allow for unexpected things that come up because they always do.

    Austinite, my mother would never do sewing for other people after being taken advantage of several times. She taught me to just smile and say "I don't do sewing for others". I wish I'd learned the "No is a complete sentence" lesson in other areas.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  9. #9
    Super Member Tiggersmom's Avatar
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    I would figure out how many hours you think it would take and charge at Least minimum wage plus supplies. I would then discount for your family only if you choose to do so. They should know you are giving them a discount and how much.
    I would give the nephew an official estimate before you accept the job. Good luck.
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  10. #10
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    I agree with cashs mom. Don't get pulled in your will be sad you did as you will be taken advantage of again.
    Quote Originally Posted by cashs_mom View Post
    I would charge at least $400. You are running a business, not a charity. If the in-laws think you should do it for free, let them do it for free. If you start doing things for free, you'll find that all your time is taken up by doing free things. Sadly when you need something done for free, the recipients of your generosity often can't be found.

  11. #11
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    Never, never surprise a customer. Make sure they know the charge is up front, while the quilt is still in her hands so she can easily walk away with it in case it is more than she wants to spend. You should accept the job with a set percentage down....especially if you have to buy materials such as backing or batting or matching fabric. You are a professional, and are expected to be a great estimator of time required. If you miss calculate, suck it up, and get better at your job. Have an agreement, like dry cleaners, if you don't pick it up and pay within 30 days (?) of done, state what happens to the quilt.. (goes to charity, whatever). If you are offering a discount, state that up front. Make out an order form, fill in some information, estimate, fine print, ......something......, and give her a copy as she leaves. No surprises. You'll get better at this, and you will thrive or quit based on outcomes. But you wont worry, whine, or be disappointed. Best wishes in your endeavor. There are many quilts that need to be repaired, loved, and cherished. It is wonderful that you contribute to this great cause.

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    I like what Teen suggested. If it is a joint project, they will feel a part of it and they will also understand the time and complexity of the project. It may also be a satisfying teaching experience. Be sure that they purchase all material and supplies you will use up front.

  13. #13
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Personally, I wouldn't do it. Just reading your description of what's wrong with the quilt is making me cringe. So many, many, MANY frustrating, long hours of work. If it is truly in such bad shape, and the owner has a very small budget, you will never get paid what you should. You will end up feeling resentful and regret it. Some things are just beyond repair.

    If the quilt has sentimental value, it might be better to not repair it, but instead frame a portion of it.
    Last edited by Peckish; 01-18-2018 at 10:57 PM.

  14. #14
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    i totally agree with peckish.

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    I agree with Peckish completely. It is obvious that the quilt has not been well cared for for some period of time. You could spend all that time and supplies on trying to restore it (not repair) and it will still be an old quilt. It will not look good. The person who owns this quilt probably thinks it will look new and fresh again. I think I would tell her that it will still be an old, deterioriating quilt and that maybe a replica would be a better choice.
    Some things just can't be restored.

  16. #16
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    You all are so right on every level. I sent my quote to her last night. $10/hr. Plus cost of materials. I always get materials cost up front. No way am I getting stuck with that family or no. I also tell people that mending is just that, a mend, not a brand new quilt. I include specific care instructions for all things I make but even more so for repairs/mending. I already told her on day one, this will be a display only afterwards. It really can't ever be serviceable. Just admired.

    You all helped to remind me that my time is valuable, even if it's family. She is a nanny and tutor, if I were to use her services, she would expect to get paid her regular wages. As she should. Thanks ladies!!
    “'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'” ~Gandalf

  17. #17
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't do it. Just reading your description of what's wrong with the quilt is making me cringe. So many, many, MANY frustrating, long hours of work. If it is truly in such bad shape, and the owner has a very small budget, you will never get paid what you should. You will end up feeling resentful and regret it. Some things are just beyond repair.

    If the quilt has sentimental value, it might be better to not repair it, but instead frame a portion of it.
    Also agree. It sounds like a total wreck. Why is it people think we can work miracles - they wouldn't take a pile of splinters to a woodworker and ask them, Please repair my coffee table.

    And as for paying a fair wage? "Well, it's not like it's real work, is it?"

    I would nopenopenope my way back away from that quilt. Tell them to fold it and display on a shelf.

  18. #18
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Ugh, sounds like a nightmare. And I wouldn't call your nephew's mother-in-law family. That's a stretch!

  19. #19
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    Whatever time you estimate it will take, double it. Seriously, we all underestimate time to complete things. Even my doubled estimates have been short of the actual time I've taken.


    IF (!) you decide to take this on (my advice here is in addition to what others have said, not instead of it):


    Since you're doing this as a business, I would give everyone a written quote. When I'm hiring a contractor or someone to do something around the house, I always ask in advance if they'll give an itemized written estimate. No one has ever said no, however some people don't actually give me a written estimate (even after I remind them), or they'll give me a piece of paper with a dollar amount on it that doesn't describe the work being done or something like that. I don't hire these people.

    One contractor I work with gives all his customers itemized written estimates, meaning I never have to ask. Sometimes it's a range ("$1100 to $1500 depending on how much of the sub flooring has to be replaced"). The estimates describe exactly what's being done and exactly what materials are being used. He charges for the job, but obviously he's coming up with the numbers by adding the cost of materials to the cost of his labor. I would do it like that.

    If they accept the quote, have them sign it (marking any choices they've made) and give one copy to them and keep one copy for yourself. I might forego the signature, but I would definitely have one copy for each party. If you email it you'll both have copies.


    I would have to think about this more to come up with better wording, but it would be something like this:

    [Price] to salvage quilt blocks (have a picture of the quilt and clearly mark the blocks being salvaged) and create a new quilt from the blocks (then describe the design and size of the new quilt to be made from them, with additional 100% cotton fabric to be determined)

    [Price] to redo the embroidery on these sections of the quilt (have a picture of the quilt and clearly mark the blocks included) (describe the embroidery to be done)

    [Price] to hand appliqué these sections (have a picture of the quilt and clearly mark the blocks included) (describe the appliqué to be done)


    Although this is extra work up front, I think it helps to prevent misunderstandings and is as much a benefit to customers as it is to the server providers. They might see your estimate and never mention the quilt again, but that's probably better than hurt feelings on both sides.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boykinsmommy View Post
    I sent my quote to her last night. $10/hr. Plus cost of materials. I always get materials cost up front.
    Did you include your estimate of the number of hours this project will take? And more importantly, is the estimate truly realistic? Take a look at your past repair projects of what your initial impression of how long it would take, and how long it actually took. As a software engineer, even after more than 20 years of experience, I have to multiply my initial impression of a coding (and designing) task's length by at least 2 or 3. Your past projects will give you some idea of what your multiplier to should be. (It could be 10 or higher!) As you gain experience in an area, your multiplier will go down, but for many people, it never hits 1. (I think we naturally tend to be optimistic for tasks we at least some-what enjoy.)

    I tend to agree with Peckish this may be a project to walk away from. Maybe encourage them to frame a section of the quilt to enjoy it. (Even after all this work, they're going to end with a display-only item.)

  21. #21
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    Yes, I did. I told her the range of hours is from 20-45 hrs. Here is a copy of what I sent her minus the chit chat. I did take photos as well. I've been arguing with my computer to try and post them here. So far I'm not winning....

    "I've been looking up pricing and so forth and coming up with the best way to repair your mom's quilt. I think the best way to proceed is as follows:

    1. Replace the backing, binding, borders and sashing completely. They are so thread bare and what remains is too thread bear to patch or has tears or is missing completely. The front of the quilt doesn't need the whole thing replaced but there are some long strips that definitely need it. I have found a pink that will come very close but, as with all things old, it will not be exact.


    2. Rebuild houses by replacing missing parts or re-doing if the fabric cannot be salvaged. Fabrics used will not be exact but in the same spirit as the originals (florals). All attempts to save what can be saved will be made.


    3. Embroidery: Houses can be embroidered again to replace the outline of roof, door and windows.


    4. Re-hand tie the quilt to hold the layers together. You do have the option of having the embroidery go through all three layers to further secure the layers. It will result in roof outlines and door/window outlines on the back, in black but there will not be any other defining features. This was how it was done originally but the choice is up to you.


    The only other option would be to completely rebuild the quilt. I don't think this is necessary and it would also result in a larger expense in materials and time. Again, depending on your goals with your quilt, this can be done but it will only preserve the main blocks with the houses on them.


    The cost breakdown for materials is $90 plus any tax. This includes shipping when free shipping is not available, it covers fabrics, thread, special needles I need for the embroidery (I am going to try to do it with my sewing machine to save time which ultimately saves you money).


    Labor charge: It is really hard to say how long it will take. On the extreme high side it will take 35-40 hrs. My normal hourly rate is $10/hr. It may not take me that long...I'm really thinking it will not, The longest part is going to be the house restoration and the embroidery. What I can do is get to that point and see where we are at and I'll know if the embroidery can be done by machine or if it will need to be done by hand. Until I put it under the needle, I have no idea if the fabric will hold up, it is very fragile but not so fragile that I'm not hopeful it will all be ok and I will be able to proceed. I'm anticipating all things going well and the hours will fall around 20-25. You can also choose to skip any of the parts above and that will bring the cost down as well. So, we are looking at about $200-$250 plus materials on the average side and possible more if things go wrong. I will do everything I can to make sure we come in on the lowest side possible but you must be prepared that quilt repair or mending and the time it takes is not something that can be estimated ahead of time, until one begins working with the fabric, it is just not truly known how it will hold up or what may happen. I keep track of all my hours and materials invoices. Everything is verifiable and available to you.


    Just for comparison, here is a link to a company who offers restoration of quilts. http://www.rockymountainquilts.com/restoration_index.ph


    Here are some links for you to see the fabrics I'm thinking of. The ones from Etsy are for the houses and are limited in quantity and so I'm including two because if they sell out I have to shop around again.


    https://www.etsy.com/listing/275656156/church-ladies-aprons-by-penny-rose



    https://www.etsy.com/listing/287386403/flutterberry-layer-cake-stacker-by-riley



    And for the pink main fabric: https://www.fabric.com/buy/ef-293/kona-cotton-candy-pink


    Thank you for allowing me to quote up repairs to your mom's heirloom. Let me know what you are thinking and how I can help and if you'd like to proceed.

    “'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'” ~Gandalf

  22. #22
    Member boykinsmommy's Avatar
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    OH! I also told her that it cannot be used again like it has in the past. We spoke about care for it afterwards and I always include detailed, written instructions with everything I make, repair or sell. That way there are no disillusions or assumptions and I've CYA'd myself.

    I haven't heard from her and she usually gets back to me quickly. I'm thinking she has sticker shock and this will be a no go. I'll keep you all posted and if I can ever get my computer to post those darn images!!! Keeps telling me it has failed.
    “'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'” ~Gandalf

  23. #23
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    I have restored a couple. I tell them that I have $100.00 minimum fee, regardless of how long it takes and $15.00 per hour. I keep track of my time on a larger time, after I have over 6 hrs, the $15.00 per hour kicks in. It depends on how much the quilt mean to them if they want it restored or not.

  24. #24
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    Updated

    From you description of the state of the quilt, this will be more work than making a new quilt from scratch. As such your work should be priced accordingly.

    If you have not yet used a estimate sheet, now is the time. Be very clear in all the costs, including shopping for supplies, prepping as well as the hands on work on the quilt. Charge $10.00 or what ever you feel you deserve. Make sure the deposit covers all your cash outlays. Yes, you may have fabric in the stash you can use, but what will it cost you to replace it at full price. Some goes with piecing, quilting and embroidery threads.

    Show the estimate to the client (your nephew), and if you feel there should be a 'family' discount, be clear on which parts of the estimate are discountable (your time, but not your costs.

    If the price is too high for him, then you can barter some of the time costs, What can he do for you, paint a bedroom, prune the fruit trees, take your car for oil changes for a year etc. But be firm on the costs of supplies (including you costs to get them, transportation, parking, shipping if ordered online.

    If that is still not acceptable, give some other suggestions on how the memory of the quilt can be preserved. Perhaps you restore enough to be made into a nice set of cushions? The costs will be much lower.

    I did not see your later post with the estimate you gave them. I think you did a great job of explaining the work needed and giving a link for them to check out other quilt restoration sites.
    Last edited by Tothill; 01-19-2018 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Read your later post
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  25. #25
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boykinsmommy View Post
    if I can ever get my computer to post those darn images!!! Keeps telling me it has failed.
    Have you resized them? You can't post anything over 1 meg.

    https://www.quiltingboard.com/qb-hel...g-t166655.html

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