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Thread: What is a reasonable Turn Around Time to expect from a Longarm Quilter?

  1. #1
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    What is a reasonable Turn Around Time to expect from a Longarm Quilter?

    I usually do my own quilting on baby or lap size quilts, mostly Stitch in the Ditch. Last year I made a few twin to queen quilts that I had quilted a local longarm quilter. They were a bit too much for me to handle on my machine. I also wanted a nice meander stitch on them as they were special quilts for my DGranddaughters who were getting married or their own houses. Each time I left a quilt with her she asked when I wanted it I replied 4 weeks/a month. She said she'd call me when the quilt was done. Each time I let about 6 weeks pass without hearing from her so I called her and again she asked when did I need the quilt. I mentioned that my receipt said 4 weeks and she had the quilt for me in about another week. First time I thought oh well she got busy but when it happend again with the next two quilts I was very disappointed because the quilts weren't finished when I wanted to gift them. I love her work as the stitching is very good, the quilts lie very flat and since we're guild members her pricing is very affordable. I'd like to use her again but want to handle the turnaround time up front but need to hear from others if I'm expecting too much by requesting a month for turnout time. I'm open to any ideas how to handle this. May in Jersey
    Last edited by May in Jersey; 01-28-2012 at 08:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Member Annie68's Avatar
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    Lets see, she asked when you need the quilt, you told her a month. So, next time tell her you need it in a week and see if that works better.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Maresan's Avatar
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    I would tell someone up front when you need a quilt done by and I bet this deadline will be meant, within reason.

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    It really doesn't matter what the turnaround times are with other LAQ!

    If it's been a problem in the past, you know it may continue as such.
    You like her work, and want to continue with her.
    You've noted that once you called, she moved on it.

    So ... when you leave it with her, you need to tell her a FIRM date you need it.
    And ask if she can make the date or not?

    And if she can't ... you have to be prepared to take your business elsewhere.
    Otherwise, you are sending her the message that your FIRM date is NOT so.
    That it's only a wishy-washy one!
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  5. #5
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Have you mentioned to her that the delay is making the quilts late as a gift ? Mention that and also shorten up the time you give her to get them done and see what happens.
    To keep your mind fresh- learn one new thing a day !

  6. #6
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have had similiar experiences with some Long Arm pros. I had one hold three quilts "hostage" missing the scheduled delivery by almost 4 weeks. Each quilt had the completion date clearly stated on the "work order/contract". It was enourmously stressful since all were gifts , and every day I wondered if I would have them back in time to bind. It is a professionals responsibility to complete work as promised or commited.
    I understand that "stuff" happens , but you should have been notified that she would not be able to complete on schedule. Understanding you may love her work and the price is right , but if you continue to use her services , you can expect similiar service in the future. I would start exploring other options. Let your wallet be your voice.

  7. #7
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    As I mentioned the first time I thought she just got busy. Second time I reminded her that we agreed upon a certain date because I needed a few days to finish the quilt for gift giving. The third time same thing so I guess it is a done deal that I need to look elsewhere especially since our guild is having a show in May and she probably had many quilts to do.

    She has been doing longarm quilting for at least 20 years and I really was taken back upon her not notifying me there would be a delay but it really seems she just forgot about it. I've seen some posts by quilters that they have a pile of quilts to get to so maybe that's how she works.

  8. #8
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    usually a month is standard to me unless it is a busy season like x-mas you should expect longer

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    A month is not at all unreasonable for turnaround time. 6 weeks is also reasonable, or 2 months, or even longer if the longarmer has a backlog of quilts, and many do. On the longarming forums I've heard some longarmers start to fret when their backlog is only one month long.

    What is not reasonable is that you were given one time, and not notified when it couldn't be met, and this seems to be a pattern. Perhaps she accepts quilts from guild members at a discount and therefore feels that she can put them off and do the quilts for her full-price customers first? That would be a reasonable policy if it's clearly stated to the guild members that they will have to wait. Or is she perhaps not doing the longarming as a business, but just doing quilts for friends when she has time? Has she had personal or family health or other problems that made it impossible to meet her commitments? Is she just late in doing everything in life? Whatever the reason, it seems clear that you will need to either find another longarmer who can meet your schedule, or plan to wait until this lady finishes your quilts.

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i have always tried to have good communication with customers- if 'life' happens and i get behind i right away contact the person and talk to them about the delay- if it's going to be a problem i will find someway to get it done on time- usually (because i do stay in touch) it is not a problem.
    turn around definitly depends on the quilter- i know a couple who have 6 months to a year---i thought that was pretty crazy---i would not want to be responsible for someone's quilt that long- my (norm) is 2 weeks- but there have been times (last spring when we had 3 family deaths in a week) that set me behind- and i really had trouble getting back into it-and getting them done- i think one took me a couple months---but i did stay in touch - and make sure it was not a problem..
    i think having good communication is a must. if you are happy with her work- but unhappy with her turn around- you should sit down and talk to her about it- maybe she could be more (realistic) about her time management and do better. or maybe it is just a hobby for her- and she has lots of family commitments- and simply does not want to be (scheduled) if that's the case you could find another quilter- or plan accordingly- but communication is the important part.
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  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i know some long-armers who actually set appointments. they don't even take your quilt until they are ready to quilt it.
    Nancy in western NY
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  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I agree with Nan. I get on my longarmer's schedule, but I don't drop off the quilt until she's actually ready to quilt it. She books about two months out from January to September, longer for the holiday season. No reason my quilt has to sit at her house all that time. I also think there's less chance of being 'bumped by a squeekier wheel' this way.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  13. #13
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    I waited a really long time 4 or 5 months on the only quilts I have sent out to be done, I contacted the quilter and it still took a few more weeks. Thank goodness the work was beautiful and as a novice I made plenty of mistakes but she quilted it anyway. I pieced a quilt recently with asian fabrics that I didn't wan to mess up so I sent them to Missouri Star quilt Company, Jenny Doan herself called me yesterday to make sure we are on the same page with what I wanted (they don't do custom quilting). I'm not sure how long it's going to take or how expensive it will be but so far I couldn't ask for better service.
    groovey

  14. #14
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    I do LAQ myself and I keep a list by the phone so I always know within a week to 10 days just when I can get your quilt in and done. Baring any break downs or family problems. But I stay in touch if it looks like I'll be longer then 10 days getting to your quilt when it comes up on the list. I also don't take a quilt until a week to 10 days before your up on the list, this way I don't have your quilt but a week or so after it is delivered.
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  15. #15
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    Well, from your post I saw that you mentioned that she does nice work and is reasonable on her pricing since you both are guild members, but she is also inconsiderate of deadlines. You've already called her out three times on her lack of returning your quilts on time, so I think in this case, you have to decide which is more important to you, time or money. If saving money on her quilting is truly a priority, then you have to accept her tardiness. If it's just too irritating or stressful for you, then I'd find another LAQ who will be more professional.

    Having said that, if it were me and I decided to stick with this woman for financial reasons, then I would make sure to get my quilts to her long before I actually needed them when possible. Still ask for the 1 month deadline, but only you will know that you don't really need it for two months.

  16. #16
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    I used to have a LAQ keep them for close to a year. I knew that so wasn't a big deal but I eventually switched when I found a new quilter that takes no more than a month which I think is reasonable.

  17. #17
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    I have had problems also, but not with anyone on this board. She told me her policy was first in, first out, and to allow 2 weeks. I gave her my quilt in Aug. and did not get it back until Dec. 15th. We had our family Christmas on the 17th and it was a gift for my daughter. I still had to put the binding on it. Come to find out she was doing quilting for her friends. She does beautiful work, but I will not give her another quilt that I want to gift.

  18. #18
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    I usually quote 4-6 weeks (or less if a small quilt); but year before last, I messed that up...ended up in the hospital three different times and on chemo...BUT...I called my customers and told them, giving them the option to move or wait. They all opted to wait so I was really blessed. Maybe if you tell her you need them in two weeks or less, she'll get them done. Unless she has a good reason I don't think I'd send her any more business unless you just don't have a deadline to get it back. (And even then, I wouldn't tell her that...). Good luck!
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  19. #19
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I would be unhappy with that service. If you decide to stay/return to her, be a squeaky wheel. If you agree on 4 weeks, call her a couple of times during week 3 and say you're just verifying that it will be ready by the agreed-upon date.

  20. #20
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    May I understand your reluctance to go elsewhere, I did the same thing for years. Take your next quilt to her (preferably one that's not on a deadline) and really pin her down on delivery date and tell her it's a must that you have it back on time. I would then start calling her about a week and a half before it's due and ask if she's going to be on time. If she fails to meet the deadline I would make sure (in a roundabout way) she knows that the next quilt will go to someone else. The LAr I used for years took over two months to do a quilt; did it totally wrong and not what I had asked for, then took another three months to fix it. She knows I'm still making quilts and she hasn't gotten any of them to quilt.
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  21. #21
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    The first quilt I sent out , took 3 months. I found someone else to quilt my large quilts. With sending them through the mail , I still get them back in less than a week. She does a great job!!

  22. #22
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    Here is depends on who is doing the quilting. One gal has a 6 month wait list, yes 6 months. She does a lot of high end quilting. She is one the most expensive in our area.
    Others are a little more resonable and turn around is normally around 4 weeks.

    I would give her a date to have it done by and not just say, 4 weeks. That way she knows you need it by that time.

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamaquilts View Post
    Here is depends on who is doing the quilting. One gal has a 6 month wait list, yes 6 months.
    As long as you know that up front, it's really not a problem. She certainly doesn't have to have your quilt in her posession for that whole time and doesn't even need to know the size at that point. You could actually get yourself on her schedule for quilting before you even start making the quilt. All it means is that she's booking that far out and with a little planning on your part, there should still only be a week or two max before you get your finished quilt back.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  24. #24
    Member Tollergirl's Avatar
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    SO glad to read about this topic. I am a new quilter and really have nothing to gauge the turn around time on. My quilts are taking 6+ weeks, well beyond the promised date. My take away is that the agreed date of completion should be met, otherwise the LAQ should call the customer. It also looks like 2-4 weeks is the average.

  25. #25
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    my friend who does professional LA has a list.. you can reserve a space when you start the quilt as soon as you know the dimensions.....if you need more time to finish the top you can drop back on the list....but when you are ready your time is 'next' so she never has quilts piling up but has continual work...... and she saves a time for charity baby quilts which she does 3 at a time on the wide frame. Ok, read this before i hit post and it is safe to say we all love her dearly!!!!!

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