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Pros/Cons of starting a longarm quilting business/service

Pros/Cons of starting a longarm quilting business/service

Old 02-01-2020, 03:19 PM
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I was in a quilt shop today that sold several brands of LA set ups. A lady was trying one out and decided to buy it. Her friend was with her. The dealer asked her if she didn't want to buy one too. She said oh I'll buy this one cheap when _________ finds out it won't be as fun and easy as she thinks it will be. LOL
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:48 PM
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You've gotten some great advice from those that have either owned a long arm business, or currently run one. I bought used for me and maybe even business to offset the cost of my quilting "addiction". there is definitely a learning curve whether you are doing hand guided or computer guided. Also, if you are not involved in quilt guilds you would have to really "work" the PR aspect. I do many samples for the LQS--we have a deal that she gives me credit and promotion and I do her's for free (not all of them though). This has really helped with my business and I also get many quilts from friends in quilt guild. But since I also work PT at another job I have to decide how many quilts I'm willing to take-on. I'm finding that I have become more selective of the # of quilt jobs I take on the older I get as I want more time for my own quilting and it can be hard on your body. I do mostly custom quilting and find that few want to actually pay what I charge for that--which is ok. So if you are interested in actually making enough to pay off the machine or make a substantial amount,I suggest you get computer guided due to the speed (especially since it sounds like you have the computer skills).But be totally aware of the Long Arm saturation in your area--mine is well saturated--can be a big factor. Like a dealer rep for the brand of machine I have told me one time, the ability to purchase a new machine totally on credit in our area and pay it off with a quilting business probably is not possible.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:21 AM
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Thank you OK, I really miss the quilt alongs we did together, I see Carrie is still on, and QNSue I still have the last one on my quilting wall, with only 6 rows done, When we were working on that one Don was really not feeling well due to the cancer, all we did was go to doctors for treatments, and I just couldn't get back to it, maybe some day soon. It doesn't seem like he has been gone over 3 years now.
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Old 02-02-2020, 01:06 PM
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In my first years of longarming I did charity quilts along with quilting my own. I think you'll find yourself busy with your own quilts, ones you keep and those you give away. I would recommend doing charity quilts too, that will build your skills quickly. I quilted for myself for about 7 years before I began quilting for others. When you start quilting for others it's slow for the first year because you don't have your name out there, people don't know about you yet. But as word of mouth gets out there you start to get customers.
I think you'll do well, you'll really enjoy longarming.

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Old 02-02-2020, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Iceblossom View Post
I've known several people who got into long-arming expecting to help pay off their machine cost that way, none of them are currently quilting on a professional basis -- although they do their work at a professional level!

The physical effort was more than some were prepared for, as well as the amount of skill needed. The stress for the perfectionists was very high when quilting for others. Are you able to look at something and "know" how it should be quilted, and are you able to follow directions/negotiate when your client wants something else? And, some just didn't like the business aspects, whether that's the bookkeeping or the perform on someone else's schedule. I can also tell you that you become very aware of a quilts imperfections when stretched on a frame. It is amazing how bad some tops can be...

I tried running an ad last year, I'll try again looking to rent time at someone's home setup. I'm willing to pay towards the use of the machine as well as supply all my own needles, thread, bobbins, etc. but not at shop rates, just can't afford it. But I know there are set-ups getting dusty out there! As far as having my tops quilted, Seattle is an expensive area and I don't think I can get what I want at a price I can afford. I can get pretty close to what I want doing it myself, but honestly I'm a piecer and not a quilter and thinking of the designs and the 3D aspects is not my strong point.

edit: I should say that if I charged someone else for me to quilt something, I know I would charge more than I am willing to pay. I believe the quilters here deserve what they charge and many deserve more. My final thought, I love humanity in the abstract and at arm's length through the internet. In person, however, the public -- especially the paying public -- are often not my favorite people!
a LQS by me rents time on their longarm after a training lesson. Its $25 hour and....works out to about the same cost for me as having someone else do it. For me the calculation was easy...and my favorite longarmer also does the binding!
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