My first quilt for a client was the Bethleham Star, OMG.! None of the outside pieces came within 4 inch of where they were to meet.
I do understand your sense of defeat but please step back and look at what you accomplished. When you quilted, you disguised her attempt at proper pieceing and you made the quilt better than it was when you got it.
I also have a work order and each time I have an issue, I will add it to my work order so that I did not repeat it. My worst mistake has been in not measuring the quilt as we discuss what I will be doing! They say, "Oh, it's a twin" and I put it on my machine and find that is a full to queen. I lose!
Linda Taylor, the Longarmer on QNNTV, has a video that was extremely helpful to me, in designing my work sheet and what to include on it. The biggest help to me has been when I schedule someone to come, I allow at least 30 minute to an hour. Most quilters are talkers too! I take my work sheet and go point by point. I measure, inspect, discuss, then price by each item they wish done to the quilt! I get side tracked too easily and I never let anyone schedule for me! No drop ins. I am usually unprepared!
I truly hope this helps!
P.S. Always take before and after pictures. CYA and bragging rights, too.
I know that you feel bad but it sounds like she was a flake(sorry). I do not have a business but I have done a few quilts for others. The first one I got was from a lady who lived 45 miles away and she ran a quilt shop and was a long time piecer. She was not happy with her current quilter and was willing to give me a try. I told her I had not done many quilts and this would be my first for someone else. She sent backing, which was too small. I just happen to have the same fabric and since she lived far away I cut, washed and ironed the fabric. She did beautiful piecing and the quilt quilted wonderful. I was very pleased and trimmed the quilt. I even sent her a picture of the finished quilt. I sent her back her quilt. She was shocked to find I had trimmed the quilt. She leaves some batting and backing when she adds her binding. I told her I would do the next quilt for free. She said no that she would pay but she wanted me to pick up and deliver. I don't think so. Ended that. I learned that I needed to ask about the trimming of the edges for sure. I thought I had covered all my bases but missed that one. It bothered me for months so I know how you feel.
To answer your question, you absolutely charge for binding. I believe the rate in my area is around $25. to $30 for hand and $15 or $20 or machine and yes, the cutomer should provide the fabric. Someone is has a business may give you more accurate pricing. I know of a quilter who hands out information sheets to tell them how large to make the backing, to make sure the quilt is pressed and so on. So others on here do the same? Do up a pricing sheet that is visible in your shop and a check list for yourself to review with the customer and have them sign off on it.
Just chalk this up as a learning experience and consider the source. You will continue to get customers. Just know you can't please everyone.
p.s. Sorry for TMI on the apron discussion. Didn't mean to give you a visual :-).
You are right about the pictures. I do quilts for family and friends and I have taken pictures of the fullness in the quilts and the problem areas that you can sometimes only see when the quilt gets on the frame. Great idea!
I am speaking as a customer and not the business owner of a quilting business. In my opinion, a price sheet with what is expected for backing, etc, is a must. In fact, I doubt I would use someone who didn't have one in place. There is too much room for misunderstanding. I was one of the first customers of one lady. She had the price sheet including binding service, the backing and batting info sheet plus a little pamphlet with her quilting designs. It gave me the feeling she knew business as well as quilting. Over the years her design sheet has grown greatly in size. She is also able to free motion designs as easily as I would write my grocery list.. I have never been disappointed with her work.
Granny M--There is absolutely no question that word of mouth advertising is your best advertising. Second is the material you hand out about your services.
Only because I am in a large city now, at the next quilt show I attend, I will be checking out other long arm quilters. Without a price sheet they will not make my list of businesses to pursue. Shipping quilts cross country can add to the price substantially.
Granny M:This quilt was poorly constructed, when I got to really look at it there were twisted seams and the backing material she provided had a two way stretch.
I want to tell you, I have seen some poorly constructed quilts. There are those who have a new baby or grand-baby and figure they just have to make a quilt, cause that is the easiest thing to do and they are "supposed to". Non-quilters can be really oblivious to what is really involved to get to a finished quilt. If someone brings you a poorly constructed quilt, and they don't know what a binding is... if they get upset and don't come back, it probably is a good thing. I don't think you would have to worry that they are going to tell their quilting friends not to take their quilts to you... if they had quilting friends, their friends would have told them a quilt needs to be bound.
You learn each time you do a quilt, but you should not let a customer intimidate you into providing a service for free, or make you feel you were the one who did wrong. Remember once you set a precedence, it is hard to change.
Granny M:I had my first customer.
Not to worry, you learned a lot with your first. Number 1, check the quilt, take your time doing this, that is going to determine what you charge. You may want ot consider a PITA charge ( Pain in the A**) Is it square? are there any lump/gapes/just bad sections? check the backing fabric. is there enough/do you have to piece it/sew it/square it? What time frame are you working on, does it have to be done asap or do you have time?
2, Just like the other lady said, a customer sheet is great and leaves no questions.
Unless you can load the quilt with the squared backing straigt away, anything to do is going to cost them. I gave back a quilt because the border was rippled. I don't want to fix them and I don't want to have to explain away their bad sewing. You can't quilt out mistakes all the time.
Don't take it to heart but learn from it. I can hardly wait until I get my first customer who doesn't like her quilt. And finaly, You do NOT want HER repeat business. she is a problem now and will always be. The less a quilter knows about quilting, the harder its going to be to train them. You don't get paid for that. Drink wine. Make a customer sheet, Move on. Value your work. You know what to do, she didn't know what she was paying for. She did pay you??
My, that was fun.
Granny M:Are you binding the quilts as an extra service for free or charging.
Definitely charge extra for binding but I like to spend a little time getting to know my customers since this is new to me. I try to find out how long they've been quilting and some background before they even come over. Then when they bring the quilt over, we go over pattern, thread choice, batting, backing and I always ask about binding. One customer had me quilt her first quilt. Horribly made, horrible backing, but I kept assuring her this would work out fine while inserting some tips for future quilts where it seemed appropriate. Then I asked about binding, had to explain it to her, told her my charge and she decided she could figure that out for herself. That works for me! :-) I'm not sure how it turned out or if I will ever see her again but I did the best I could for her.
I have also done several quilts with wavy borders. They have worked pretty well. I have taken pictures showing the waviness just to share with the customer if she asked about a pucker but they haven't. I feel like they were not disappointed with the results.
I created a quilt check-in sheet. I may make some modifications to it but it has worked for me so far. I loaded to my blog but I think some of the formatting didn't work. You can still get the idea of what I use.
I heard back from Marianne about the QoV quilt I sweated over. I am very relieved!!
Here is part of her email:
Jeanine,YES, the quilt arrived yesterday, but I just now opened the box. I had brought the box in but got involved in dinner preparations and forgot about it! I LOVE the design you used. It's perfect!Keep up the great work!Thanks for a truly beautiful job,Marianne
High praise indeed.
I registered for the Machine Quilters Showcase in May in Kansas City. I learned from last year to not take as many classes so I signed up for only 4. That will give me plenty of time to check out the quilts and vendor booths and absorb some of what I learned. It is a really good way to learn, network and find vendors for the products you need in your business.
Jeanine, So glad Marianne was pleased with your work. I know it makes you feel good. Makes me feel good for you.
Everyone, thanks for the pep talk, I feel better now. I do have a check sheet, I do plan to sit and talk with the customer, measure, look at threads etc. This woman ended up at my home, not studio, and on Christmas Eve thanks to my DH. I have now told my DH that if a customer calls, let me do the talking and never never tell them to come to the house. Especially since this lady showed up about an hour before my family was to arrive for Christmas dinner.
Pat M I will take you up on that offer to share your check list. I am sure there is something I have forgetten or just plain did not know to include.
I need to do some advertising in our weekly newspaper I think.
Everyone thanks and have a good night.
Congratulations! I think I'd frame it :)
Granny M, that was a wretched start to you quilting for others, but boy wasn't it a learning experience? Glad there are people on site to guide you in this new business experience. I just know that you are neer going to let that happen again, but we all need our learning experiences. It just makes us even better at what we do... Ginny
Congrats Jeanine, it was a very nice design....Ginny