(Why) Are you paying too much for your quilting?

EDITED - Updated Link

I have come under fire for my quilting pricing before, and I will most likely be under fire again for this post.  I do not charge the 'going' rate for my long arm quilting.  I love what I do and I am lucky enough to be able to do it.  With that being said, here's what the quilts at my house look like. Take a few moments to click on the photos and read the captions.

As you can see the quilts at my house are very used and loved.  Just everyday quilts that we love.  This is the way I want it, this is the way I love it.  

Now let's talk numbers...

My rate for quilting is .01 per square inch.  Let's do the math for a simple quilt.  If you send me a 100" x 100" quilt I am going to send you a bill for $100 for the quilting.  The going rate for most other long arm quilters is in the range of 015-.020 per square inch for simple edge designs and that does not always include the thread.  If you are paying .015 the same quilt quilted by someone else is going to cost you $150 and if your quilter's rate is .020 you are going to pay $200 for the same quilt.   Why would/do you pay an extra $50-$100 for quilting?  

This is for edge to edge quilting not custom quilting, custom quilting can and SHOULD cost you more. It's .010 for just about any design that I carry with no additional charge for the thread.  I might charge you extra if you send me a really wrinkled top or backing, but most of the time I will just press it and move on.  If I do charge you, most likely you will find my fees lower than the 'going rate' of other long arm quilters.  

Often I hear "you get what you pay for".  Maybe, maybe not.  I quilt hundreds of quilts each year and feel that I am a very experienced and confident machine quilter.  I am not attempting to get rich or make a name for myself, I just like what I do and am lucky enough to be able to do it.

Recently a blog post was written about Quiltonomics: The Real Cost of Quilts.  Yes, quilting is expensive.  The cost of the material alone can blow a normal budget out of the waters for a month or two.  However, statements like the one below tend to make me a little crazy.

Link above may be unavailable, so here's another link....

"Every time one person undersells, it creates the expectation of the buying public that a low price is the going rate,” Hunter weighed in. “We need to raise our prices to a living wage for the sake of all. We are no less skilled than plumbers and mechanics that charge $100 an hour.” 

The problem I have with this statement is this:

 I believe we will eternally need the services of plumbers and mechanics to keep the plumbing and mechanics of our lives working.  The need will never go away; it is job security.  It isn't a trend to follow, plumbing is pretty much plumbing.  It was plumbing 5 years and will be plumbing 5 years from now.  

In case you are wondering what I'm talking about in the paragraph above, I remember a few years ago when scrapbooking was all the rage.  Now it seems to be quilting.  When will it end?  Will it end?  Who knows?  I don't believe anyone really does.  Yes, there are the eternal diehards that will remain quilting, but will the industry be as strong 5 or even 10 years from now?

I know of several gals in my guild who only make quilts to give away.  They have made more quilts than their families can use or want.  Hard to believe for some of us, but it does happen, and I have seen it.

Is every quilt a fine work of art? Is it really going to be a true heirloom?   Should we/you expected to pay a higher price just because someone thinks their time is valued at a high dollar amount and who sets the standard?  After all isn't this considered a 'craft'?  I don't know of a college out there that offers classes or a degree in quilting.   

I'm sure if you ask the plumbers and mechanics of the world  
they will most likely tell you they do  not feel they are in the 

same category as the quilters.

Another thing...I have known quilters to 'hang a sign' and begin quilting customer quilts just weeks after purchasing their machines.  They would charge the 'going' rate?  WAIT!  What happened to the learning time?  What about the pre-professional pricing?  I certainly didn't begin with the highest price possible.  I have quilted many, many free quilts to learn before even thinking about charging.  Just because you own a machine does not mean you should charge the same price as someone who does superior work.  It's like paying the same amount of money for a Chevy as you would a Rolls Royce.

With all of my heart I believe that if you have made a show-stopping quilt you should expect to pay more for the quilting, but if you have made a quilt to be loved and used, you may want to think about this post and ask yourself… 

Am I paying too much?

thanks for checking on me,

love to hear what you've got to say.........

1 comment:

  1. Plumbers and mechanics are usually state licensed, they have some sort of schooling behind them. They are skilled tradespeople. To me long arm quilters are another category and I think most would rather be thought of as artists.
    Your outlook is refreshing!