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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Helen Weiss
Date: 05-07-2004, 05:56 PM (1 of 5)
I wrote to you all last year regarding what to charge my alteration and repair customers. It seems that must of us struggle with that question, and even seasoned business people have difficulty charging what our work is worth. I decided this year that I would charge for my work either by the "job" eg. hem unlined pants $7.00, or by the hour $15.00 plus supplies, for all of the time put into the job. Since I do this work half time, I needed to make it worthwhile. I'm happy to report that my clientele has had no objections to the prices I have charged. What this tells me is that I had the wrong perception about what my clients would think was a fair price for good work. I have lost a few customers, I think, who were not willing to pay for the quality of work that I do, but in the long run, I think I'll be better off concentrating on the people who appreciate my service. I have also taken on alterations for a high end ladies wear store, and have cultivated some very good repeat customers from that connection. My foray into repairs for a dry cleaning company was not as successful. I found I didn't like the work as much, and the clothes were not always clean when I got them.

I hope this helps others who are afraid to fairly price the work and service they provide. I believe our cistomers value us more than we value ourselves at times!
User: Helen Weiss
Member since: 10-16-2003
Total posts: 69
From: sewserious
Date: 05-07-2004, 07:55 PM (2 of 5)
I am so glad your business is growing but are you sure $15 an hour is enough? I make that working for someone else and I don't have the expenses associated with that job (it's not sewing either but another highly skilled position) that I have with my sewing business. They pay half my taxes and SS and for my health insurance. If I work for myself, I have to pay all that and $15 an hour wouldn't even begin to cover it. $25 an hour would come closer. Please don't sell yourself short. There is a saying, "If you have too much business, raise your prices. If you don't have enough business, raise your prices".
User: sewserious
Member since: 08-24-2003
Total posts: 112
From: Linda in Colorado
Date: 05-08-2004, 02:38 PM (3 of 5)
sewserious is SEW right about the old adage of "If you have too much business, raise your prices, . . ."

She's also correct in that you aren't charging enough!!!!! You should be charging AT LEAST $20 per hour -- $25 would be more like it. Charging by the hour works well for those of us who do custom sewing. You can estimate the number of hours you think it will take to complete the project, including consultations, fittings and so forth.

For alterations, charging by the project (hems, for example) is a good, easy way to go -- easy for you to remember, easy for your clients to remember. Keep in mind that you would charge more for a lined pair of pants than for an unlined. More for cuffed pants, too.

Please keep us posted on how your business is doing.
User: Linda in Colorado
Member since: 03-27-2000
Total posts: 102
From: MartySews
Date: 05-10-2004, 11:40 AM (4 of 5)
Congratulations!!! A friend of mine does alterations for her church members and her prices are in line with what you are charging. However, when she teaches a sewing class, it's $30 an hour at a local fabric store. This is a reasonable fee. She has been able to take a few trips and buy some new sewing equipment with her earnings. Good for you!!! If you feel that you need to raise your prices, then do so at the beginning of the year or explain that supply costs have gone up which has resulted in a price increase for you. Either way, sounds like you have found your niche. Happy Stitching!
Marty :cool:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: warrenma
Date: 03-16-2005, 09:27 PM (5 of 5)
:nc: I would love to know how to put cuffs in my pants, I bought a pair with cuffs, but they are to long, I just want to cut them off and put new cuffs in them, could some one help me please. Thanks warrenma :nc:
User: warrenma
Member since: 03-16-2005
Total posts: 1
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