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The Sew What’s New Archive

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: kitty-boo
Date: 12-25-2004, 05:04 PM (1 of 15)
Hi. This is the first time I've ever posted anything so I hope everything is clear and I did everything right. Anyway, I've been sewing for a couple years and i just started teaching my friend's kids ( one is 10yrs and the other is 12 yrs) and their friend (10 yrs.). So I have three students all together. I have a pretty room in my house devoted to my sewing and have three new sewing machines for them to use. I thought charging $11 an hour was really reasonable since you get more than that for babysitting. Class sessions are supposed to be 2 hours long but my friend wants to spend less money and asked me to shorten the class to 1.5 hrs and still wants me to come down in my price.
Initially I was going to charge just one student $15 an hour but I told her that if she got 2 other students that I would bring the price down to $11. She is basically saying that no one would pay that much and that I should at least charge by the project.She also says that since I havent been sewing that long and that since this is my first class (even though my real job is being a teacher) that I should charge less.
Am I crazy, or is she crazy, or is it both?
I desperately hope that someone has some numbers or advice for me.
Kitty-boo :nc:
User: kitty-boo
Member since: 12-25-2004
Total posts: 4
From: Chrysantha
Date: 12-25-2004, 08:51 PM (2 of 15)
I don't know where you live, but $11 an hour to teach sounds a bit low...
Here in N.W. FL the going rate is $15., no matter how old the student.
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: wild800
Date: 12-25-2004, 09:02 PM (3 of 15)
Ok let me begin by saying that I am a beginner at sewing, so my opinion could be way off. I'd pay $11.00 an hour for sewing lessons, but I suppose it depends on what a person can afford. When my son was young I paid $50.00 a month for his Karate lessons, that was over ten years ago, but at the time, I thought it was kind of high. I wasn't earning much then, but I found a way to pay it.

Do babysitters really get more than $11.00 an hour now? Wow, maybe I should take that up in my spare time!

Seriously though, the kids will be using your equipment, so there is wear and tear as well as the cost for electricity. There is also liability on your part if one of them should injure themselves during a class. You might want to ask your home insurance agent whether or not you will need to add some coverage for that.

Will they be bringing all of their own fabric, patterns and notions? I wouldn't change the price if I were you, but I would consider setting up a four to six week project with the expectation that the students attend each of the sessions (paying whether they attend or not). That way at the end of the session they will have made at least one thing and will have an idea of whether they want to continue on with additional lessons.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, sign me up!
User: wild800
Member since: 10-27-2004
Total posts: 48
From: kitty-boo
Date: 12-25-2004, 09:47 PM (4 of 15)
Thank you Chrysantha and Wild800 for responding so quickly! I wanted to clarify, if it matters, that I am teaching three students at the same time and if that made a difference in the price I should be asking?
Wild800, I'm actually from Philly, so it would probably be a hassle for you to get to class!
Thanks again!

btw: Chrysantha, where did you get the graphic next to your name?
User: kitty-boo
Member since: 12-25-2004
Total posts: 4
From: Hogmami
Date: 12-25-2004, 10:02 PM (5 of 15)
I don't feel that 15.00 is too much to ask. I have taken lots of classes and they are running 40.00 for 3 hours. And they have 5 to 8 people in a class. I know the one shop near me that has classes for kids and they charge 45.00 for 2 hours for 2 days. The lady that does the classes told me she has a waiting list of kids to take the classes. She has them use her machines. They have to pay for the kits of the project she is teaching. She also teaches them how to use sewing machines and how to take care of them.
User: Hogmami
Member since: 09-30-2004
Total posts: 800
From: smith972
Date: 12-25-2004, 11:42 PM (6 of 15)
All of the classes i have taken were far more expensive. Plus we had to provide our own sewing machines, fabric, patterns and notions.

At Hancocks for instance the beginner class is 3 weeks long, 2 hours each day and costs students 65.00. I had to travel 1 hour from home each way (gas + wear and tear on the van) bring my own machine, buy a pattern, notions and lug all that stuff back home.

I think your prices are fair and I would sign up if you were offering serger classes (I am trying to talk Hancock into offering a serger class next month).

And the Hancock classes were the cheepest I could find in my area....most every where else wanted 80.00 or more for the same class.


PS... Do what i did with my nanny, she thought that she was being underpaid, so i did reasearch on the internet and calling other people that had live in nanny's and in comparing her package with thiers she was actully being stopped the complaining and made her work harder to prove that i should not go with someone else....
So do some places that offer sewing classes in your people that offer sewing classes in thier home...and present this information to your friend...always remember that friends and family will sometimes try to rip you off big time for your family has not done that (yet) and hope that they never will...but i have run into a few friends that have wanted something for nothing and feel because i sew that i should just do it for them and not charge them for my time or energy that goes into making thier garment. I am a full-time working mom of 3, part-time college student, and full-time wife...i my spare time (very little) I enjoy sewing for my family.
User: smith972
Member since: 09-10-2004
Total posts: 241
From: mommydionne
Date: 01-01-2005, 12:28 PM (7 of 15)
$15 per hour for private lessons is fine!! I pay $10 per 30 min for piano for my son and don't get me started on the cost of private skating lessons (going rate for figure skating is $15 for 15 minutes! and that's for the little kids) my daughter chose swimming this year instead whew!!
stick to your guns sounds like someone wants something for nothing to me!!
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: MaryW
Date: 01-01-2005, 01:00 PM (8 of 15)
I think the answer is clear. Stick to your guns and welcome to Sew Whats New.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: atestone
Date: 01-04-2005, 02:01 PM (9 of 15)
I'm a little late getting in on this one. But here's an awesome website for teaching kids sewing: She suggests calling around for prices on other afterschool type activities to see what the going rate is for your area. I was going to use her program, had 8 students interested until I sent the info on how much. Now, no-one! I was going to charge $50 month that included the patterns and instruction books. They were responsible for fabric and notions. I had a couple people tell me that I was right in the ball park with other afterschool activities. But, I guess I'll try again to get some students!

Stay with what you started with!!

User: atestone
Member since: 12-01-2004
Total posts: 2
From: Londa
Date: 01-04-2005, 10:07 PM (10 of 15)
I have 2 set time periods during the week where I offer classes for no more than 4 students at a time at $12/hour (raised from $10 last year). Includes use of my machines if they like. This is adults and children. If I have less than 4, I still do it, but feel free to work on something myself too along with them - making sure I am first and foremost at their beck and call.
If I teach one on one - it is $25 / hour - at times that work specifically for them.
Sewing camps during the summer, I have a total of 2.5 hours /day for 5 days per week - = 12.5 hours and I charged $99. :bluesad: That's just $7.92/hour, but I love doing it. Charge $5/day for machine rental past the beginner class. Will probably be raising my prices this year, come to think of it!
User: Londa
Member since: 05-26-2004
Total posts: 39
From: toadusew
Date: 01-09-2005, 11:12 AM (11 of 15)
I used to teach beginning sewing, and found my system worked well. Some of my clients actually encouraged me to raise my prices! At any rate, I only taught adults and only had one private student. My classes were 2 hours long, once a week, for six weeks, which equalled twelve hours of instruction. I charged $10 per hour, a total of $120, and I always got it up front, which worked out best for everyone.
User: toadusew
Member since: 01-08-2005
Total posts: 369
From: Serenity
Date: 01-16-2005, 04:57 PM (12 of 15)
Think of it this way Kitty-Boo

My doctor does not reduce his price... 90.00 a visit whether I am sick or not.
My mechanic does not give me a break...45.00 an hour ...PERIOD

So I charge 45.00 per hour to sew a custom made garment.
I chage 10.00 to hem a pair of pants and 20.00 per hour for other alterations depending on the job.
When I teach at my school, (Arub Designs School of Sewing & Summer sewing for children at Arub Designs)I charge 15.00 per hour for 3 hours. Adults are 20.00 per hour for 4 hours....PERIOD.

Do not change your prices unless you are running a super sale for 5 or more and even then it would still be the same... Sort of like the "FAMILY DISCOUNT"...hehehe :bolt:

"The struggle is not greater than the goal". Be blessed. Stay encouraged.
User: Serenity
Member since: 01-12-2005
Total posts: 85
From: kitty-boo
Date: 01-18-2005, 03:25 PM (13 of 15)
Thankyou, everyone for replying. I believe I will charge my next group of kids a little more. Also, I checked out sewing prose and ordered a set. It looks great! Thanks for the tip!
User: kitty-boo
Member since: 12-25-2004
Total posts: 4
From: ksnative
Date: 01-27-2005, 07:37 AM (14 of 15)
Ah pricing. It's tricky business.

It's kind of funny, but certain ways of stating prices fly better with customers than others. And it can vary from customer to customer. For instance research shows that people are more likely to buy items that are not even dollar amounts. For instance $11.99 instead of $12.00. Why? Because the $11.99 is less -- just a penny but the brain doesn't care -- it just reads the price as less.

Maybe the mom's are balking at paying for the class and buying fabric too. Could you put together some low cost kits for your classes and have the students buy those or add the cost to your class price? They might actually be willing to pay more if they don't have to go to the fabric store. You never know when dealing with people. Try playing around with different ways of pricing till you come up with one that's a hit with your customer base. Can't hurt to try.

While I might figure my charges as an hourly rate I'm not sure I would put it out to the public that way. I would probably come up with specific classes based one project and charge for the class. For instance you could have an apron class, boxer short class, locker organizer class, etc. each with their own charge.

A lot of parents are reluctant to put a lot of money into something a child might not stay with. You might consider coming up with a really easy introductory class that you could charge less for -- make a pincushion or a sewing chatelain -- something they can use. Make it clear this is your introductory (try it out) class where they get just a taste of what sewing is like -- then your job is to convince them that they want to learn more and get them into your regular classes.

Also in figuring your hourly rate, you have to remember that unless you are working one-on-one your actual hourly rate is the charge per student times the number of students. If you charge fifteen dollars per student and have two students that's $30/hr. if you have ten it's $150.

Another thing to consider is that teaching can benefit you in more ways than just the money you make from the class. Classes are a great way to make contacts and get the word out about your services. And if you have a store (dosen't sound like you do) you also have to consider the money you make selling supplies to the students.

Anyway, like I said pricing is tricky business. Keep playing around with different ways of presenting your prices that might be more palitable to your customers. Remember people are fickle -- you never know what is going to work. Good luck. Sorry this ran so long.
User: ksnative
Member since: 01-24-2005
Total posts: 8
From: MartySews
Date: 01-28-2005, 09:31 AM (15 of 15)
The going rate in my community for class settings is a minimum of $15 per hour per student. For one on one private lessons, the rate goes up to $20 an hour. Stick to your guns but don't go cheaper because then everyone will want to negotiate the price. If the students are providing their own machines and you are a beginner yourself, then $10 an hour is a reasonable fee. Check out some of these books from your local library - "Marketing Your Sewing Business"; "The Business of Sewing"; "Sew to Success" "The Business of Teaching Sewing" and "Do You Sew for Profit" as there is a lot of good information that will help you get started. Happy Stitching!
Marty :bolt:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
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