How to Charge Custom Longarm Machine Quilting Services?

Are you a quilter looking to turn your passion into a profitable business? One important aspect to consider is how to charge for your custom longarm machine quilting services. You need to set your pricing according your services appropriately is crucial for attracting customers, earning a fair income, and sustaining your business in the long run. 

When charging for custom longarm machine quilting services, there are two options to consider: charging hourly or charging per square inch. Hourly rates can be calculated by determining the total time spent on a project, adding up all expenses, dividing expenses by total time, and adding a markup. For quilting services charged per square inch, pricing can start at $.025/square inch, and the total cost can be determined by multiplying the total square inches of the quilt by the rate per square inch. In either case, factors such as skill level, speed, and expertise should be considered when determining pricing.

In this article, I will explore the factors you need to consider when determining to price, as well as tips for effectively communicating your pricing to customers. Whether you're just starting out or looking to revamp your pricing strategy, this article will provide valuable insights to help you charge appropriately for your custom longarm machine quilting services. So without further ado, let’s get started.

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How to Charge Custom Longarm Machine Quilting Services?

Custom longarm machine quilting services involve using a longarm quilting machine to stitch a quilt top, batting, and backing fabric together to create a finished quilt. These machines use a large frame and a long arm that moves back and forth, allowing the quilter to create intricate designs and patterns that would be difficult or impossible to do by hand. Longarm machine quilting services can range from simple edge-to-edge designs to complex custom designs that require a lot of time and skill.

Factors To Consider While Charging Custom Longarm Machine Quilting Services

Type of Quilting Requested

The type of quilting requested refers to the overall design and style of the quilt, such as edge-to-edge, custom, or heirloom quilting. This factor can affect pricing because custom or heirloom quilting typically requires more time and skill than edge-to-edge quilting.

Size of Quilt

The size of the quilt is an important factor to consider when pricing quilting services because larger quilts require more time and materials to quilt than smaller quilts. Pricing may be calculated based on the square footage of the quilt.

Complexity of Quilting Design

The complexity of the quilting design is another important factor to consider. Intricate designs, such as feathers or custom designs, require more time and skill to execute and may be priced accordingly.

Type of Thread Used

The type of thread used can also affect pricing, as some types of thread, such as metallic or variegated threads, may be more expensive than basic cotton threads.

Quilting Density

Quilting density refers to the number of stitches per inch or the overall amount of quilting on the quilt. Higher quilting density can require more time and thread and may be priced accordingly.

Quilting Turnaround Time

Quilting turnaround time is another factor to consider when pricing quilting services. If a customer needs a quilt quilted quickly, it may require the quilter to put other projects on hold and may be priced higher as a result.

Additional Services (e.g. Basting, Binding)

Additional services, such as basting or binding, may also be offered and can be priced separately. Basting involves holding the layers of a quilt together while quilting, while the binding is the process of finishing the edges of the quilt. Offering these additional services can provide added value for customers and generate additional revenue for the quilter.

Overall, each of these factors can affect the price of quilting services, and it's important for quilters to consider them carefully when setting prices for their services. It is vital to charge appropriately for quilting services.

Longarm Quilting Service Pricing (Square Per Inch)

If you are a quilter offering longarm quilting services, it is important to have a clear understanding of how to price your services. One popular pricing method is charging per square inch. This means that you charge a certain amount for each square inch of the quilt that you quilt.

To determine your square inch pricing, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine your minimum charge per project. For example, if your minimum charge is $35, this will be the minimum amount that a customer will pay for your services.
  2. Decide on your starting price per square inch. For example, if your starting price is $0.025 per square inch, this means that you will charge 2.5 cents for each square inch of the quilt that you quilt.
  3. Calculate the total cost of the quilting service. To do this, multiply the total number of square inches in the quilt by your per square inch pricing. For example, if the quilt is 88” x 100” (a total of 8800 square inches) and your price is $0.025 per square inch, the total cost of quilting will be $220.

It is important to note that there are additional costs to consider, such as the cost of batting and thread. You should also consider offering additional services such as binding and piecing the backing.

When pricing your longarm quilting services, it is important to consider your experience level, the complexity of the quilting design, and the time it will take to complete the project. It is also important to research pricing in your local area to ensure that your pricing is competitive.

Overall, square per inch pricing is a popular and effective way to price longarm quilting services. By following the above steps, you can determine a fair and reasonable price for your services while also ensuring that you are compensated for your time and expertise.

Why it is Importance to Charge Appropriately for Quilting Services?

Charging appropriately for custom longarm machine quilting services is essential for several reasons:

Fair Compensation

Longarm quilting requires specialized skills and equipment, and it's important for quilters to be compensated fairly for their time and expertise. Charging too little for services can lead to burnout and frustration while charging too much can turn away potential customers.

Covering Costs

Quilters need to factor in the cost of materials, machine maintenance and repair, and other expenses when setting prices for their services. Charging appropriately ensures that they can cover their costs and continue providing high-quality quilting services.

Setting Expectations

When customers are charged appropriately for longarm quilting services, they have a better understanding of the time and effort that goes into creating a custom quilt. This helps manage expectations and ensures that customers are satisfied with the finished product.

Supporting the Quilting Community

When quilters charge appropriately for their services, they help support the wider quilting community by setting a standard for fair compensation and valuing the time and skill required for this craft.

Overall, charging appropriately for custom longarm machine quilting services is essential for both quilters and their customers. It helps ensure fair compensation, covers costs, sets expectations, and supports the wider quilting community.

Should I Charge Hourly for my Longarm Quilting Services? 

Well, it depends on a lot of factors like your speed, the time you can allocate, and also your expertise level. Although, mostly the expert quilters prefer to charge per project as they have mastered the skill and can create even the most complex design in at least half the time as a beginner quilter. There is also a factor that they have been in the industry for a long time and know how much time a certain design will take and charge accordingly. 

On the other hand, I know a lot of beginners who make very minimum to zero profit as they don’t take into account the time, which often leads them disappointed in the quilting business. So, they either give up completely or just make and sell their own quilts instead of offering custom quilting services.

Charing hourly can solve this issue for many quilters that are just starting and just want to establish the business without fancy terms. The hourly rate refers to the amount of money a quilter charges per hour of work. This rate is an important factor to consider when pricing quilting services because it helps ensure that the quilter is being compensated fairly for their time and expertise.

How to Calculate Hourly Rate?

To calculate the hourly rate, a quilter can follow these steps:

  • Determine the total amount of time it takes to complete a quilting project, including time spent on planning, quilting, and finishing.
  • Add up all of the expenses associated with the project, such as materials, machine maintenance and repair, and overhead costs.
  • Divide the total expenses by the total number of hours spent on the project to determine the hourly cost.
  • Add in a markup to cover profit and additional costs, such as marketing or business development expenses.
  • Round the hourly rate to the nearest dollar amount for ease of use.

For example, let's say a quilter spends 10 hours on a custom quilting project and incurs $150 in expenses. To calculate the hourly rate, the quilter would follow these steps:

  • 10 hours x $0 (the quilter's time is not currently being compensated) = $0
  • $150 in expenses
  • $150 / 10 hours = $15/hour
  • Markup of 25% for profit and additional costs: $15/hour x 1.25 = $18.75/hour
  • Rounded to the nearest dollar: $19/hour
  • The quilter's hourly rate for this project would be $19/hour.

Please note that the above calculation is just for reference. Even the beginner quilter can charge up to $100 although it depends on several factors like geographical location etc.

How do I Communicate Pricing with Customers?

Here, are some tips listed below that might help you to communicate the pricing with customers.

Be Transparent About Pricing

It's important to be upfront and honest about pricing with customers. Avoid hidden fees or unexpected costs that could cause frustration or disappointment. Provide a clear breakdown of the costs involved in the quilting process and be willing to answer any questions the customer may have.

Provide Clear Explanations for Pricing

Customers may not be familiar with the quilting process and may not understand why certain services cost more than others. It's important to provide clear explanations for pricing, including the factors that influence the cost, such as the type of quilting requested or the size of the quilt.

Offer Options for Customers with Different Budgets

Not all customers will have the same budget, so it's important to offer different options that cater to different budgets. For example, offering edge-to-edge quilting is a more affordable option than custom quilting. Providing different packages or tiered pricing structures can also help customers choose the best option for their budget.

Show the Value of the Service

Instead of focusing solely on the price, emphasize the value of the service you're providing. Explain the expertise and skill involved in the quilting process, and how it contributes to the overall quality and beauty of the finished product. When customers understand the value of the service, they may be more willing to pay a higher price.

Use a Price Sheet

Consider creating a price sheet or brochure that outlines your services and associated costs. This can help customers understand what to expect in terms of pricing, and make it easier for them to compare options.

Offer Estimates 

Customers may be hesitant to commit to a service without knowing how much it will cost. Offering estimates can help alleviate this uncertainty and make customers more comfortable with the pricing. Make sure to provide a detailed breakdown of the estimate, including any variables or additional costs that could affect the final price.

Be Professional

When discussing pricing with customers, it's important to maintain a professional demeanor. Avoid using language or tone that could be perceived as confrontational or defensive, and be willing to negotiate if necessary. By demonstrating professionalism and a willingness to work with customers, you can establish trust and build a positive reputation for your business.

Follow Through

Once you've established pricing with a customer, it's important to follow through on your commitments. Make sure to deliver the agreed-upon service at the agreed-upon price, and communicate any changes or deviations from the original agreement as soon as possible. This will help build trust and establish a positive relationship with the customer.

Be Flexible

While it's important to have standard pricing for your services, being flexible can help you accommodate different needs and budgets. Consider offering discounts for larger or repeat orders, or providing add-on services at a reduced rate. This can help build customer loyalty and generate repeat business.

By effectively communicating pricing with customers, quilters can establish a positive reputation for their business and build long-term relationships with their customers. Remember to be transparent, clear, and professional in all pricing discussions, and be willing to work with customers to find a pricing solution that works for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I determine my hourly rate for quilting services?

To determine your hourly rate, consider the factors such as the type of quilting requested, the size of the quilt, the complexity of the quilting design, the type of thread used, quilting density, quilting turnaround time, and additional services (e.g. basting, binding). Calculate the cost of materials and add a markup to cover overhead costs and desired profit margin. Divide the total cost by the estimated number of hours needed to complete the project to determine your hourly rate.

How do I communicate pricing with customers?

Be transparent and provide clear explanations for your pricing. Offer a price sheet or brochure outlining your services and associated costs. Show the value of the service and be willing to offer estimates and negotiate if necessary. Be professional, and flexible, and follow through on your commitments.

Should I charge by the hour or by the project?

It depends on the nature of the project and the preferences of the customer. Charging by the hour may be more appropriate for custom or complex projects, while charging by the project may work better for simpler or more standardized projects. Consider the project scope, your experience level, and the customer's budget when deciding on a pricing structure.

How can I be competitive with my pricing?

Research the pricing of other quilters in your area and consider how you can differentiate your services by offering unique designs or add-on services. Emphasize the quality and value of your services and consider offering discounts for larger or repeat orders.

What should I do if a customer disputes the pricing?

You must be willing to explain your pricing and provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved. Listen to the customer's concerns and be open to negotiating a mutually agreeable solution. If necessary, consider walking away from a project if the customer is unwilling to pay a fair price for your services.

What should I do if a customer wants changes or alterations after the project is completed?

It is very important to establish clear policies for revisions or alterations before starting a project. If a customer requests changes that were not originally agreed upon, be willing to negotiate a reasonable additional fee for the extra work required.

How do I account for the cost of machine maintenance and repair in my pricing?

Calculate the expected cost of machine maintenance and repair over time and factor it into your pricing structure. This will ensure that you are able to maintain and replace your equipment when necessary without sacrificing your profitability.

How can I ensure that I am pricing my services fairly and competitively?

Do some research on the pricing of other quilters in your area, and consider joining professional organizations to stay up to date on industry standards. Also, take into account the level of expertise and quality of work you provide, as well as any unique skills or services you offer.

What should I do if a customer is hesitant to pay the quoted price?

Be prepared to explain your pricing in detail and offer a clear breakdown of costs. If the customer is still hesitant, consider offering a discount for a first-time customer or creating a payment plan to make the cost more manageable.

Should I charge a deposit upfront for my services?

It is not necessary but it is a good idea to charge a deposit upfront to secure the customer's commitment to the project and cover some of your initial costs, such as materials or machine setup time. The amount of the deposit should be reasonable and reflective of the total cost of the project.

How can I ensure that I am not undercharging for my services?

You need to make sure to factor in all costs associated with the project, including materials, machine wear and tear, and overhead costs such as utilities and rent. Calculate the total cost and add a markup to ensure you are making a profit on each project. If you find that you are consistently undercharging, consider raising your prices or reevaluating your pricing strategy.

How do I handle rush orders?

Consider charging a premium for rush orders to compensate for the additional time and resources required to complete the project on a tighter deadline. Be transparent with the customer about the additional cost and make sure to communicate clearly about the expected turnaround time.

How do I set prices for add-on services such as basting or binding?

Consider the additional time and materials required for add-on services and calculate a fair price accordingly. Offer a clear breakdown of the costs for each service and consider offering package deals for customers who purchase multiple services.

How often should  I re-evaluate my pricing strategy?

It's important to regularly evaluate your pricing strategy to ensure that it remains competitive and profitable. Consider reviewing your pricing annually, or after significant changes to your costs or services. Be willing to make adjustments as necessary to stay competitive in the market.

Wrap Up

To wrap it up, charging appropriately for your custom longarm machine quilting services is a critical aspect of building a successful quilting business. By considering factors such as the type of quilting requested, the size of the quilt, and the complexity of the quilting design, you can determine a fair hourly rate for your services. It's also vital to effectively communicate your pricing with customers, offering transparency, clear explanations, and options for different budgets.

By following these tips and strategies, you can establish a fair and profitable pricing structure that benefits both you and your customers. With the right pricing strategy in place, you can build a thriving quilting business and continue pursuing your passion for this beloved craft.


Joy Raynor

It's Joy's passion to share information about longarm quilting machines. Her expertise in longarm quilting comes from testing a wide range of machines. The majority of her time is spent exploring and testing new longarms that she has never used before. She also does longarm quilting for a living.

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