What to Charge

Compiled by Erin

Off-the-top-of-my-head response: charge the estimated cost of the fabric X 3

Let's say you cut into 5 fat quarters for your block. That equals 5 X the price of the WHOLE fat quarter, or $7.50. Add another $7.50 for your time. Add the third $7.50 for your design. Total? $22.50. If that seems like too much, then negotiate downwards. It depends on how nice you want to be; you can go down to $10.00 0r up to $25.00.

[...from Wisconsin]
Someone from my quilting guild once told me to keep track of the cost of materials and triple it--and that's a good rule of thumb, but gets more difficult if, for example, you use scraps from your "stash", or if you find materials on sale vs. full price. Also, the formula doesn't work if you do alot of time-consuming work (e.g., hand applique or hand quilting). So I use the 3x as a guide and then I do a "litmus test". I write down two prices--(1) what I think my work is worth (taking into account time and how pleased I am with the outcome)--this price is usually too high, and then I write down (2) what _I'd_ pay for it--this price is usually too low because I'm a bargain-hunter. And then I try to find a happy medium between the two prices I've written down and go up or down according to the 3x rule-of-thumb!

Example: machine-appliqued baby quilt
3x rule-of-thumb:
cost of materials for baby quilt . . . .($20 x 3) = $60
what I think my work is worth . . . . . . $100
what I'd pay for it . . . . . . . . . . . . $45
"Happy medium" price . . . . . . . . . . (145/2) $72
Final Price (brought down the 3x rule-of-thumb price) $65

I've been asked the same thing in the past. However, my experience has been more that people want someone to just do it for them as a favor. They don't really want to pay what it's worth. I'd love to have something as a guide to go by.

[Ed note: the original question was how much to charge for a horn of plenty appliqued block.]
Hmmm...what an interesting question. If you're not filling the horn with oodles of itsy-bitsy flowers, etc., I think I'd charge about $25.

How about keeping track of the number of HOURS you spend on her block. Then present her with a "bill" for your hours, and materials, and ask her how much she thinks an hour of your time is worth. I bet that you'll receive a reasonably fair "wage" this way.

When I beaded a belly dancing costume for a friend, I put 40 hours of beading time into it, and asked her for $200. I can promise you that I didn't GET that much. I think maybe $80!!! So keep in mind that people, especially those who do not do fine hand work, are not going to pay you what a corporation would for your time.

This is a very interesting question. If the person you would be working for does not do any applique, quilting, or other handwork, she might not have the faintest idea of the potential time involved. This is a situation where the cost of an imported quilt would be detrimental to your earning a fair wage. Say you charge $5-$10 per hour for work. I'm very slow at applique, so an intermediately complicated block like a cornucopia, could easily take 10 hours or more of work. At minimum wage you are approaching $50. You can buy a twin size imported quilt for less than that. You MUST discuss money before you ever start. I have made this mistake in the past. I felt embarrassed by how long it took me to custom smock two doll dresses for a woman's antique dolls, so I charged her next to nothing. This was a woman who could well have afforded to pay for the work. It was my mistake not to have discussed it in advance. She recently asked me to dress another doll for her, and I declined. Mainly for the reason that it took away from my time to create for my own family. You would also be losing the "opportunity" time for your own quilt making. Do not be afraid to charge for the service you would be rendering. I would give a minimum estimate of the cost. If she declines to pay what this work is really worth, she could always learn to do the applique herself.

...here's what "Patchwork Pilgrimage" said about fees:
  1. Cost out all your materials, including all the fabrics, interlining, threads, embroidery floss, etc., then add 10%

  2. Multiply this figure by three

  3. If the work is likely to be complex and therefore time-consuming, add on a bit extra to cover this.

  4. The resulting figure is your fee. On top of that you should charge the church for the cost of the fabrics, and any expenses such as photocopying, reasonable traveling costs, etc.

    Wow, even more than I remembered. As I said before, I wonder if churches will really pay those sorts of prices, although I know that the mail order sources for church vestments seem awfully high to me, so perhaps that may sound reasonable for a custom vestment.

    [ed.note: the geographic location for charges noted with this quilt is New Jersey.]
    Here are the charges for the Baltimore album style quilt I've commissioned:
    Each block = $50 x 8 (I'm doing one for a total of 9) = $400
    Borders appliqued and quilted = $250
    Binding = $25
    Total $675
    Plus the cost of fabric, which I went a little overboard on because this is for my 25th anniversary and I need more fabric anyway!

    [The following is a pricing list for machine quilting put together by another Netter for this FAQ. Thanks Carrie:]

    Here's Stover Quality Quilting's price list.
    First he defines his terminology:

    Quilt Sizes (as of Dec. 1, 1992):

    Bassinet up to 36x48" (1728 sq in) Crib 36x48" (1728 sq in) to 54x60" (3240 sq in) Youth 54x60" (3240 sq in) to 54x72" (3888 sq in) Twin 54x72" (3888 sq in) to 66x84" (5544 sq in) Regular 66x84" (5544 sq in) to 75x95" (7128 sq in) Large Regular 75x95" (7128 sq in) to 87x96" (8424 sq in) Small Queen 87x96" (8424 sq in) to 97x100" (9720 sq in) Queen 97x100" (9720 sq in) to 100x110" (11016 sq in) Small King 100x110" (11016 sq in) to 108x114" (12312 sq in) King 108x114" (12312 sq in) to 115x118" (13608 sq in)

    All quilting is by machine and hand-guided.

    A: any one of 6 allover designs: clover leaf, lacy clover, feathered scroll, exquisite (combined feather and clover leaf), hearts, en- chantment (double feathered scroll)

    B: any one of 6 allover designs: moonglow (double clouds), glorified scroll (scroll plus flattened teacup), forget-me-not (clover leaf plus flattened teacup), hairpin lace (loop plus flattened teacup), rock 'n' roll (offset egg and dart), clover leaf scroll

    C: any one of 6 allover designs: scroll, loop, fan, loop &scroll, leaves, double e (double loop)

    Flower: for grandmother's flower garden: a flower in some blocks, a plain circle in others.

    Custom: anything else specified by the customer. price is approximate; cus- tomer will be contacted if the price is higher than listed. Any out- line quilting is a Custom Type.
    Ditch: quilting in the ditch. price ranges from "A" to "Custom".

    Marked: cost to quilt a design marked by the customer. If the customer asks Stover to mark it before quilting, add $20/hr.

    Type  Bass.  Crib  Youth   Twin   Reg.   Lg.Reg. Sm.Q.    Queen   Sm.Kg.  King 
    A   $12.30 $18.95 $23.95 $29.95 $ 35.95 $ 42.95 $ 49.95 $ 56.95 $ 63.95 $ 70.95 
    B    11.45  17.95  21.95  27.95   32.95   38.95   44.95   50.95   56.95   62.95 
    C     8.95  15.95  19.95  24.95   29.95   35.95   41.95   46.95   52.95   57.95 
    Flwr  19.95  24.95  29.95  41.95   51.95   61.95   71.95   80.95   90.95   99.95 
    Cust  19.95  31.95  38.95  53.95   67.95   79.95   91.95  103.95  115.95  127.95 
    Mrkd  26.95  46.95  56.95  81.95  104.95  123.95  142.95  161.95  180.95  199.95 
    If customer's fabric is double knit, add 15%. 
    White   .50    .65    .80    .95    1.10    1.25    1.40    1.55    1.70    1.85 
    Color   .60    .80   1.00   1.20    1.40    1.60    1.80    2.00    2.20    2.40 
    Binding - will make from customer's fabric or their own: to make and attach 
    Bias   4.00   5.50   7.50   7.50    9.00    9.00   10.75   10.75   12.50   12.50 
    OnGrn 10.00  12.00  16.00  16.00   20.00   20.00   25.00   25.00   30.00   30.00 
    Batting - customer may provide: poly is white or black. price may be lower 
    Cotton 1.55   2.85   3.30   4.55    5.50    6.45    7.45    8.45    9.45   10.45 
    Poly   1.70   2.98   3.60   4.98    6.45    7.60    8.75    9.90   11.10   12.15 

    Add $4 to $15 if you want them to change thread color while quilting.

    Shipping is extra.

    They also provide backing fabrics, will scallop edges ($15), and will quilt yardage.

    Example #1: My sister's quilt top is 98 x 103", which makes it a Queen. (If I'd put a border on the pillow end, it would have been 103 x 111", a Small King.) I want them to outline a few motifs and let them "use their best judgement" (as a QuiltNetter who has used them says); I provide a yard of fabric for them to make bias binding and attach it; it's a darkish quilt so I want them to use colored thread; I provide the backing but use their batting. They will charge me:

           Custom quilt Queen-size: $103.95 
           Colored thread:             2.00 
           Bias binding Queen-size:   10.75 
           Poly batting Queen-size:    9.90< 
                           total    $126.60, plus shipment back to California

    Example #2: My own quilt top is 78x87", what I call Full and they call Reg- ular. I want them to do their "Rock 'N' Roll" allover stitch. It's a dark quilt so I want colored thread; I'll ship them wool batting to use and 1/2 yard of fabric for bias binding. They will charge me:

           "B" quilt Regular-size: $32.95 
           Colored thread:           1.40 
           Bias binding Reg-size:    9.00 
                           total:  $43.35 + shipment to California.

    ...and now for Jan's file...THANKS, JAN!!!


    (Subtitled: "Quilting for Dollars"
    Here's a summary of responses I got to my question, "How do you figure out what to charge when quilting for profit?" Thanks to everyone for their comments.

    I was in Lancaster, PA this weekend to visit the Amish area. I had friends in from California and we stopped at numerous Amish homes where they were selling quilts. I asked them about the charge to hand quilt a top for me and the price was by thread used. They charge 50 cents for every 3 yards of thread used. I wanted a queen size quilted and she said if she used 300 yards of thread, it would cost me $150.00 which is pretty reasonable.

    I was surprised they don't charge for their time.

    Well, this is what I do. I charge $10.00 per hour, keeping good record of when I start and end during my hands-on quilting. That would also include any repairing of seams BEFORE the quilting begins, should the need arise. I also charge additional $$ for the materials I use. The double wedding ring top I repaired, (earlier this year), and then finished and hand-quilted, took about 30 hours or so. I charged additional for the batting, backing, and material for the border (kept receipts of course).

    Depending on the type of intricate (or not) quilting one does or what the owner of the top would like, the $10.00 per hour could go up into the thousands of dollars. I did simple outlining of the rings in the white space, which worked very well. The 75 year old owner was simply happy to have it completed - she and her sister started it in 1938!! It also gave me the opportunity to practice my stitching (smile).

    An Amish lady that quilted for hire charged (I think) 50 cents per yard of quilting thread. It turned out to be quite inexpensive, when you think that an average length of thread is about 1/2 yard and how long it takes to quilt away an average length.

    My mother's quilting group at church charges only 25 cents per yard for the actual quilting. Putting the quilt together and marking the top (in specific designs) are additional charges and they do a beautiful job.

    I have two friends who restore and repair old quilts. They also do hand quilting "for hire." One charges $8/hr and the other $10/hour to hand quilt.

    They get a fair amount of business.

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