Our local fabric/quilt stores keep little business card baskets or something similar on their checkout counters with cards in them from all the local long armers. Some of their employees will recommend a favorite person etc, but most just point to the basket and let you pick someone close to where you live etc. You might want to ask if the stores around you will do something similar.
Try placing flyers on grocery store 'ad' boards and craiglist is free. Sometimes local newspapers or television stations will have online classifieds that are free as well.
Thought of another one. Maybe approach the employees at your local quilt shop and ask if you can hang a sample of your work in their shop. Also, offer to quilt a "sample" of your work for free! Tell the shop owner (if she quilts) that you would do an entire quilt for her for "free" if she will hang it in the shop OR advertise for you...if she doesn't quilt, surely one of the employees will, or perhaps one of their popular teachers would like a "free" sample. If you do good work...word of mouth will keep you busy forever.
Hi Linda I was reading your discusion page and I am very interested in what you might charge for a Dbl. Wedding ring queen sz. quilt. nothing fansy with the quilting. If you could give me your pricing on this. It a wedding gift for my daughter and son inlaw. Thankyou Cindy Maheu
I have a longarm quilting service in the Ozarks of Missouri (The Village Quilter). The area will not withstand the prices other areas are charging. (I could be making big bucks in other states). You have to think about what the market will bare in your area. I have the big Gammill with Statler Stitcher & 14ft table. I charge 1 cent per sq. in. for all over designs and 2 cent for custom quilting. I usually do not order a pattern unless the customer requests it as you may end up with lots of patterns no one ever chooses. It is a huge investment with a small return by comparison and lots of hours on your feet, but one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. I have been quilting for 15 years and am busy most of the time. Actually I'm busy enough that I have very little time for my own projects. I too have to drive a long way for fabric, batting, thread, but am fortunate enough to live an hour from West Plains, MO where Gammill headquarters are and they have a store....have made many extra trips for specilty thread ...I can drive it as cheap as paying postage. I think the secret is having a passion for it. Every time a customer brings a quilt I see endless possibilities and 90% of my customers are looking for someone to make suggestions. Keep in mind most ladies will pay lots of dollars for fabric but balk at paying for quality quilting as they do not realize the hours of pressing, properly loading, measuring, planning, etc. I treat every quilt as if it were my own and how well I would want it quilted. The best advice I can give is "Go Girl". You already have equipment so what do you have to lose? And word of mouth is your best advertising. It has worked for me.
Hi Alma H,
The next time I am Ozarks of Missouri I will have to drop by the The Village Quilter.
You are telling me how I am feeling about the price.
You are right, pressing is very important. I get lazy and press when I am finished with the entire quilt top. That is a big no, no! Although you don't need to press every seam as you go, pressing the block makes the finish product look better. When the maker of the quil top then finishes quilt top too; you then see all the mistakes of not pressing and not measuring. Years ago, I made one super scrape quilt, small one inch pieces, that was six inches bigger on one side. Mom gave it back to me, unfinised and told me to quilt it myself. Which I had already knew it had problems; that was why I was paying her. I got to rip out what she had started to quilt on her longarm machine and do it myself on a home machine. I really then learn to measure and measure again.
I have also noticed on loading, that the larger a quilt, the more it can be a "bear".
Yes loading big quilts is more difficult....lots more to work with. The largest to date I've done was 114" sq. king with running horses and it used 2,500 yards of expensive variagated thread. It was not a fast project. Pressing is very important. Most quilts arrive in bags or folded up. I do not charge seperate for the pressing as I figure that's a given and included in the price. However, I have started charging for thread because most of my customers want the more expensive ones.I have a price scale for each kind of thread I use, Polycore the least expensive and King Tut & metallics the most expensive. I charge by the bobbin figuring what is used in the bobbin is also used on the top. Your learning lesson from your mother reminds me that somewhere along the way you will have a quilt that you must decide to refuse or return because of construction problems. Your customer may not be very understanding and may bad-mouth you for it, but on the other hand, if you tried to quilt it and it came out looking really bad, she would bad-mouth you anyway. So far I have turned away 2 that would not hold up to loading because of bad seams and she never came back....maybe didn't want to tackle the ripping & re-sewing. And I have had 2 just this past fall that had lots of fullness in the borders that couldn't be worked in, but the ladies thanked me for returning them for correction. If possible go over a quilt thoroughly with your customer present so if there are problems they know up front what they are and how to fix them. Of course those I receive from out of state I can't but I haven't had that problem...yet. A new quilt shop opened about an hour away and a lot of her quilters are beginners, but she teaches them well and reinforces my decisions when I run into a problem. I also quilt for a lady who is a master quilter and won Paduca in '07'. Talk about nervous the first couple quilts I did for her. I was a wreck with intimidation wondering if I could come up to her standards. She has lots of ribbons from lots of shows. But then again, we all pull our drawers on one leg at a time. So far we've had a great working relationship. She cranks out these wonderful quilts as easy as pouring a bowl of cheerios.
And if you ever get in the neighborhood let me know you're coming and we'll do lunch. Eating is the one thing I do better than quilting! HA! I llive in a little village, not town, pop. about 250, on Bull Shoals lake a stones throw from Arkansas. It's beautiful here, especially in the spring as we have millions of red buds and dogwood...my favorite season....everything is renewed, including my spirits & creativity. If I can help with anything else just ask. Alma
Linda, Yes they should include ther quilter's name. It's a common courtesy thing as far as I'm concerned. On my invoices I have a remarks section which includes the fine print "the quilter will be given credit for any quilt shown or published". It's a good place to also give attaboys when a quilt deserves it, or other remarks. Don't forget to take lots of pictures of quilts you have done and create an album. I also put my quilt pictures on CD's and when I go to quilt shops for a requested show and tell day, I take my laptop to show them on. I have them set up as photo shows complete with nice music. You know what they say about A picture worth a thousand words. To start take pictures of those you have already done for yourself. Then as the business comes in you can add to it. We quilters are visual to the max. It's good also to have a visual reference for yourself.....quite often someone will want a 2nd or 3rd quilted just like a previous one. This makes it easy for you to refer back to and the customer can see and verify it's actually what she wants. After time, and lots of quilts, its hard to remember the exact details. There will be some you may never forget & others you wish you could forget!!!
Thank you for giving me wonferful ideas and understanding of how people act. I have a quilt right now that I made for a lady. She gave me a picture of a quilt and I told me to make it queen size. She told me the colors, so I ordered a few yards from CT and said is either one of these close? She picked the one and I told her the price, she looked shocked, so I gave her some quilt magizines and told her to shop for fabric, O no I'll pay, I want the quilt and will give you half now. Well I love quilts making so I made the quilt, she suppose to come next Monday, three months after I told her it was finished completely, we will see. this has been one year in the making. This is part of will it be worth messing with people?