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How to charge for embroidery........

Crazy K's picture

O.k.......I have a question........if anyone is still out there with all the advertising!  I know somewhere I saw an article or something on the 'net that gave guidelines for charging for machine embroidery.  Seems it was so much per stitch........or so many stitches for such and such.  Anyway........a neighbor has asked me to do some work for her and I don't want to overcharge but I would like to get reimbursed for my materials.  I can figure the fabric and notions used.......it's the embroidery that has me stumped.  She wants fairly large designs with lots of stitches........if it was just a name, I wouldn't even worry!


If anyone has any experience with this.......or even knows where I might check, I would surely appreciate it!


T.I.A.


Kay

spicegirl1's picture

(post #30646, reply #1 of 40)

Have you checked Sewforum.com?  There is a very large number of members who participate in the embroidery category and there has been some discussion on pricing.


I could check and forward the information, but then you would miss out on the discussions and the viewing of projects.


 


 


 


I strive to learn something new each day.

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #2 of 40)

Thank you so much.  I knew there was info out there but couldn't find it and couldn't remember............another senior moment perhaps!  I will check it out.


Thanks again!


Kay

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #3 of 40)

Thanks.........I got into the forum, posted my question and already have several answers!!  Thanks!!!


Happy Stitching!


Kay

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #4 of 40)

I'm so glad that you presented this question as I've decided it's time to start charging for my efforts too.  Thanks so much!  I'll check out the site! 


(Don't forget to charge for test stitch outs if you need to do them!  That cost can add up quickly too,  and maybe extra fabric if there is a "problem".  From www.nancysnotions.com, I get the test stitch out fabric on a role.  It's like a heavy starched muslin and I don't have to use stabilizer with it.  Sometimes it's best to use the same fabric just like in making a muslin, but I've had great luck with this product.  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #5 of 40)

Hi Mary........Its been a long time!  I joined the forum and have posted pix of my bags and have gotten some good response regarding pricing.  I think for me, it sounds a bit high.....at least for friends and family.  If I started doing things for others, then maybe it would be fine.  I just hope to cover the basic costs......nothing more.  I don't even care to get paid for my time in this particular case. 


I have never used the sample stuff from Nancy's but I've seen it and know to what you refer.  I've even used felt for samples and that works but I do use a stabilizer.  I hate to admit it, but I rarely do a sample when I get designs from Emb. Library even though they highly recommend it.  I've never had a problem with one from them.  Often if I'm doing a t-shirt for one of the little guys, I do the embroidery while it's just the front so if I goof, I can cut another front for the shirt........as long as I have more fabric!! tee hee


Hope all is well with you.  I'm fine and staying busier than I care to be.  We leave for Tx next week for a high school graduation of a granddaughter.  We're driving down Wed., attending the grad. on Thurs. evening, visiting Fri. and driving back Sat.......hoping to be home Sat. night.  It's a long haul but it can be done as long as traffic is not too heavy in the major cities and weather conditions are good.


Have fun with your sewing!


Kay

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #6 of 40)

It's good to hear from you.  I've been out and about quite a bit so haven't been online as much.  I worked so hard to make a few sundresses and tops for my 3 week trip to Ill. and Ark., but Mother Nature had other ideas.  ha ha  It was too cold and rainy to wear any of it!  I'm so glad that I had the motivation anyway, as I am making good use of them now that the weather here is so warm.  It feels great to be creating a few items for myself again after years of the fitting woes. 


I rarely do test stitch outs either, unless I'm embroidering on something expensive and want to play with blended colors and such.  Sometimes I get too perfectionistic and defeat myself.  But with learning the 4D software, I have to test stitch those split designs, 4D Sketch, and if I ever get around to digitizing my own creations....so much to do/ so little self discipline!  ha ha


What did you come up with to wear to the graduation?  Have a safe and healthy trip, and lots of fun too!  Godspeed!  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #7 of 40)

Last things first........I found out that everyone we're going with will be very casual so I am wearing either black or khaki capris and a t-shirt of some sort or a sleeveless shell with overblouse if it isn't scorching!  I'm glad for this as we can pack light.  We're heading down Wed., will arrive there on Thurs., attend grad. Thurs. evening, visit Friday and drive back Sat.  We (well, I do anyway!) hope to be back late Saturday evening........to sleep in our own bed!  It's a long trip but it can be done.


I've managed to stay busy, too.  More than I really care to be.  Still helping DD with her business and her son.  She's still doing daycare during the week, traveling to Trade Shows (1 or 2 each month) on the weekends.  This weekend she's in Denver.  I help out by sewing things that she needs quickly for orders.  She has a factory doing most of her things but she will run out of a certain size or color and then she calls my name! 


I am like you..........I hate to waste the time and thread on a stitch-out unless its something very special/expensive or not easily replaced.  So far, I've only had to scrap one hand towel.........and that ended up hanging on my laundry tub for a quick wipe while doing laundry!


I broke down and bought the European pants pattern from Nancy's Notions.  I made a pair of very stretchy pants just to try the pattern out and I think it's a keeper!  I am hard to fit and these come closer than anything I've tried in quite a few pounds!  I need to try a pair in either woven or much less stretchy........the ones I made are like yoga pants only wider legs!  Comfy, tho!


Happy Sewing!  Kay

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #8 of 40)

Well, dear ol' Belton, TX put a fly in my ointment!  They have outlawed foghorns at graduation.  Well, golly gosh gee..........spoil all my fun!  he he  They also have requested that people wear 'better' clothing.....such as something one would wear to Church.  Well, up in these parts, most anything goes.......as long as its modest and clean.  I guess I am now wearing a skirt (its one of those long crinkly tiered things) and a t-shirt with some colorful beads to dress up the t-shirt a bit.  At near 100 degrees, I just can't see me pouring myself into anything more dressy.  I also have some nice sandals that will work.  It's stadium seating indoors so hopefully I won't trip on my skirt and go a** over tea kettle!


Just had a fume a bit........tee hee.  I just hope we can make it down and back without any of those awful tornadoes that have plagued Kansas and Oklahome the past few days........


Happy Stitching!  Kay


P.S. - My daughter was in Denver over the weekend and says it is so beautiful there.  She said it was a place we should visit.......and spend a few days.  Thought you might like to hear that!

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #9 of 40)

I enjoyed hearing the "dress code" requests, ha ha.  And no fog horns, golly, what are they thinking!  Ha ha I still think the slacks or capris would be fine. 


 They are probably just trying to discourage the bare bellies and bottoms we see everywhere these days!  They probably figure the only way to discourage that is to say dress as if you're going to church.  (A young woman actually went to a family funeral in an outfit that looked like it belonged in the bedroom from top to bottom!)  I'm no prude, but it is amazing how many people's taste is limited to what is in thier mouths!


Yes, it is really beautiful here, especially this time of year.  It was 97 degrees today, with the sun so close, that is really intense, even with the dry heat.  We've got the swamp cooler on and I actually had to put the top up and turn the air conditioning on in my car.  That's about only the 3rd time I've used it in a year.  The weather is usually quite comfortable if we dress in layers.  You need a light jacket in the mountains always.


Hey, when I went to Ill, there were terrible storms and tornadoes in Iowa, then while I was in Missouri and Arkansas, they were all around us.  The next town got wiped out.  Then I come back to Colorado, and they had a terrible tornadoe right next to where my son was.  I could get a reputation over it!  Instead of "Typhoid Mary"  just call me "Stormy".   It really was spooky driving through it all by my lonesome!  Thank God, I had a safe trip in spite of it all, and no hail damage to my lil car!  Godspeed!   Mary


 

JunkQueen's picture

(post #30646, reply #10 of 40)

I am sure your assessment of why the school district set down those guidelines is spot on. With glaring belly buttons, the tops of lacy thongs, and cleavage more appropriate for pole dancers, it's no wonder we have to be TOLD what to wear. And, let us not forget baggy pants that have the waist band below the curve of the butt and being held up with one hand with skivvies there for all to see. Oh, and while I am ranting, be sure to notice all the profanity and innuendo on the tee-shirts.

Crazy-K, I hope you can hear the speeches and the names of the graduates. You can't here because of the rude people who are talking and laughing and shouting while the ceremony is going on. They call it freedom of speech. I call it bad parenting and total lack of good manners.

Have fun. It's hottern a pistole here in Texas. Wear your capris and a tee-shirt. The school is doing it's best with a bad situation. I suspect there won't be graduation ceremonies many more years, because young people do not know how to act in public.

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #13 of 40)

Yup yup yup!  I agree!  One of our little neighbor girls had a pair of short shorts that said "hottie", her mother bought them for her!  Just asking for trouble.  If my grand daughter gets any ideas to dress that way and I swear she'll get her first spanking from grandma, even if she is taller than me and starting high school in the fall!  Mary

Cherrypops's picture

(post #30646, reply #14 of 40)

Now Mary, I can see that instead of 'bringing out Mother's favourite painting' when she comes to visit I will have to hide all my 'hottie' knickers and short shorts..... giggle giggle.


I do agree totally though with you and the young ones fashion today.


I'm alive and well, just been very busy.


 

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #15 of 40)

Hey, don't get me wrong, I think short shorts are cute on the right person!  My daughter said she needs a new bathing suit, her "cheeks" got sunburned at the pool last week and we are all making jokes about her "hot cross buns"....she couldn't sit down for a few days.  She doesn't "hide" anything from me, but I sure did from my parents and in laws "back in the day".  ha ha  I remember my mother throwing out my clothes when I'd go to visit.  My favorite patched jeans, a hip hugger belt that she thought looked like a boys belt, a leather top.....boy was I mad!  I swear she waited until I packed my suitcase so I wouldn't discover the missing items until after I was over 1,000 miles away.  Now we laugh about it.  She's very conservative, never a hair out of place, she always wore dresses.  I was a big disappointment then.


Glad to "hear" you're doing okay.  I know it's been a difficult year for you.  How's Thomas?  I bet he's growing out of his clothes fast these days.  They grow up so quickly! 


 


 

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #11 of 40)

Thanks!  After much gnashing and groaning you gave me permission wear a pair of kind of dressy black slacks and DH said they look fine.  I have two different shirts........one with 3/4 length sleeves.....kind of a print with little metal do-dads to embellish and the other is a short sleeved shirt in black, tan and white floral.  One or the other should work and I won't be fearful of tumbling or ripping the bottom tier off my skirt!  Grace is NOT my middle name! ha ha  I hope they don't throw me out but that will surely be an outfit that I would be comfortable wearing to Church.  I can't imagine that they're more formal down there than up here.


I'm happy now.........I have agonized over what to wear since we decided to go.  I have very few 'dress-up' clothes that fit me and I refuse to go out an buy.....or even make...things that I know I will never wear.  I have a few decent enough items to get by and of course, my funeral clothes (I hope they still fit!)  When I was younger in living in a 'different life' I didn't have money to go shopping and now I could but don't care to since I have so much trouble finding things that fit.....or don't make me look shorter and chubbier than I am! Weird, huh?


Thanks again!  It just took permission from someone of the same generation as me........and not a man! 


Happy Stitching!


Kay

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #12 of 40)

I just had a feeling that you wouldn't be comfortable in the skirt!  They probably have regular seats, but what if they're bleachers?  I personally wouldn't risk it because I'm sure I'd end up being some form of entertainment for the masses. 


Don't forget your umbrella in case you have to be out in the sun for any length of time.  Or maybe a sunhat?  I've even taken to wearing a pink baseball hat sometimes with my ponytail pulled through the back ( yup, I grew my hair back out, just wasn't comfortable with the ladylike short hair, also gave up the multicolors and am back to my "used to be natural, reddish brown).  It's just too complicated to keep it up otherwise.  This way I can French braid it, steam curl it, or blow dry it straight and feel more like myself.  Thank goodness for Loreal!


I know what you mean about the shopping for clothes, it's just too too frustrating to look in the mirror and see that short chunky gal that looks sort of like me.  I prefer my delusions....ha ha  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #16 of 40)

Hi Mary,  Just got back from the graduation.  I ended up in pants......black shell and white linen over blouse..........Boy!  Am I glad I shucked the skirt!  We ended up walking waaaaaay up to near the top of the stadium seating.  I shouldn't have worried.  In spite of the directive from the school on proper attire, there was everything from cheek-exposing short shorts (only saw one pair of those) to moms and grandmas in very nice dressy attire.  Guess I ended up right in the middle and that's a fine place to be.


We drove back yesterday........18 hours worth.  All was fine (light traffic in all metro areas) until we hit north of Des Moines............bad storm.  We later learned from employees at a service station that we drove right through an area that was hit with tornadoes.  All was fine and it just formed so quickly that we had no chance to get off the interstate.  We watched the sky to see if we had to leave the car and hit the ditch but we didn't see any rotation............but then it rained........hard.  DH had used Rain-X on the windshield before we left.  That was a life-saver.  If you've never used it, give it a try.........the water beads off so the wipers can work much more effectively.  Wonderful!


Just thought you'd like to know.........


Kay

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #17 of 40)

Glad you're back, safe and sound!  I hope you had a wonderful time with your family!  It sounds as if you made the "perfect" choice as black and white always looks dressier, and you certainly can't go wrong with cool linen!  The top of the stadium seating, whew, was thier a ramp or did you have to climb?


Thanks for the tip on the Rain X.  I've driven through storms the whole way the last 3 trips to Illinois.  Such crazy unpredictable weather everywhere.  I think mother nature is going through menopause or something.  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #18 of 40)

Hi Mary,  The seating was indoor and concrete steps.  At least it wasn't open bleacher-type seating. 


Yep, the Rain-X works good.  It was raining so hard that I may have had to pull over if not for that.  I'm sold!


Kay

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #19 of 40)

oooh, those steps are such a "pain", literally, glad you were physically able to climb them!  (little blessings that matter so much) 


Good to know about the Rain X, I'll be sure to pick some up.  I steam cleaned my carpets in the car yesterday and found that Tide Stain Stick works well for the few little tar or oil spots.  (Too bad I can't make everyone take off thier shoes when they get in, ha ha) 

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #20 of 40)

That's good to know as well.  I know what you mean about tar and oil......we have winter 'dirt' to deal with here, too.


Yes, I feel fortunate that I can climb those steps.  DH did well also and he's 12 years my senior........oh, that makes us old.  I turn 61 next month!  Whew!  Where did the time go??????  Oh, I thought of you driving south.  We stopped at a rest area in Iowa on the way down and there sat a 60's 'flower power' VW van painted lime green with big pink and orange flowers painted on it!!!!  ha ha  The paint job was very professional and it looked really cool.  Kind of took me back a few years! :-)

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #21 of 40)

I wish they'd bring back those VW Vans again!  My nephew is an avid fan of them, they have quite a huge national club and have meets at campgrounds.  What a hoot to see one of those "flower power/psychedlic" ones again.  I know you got a chuckle out of that.  "Far out"


Do you remember that song "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end.  We'd sing and dance forever and a day.  We lived the lives we choose", etc.....It sure was great to be young in the 60's and 70's.  It seemed a much kinder and simpler time. 


You and your husband are in great shape to be able to climb like that.  I've been trying to get back in shape the last few years since my health has improved.  It's slow going, but so worth it.  Two baby steps forward and one giant step back at times, but I keep trudging along trying to keep a smile on my face (to hide the grimace at times, lol)  You gals here at Gatherings have really inspired me and helped me to survive some tough times.  Thank You!  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #22 of 40)

Oh yes, I remember that song............and I agree.....simpler and kinder times back then........but then it was the time of the Vietnam conflict, riots and all sorts of other things, too.  I think we were just younger,  more naive and certainly not as well-informed regarding happenings in other parts of the world........thank you, media!!!  Sometimes I would rather not listen to the news people analyzing everything from peanut allergies to why some crazed person murdered his entire family!!!!!  Sorry......things like that just bug me...........I'm probably not alone in that either.


"Those were the days, my friend"............


Yes, DH and I are both in pretty good health and try to stay active.  No couch potatoes around here!  I walk with my DD and her daycare kiddies every spring, summer and fall day that time and weather allow.  Pushing a double or triple stroller gives the body a workout! It feels good to get a bit tired that way!!


Happy Day and Happy Stitching!


Kay

Majormomma's picture

(post #30646, reply #23 of 40)

I own an embroidery and digitizing business and can give you some guidance on how to charge for embroidery.  There are five types of charges:


1. Digitizing or purchase of a design.  If you have to purchase a design or have someone digitize the design for you, you should charge enough to pay for the digitizing/design plus an extra fee for your trouble.  If you digitize the design yourself, then charge for the time spent.  Choose an appropriate hourly wage and multiply that by the amount of time it takes to digitize.  A caveat here is that if you are an inexperienced or amateur digitizer who takes twice as long to digitize as a professional, don't expect to charge as much per hour as the professional.  I have commercial grade digitizing software and a lot of experience, so I can do most left chest designs in under an hour.  My minimum fee runs around $35, but I charge more if it takes me more time.


2.  Set up fee.  If you have to set up your threads and test sew a design before embroidering your customer's item, charge for your time and materials.  This might be $10 or so.  Make sure you test sew on fabric closely matching the customer's item, using the same stabilizer and tension settings.  So, if stitching on Tshirt fabric, test sew on Tshirt knit.


3.  Sale of blanks.  If you have to order shirts, hats, etc. and you pay wholesale, then feel comfortable doubling the cost of the items.  For instance, if you purchase some shirts at wholesale for a total of $50 plus $20 shipping fee, then you could charge up to $140 for the shirts.  On more expensive items, I might not double it, but on low cost items such as Tshirts, I might triple it.


4.  Stitching the design on the blanks.  I charge $1 per thousand stitches.  However, if the customer provides the blanks (and I can't make any money on it) then I increase my embroidery charge by at least 20%.  The reason I do this is because if I ruin a garment and I have to replace the blank, I'll have to replace it at retail price, instead of wholesale price.  The extra 20% gives me a buffer to pay for the ruined garment.  The other reason I charge extra is because customers tend to bring their own blanks, thinking they're saving money, and they end up bring poor quality items that are more difficult to successfully embroider.  If you have to spend more time to embroider their garments, you need to charge more.


5.  Some embroiderers charge a rush fee if the customer brings an order at the last minute and they end up having to work overtime/late at night to get the order done on time.  Rush fees can range from 20%-100% more.


Example 1:  If I have an order to digitize and embroider a design on 10 shirts that cost me$100 plus $20 shipping and the design has eight thousand stitches (round up, not down), then I would charge $35 for digitizing, no set up fee because the test sewing occurs as part of the digitizing process, $240 for the shirts, and $8 to stitch each shirt, for a total of $35 + $240 + $80 = $355.  That means the customer got customer embroidered shirts for a per item cost of $35.50 plus tax.  When the customer picks up the order, I always explain that when he orders more shirts, he won't have to pay the one-time digitizing fee, so subsequent shirts will cost less.


Example2:  A customer brings me 10 shirts and wants me to purchase a stock design that costs me $20 and has 10,000 stitches.  I will charge around $40 for the stock design and the set up/test sewing and $12 to stitch each shirt for a total of $40 + $120 = $160.

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #24 of 40)

I'm not embroidering for business as such but just lately my step sons lady asked if I would be interested in a job.  She works for a drugstore that has many accounts for nursing homes and care centers.  They use zipper bags to tote the daily allotment of drugs.....that way the nursing homes don't have to have the liability of class #3 drugs on site, etc.  Anyway, they just want name and phone number on them for identification purposes.  It's about 6,000 stitches...and an easy set up of just lettering in my software..........  I told her I would do them for $6.00 per bag.....there are 30 of them.  I know that's a bit under but it's a no-fuss; no muss deal....and they don't even care if placement isn't exactly the same on each.......figured $6.00 will cover all materials and probably some of my time...........


How far off am I??


Kay

Majormomma's picture

(post #30646, reply #25 of 40)

Easy job and fair price.

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #26 of 40)

Thanks!  Guess I feel better about it now........I didn't want to gouge but I also didn't want to sell myself short since this isn't for 'friends or family' but a business.


Kay


 


 

Majormomma's picture

(post #30646, reply #27 of 40)

Exactly!  When you treat it as a for profit job, then others will respect that and not expect free work from you.  As long as you do good work and charge a fair price, then don't hesitate to charge for your work.


I used to digitize for an embroiderer who had a customer bring her a design.  The customer wanted a jacketback-sized design plus a left chest design embroidered on sweat shirt hoodies.  The customer balked when the embroiderer quoted her $40 to embroider both designs (plus charge the digitizing fee), stating that her last embroiderer charged just $15!.  I advised the embroiderer to let the customer go because something was fishy with her story.  Sure enough the customer came back and was willing to pay the price.  As it turned out, her last embroiderer was doing the job for $15, but she routinely put the job at the bottom of the pile of work.  The customer had to wait months to get her embroidery done.  I'm willing to bet that the embroiderer had originally quoted that low price at a time when she was first starting her business and had no idea how to properly charge.  However, as time went by, she raised her prices and had a lot of other business but didnt' have the nerve to raise this customer's charge.  So, she kept doing the job at that low price but wasn't motivated to do the work unless she had nothing else to do.


The morale of the story is to charge properly for your work!  Never undervalue your work.  You have invested in equipment and materials and should be able to recoup some of that cost.

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #28 of 40)

With the high cost of threads now, I wonder if it ended up costing her to provide such a large embroidery design for $15.00!  Sounds like a losing venture to me, especially when you include stabilizer, time, expertise, and effort!  That's worse than doing it for cost of materials!  Mary

Crazy K's picture

(post #30646, reply #29 of 40)

There is a place to get poly thread.........and it's really quite good.  I have gotten some and have used it with mostly good success.  I do like madeira and Floriani tho'.  I belong to another forum (SewForum) and many of the members there use the thread and love it.........they have some awesome sales.......I think I paid $.75 a spool for what I got.........and they sent a color chart.


Go to http://www.metroem.net/ and check it out.  I just looked........regular 1100 yd spools are $.59 through July 5th.........  You can request a sample and color chart for free.


I still use my more expensive thread if I'm doing something really special or for a special gift but for towels, grandkids things, etc. this thread is great!


Just thought you'd like to know!!  Happy 4th!


Kay


Edited 7/4/2009 1:03 pm ET by Crazy K

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #30646, reply #31 of 40)

Thanks for sharing the info and website, those are great prices.  Happy 4th to you too!  It's my first grandson's eighteenth birthday and mine, so we always celebrate together...until he tires of it anyway!  Getting ready to go watch the fireworks and then back here to set some off and eat birthday cake.  Chocolate, of course!  Mary