Southern Quilts

Need help managing my business

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I was hoping that some experienced longarmers might help me with managing my business. I am having a good problem i guess - I’m overwhelmed with quilts and not sure how to organize the flow of work.  I longarm for a quilt shop, longarm for personal customers, and make T-shirt and memory quilts for personal customers as well. How do you prioritize quilts coming in for longarming? How do you fit memory/tshirt quilts into your schedule while longarming? Do you only extend your turnaround time or am I missing some management technique? I have a computerized system that I use most of the time for quilt shop quilts.  Most of my personal longarm customers want free motion quilting. I am also a busy mom to teenagers. :)  I would love to hear what works for you....being this busy is new to me! 


Denise Cornett

Southern Quilts

APQS Ultimate XX

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Hi Denise. I use Machine Quilters Business Manager: http://www.eurekadocumentation.com/machine-quilters-business-manager.html

It isn't accounting software, but keeps up with the work orders, invoices, what quilts are waiting in line, etc. It will help you keep up with expenses and income. It isn't complicated and does the job for me. Although geared for quilting - I also have figured out how to use it to keep up with commissioned quilts, workshop income, and pattern sales. The developer, Mary Reinhardt, is very responsive to questions, too.

 


Sharon

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Maybe you should raise your prices.  You don't want to suffer burnout.  I do mine on a first come first serve basis.  That being said, I have a list with clients names in order I receive a request to quilt their quilts and a need by date.  That gives me the wiggle room to bump someone ahead in line if need be.  I don't like to keep a lot of customer quilts at my home at  any one time in case I were to suffer a fire or natural disaster.  I call the customer when I'm a few weeks from working on their quilt so they can bring it to me.


Debbie

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Oh goodness!  I would not raise my prices unless you are undercharging your customers. Please don't raise prices unless the demand for you personally is absolutely necessary. Let's be fair to everyone. 

If you are overwhelmed with too many quilts and not enough time, use a calendar to schedule quilts. Perhaps you can divide and conquer like this:

1) Freehand quilting, schedule 2-3 per day, or how many you can manage to quilt in 4-5 hours in the mornings. Leave afternoons free for kids. Schedule these quilts on Mondays and Wednesdays. Mark them on the calendar with customer name.

2) Quilt Shop Quilts, schedule 2-3 per day, or how many you can manage to quilt in 4-5 hours in the mornings. Leave afternoons free for kids. Schedule these quilts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mark them on the calendar with customer name.

3) T-shirt quilts you can cut and piece these together while your computer system is quilting. Schedule quilting these on Friday mornings or whenever you can spare time for one or two... but, give yourself a little break on Saturday and Sunday. .If you know you can squeeze out a couple of quick quilts here and there, you can adjust your calendar.

4) Important: As your calendar becomes scheduled out further than two-three months, you need to delegate to other longarm quilters in your area. I don't think it's fair to the customer or to you for them to wait for their quilt to be finished out later than three months. Really... unacceptable. You need to find other quilters in your area that can help you. Everyone wins with this. You. The customer. The other quilter who is in business, just like you. Everyone wins. No need to hord all of the quilts. There are lots more quilts coming down the pike. 

5) I hate saying the word "No" and I very rarely do. I find a way to say "Yes" using one of the 4 steps above. 

Good luck! 


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Thank you ladies!  Shana....I have devised a new schedule similar to what you suggested, but I haven’t actually written the names on a calendar to determine what my turnaround time should actually be.  That is the missing piece that I think will help me have right expectations and give the right time for customers.  Thanks so much....this forum is always just what i need!  Denise :)


Denise Cornett

Southern Quilts

APQS Ultimate XX

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Maybe you should raise your prices.  You don't want to suffer burnout.  I do mine on a first come first serve basis.  That being said, I have a list with clients names in order I receive a request to quilt their quilts and a need by date.  That gives me the wiggle room to bump someone ahead in line if need be.  I don't like to keep a lot of customer quilts at my home at  any one time in case I were to suffer a fire or natural disaster.  I call the customer when I'm a few weeks from working on their quilt so they can bring it to me.

 

 

 

I should clarify....are your prices lower that that of other quilters in your area?  If you are priced significantly lower, then that may be the reason you are so busy....and therefore not being paid what your time is worth.


Debbie

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