Just a quick update. I talked to one of my customers at the sewing club this morning and asked her why she was taking her quilts to another quilter instead of me (not in those words of course). I just wanted to hear from her what I could do to improve my business, my relationship with customers, etc. I could tell she was a little uncomfortable at first, but I assured her that I was not trying to coax her into coming back to me, just curious about the change. She said that she uses the other woman for all over panto work, and would be using me exclusively for custom work - something the other woman doesn't offer. She showed me an invoice from the other woman and her pricing was very similar to my new pricing, however, one thing she includes in her pricing is trimming the quilt and attaching the binding strips to the back of the quilt.
gkazee, I really like your idea of making a sample quilt with the pantos that I would do for 1 1/2 cents a square inch. Linda, your suggestion of having a sale month is a great one too. I'll make up the sample quilt and promote my sale for the month of November and the first two weeks of December. We'll see what happens.
Thank you all for being candid with me. I had checked around and found that my previous prices were about a cent below the average in my area. I had been told by many that I wasn't charging enough, so I raised my prices a little after I got the computerized system. Now I see your points about customers not caring that the stitching is perfect and just wanting to get the quilts finished quickly and as cheap as possible. Also, I recognize now that showcasing all of my custom work probably scared some people off. I think you are right - they see the detail and amount of effort in the quilting on those quilts and think $$$$$ cha-ching! and don't want to pay for that.
Next year, I'm going to try to show off two quilts a month (probably lap size) - one with custom quilting and one with an all over panto. Hopefully, that will convey the message that I can do both.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your honest feedback and input!!!!! Thank you.