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I am buying a new Millie and was just going to quilt for myself. (Selfish, I know). But, I have a lot of quiilting friends who want me to quilt and want to pay me. Should I start a business? I haven't even gotten my machine yet and don't know if anyone will want to pay me for quilting;). I know it will take lots of PPP so not sure if there are any benifits to creating a small business. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Virginia

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Guess if I were you..i would start with my original plan and go from there...you may or may not want to lquilt for others..At this point dont stress yourself out thinking that far ahead....but as far as benifits..you can deduct part of your home expenses at tax time..buy wholesale if you get a tax id number...and ya...a little extra cash to pay for your machine...

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Thank goodness your quilting friends have offered to pay you and not taken you for granted.

I would go with your plan of quilting for yourself (it is not selfish:)) When you feel good about your quilting or comfortable after a while then look at the option of quilting for others as a business.

It is stressful quilting for others, it is hard work too and can be come very time consuming.

I just quit quilting as a business after 5 years because it was all I was doing 7 days a week. Nothing was getting done around the house. Yes, I am not good scheduling time for me when paying customers have quilts waiting to be done.

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If you don't have to take on customer work to pay for your machine, do it for yourself. I don't have time to do my own work (I also work full-time) let alone piece anymore. My goal was to start my business to pay for my machine now and do quiltiing full-time when I retire for extra income. I am hoping that when I do retire, I can carve out a couple of days for myself. I hope it's all different when I don't have to work a full-time job too. Enjoy!

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Thanks for all the advice. My DH has been saying the same thing. Imagine that:) He is very supportive. He knows I want the machine for myself and has told me not to quilt for others unless I really want to. I am lucky because I am able to pay for the machine as I have received a small inheritance from my grandparents. I guess I'll just enjoy and be greatful I can quilt for myself and not feel any guilt.

Virginia

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I started out quilting for myself, but word gets out. Once I was comfortable with the thought of doing other people's quilts -- and once I had finished all my own quilts -- I have started quilting for others. I enjoy quilting, so why not. I can't make enough quilts to keep me busy at the machine. Besides, I enjoy quilting more than piecing.

I think before you take in the first quilt from someone else, you really need to have a price list. This will also prevent you from you from being blind sided. people will ask, how much? (humma humma, humma). Having a price list prevents stress. People know up front what to expect and can decide yes or no.

No one will take you seriously if you don't.

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Okay, I get to be Debbie Downer....

If you go into business for yourself...you want to obey the law of the land and do things on the up and up. Check with your city, county and state to see what you need to do for licenses, taxes, etc. We have to have a license to run a business in our home from the city of Kansas City and renew it every year. I have to pay personal property tax on my equipment each year that is in the $450 range. Then I had to register with the state and apply for a tax id, then do whatevery is required by them. Check into everything it takes to have a business before you decide to just jump into it. That is one reason I am jumping out of business. For what I make quilting, it just doesn't pay. Then I had no time for my own quilts, and when you aren't making money, but working yourself to death to get other people's quilt done....you will suffer burn out....trust me.

Congratulation on your new machine. Have fun learning to quilt. Make sure you do just what you want to do to....not what your friends want you to do.

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And to be even a further Debbie Downer, if you have customers coming into your home you need to have insurance not only to cover your machine, but to cover should someone slip and fall and hurt themselves. With additional insurance to cover any damages that might occur while you have the quilt in your possession...as in water or fire damage or even a break in and someone stealing the quilt.... Insurance for me while I was in Nevada was right at $3500 a year....not worth it when you barely clear $3500 a year after all the rest of the expenses you occur during a year....

Being in business for yourself always looks greener from the other side, but when it comes right down to it....its not all that green...I'm way happier now that I don't need to worry about a customer base, or worry about how to make the bills that month because I didn't get enough quilt to either pay the rent on the studio or the payment for the machine.

Sorry reality stinks sometimes.

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Virginia,

I got my machine with the intension of getting it for me. Hubby encouraged me to consider a business because "he thinks I'm good and I should share my talent." Well I bit and started my business. I am very careful to schedule my customers and not let it take over my life. I also work full-time so my quilting is my fun job. I have kept my advertising very small and I try to have a quilt a week or every two. If it is custom I would allow 2 weeks to quilt it. I put my customers on a waiting list and then call them 2 weeks before I'm ready for their quilt. That way I don't have their quilts hanging around and all the stress that goes along with that and they have the option to have it done by somebody else. If they aren't ready when I call then I'll move to the next person. That has worked so far and people that wait for me seem happy with the process but like I said I keep it small. Now the bad part is that it does take up a lot of my free time. I am careful to schedule time for me to quilt for myself too. Now if my family would cooperate with my schedule I might get it all done! In all seriousness it is a juggle but so far it has worked.

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Yes, I am in the MO-KAN group, but have just recently started a fulltime job and probably won't get to attend any more. I wish there was a night time group, I think they would find more memebers if they opened it up to that. However, I can see how it would be very time intensive, not to mention they would need to find a group willing to take leadership rolls, etc. We have lots of ladies in the northland area that are machine quilter who have started meeting at one of the ladies houses, however, it is days once again.

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Here's MY opinion. It's not worth it. I bought my machine for myself. When people find out you have a longarm, all of a sudden you are popular. At least in my area the longarmers have a several month's waiting list. So I thought I would give it a try. I tried it for six months and didn't like it. I NEVER had time to do my own quilts. All of a sudden it was a job and not fun anymore. And unless you are somebody "well known" or "famous", there really is no money in it. I have a full-time job and make good money. There was no way quilting full-time would even come close to that income. And of course, no health benefits, no retirements, no vacation pay.

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I have a George and do pretty darn good with him, even if I say so myself. I have showed some finished quilts at our guild that I had free motioned quilted with him, and have had a few people ask if I "wanted" to quilt their quilts, because they did not want to pay what the LQS charges. I told her that I charge the same, and that I do not have to quilt for others because my machine was paid for. The best part is, I can quilt for who I want, when I want, and for the reason I want. I just do not, at my age, want to put up with more people and their issues. I am just thankfull I do not HAVE to quilt for others. People often expect more from you, than they themselves are willing to put forth. Judy

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I think each situation is different for all of us, and it all depends on where you live, how many longarmers in the area, would your business be viable. The costs for business start up is expensive.

You also have to ask yourself this question: Would I enjoy quilting other people's quilts? I seriously think it takes a certain type of person to enjoy it and be successful at quilting other people's quilts. Even now (when I have the customer quilt from hell full of C & D cups and wonky borders), I still ask myself this question. LOL! :P

Take for example, me: I am 46 with a hushand and no kids. I have a full time job outside the home. My employer pays me a good salary with benefits so there is absolutely no way I would ever quit my FT job. Regarding the longarm, I had all intentions of buying my Millennium to quilt just for myself and have fun. I had saved $$ for several years to pay for it out right. My DH is the one who said I should start a business to write off the expenses. We had just finished building an addition to our home (a place specifically for the longarm). So, I spoke with our local Small Business Developement Center and also spoke with a CPA and got advice on starting a business and both encouraged me and said why not start a business. It would also help my and DH's deductions on our 28% income tax bracket.

Last year was my first time writing off expenses for my business. I was able to write off a percentage of the new addition to our home, percentage of the electricity and heat, longarm supplies, expenses for business trips to quilt shows where classes were held, depreciate the machine, etc. Of course, starting up costs money and lots of expenses there. You have to weigh it all out. Start out very small and gradually take little incremental steps; Start with just the basics required and go from there. For me where I live there are no state taxes, no sales tax, or no other local taxes for business. I did purchase a business license and obtained a federal tax ID. I added my machine to my home owner's insurance.

I don't advertise as a longarm business. Most of my customers come through word of mouth from my quilt guild, or referrals. Because I have a FT job I don't count on the quilting business to pay my living expenses. If I have 2 or 3 customer quilts a month that is plenty for me. I seem to have a small trickle of quilts coming in; not too many, and not too few. I am happy if the business income can help pay for thread and supplies and have enough customers just to keep Mr. IRS man from questioning the business expense write offs. In April 2008, my first year, DH and I got a nice big tax return check in the mail from the IRS for 2007 taxes.

Like I said before, weigh it out. Each situation is different for all of us, and it all depends on where you live, how many longarmers in the area, would your business be viable.

I encourage you to speak with your local Small Business Developement Center. It's free. Some have free resources and free courses for business startup. Also speak with a CPA to weigh out your options.

Regarding prices: I stay right in line with what my fellow longarm friends charge for quilting. I don't want to charge less and steal their customers, and I don't want to overcharge, either. I want to be fair for customers, other businesses and myself. I appreciate my fellow longarmers in my area. I consider them my allies, not my competition. :)

Starting a business? I think considering something this important means you should do research and make an informed decision.

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Thanks alot Shana. All very good advice. I think I'm going to just get the machine and play a while. Then I'll decide if its something I want to do for others. There are quite a few longarmers in my area. It will be some time before I could even consider quilting for others. Everyone is very supportive here. I belong to a MQG and have learned a lot from just attending meetings before I even ordered my machine. Now I'll be able to put into practice some of the things I've learned. Thanks for the advice about the local Small Business Development Center. I will definitely look into that before I decide to start a business. Right now I need to rearrange the basement so I can have my new toy delivered. Yea...It will be worth it...

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Originally posted by quiltmonkey... I did purchase a business license and obtained a federal tax ID. I added my machine to my home owner's insurance.

I don't advertise as a longarm business. Most of my customers come through word of mouth from my quilt guild, or referrals. ...

I cringed when I read this statement.

Everyone, PLEASE note that your machine used in any business endeavor is NOT covered under homeowner's insurance UNLESS a business endorsement has been added to the policy!!!

If you get an insurance agent that suggests it is because "it is a hobby business" then read your policy. The coverage provided for "hobby businesses" is EXTREMELY limited!

Most homeowners policies limit property "used primarily for business purposes" to $2,500. I don't think many longarmers could replace their machines for that amount.

If your agent suggests that your machine and accessories and/or liability exposures are covered because you consider your operations a "hobby" business. Find a new agent, fast!

Unfortunately, as with anything in life, there are good agents and bad.

I don't know a lot of stuff but I do know insurance... :cool:

Christine Olson

Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter

Associate in Risk Management

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