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Running Specials

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The first year I was in business, I gave out $10 'quilting bucks' coupons -- when a customer paid for their first quilting job, they would receive a $10 quilting buck for every $100 they paid, good for future quilting and expired in one year. The coupon was the size of a dollar bill with my logo and info on it. Some people saved and used them, others didn't, but it was a good promotional fun thing to do. I also gave 10% off to first-time customers and gave discounts to current customers that gave me referrals. I haven't been able to keep up with my waiting list any more, so the promotional work has mostly dropped off. I do continue to maintain my contacts and attend most quilt-related meetings, groups & events in the area.

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Was waiting to see if anyone else would jump in and give you some input on this subject but they haven't, it's a very taboo subject that has very strong feelings on both sides.

Both sides have their reasons/ points and everyone has a right to run their business the way they want with or without specials, and at the prices they want to set. Some say that one longarmer shouldn't undercut others in the area while the other side says it's just a way to compete in a tight longarm community.

I am first a business owner, then a quilter. With that said I fall on the side of running specials etc.. to grow my business and to make a profit.

I only do pantograghs and I break them into 3 catagories, light density, medium density, and high density. My Medium density is set at the nation average price per sq inch .015 while my low density is a little below that and my high density is a little above that. When I run a special I ususaly just have it be related to the low density pantos with the exception of my Quilters Dozen special which is for low & med density pantos.

My main special/ promo that is ongoing is the "quilter's Dozen" (it carries over year to year) once the customer reaches 12 quilts brought to me I will quilt their 13th one for free (using a panto from the low or med density). This is a big hit and promotes loyalty (most piecers jump from longarmer to longarmer). Others on this forum have done simiular promos like this using punch cards or a slight % off the next quilt. All works well and says to the customer that you are greatful for thier business.

Last year when the stock market took a big hit I started another special that I tied to the DOW Jones industrial average. I call it "The Depression Prevention Special" basically I will quilt any size quit using a plain meandering (inkblot panto) a no frills pattern until the DOW Jones industrial average again closes at the 10,000 mark at the closing bell on any Friday. It has been almost one year since I started this and I have exceeded financially my best year since I started my business, and this is in a down ecconomy!

However since my thread has gone up 2 times in the past year at the 1 year anniversary of this special I will be updating this special to reflect $50 for quilts up to and including full size and $100 on queen and king size quilts. Since I can quilt this pattern really quick my hourly wage is still $20 (I've timed it ;)) which is what I like to earn per hour.

My third special I am running (just started to coinside with the local shop hop) is "The Gecko Stimulus" This runs to the end of the year only and features a leaf pattern in my low density pantos. I will quilt up to a full/double size bed quilt for $50 using the "Bush Berries" pantogragh. I printed up a limited amount of coupons, sent 1 to each of my customers with their yearly update on their "Quilter's Dozen" status and told them that it's good for 1 quilt per coupon and that they could go to the one and only quilt shop I advertise at during the shop hop to get up to 4 additional coupons or until the shop runs out of them. Limiting the # of coupons and the size of the quilt you are willing to quilt helps keep you within your target wage per hour while bringing in more business in times when people are cutting back on what they are spending.

I offer good deals but I maintain my hourly wage = good business and promotes loyalty with the customers.

Don't be afraid to do specials, set them up/create them so the customer feels that they are saving $ while at the same time you are still pulling in your hourly wage that you want to make. Also come up with catchy names for these specials so they stick in the heads of your target demographic.

NEVER discount your custom services, most longarmers don't get their hourly wage to begin with and you won't make a profit.

Keep it simple, get the word out and watch your customer base and profit margin go up. :cool:

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