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do you ever not charge a customer?


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My first quilt "for pay" is not going well. I'll decide when I get it off the machine tomorrow, but I'm thinking that I might not charge my customer for it.

The top was pieced fine. But the top corner went out of square when I quilted it. I saw it after the first row and decided not to frog. The design I chose to quilt works in the borders but looks awful in some of the center blocks. My scale is all over the place, big in some places, much smaller in others.

What's your criteria for "good enough" to be paid?

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Maybe give her a nice discount, if you are really that unhappy with it, but I would certainly still charge..... I bet you anything it is not as bad as you think!! We really are the hardest on ourselves!! Why don't you have 2 bills made out and see how she reacts to it??? She just might LOVE it!! :)

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Never not charge....discounts are okay, but never not charge, its like admitting your not good enough and that label just might stick.

Its like word of mouth advertising, if you get a bad rep you have a devil of a time getting rid of it, and if you give a customer a free quilt they will continue to find fault with it and expect you to give them a hefty discount or once again a free quilting job.... ask me how I know this, one of my first two quilts were a set of twin quilts...one I did tear a tiny tiny hole into it...you had to look and I MEAN look for it, I did repair it, and I did tell the customer that I did and I did give it to her free. SHE then started to pick the other one apart to the point of I just gave up and gave that one to her as well. AND no there wasn't anything wrong except her, I later found out that I was like her zillionths quilter, and she had gotten about 85 percent of her quilting done free because she picked things apart so badly people would just cave in.

I didn't know this otherwise I'm not to sure I would have even told her about the tiny hole I did put into the quilt.

It's your choice of how you want to handle this quilt, but remember if you start something it may be expected to be continued no matter how many times you say it won't.

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I gave a client a quilt for free once. When she'd given it to me, she'd mentioned that the squares in the back were to be in the middle of the back...sort of. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention and when I quilted it, they weren't in the middle. So I gave her the bill, showing her the cost that it would have been and then told her because I screwed up, I wasn't going to charge her.

This was the first quilt I'd done for her, she absolutely loved the quilting and wasn't even that disappointed about the back being off. However, I felt it was truly my mistake for not clarifying. The difference here is that I made a mistake; I wasn't discounting my quilting. She still paid my $25 set up fee, but she got a heck of a deal. And she's paid full price for every quilt since then, never even hinting that she expected any kind of discount.

Is the quilter aware that this is your first quilt? Was she okay with that? I really doubt that its as bad as you think--we really are our own worst critics. Maybe post pictures of it here for honest opinions. I think the double billing idea isn't bad or just have one bill at full charge and then, if you still feel badly about it, give her a 50% discount or something. Don't give it away for free...you have your time and sweat equity in it.

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Originally posted by DoryJM

Is the quilter aware that this is your first quilt? Was she okay with that? I really doubt that its as bad as you think--we really are our own worst critics. Maybe post pictures of it here for honest opinions. I think the double billing idea isn't bad or just have one bill at full charge and then, if you still feel badly about it, give her a 50% discount or something. Don't give it away for free...you have your time and sweat equity in it.

All good questions and good advice. We've all been where you are at. I would give a discount or the option of taking it out and starting over. I know none of us want to frog a whole quilt but if the customer isn't happy and she goes away unhappy then you could pay for that for a long time! Just take a deep breath and then see how it looks when it is off the frame.

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Another thought----remember when customers bring you a job it probably is because they can't or won't quilt it themselves. Either because of the size of the top or their own trepidation about their quilting skills or their inexperience. I bet your stitching is perfectly fine and your customer will be happy.

Perhaps this would be better. Have her pay the agreed-upon price if she is happy, then offer her 20% off her next top. Explain that you were concerned about a few minor areas (do not point them out) and you are happy to have her as a customer and being a new quilter would like her to bring you more tops.

Try not to denigrate your work or point out mistakes (we have all done this I think!), just move on and be happy as your skills get better and better.

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Wow. You all gave me some good things to think about. The customer is a close friend, she knows it's my first quilt. She also works with me at the local quilt shop. She will be influential in giving me future referrals.

The quilt is only half done. I'll unroll it tomorrow and take a good look before continuing. Maybe it's better to change course and only frog half of it. Or maybe as you say it's not as bad as I think. I know I'm my own worst critic.

Thanks again! I'll keep you posted.

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Annie;

Everyone already gave you excellent advice the only thing I would add to it is "listen to your gut" if you think it needs to frogged and redone than do it, if you take a fresh look at it in the morning and it looks ok than continue on. But whatever you do charge something if you plan on doing this as a business.

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I would at least charge for supplies (thread and batting) -- she was aware that it was your first quilt, so you shouldn't lose money, only time. I think it makes good business sense to at least have a small stream of income coming in on each quilt.

Don't feel alone, I think all of us, including me, have not charged for quilting because we thought it was a poor job -- but definitely wait until she sees it. If she is your close friend, she probably wants to support you and will feel best if she at least pays a little.

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Please post pictures here before you talk to your customer and give her an ivnoice or a discount. I would hate to see you quilt for free. I have done this for friends...and it doesn't feel good. I had a friend who paid the batting I bought and that was it...I spent nearly 15 hours on the quilting for free. Not something that I recommend!

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OK I don't see no wonky corner! You are crazy. She will not even notice. Do not even mention it. Besides. it's a quilt that will be on a bed or a couch. Who is gonna notice anything???? You are waaa-aaaay much too hard on yourself.

BTW, you did a GORGEOUS job on that quilt. Way to go! :) If I were your customer I would be thrilled.

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I had planned to give her a "my first paying customer" discount anyway, so after she sees it if she's ok with it I'll give her the invoice. If she's terribly unhappy with it I'll offer to fix it if I can or offer her a nice discount on her next quilt.

I really appreciate everyone sharing your experiences. My first instinct was to give it away....I'll remember in the future that there are better options.

Also, I think I was too harsh on myself. It felt much worse while quilting it....looks pretty good to me now. A girlfirend and my husband have both seen it and given thumbs up.

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