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Question about backlog.............

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Hi all,

I am finally backed up! But what I need to know is, what do you do with all those dang quilts?

I like to hang them on large drapery hangers I get from the cleaners for .25 each. It helps get any wrinkles out, and keeps them from getting any more. But I am quilting 3-5 per week and backed up a month is close to 20 quilts. Soooo space consuming!

The last few ladies I took in quils for, I tried to tell them I would put them on my schedule and call them when I was getting ready to quilt them. But they insisted in bringing them right over. One said she felt like she was closer to done if I had it rather than her. I was afraid if I didn't comply, she might continue to look for someone to quilt it.

I must also add, I live in a 140 yr old farmhouse with no first floor closet, and no space to put a garment rack, so I have been putting hookks over the doors and there are quilts everywhere! The only place left is the dank and dark basement................:o

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Caron, Wow! First off let me say that I am very jealous. I have only done 2 customer quilts all year long. I would kill for a backlog.

To try to answer your question. Do you have a guest room with an unused bed? My grandmother used to store her quilts in a back bedroom by spreading them all out on the bed, then stacking another on top. I remember the first time I went to her house and I thought it must really get cold there because there were about 10 quilts on the bed. :D

I would definitely not put them in the basement.



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Congrats on the Business. I have to say that if your going to take them in a Hanging rack would be a must as least for me. I purchased a nice one at Target. Chrome. It also has a top shelf to put the batting they bring or the piece you have prepared for it. I like them hanging because it does keep the wrinkles to a minimum. Most of my customers haven't got the PRESS bug yet. I find I have to press alittle on each one. They tend to fold them up small and bring them in a bag rather than hanger. Space is tough. My room is only 13'6" x 17'4". I'm constantly bumping and knocking things over. My new space will be 15' x 45' and I cannot wait. You can also add a slack rack to double your hanging space on the same Rack.

Also a closet dowel on the wall but it's not that attractive but functional.

If you want to fold the quilt tops the large hanging Sweater rack that hangs in a closet might be an option also. The compartments are large and would take up a limited amount of space in a small closet. They are only about a foot wide and a foot deep and foot high for each compartment. I think there are 5 or 6 slots.

Let us know what clever solution you come up with.

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I have kids & 2 small dogs and live in the dessert, lots of dust from the dessert find it's way into the house. Spiders also tend to hide in closets out here:o So the safest place for customer quilts are in the big clear rubbermaid type containers. Under my machine. I also have very little storage...the southwest houses in general usual do not have basements, and the attic and garage spaces are unuseable because of the heat. So unless you are fortunate enough to have a spare room which mine are filled with kids :D than you're out of luck.

Most of my customers are really good about pressing their quilts before dropping them off and most times they don't require me to repress them after they have been in the containers. Nice thing about using the containers are that they are stackable.

Congrats on your backlog!

My business in the summer is about half of what it is in the fall, winter, and early spring because the snowbirds left the state for the summer. It's a nice break so I can get some of my stuff done, and spend some time with my kids by the pool.


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This was my solution when I had 35 quilts hanging from the posts on the banister going down to my studio! It was overwhelming, and I found no matter how hard I worked, I was never done. Finally, I got smart. I said to myself, "My business card says 'Professional Longarm Machine Quilting'. So if I'm a professional, why am I not acting like a professional?

Would the Dr. have you sit in his office for the next week because he was afraid you'd go to another Dr.? NO. Would the Dentist? NO. Would any other professional, including car repair shops, store your "item" until they got around to doing the work on it? NO. So why am I?

The answer? "Because I'm scared they'll go somewhere else if I don't have their quilt in my physical possession". Hey! If I'm so busy I have 35 quilts lined up on the banister, and the number is not going down, then what am I afraid of?

One night, our hot water tank started to leak. By morning my studio was a swimming pool. WHAT IF I'd had the quilts hanging in there instead of on the bannister? What if the house caught on fire? Would my insurance cover everyone's quilts? Would I even know whose quilts I had in the house??

SO.......I started acting professionally. When customers phoned me, I told them I was "booked up" until (you name the date.) Sometimes it was 6 months. I made an appointment for them to bring in the quilt and told them they could pick it up a week later. I only took in 3 quilts a week, because physically I knew that was my limit (due to fibromyalgia). I also told them I'd be mailing them a "brochure" telling them how to prepare their quilt for machine quilting. At that moment, they knew *I* had expectations of them, as well as them having expectations of me.

In over 5 years, I only had 3 people miss their appointments. One had died waiting :( ,one had forgotten and one had moved out of the country. BTW, the "brochure" I mailed them had a 5x7 size space on the back, with their appointment time and the driving instructions to my studio, so there was no excuse for "forgetting". It was also printed on bright colored paper so it wouldn't get lost in a pile of other mail.

How did this help me? Well for one thing, once I got the 3 quilts done for the week, I was re-energized and could give myself permission to work on my own quilts. For another thing, I didn't have any trouble getting insurance to cover 3 quilts. And the biggest bonus?! My customers started booking their appts. ahead, for the whole year. Some would book 3, some 4 or more. They would book an appt. for quilts they hadn't even started yet, knowing that when the quilt was finished, they'd be able to bring it in and get it back within a week. After my first 3 years in business, I had to stop taking new customers.

All in all, my experience taught me this.

If you run your business like a "Professional", your customers will have a far greater respect for you and will treat you professionally.

BTW, in the first few years, when I was going to the big shows and taking more classes, or getting more individual training, my customers knew what skill I would be learning next. This gave them confidence in my abilities and also explained why my prices rose over the years. Training costs money, and your customers should not be expecting to get the benefit of your training for one cent per square inch! ;)

I know my method may not work in everyone's situation, but give it some thought. You might find one or two little things that will improve your situation dramatically.

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This site is so great with all the good advice. I'm new here and am really enjoying hearing all the tips that you all have shared. Someday, I too hope to have a back log and Darlene, I think your idea is great. I don't have a very big studio either and that was one of my concerns when I started getting my name out and the to-be-quilted stack would attack me every time I walked in the room.:D. My machine was just delivered today and is still in boxes. I'm eagerly awaiting getting it put up so I can start in this quilting adventure.

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Guest Linda S

I'm not 20 quilts out, but am booked through August. I have several quilts in the studio. Once they come in, I put them in the blanket bag I will return them to the customer in (along with their specifics as to how to quilt them) then they go in a huge Rubbermaid storage box under the quilting table. My studio is in the attic, so there is little chance of flooding (God willing) but I like to keep them from any elements, including cat hair (I have two cats). I don't accept the quilts until I am within a few weeks of quilting them.

I forgot to mention that I also live in an old house (only mine is young by comparison to Caron's -- 75 years) and I have no closets. The few armoires I have are dedicated to my own clothes!


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I use the stackable rubbermaid type clear storage bins, not too deep, bought mine at Walmarts. I don't keep more than 6-8 quilts here at a time, and schedule them accordingly, one because I don't want that any more than that in my house and for insurance purposes, you start adding up what is there in material of the tops alone and can quickly become more than what your insurance would cover if there was fire, smoke, water damage, etc you get the picture I am sure.

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Great Advice Darlene!

I just started booking quilts before I recieve them.

I ask for a very small deposit so they are committed to bringing them in.

I call (and email) the customer 2 weeks before their quilt is scheduled to be quilted. Then they can arrange to drop off the quilt before that date.

Customers have said they liked having an incentive to finish their quilts by X date! And I don't have them hanging in my home.

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