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Carolyn

Machine Rental set-up

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I have had my Mille for a few years now and it, sadly, sits idle for long periods of time.

A few members of my quilting guild have suggestedI consider 'renting' quilting time, and while I've heard of this type of service, I have few to no ideas about setting something like this up.

Does anyone have any experience and/or knowledge as to where I can find out about this?

I have to add that I'm not experienced enough to offer any training so that would have to come first, but - what exactly?

All suggestions or ideas would be very much appreciated.

Carolyn

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I have a Lenni that I offer for classes and rental time and in the past year I have had 2 people take classes and no one has rented time on it. However, the machine does get used alot by me when I am at my store for smaller and non-custom quilts.

I have a Millie at home where I do my large quilts and custom ones and that baby gets used hard! I have quilted over 300 quilts for people in the past 3 1/2 years that I have been doing long arm quilting. I am still learning new things on every quilt that I do!

Here are my personal thoughts - others can chime in. I would be hesitant to allow others to rent time on a Millie becuse it can be intimidating to people. Even after all the years I'm quilting I still press the wrong buttons at times on the handles. It would take a HUGE amount of learning time to master a Millie even though it runs like a dream and quilts beautifully.

A Lenni is easier to learn on but I still have people who are imtidated by it. My class to learn on it is a 1 on 1 approxiately 4 hour class where they learn everything from loading the quilt to keeping it square while quilting to threading, tension problems and basic overall patterns done freehand. I always tell people that everyone learns at a different rate but the first quilt you do after the class should be an "I don't care how it looks quilt" not a "How long will it take to quilt a Queen size with custom work?" I am very honest with people and most tell me that they have a new appreciation for what I do and how I do it.

If you do decide to let people use your machine you need to be able to teach them how to use it very well. Also keep it mind liability issues (I have business insurance that covers my business) but with this situation you might have to be careful. Also are you able to tweak your own machine and fix minor issues that may come up if others use it? Things happen when I quilt for others, you don't know what may happen with others using your machine.

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but just giving my advice from experience.

Good luck.


Roseann M. Noll

Phoenix Rose Quilts

Elysburg, PA

Pellon Legacy Regional Long Arm Batting Distributor

Check me out on Facebook under Phoenix Rose Quilts! :)

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The pros of renting your machine--

Extra cash in hand.

If someone tries it and aren't happy with their results, you have a customer for life.

Extra cash in hand--wait, did I already say that?;):P

Cons--

Training is a big hurdle. You must (should) charge for a long enough training session that you are comfortable with them using your machine.

If you aren't comfortable with them, are you willing to hold their hand and/or be in the same room while they quilt?

Liability--if they injure themselves, who pays the bill?

Another liability--will they blame you/the machine if they damage their quilt?

Scheduling--will the machine be available when you need it and will some customers be unhappy not getting their quilt finished in their rental window.

The LQS charges $150 for a 3 hour training session but then only $15 an hour with a 3 hour minimum for the rental. They also have extended rental where you can leave the quilt loaded for several days.

Training, disclaimers, and signed waivers are the order of the day.

Still, some owners have made this work. Anybody do this successfully?


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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ummm, it's difficult to rent time. Unless the person uses if about once a week you spend time retraining each time they come. And they still need help. You do alot of babysitting. I found that when I had the guilds use it for charity quilts I had to limit it to 2 people from the guild and require they come together so that what one forgot the other may have remembered. I do have one person that comes regular to do charity quilts and while I still have to help some - she's the exception to the rule. That's one person out of about 10 that I have trained. I'm now slowly backing out of it.


Kathy A

Liberty & Millenium

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Yes, I have four machines here at the studio. Three Milleniums and one Freedom. There are days that I have no renters but then there are days that three of the machines are occupied by others.

Pros:

I love having other people here to visit with and I love teaching people about something I truly love to do.

The machines are being used...extra $$

As Linda said, some have rented and decided that is harder than they thought and they are more than happy to turn the quilting over to me with a "new respect for quilters".

I love being around people.

I love teaching.

I love the look on someone's face when they finish their first quilt.

Hmmm...Do you get the picture? I like being around people and sharing my knowlege of the art of piecing/embroidery/longarming!!! (I used to work at the local quilt shop and miss the clients).

Cons:

It is a GREAT DEAL of "babysitting". I do not get much of my own work done on days when renters are here. You need to be available at all times to assist them. Many have several months between visits so need to "re-learn" each time they come. Most do a simple pantograph, a few do free motion from the front and I only have a couple who like to do ruler/custom work. Two like to use the Compuquilter (which I charge extra for).

I would not consider doing this in my home...I still have two teenage boys living at home and I spend my time quilting, NOT doing housework. (ours is also a large farm with cattle and pigs so doesn't always smell great outside) My machine was in an upstairs bedroom so clients would have to walk through my dining room and kitchen to get to the stairway.

I have a separate insurance policy just for the business including liability. I also have made the business a LLC to protect the farm should there ever be an issue from the quilting business.

You need to be very comfortable working on your machine such as timing, tension adjustments and other trouble shooting. If something goes wrong you want to make any adjustments look easy and not intimidating.

I require the renters to use zippers on their quilts so that if they do not finish the quilt they simply unzip and can zip it back on and everything lines up perfectly the next time they come back. (If they have something small like a baby quilt or wall hanging that will be completed they may pin them on)

Don't be afraid to try it. You already have the machine and possibly a client base so you won't be out much if it doesn't work. Good luck!


Lucy Drinkall

o2b Quilting, LLC
APQS sales/rental and custom quilting

1025 Industrial Drive, Suite A
Spring Valley, MN 55975
www.o2bquilting.com
lucy@acegroup.cc

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The LQS here rents time on a Gammil. She charges by the half or full day. She also charges for thread usage. She does make newbies take a class from her, about 3 hrs, and charges for the class. The problems she has had is that people usually don't care about keeping things clean...pantos get torn, lots of thread everywhere, lint problems and they also have a tendency to tweak the tensions and then the machine is set wrong for the next person. Also, the machine now has issues of fishtailing and it is really hard to get the tension set properly.

With that said.....

I rented my machine to a friend so she could finish a king size quilt for her son's wedding. I was there 80% of the time helping her...even then she broke needles, had needle jams..threw off the timing, and then wanted to blame the machine for her poor performance. I spent a couple of days getting the machine back to where it was prior to her using it. I found out that, friend or not... when people rent machines they just don't care about the machine or your quilting area (she constantly threw her threads on the rails and floor) and I decided that I would NOT ever rent my machine out again! :mad:


Laura

my.doterra.com/naturespoweroils

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I'm not very good at all the fine points of adjustment with Milli, If I had to worry about what others did to her, and not have the luxury of being able to step up to the machine and use it without a care, I wouldn't enjoy it at all. I like that my workplace is tidied up and the machine cleaned and oiled, so that when I am all excited about my next project I don't need to stress.

So many people want to try longarming, mostly because they want to save the cost of having it done, not because they really want to quilt...so you become the place they really aren't happy, they don't do the quilting nearly as nicely as a pro, and they don't save as much as they thought they would, because of course, they are really looking for a deal that you as the owner of the machine can't afford to do because of the time.

Unless you find those perfect matches in others with regard to cleanliness, work ethic, and care of machinery, I think you would find yourself doing more babysitting than it might be worth, and the costs of doing it would be hard to pass on to the customer. I haven't seen many set ups for renting working well, only a few because the owner liked people and the teaching aspects of it ( like Lucy!!)

I really like that my Milli is all mine....:D Pat

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Guest Linda S

Renting your machine out can be a good use of it, if it is just sitting there, but I would be hesitant to do so unless you or someone else can give the renters-to-be a good lesson in how to use it first.

I have to admit that, like Pat, I am very possessive of my machine. I have let my sister use it once to do a quilt using a Circle Lord giant board on the back, and even that killed me to watch someone else using MY baby! ;)

I wish you the best with your endeavor.

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Thanks so much for the input ladies.

Since my reasons were never financially-based, all of the advice you've given as to the 'cons' make my decision not to pursue this an easy one.

As I mentioned, my machine sits idle more often than I'd like, but reading the comments makes me realize I need to start with some good classes so I can use my Mille with confidence myself.

Now, the question is which classes? Are there any recommendations as to what classes/courses I should be looking at taking first?

Thanks, again, for all your help and advice.

Carolyn

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You can learn yourself - I did. I never could take the free class because the only times that I could take it was on a Saturday and there weren't any reps within my driving distance that I wanted to travel that could do a Saturday.

I bought Kimmy Brunner's DVD Machine for Beginners and it was the best!!!I learned so much by watching it. Another good one is by Myrna Ficken. Betweem these 2 DVD's.,the manual and pratice tips from APQS and a couple good books, I was able to practice alot and learn. After you are comfortable on your machine, see about taking a couple long arm classes on things that you are interested in. For example, if you like to do free motion quilting don't take a class on computerized quilting or vice versa. Get good at what you want to do first and then expand if you would like!

There's always lots of advice here also. Good luck!!


Roseann M. Noll

Phoenix Rose Quilts

Elysburg, PA

Pellon Legacy Regional Long Arm Batting Distributor

Check me out on Facebook under Phoenix Rose Quilts! :)

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