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I have an opportunity to set up my longarm in a LQS. The shop owner and I get along very well. I've done all that I can to support her since she opened 3 years ago and she has done the same for me as I have gotten started with my quilting business. She has moved to a new and better location less than a mile from my house. Right now my longarm is set up in my garage, and I must admit I am already a little tired of people coming to my house to do quilting business. I am not worried about working out the financial piece of sharing space, we will be able to figure out a fair deal. I am thinking that it would be good for business to move, but will be giving up lots of flexibility of when I can work. She said she will give me a key, but I probably would not spend much time there when I am by myself. Any thoughts?

Carol

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Will you have a separate area that can be locked up when you are not there? Have you looked into insurance to cover your machine and other issues when it is at the shop? What about storing the tops and finished quilts, quilting supplies and rulers...keeping them safe? Will there be more distractions from customers shopping who want to know more?

 

Just popping out some questions that have occured to me. I think if it is done right it could be a great move. I have only had an LA business out of my house so maybe someone else can provide you with more input.

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I would hate to have to go to a shop to quilt.  I like to quilt before I go to bed at night or first thing in the morning in my pj's, ok maybe that drags through the day sometimes too. :D   I'd also bet that unless you have door you're going to get a lot of people stopping in to see what you're doing and chatting.  When I start quilting I don't want to talk or stop.  Just my thoughts.  Maybe you can work out a deal to meet customers there on certain days an pay her rent for that instead of having them come to your house.  Just a thought.

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You know the saying about if it ain't broke?

If there is something you absolutely hate about quilting at home which will be alleviated by quilting at the shop, do it.

If there are some things you have lacking in your business because you quilt at home and which will be helped by quilting at the shop, do it.

Recognize and list the pros and cons and then decide.

Remember though that if you decide to do this, your relationship with the shop owner will change and you'll need to move your machine once to get it there and then again some time in the future. Don't entangle the businesses and try to address all eventualities.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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You said your machine is in your garage.  If your surroundings are not pleasant, or not someplace you want to "meet and greet" customers, that is a factor.  If you have to have customers come into your home instead of just into your studio, that's another factor. (I want to quilt, not keep my house spotless 24/7)  If DH wants the garage back, that's also something to consider.

 

I can't quilt with somebody watching me, so having people peering over my shoulder wouldn't work for me.  But, if you enjoy the social aspect of working in an environment where there are other poeple, and can have a flexible schedule, it could be a good thing for you. 

 

I have a very nice studio in the basement, but it doesn't promote a lot of social interaction, even with DH.  I don't have a lot of customers, and they don't come to the house..so the arrangement is wonderful for me as is.  I hope you find the perfect solution for you.

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I've worked outside my home and I've had various sewing businesses out of my house, custom drapery, production knitting and customize and alter ski suits.   Customers tended to show up when it was convenient for them, and maybe not convenient for me.  Because my machines were at my house, I tended to make my business/customers a too high priority.  Maybe I'm just not good at balancing but I could enjoy having my longarm a mile away, if I decide to make quilting a business. A mile is just a nice walk!   I imaging splitting the quilt shop so you would have a separate outside entrance or french doors, to separate the fabric shop from the quilting area, and all those walls to show off your work and a place to keep your supplies.  I would limit your studio hours and maybe days.  On all the other days you could piece spend time with family and friends, piece, garden....and you wouldn't have that stack of quilts reminding you that there was work to be done.  

 

We have a local quilting shop that rents longarm time.  They allow watching from a distance, but no extra bodies in the quilting area.  They have been giving classes on the machines and now sell the machines.  Would you be interested in being a Dealer or do you just like to quilt in your home, anytime of the day and any day of the week, and pick up the tops from your friend's quilt store?

 

Lots to consider.  Let us know what you decide.

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Heidi P's post hit upon some of the things I have been considering.  I am really tired of multi-tasking all the time, carving time out of home/family responsibilities to make time for quilting.  I am thinking there are advantages to treating my business like a real job with set hours and days, when I am focusing on just quilting or teaching.  Right now that is more appealing than quilting at odd times while I try to remember that something is on the stove, or that my husband is by himself (again) or that I need to get that load of laundry out that I put in last Tuesday.  This is my second job and my hours are limited so I am wondering if more structure and distance from home will be more productive and satisfying for me.

 

Thanks so much to everyone who gave their input.  This is a tough decision!

 

Carol

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Hi Carol.  At my LQS, customers can drop off and pick up quilts during business hours of the shop.  The woman who does the longarm quilting, can set up appointments at the shop if customers want to talk to her about pattern etc.  I think she even has a set time, like wednesdays at x-time she'll be there.  That might be something to consider.  If customers do the drop-off and pickup at the shop and  you meet with them there when necessary, that would eliminate customers showing up at your house and would let you keep your machine at home to quilt according to your schedule.  It seems to work out very well for both parties at my LQS because the longarmer can go at her convenience and it is a draw for the LQS as customers usually make further purchases at the shop when there.  Melissa 

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Would you be expected to be in the shop during business hours if you're not quilting?  If the shop is busy, would you be expected to quit quilting and help out with customers?  Do you mind having people watch (and talk to you) while you quilt?  Will you get more business by being visible? 

 

From those questions you may infer I prefer not to be committed outside my house, although the years of my "real" career I made a real effort to separate home and work.  I try to keep business hours, more or less, in my quilting business now, but because it is in my home (separate entrance) I don't have walk-ins; only once in 11 years did I have someone drop in without phoning first.  So I figure I have maximum flexibility, which is most welcome after so many years of set-in-stone working hours, and I'd never move willingly!  However everyone's situation, personality and work style is different, and you need to make a decision based on yours.  Let us know...

 

Barbara

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I started out quilting at a small LQS, it was great until she closed the shop, I'm at home now.  Weighing the pros and cons I'd much prefer to have my machine back at a LQS as long as it was nearby. Actually I would leave my current machine home for doing my own quilts and some custom quilts for customers. I'd buy another machine to take to the shop.

I made a cover for my machine and a drop cover for my frame for when I was not in the shop, this protected my machine settings and customer quilts from snoopy fingers. I eventually had to lock up my rulers, tools and thread, my stuff seemed to disappear.

My advice would be to NOT set/keep regular hours at the shop so your customers continue to call you to set up a time for intakes at the shop, you will have dropins but you want your customers for the most part to stay in the habit of calling first, you will have less interruptions. Plus you will be free'r to come and go as you please just like at home.

Keep your quilting money separate from the shops money. My quilting customers wrote me a check or paid me with CC, now there is the "square" making it so simple. I had my own cash box so customers knew this part was my business plus I kept my own customer mailing and newsletter list also although I split Advertising cost with the LQS.

I paid the agreed rent plus $10 for each quilt intake the shop owner took while I was out. Plus you will want to have a separate money agreement with the shop owner for when the shop is open and she's not there too. You won't be able to quilt or make your money if you are watching the shop, trust me. 

Buy your "own" insurance and business license etc. just as if you were at home. Technically your quilting business is sub-leasing space from the LQS and not the buildings owner, so be sure you and your equipment is covered by your own policy if something happens.  And that the owner of the building allows sub-leasing before you move in.

I'd say go for it if you are compatiable and there's room for your machine and supplies.

Terry

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Sometimes if you just wait a little bit, the right answer reveals itself. After I got home tonight around 7:30, I had just enough time to finish the borders on a t-shirt quilt, cut the backing and get it all loaded so I can quilt it quickly tomorrow after work. I don't think I want to give up that kind of flexibility after all even though there were many reasons to consider the move. Thank you all so much for your information and thoughts on this, it really helped me process all the pros and cons and be at peace with my decision.

Carol

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If you want to expand your business, this is a great opportunity!  You have to look at all the pros and cons.  Only you can decide if it will be flexible enough for your business or lifestyle.  Hopefully, it's a whole room for yourself?  With a door?  I think interuptions might be an issue.  If you have a door, you can post a sign with a certain hour for questions, drop-offs and pick-ups.  Most people will respect your time, or  learn to.  Sounds good because it's so close and might beat being in the garage.  I have a friend who does this.  She has a key for the shop and does work in the evenings when she feels like it.  She loves it.  Nice thing is, she gets lots of business from people taking classes in the shop.  The shop wins, too.  The faster they finish their quilt, the sooner they buy more fabric and get on to the next project!

 

I have a studio next to my house.  I can't work in my pj's anymore as I have to go outside and across the driveway.  The neighbors walk and would catch me, but I love having my own space separate from the house.

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