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How do you tactfully tell customers that you would suggest custom vs e2e . . . I know it's ultimately their decision, but there are times when I'd love to light custom a quilt, but they only want to pay for e2e . . . right now I have a customer who only wants to pay for e2e, but the quilt top screams custom . . . suggestion?  advice?   I don't want to look like it's all about the $$$, but I've also spent many hours unpaid to make sure my quilting does justice to the quilt top . . .

 


Bev 2012 Blissed Freedom aka "Freeda"

 www.littlehousecreations.blogspot.com

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If I don't want to be associated with my name on the quilt as the quilter, I send them to someone else! I know not everyone can pay for custom, and generally, while I may suggest something else, they may not be able to pay for or want it. Ultimately, I feel it's their quilt and their money, so it's their choice. I would refer them to someone else who may be able to "get it done" in a more timely manner. Or I may refer if it's one they're so proud of I know it will end up at a local or regional show with my name on it. I don't want any surprises. I would hate to see a DWR hanging that I e2e'd for someone and hear someone say, "Oh my! Who did that to that otherwise lovely quilt!" (Trust me, I have been standing there and heard these comments as they're looking for the quilter's name on the info. card. Luckily, it wasn't me and I didn't think the quilter did a bad job or the quilt looked bad at all. In fact, I told the ladies just that! People just don't realize we do what the customer wants.)

That being said, I'm not a quilt snob. I'm just known for custom work and I would get hung out to dry by some of my customers if they saw it. I personally don't really care if it's custom or e2e, but word of mouth is our best advertisement. When you're quilting at a certain level of expectation, then you have to kinda watch it. Sometimes, there may be a compromise that will work for both of you. I have even been known to work out some kind of trade with customer!


Merry Jo

Merry Jo Rembold, Julian, CA

APQS Sales Representative

Millie & Quilt Path

Facebook: Creative Quilting by Merry Jo

Merryjorembold.com

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Ultimately you are paid to quilt what the customer wants and can afford. Isn't that a shame sometimes?

 

One way to influence their decision (if it isn't etched in stone) is to do the math for them. Ask them what their budget is, not what level of quilting they want. If they say $150, figure the numbers and tell them what level of quilting that amount will buy them. If it's a Queen at 80 X 100, that budget figures out to nudging 2 cents an inch. Then figure the cost for them at 2.5 cents --which is $200 and will give them wonderful semi-custom quilting. If they're adamant about the budget, offer 2 cents and tell them you'll forgive the thread charge or the sales tax ( my sales tax is 8.7 percent so that can be a nice discount. And no, I still figure and pay the sales tax on the quilting fees--it just figures out to be an 8.7 percent discount for them.) Let them know that you don't normally offer this deal, but their quilt is beautiful and has so much work and heart in it that you want to do it justice with something prettier than an E2E. Be sincere with your comments since you don't want them to think you are digging for more money. Most customers don't realize that E2E designs are the best moneymakers for longarmers!

 

And if they stay with the E2E you can still control the placement of the stitching so they can be proud of their choice. Meaning when I do overalls they are usually swirls, tendrils with leaves, overall feathers, etc. I make sure the prettiest motifs are placed where they show. Those backgrounds, setting triangles, neutral areas, or solid fabrics are where your "custom feel at an overall price" will show her that you care and that you know your stuff. Maybe next time she'll be able to take better advantage of your talent.

 

(Shhh--my guilty story. Last fall I "suggested" (read: influenced unduly) a customer to ask her DH to pitch in part of the quilting charges for a quilt she had made for her son and DDIL for Christmas. She said she could only afford an overall design so close to Christmas and was sad about it. I asked her if the quilt was to be a gift from her hubby as well and when she said yes, I asked her if he'd be willing to pitch in. She cornered...er...made the suggestion to him and he paid for the entire thing! :P ) Many ways to make quilters happy, no?


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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I think Merry Jo and Linda both nailed it.  If I can I will talk to my customers about the cost difference and usually they say, "Oh yes that is worth it."  If they don't and I feel like my name might be tarnished for quilting it the way they wanted I would return it and tell them that it isn't my style and I don't feel comfortable quilting it that way.  Thankfully I've never had to do that.  Most of my customers know the kind of work I do and are willing to pay for it.  I do understand cost savings so I always tell them the difference but like Linda says you are ultimately getting paid to do what the customer wants.

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Sometimes I'll work out the estimate for E2E, and also for light custom.  As Linda suggested, I point out how hard they worked on the piecing and compliment the quilt.  And then I suggest that they take the estimate home and think on it, then let me know which way to go.  Almost always, they call and give the go-ahead to do the custom suggestion. 

 

I'm guilty of being the customer with a pretty quilt (round robin) who asked for E2E because it was all I could afford.  Luckily, I never got it bound, and now --a decade later--the quilting has been removed and it is hanging in my line-up, waiting to get much more special treatment (I'm sure that a DH could make a mathmatical arguement that it would have been cheaper to pay the quilter to custom quilt it the first time, than it is to buy a longarm, LOL  but that's probably just that crazy new-math thinking all the DH's are using these days  ^_^ )


kat in indiana

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