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research, research, research! Visit a few Quilt Guilds in your area, find out who does their longarming. How many longarmers are in the area? What are they charging for their work? What is the waiting period to get your quilt back from them? Remember it takes a long time to get a client base going. Alot of people say they are swamped with work but then they have been doing it for quite awhile. I bought my longarm in December and was all excited about a new business. I did the research, advertised, did the whole bit. I later found out that someone else bought one the exact same day I did, and others were quilting on their regular machines. I am lucky if I get one quilt a week in. The people that bring me a quilt usually are the same ones that bring back another one but it takes time and word of mouth to get going. Needless to say the money is not there. I am glad that I am able to not have to depend on it for a living and that I can pay the machine off without it. So before you jump in with both feet look at all the angles.

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Yes, it is critical that you check out your area for competition. My local guilds are telling me they have several members that are "longarmers". Quilt shops have 1 or 2 quilters they favor, and now that they are selling "quilting machines" (the home versions), their emphasis is selling their machines or time on their machines rather than referring the work out. I purchased my Liberty last September, and I've not regretted the purchase, but I consider that I'm in it for the long haul. My initial steps were: Guilds, shops, advertise. Not the best choices for my area. I also Teach, which has helped me win a consistent group of quilters, with a few referrals. I have had to consider other uses for my machine since I need to keep work moving on it, so last week, I made my first comforter, which gives me another market to consider. Having the ability to continue to pursue what you love doing, despite being turned down in your local area is a big plus. Be strong, keep smiling, and continue to follow up, even if people say no. Eventually they might have a change of heart. Be creative, work on your own projects, think outside the box so to speak. If you love doing it, it won't matter. And, just as a footnote, shops have asked if I will make quilts for others (custom). I was told that $800 for a custom quilt was too cheap....

cynthia


Can you quilt it out?

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Guest LA

If you are interested in some sample business plans to get started in your research, let me know.

It will assist you in thinking about how to market your self & keeping your goals on target. ;)

Let me now how I can help!

(name removed)

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Thanks to all for the replies

Linda,

If you have any information on business plans that would be helpful, I would be greatful for it. I thought that what I signed up for on the apqs website was to get information on starting up a business (business plans, machine info) I did get machine info and that is very helpful on decideing which machine I would like but nothing in it about how to start a business. Which is what the heading said. This is my first real experience with research on the web and this is the first time I have ever gone any farther than just talking about starting a business. wow how scarey. Thank you Theresa

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Hi everyone,

There is a place on our home page called "Start a Quilting Business". If you click on the "learn more", it takes you to some of our sample business plan as well as a return of investment so you can see how to pay off your machine or at least how long it takes to pay it off.

Hope this helps. :)

Mark APQS


Posted Image

APQS Sales

800-426-7233 ext.202

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For newbies and anyone interested in opening a quilting business there is a class available at Quilt University, www.quiltuniversity.com. The class is called Running a Professional Quilting Business and starts September 3rd for 3 weeks. It is an online class and is taught by Carol Thelen who wrote the bible on longarm quilting: "The Complete Guide to Choosing, Using and Maintaining a Long-arm Machine. And best of all, the class only costs $31.00.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Quilt University, I highly recommend it. I have taken many classes and they have all been wonderful. The teachers are very talented and the online classes are very well organized. This is a great opportunity for anyone that hasn't been in business very long or is seriously considering opening their own quilting business. And no, I'm not affiliated with QU, I'm just a very satisfied alumni.

If you do take the class please come back and share with the rest of us.

Happy Quilting :D


Jean Weishahn

White Rooster Quilting & Design

APQS Millennium

Elk Grove, CA

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Jean Thank you very much I am going to check into the quilt university right now. It sounds like something I really could use along with all of the advise from this forum. Thank you all for being so very open with your experience.

quiltingly

Theresa

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The Business plan is the most important aspect of starting any new business. The sample business plan I received from APQS was a nice START. That is all it is meant to be. The point of a business plan is to get YOU to think about all the aspects of starting a business. You're looking at startup costs, where are you going to put it (it is rather large!) ongoing costs, customer base, supplies, marketing, ROI and so on.

No one can write the plan for you, because every town or location is different. The amount of time you want to spend on the business is different than what I want to spend - and so on. You have to practice - practice - practice. How long you need to practice before accepting quilts is different than anyone else. Is that amount of time going to effect whether you can pay the bills.

That being said, when I wrote my plan I figured that since I am a web programmer I would have a super duper web site and get lots of business that way. Also living in Houston, I belong to 2 different quilt guilds and a longarm guild. I figured I would get a lot of business from that.

Houston has a LOT of longarmers, and I took that into consideration. A few of them acted more as Mentors rather than competition. One longarm friend does 'artsy' stuff - so I referred a quilt I got that I wasn't comfortable doing to her. Another friend only does pantos, so when she gets custom requests, she will send them to me.

I still don't have a longarm website (so no internet business), and most of my business comes from the ladies in my Bees (I'm in 3). I had 13 quilts dropped off last weekend!

Betty


Betty Baker

Houston, TX

Gamill Classic Plus w/IQ

BLOG: http://shadywood.blogspot.com/

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