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  • HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

    Hi Everyone

    Really need your help. Your answers will deter whether I carry on or go to pastures new. Been working for myself for a few years now. Never earned mega bucks but was happy. Then I was approached by a designer to make curatins for the top end of the market. Which I thought was great till I started all curtains are interlined and hand finished (this was no problem) the only thing is they are only paying me one set price for all heading. At this moment in time I feel like walking away as I feel as i'm working nothing.

    Please can you give me some ideas what prices I should be charging (from curtains to blinds. cushions to throws) as I only have experience makeing up for private customers (which is more than they are paying) Do I have to work my socks off for peanuts or I they just taking advantage

  • #2
    Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

    I have emailed you something that might help you in the right direction.

    sigpic Simply Sewing


    • #3
      Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

      Many Interior designers do expect to pay very little to have their work done to very high standards and then mark it up and sell your hard work on at a great profit. I have been approached by a few interior designers and they have always wanted to pay peanuts.. Needless to say I have always said no!

      I'm sure there are many interior designers out there who do pay good rates of pay, but I have yet to be approached by one. You'll probably be better off taking in out work if you need to.. Work out the hours you're putting in and then calculate your hourly rate, you're probably working below minimum wage..

      Have you registered your business yet?

      A MyDecozo Directory


      • #4
        Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

        I have never understood why people are so prepared to pay 'interior designers ' such high prices for work carried out by others who after all, are the ones to have such talent, and the reluctance to pay direct to the curtain maker for their worth, is it really that they prefere to say they had them made by an 'interior designer' ( who usualy knows nothing about the construction of the design they have agreed to) than a lady down the road. You must be good at what you do and your work speaks the quality they are looking for other wise why would they have approach you. I hope you manage to get paid your true worth good luck. Fleur


        • #5
          Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

          The designer I work for does the specifications, then I measure, quote, make and charge the customer direct. We work well together (most of the time) and find this works for us. She doesn't want to get involved in ordering the fabric, arranging the fitting, etc.

          I would start with Louise's price list, and work out your own prices. Don't forget that the designer should be doing all the organising, ordering, collecting, etc. If you do this then there is a further charge. Then have a word with the designer. Quote for each job separately - give her a copy of the price list if you want. If she doesn't accept your pricing, then just carry on with your private clients. Your work is good enough to be paid for decently!

          Good luck - let us know how you get on.
          Kind regards
          Pen Harrison
          Colly Brook Fine Furnishings


          • #6
            Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

            Hi, I have to agree with all the others, why should you work your fingers to the bone to line someone elses pockets. Do not give up on the talent you have there will always be a private market available to you so don't compromise yourself. I've never made megabucks either but I make enough that I'm happy to keep on, if I dropped my prices I would resent doing the work!. Chin up.



            • #7
              Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

              Another response would be to become an interior designer. You don't have to be degree qualified but you can offer a more reasonable design service than a fully qualified one.

              I did work for an interior designer a few years ago and she kept taking wrong measurements amd things did not fit and I don't think she had a clue about soft furnishings as recently I looked at the new website and the curtains were not dressed correctly. I used to charge her a fair whack as I always felt I had to do the real design work for her as she simply did not know enough about the real practicality of soft furnishings.

              You get some good and some bad in my opinion. I did know another lady who was exactly on my wavelength. I would not work for peanuts because its taken too long to study this art. Just go out and get your own business.
              Karen Rhodes
              Karen Rhodes Design
              Pole Design


              • #8
                Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                I too have an interior designer that I work alongside - not for! As Pen does I go out measure quote, order fabric, poles etc. and arrange fitting and invoice the client directly. It works well. I do also offer an interior design service myself.

                However I did do a little bit for an interior designer when I first started my business approx 5 years ago now and unfortunately it didn't work very well. He had little understanding of how soft furnishings were and could be made. He expected the earth for very little return. I had to collect, make and deliver back to him and he would supply all the lining and interling so I wasn't even making anything there. I did 3 or 4 jobs for him and decided enough was enough and I haven't worked for him since! I personally prefer to work directly with my clients and I would recommend anyone to do this, you can build up a relationship directly with them, not indirectly. At the end of the day you are doing all the hard work so you should take the credit for it and I find one of the most rewarding parts of the job is to see the window treatment in place.
                Kindest Regards,


                • #9
                  Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                  Hi Karen,
                  I have to agree with what everyone else has said, Make your price list to suit you & not the Designers. I had a Interior Designer say my prices where too High so I got her to come to me for a morning with her next order for me to make & showed her what happens from reciept of me getting the fabric, the cross checking for flaws ensuring that she'd ordered the correct amount of fabric, and then she helped me with the cutting out I started with the Interlining hehehehe. By the time we had cut out the 8 lenghts need she was covered with the Bump & her lovly suit looked like the cats had molted all over it. By lunch time she'd had enough & wanted to throw in the towel. It was while we had lunch that she confessed she had no Idea how much work went into it and how strong we have to be to lift the rolls of fabric. I said at times I wished I had a army to help but there isn't so I do the best I can with the Gift I have and my passion for sewing helps. So if she doesn't want to pay YOUR prices politely decline her offer. The Universe will bring you customers who will want your workmanship. The flip side if you decide to take work from them, ensure that they provide you with every thing. down to the plastic to wrap the curtains in the sellotape. Don't do all the collecting & delivering of curtains as this will eat into your earnings, or charge them for it. A friend I know charges £0.50p per mile Weights etc, & they have to supply you with making sizes dont offer to measure or check measure that will be down to them. Dont pull up the heading if its taped heading as once again this is your time or put in Pin on hooks this is something the track fitter should be doing. You may want to drop in that the designer normally makes a 100% mark up on the fabric as it is what the norm was when I worked in retail.
                  Also ensure that you have a contract signed by all parties so you know when you will be paid. You could email them your Invoice & ask that a Cheque be ready for you to collect upon delivery or 7 days after delivery. Try not to get into waiting till they are ready to pay you because that could be months. Rememer to send back all the off cuts or else you're the one who has to dispose of it.

                  PS my Interior Designer now understand that a good curtain maker is worth the money.

                  Remember to Exhale every now and then, also laugh and smile because you know you have a skill that she wants but may never be able to achieve.
                  all the best,


                  • #10
                    Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE


                    I too have worked for an Interior Designer in the past. Whilst my business was becoming established the work was fairly constant and it built my confidence. However all the fabrics were supplied by the interior designer and we all know that is where most of the money lies. I was often kept waiting for 3rd parties to make bespoke curtain poles, and other decorators to complete their parts of the job before I'm came in at the end. Therefore I had to wait for my money until the curtains could be hung when I had completed most of the work weeks and sometimes months before.

                    Therefore I would suggest that if you are already busy with other work, then walk away, otherwise, its worth considering if only to get some contacts and gain experience (if you need it) for the future.

                    If you can supply the linings and interlinings, make sure you buy trade and invoice retail for it, to boost your income a bit.

                    Good Luck.


                    • #11
                      Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                      Some very valuable advise given here all of it I totally agree with.

                      Sue has made a very vaild argument about loosing profit on linings and fabrics too.

                      That said, like most things in life theres good and bad , some designers are worth their weight in gold and are fairly compromising , others are the ones you avoid like the plague!

                      Go with your gut instinct, they are usually right!


                      • #12
                        Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                        I have had quite a few pairs of curtains made over the years and would never have considered consulting an interior designer. I remember my cousin mentioning that she used one and I actually looked down on her for being so mentally lazy! I love having my own ideas and, if they don't work, then that is my problem. This philosophy has allowed me to experiment with pretty colours without any regard to fashion or even good taste.

                        The result is that I have always enjoyed my home. My bathroom wallpaper is a riot of pink and lemon roses and would make any person of, er, taste weep into their Cappuchino. Who cares!

                        These days, I am trying to make things for myself.

                        I have, by the way, run my own aromatherapy type business. I actually only lasted a few hours when contracted to someone else for this.

                        My advice, for what it is worth, is to, as far as possible, work for the end customer: this way, you get the referrals when they are pleased and not the interior designer.

                        Oh, qnd as for those people who talk about Feng Shit Tzu, or whatever it is called, what tosh! (I maintain this until someone can refer me to a suitable scientific paper).



                        • #13
                          Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                          Just to keep you all up to date......

                          Not doing any more work for the the designer as of a week ago.
                          Would rather work on a till at the local asda store than working for peanuts, getting rushed and stressed.

                          My advice is stay with private customers and if you need extra money try and part time job as freelance work means working your fingers to the bone for less than the minium wage.


                          • #14
                            Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                            Hello Originalcurtaingirl

                            Hope you are not going to give up completely, I do understand how you feel, I work part-time 10 hours a week which gives me a regular steady income, I took this work on to get me out of the workshop (before I joined a forum)! doing the part time job does take the pressure off a bit, you can then take private work which will pay you more money than the designer.

                            Don't be disheartened though, that designer was taking the micky, there is a lot of work that goes into hand made curtains and a good curtain maker is worth her or his weight in gold.

                            Good Luck

                            K W Designs


                            • #15
                              Re: HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE

                              A little off the subject but I priced my blinds and curtains according to Louise's guide, felt exceptionally uncomfortable about it as these people were friends. I have since been told that she was quote 3 times the price by the interior designer she regularly uses in the village. Now I am at a complete loss how she has the audacity to charge that amount.