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Topics - Rich

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The Business Of Upholstery / Competing against the discounters
« on: January 26, 2013, 09:32:28 AM »
Check out this aticle about a small hardware store that has found ways to compete with Home Depot. Walmart, now poses a new set of challenges, but with his mindset, he may survive them too!
Can we come up with strategies to set our businesses apart in the eyes of our customers?


General Discussion / Fed up with "home" irons
« on: January 04, 2013, 09:10:37 AM »
My wife and I have used one poorly made steam iron after another at home and are fed up with having to replace them every so often. We were wondering if it makes sense to buy an industrial steam iron to use in the home. I'm thinking it would last much longer, but is there a cost benefit being that the price is a good bit higher? I saw one on Keyston's site for about $125.00.
Any input?

General Discussion / The Business of upholstery?
« on: November 18, 2012, 07:14:35 AM »
Not that it was strictly adhered to, but in this new forum, I no longer see The Business of upholstery as a separate section. Has it been done away with?

General Discussion / Upholstery in the comics
« on: October 08, 2012, 07:23:50 PM »
Frank and Ernest is the only comic strip I can ever remember that has upholstery as it's subject. I remember years ago clipping one that went something like this; Caveman sitting on a rock says "Bronze age, Iron age, when is someone going to invent upholstery?". Yesterday's comic, which I found in the Washington Post is, I think, even funnier;


I operate my business mostly myself. Of course, I couldn't do it without the help of my wife who keeps the office in order (and a million other tasks) part time. But, all of the productive work, you know, the stuff customers will actually pay for, is done by me. I don't get off the hook for much of the related stuff, however, since I still have to make phone calls, write up quotes on the more intricate jobs, talk to customers both in person and over the phone, reply to emails etc. So, recently, I decided to do something I hadn't done in many years, which is to keep a log on everything I do during each business day. Last time I did it, I found that for a 50 hour week, I was running a bit less than 50% in actual productive work. Let me explain that term. I define productive work as those hours which are directly billable to my customer. That means time I spend talking to a prospective customer is not productive. Time spent writing up a quote for that customer is not productive and time spent placing an order for materials for his job is not productive. Only the time spent actually doing the job is productive and it is what he gets billed for. Of course, the billed time has to take all the other time into consideration, but that's another discussion. 
This time, I find I'm actually spending a little more time doing the unproductive stuff, but what amazes me is that I find it difficult to get more productive hours in since the related administrative time multiplies right along with it. There seems to be a limit to how much of my day I can actually call "productive".
Has anyone who does most or all of the work had a similar experience? Of course you just about have to record your time for a few weeks to see how it all pans out and that's not the most fun job I can think of, but fortunately, after a month I can stop. In the meantime, what an eye opener!

The Business Of Upholstery / Pricing in a vacuum?
« on: August 14, 2012, 07:28:57 PM »
Here's an interesting angle on pricing:

What do you think?


General Discussion / 88 Corvette conv. top install Q
« on: July 21, 2012, 09:01:09 PM »
I'll be installing a new top on an 88 Corvette for a customer and up till now, all the tops I've installed have been on cars older than that. Does anyone have any tips specific to this top to offer? Any problem areas to be aware of?
 I'd appreciate it.

General Discussion / Buying disability insurance
« on: April 19, 2012, 03:58:14 PM »
Does anyone have any experience buying disability insurance? Any guidelines?

General Discussion / Webbing heat sealer
« on: March 08, 2012, 05:36:36 PM »
Does anyone know of a heat sealer that would weld 1" nylon webbing to eliminate the need to sew when attaching buckles?

General Discussion / Restaurant vinyl
« on: January 08, 2012, 06:45:51 PM »
Does anyone know how I might be able to ID the vinyl used on restaurant booth cushions of national chains? I've got many vinyl sample books, but cannot find the medium brown vinyl used on Red Lobster or the dark brown used on Outback cushions.

General Discussion / Too bad we've been left in the dust
« on: December 24, 2011, 10:29:09 AM »
I'm doing a bathroom remodel and wanted to get some tips on installing crown moldings so I went on youtube and found this video. It was helpful, but it also got me thinking about how little improvement has occurred in the methods we use in our industry while others have sailed right past us. I think it's sad.
Take a look at this video

Why has this happened? I have my own thoughts, but first, what do you think?

General Discussion / Shop heater
« on: December 13, 2011, 04:32:48 PM »
I thought i saw a thread on this topic in the past, but a search turned up nothing. In fact it was amusing to see how "heater" was returned as "cheater" and "theater". But anyway, My shop was being heated by an obsolete kerosene stove which has now all but quit (too bad, b/c I just had my oil tank refilled), so I'm looking for ideas on how others are heating their shops. Anyone have something they like? (economical, sufficient heat).

General Discussion / VW Beetle headliner installation time
« on: December 07, 2011, 09:13:21 PM »
Does anyone have an installation time for a 70's (could be 80"s) VW Beetle? This is the sedan and the customer has the headliner with the B pillar post trim as well as the vinyl that goes under the 1/4 glass and rear glass. I'm thinking 5 hours + or - but having not done one of these in many years I'd like to hear from someone who's done them more recently.

The Business Of Upholstery / How do you address your customers?
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:28:52 AM »
When a customer gives you his name, it's usually first and last as in John Smith. Now, do you call him Mr. Smith, or John? Do you have a reason for doing it one way or the other? I have reasons for both ways;
Mr. Smith; 1-Shows respect for the customer.
                 2-Keeps the transaction on a professional level
                 3-Keeps the relationship from getting too friendly which could       
                    encourage the customer to expect "special" treatment as in a lower 
                    price, or "how about just throwing that in?".
                 4-Avoids overstepping in cases where a customer doesn't want to
                    be called by his first name by a stranger.
John; 1-Makes the customer feel like he is valued and not just another customer.
          2-Creates a  less-rigid environment.
Also, which way do you prefer to be addressed when you're the customer? Does it matter which type of business you're in at the time?

General Discussion / Nesting software
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:22:17 AM »
Does anyone know of any software available for laying out fabric pieces? This is commonly called "nesting software" and is used mostly in manufacturing where it will be sent to an automated cutter. I had purchased a program from a gentleman a few years back which I still use occasionally, but he has since retired and no longer supports it. This program allowed a user to key in the width, length and amount of each piece, it automatically added in the seam allowance you wanted and figured out the best arrangement to use the least amount of fabric. In the end, you could print out a cutting chart to use as a visual guide for a layout on the bench. It saved time over a pencil and paper layout, but given the advancements in computer software today, I was hoping that something existed for the small shop that would be  easier to use and is still supported.

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