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Messages - kodydog

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Is anyone paying $20 to $30 an hour for a full time well experienced upholsterer?

Last time I worked for a shop, not my own, was  in 1995.

 I got $10.50 an hour and no benefits at all.

This was with 10 years in furniture upholstery and antique restoration. I was there number one upholsterer with more knowledge and experience then the owner.

I'd close my shop in a heart beat for $60,000 a year with none of the risk of ownership. I wish. Sounds like the job I have been wishing for.

I applied for an upholstery job about 6 years ago, with over 20 years under my belt,  and the best they could do for me was $15 an hour and a 3 hour commute. I was better off staying with my own shop and they admitted to that.

In the Jacksonville / St Augustine I was offered $12 to $15 an hr. Go 4 hours south and their offering $18 to $25 an hour. Of course a lot of that gets eaten up by cost of living. It all depends on where you want to live. Like you I decided to figure how to make it myself.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Air conditioning
« on: August 03, 2011, 10:30:35 PM »
At 2:00 PM it must have been close to 100 degrees. Of course all my customers thought this would be a great time for P/U's and del's. Oh well, it pays the bills.

Sure could use a little of this right now

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Air conditioning
« on: August 02, 2011, 09:45:42 PM »
My A/C story.

I built my shop with Florida heat in mind. Heavy insulation in the walls and ceiling, insulated doors, double pain windows, the works. I built a wall, with a door, down the center. Wall mounted A/C's on each side of the shop. When I set the thermostat at 78 degrees that's where it stays even when its 100 out.

One morning, about a year after I had them installed I went to turn one on and heard a thump, thump, thump. I thought what the heck, don't tell me it's having problems already. Turned it off and back on and sure enough the thumping persisted.

So I climb onto a wood box and proceed to take the front of the A/C off so I can peer inside. And when I did out flies this snake. He had just had a head thumping and he was not happy.

My wife was on the other side of the shop, on the phone with a customer. She said she heard me scream (I prefer to call it a guttural man groan) and came running over to find me laying flat on my back doing a systems check to see if any thing was broke.

The snake of course wanted no part of me and went scurrying under my work bench. Took me about 1/2 hour to find the bugger. Took a broom and scooted him out the garage door. Snakes have no traction on smooth concrete.

Sure would like to know how he got up there, about 5' off the ground, and how he got inside my A/C and what was he after anyway.

Never a dull moment. No sir, never a dull moment.

General Discussion / Re: Delivery woes
« on: August 02, 2011, 08:48:56 PM »
Well he got here about 4:30 I just finnished a cmoorinf cover and motor hood   Have to install it tomorow
7:30  you could hack e been asleep or eating  geeshe

Tomorrows Hump Day. Its all down hill from there.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
Mark Twain

The "GREEN" Room! / Re: Bus conversion #8 ripping out the old floor
« on: July 31, 2011, 12:56:17 PM »
100 degrees? Seems like just yesterday I was watching conversion #6. The wood stove was cranked up and there was snow on the ground. Yikes!

General Discussion / Re: diamond tufting
« on: July 30, 2011, 08:31:56 PM »
All good points Paul. One other thing I would recommend. I wouldn't use vinyl, leather or a tight woven cotton, if this is your first stab at tufting. Chances are it'll take several tries to get it just right, not too tight and not too loose, and these materials will leave holes if you need to reposition your button. An experienced upholsterer can hide these holes in the fold or behind a button, but it can be very frustrating for a rookie.

Take your time, be patient and have fun. Tufted headboards are beautiful.

With furniture I give the piece a quick once over while asking myself, how long will this take. Once I figure that out I go back and look for any extra work it will need (frame work, springs, foam replaced ect.). I figure what I need to make per hour and come up with a price. Some people on this forum have been doing it a long time, their in a good location, have a good reputation, and have built up a good client base. Their at a point where they can charge more and work less.

When you first start your business keep in mind quality over quantity. Speed will come with experience. Your speed will also increase as your able to afford the right tools.

When I first opened my business (after working in a factory for 6 years) it was not unusual to see my shop lights on at 10 or 11 o'clock at night. Worked many long hours just to make ends meet. As time goes by it does get easier.

It'll also help to take a business course or two at the local collage or contact SCORE and find out about the different business seminars they have. Bookkeeping is a big part of running a business and you wont be able to hire a bookkeeper right off.

Having connections will be a big help and there is money to be made in restoration and custom work.

Good luck and let us know how your doing. Tons of good info if you hit the search button.

Love to see some pics of that 54 Belair

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Carpentry assistance
« on: July 29, 2011, 08:24:12 AM »
Well guys, I just hope that the gen. contractor I'm dealing with will do it for me and then it's his cost and I don't have to worry, I think i can bend some hardboard into a quarter-circle, but think there may be a "higher-end" way to make the back of this booth seat.  I just don't have the tools, and a minimal amount of experience doing it... I know my former employer and his woodworking friends had some special arrangements, and someday, if all goes well for me, I'll have those kind of business relationships too. Then I can be one of the big boys! ;D

Hardboard should work. Sounds like your making a curved back. Take a picture of the frame and maybe we can give you some suggestions.

General Discussion / Re: Angie's list
« on: July 29, 2011, 08:07:04 AM »
I've heard advertising for Angies list but never knew how to join so I went to their web site. Their customers pay for a membership to join and the only way a business gets on is if a member writes a review. I'd be interesting to see if your really on it and what they said.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Carpentry assistance
« on: July 28, 2011, 10:21:23 PM »
Oh there is one thing I might add;
If the carpenter who does the work for you is acting on the anticipation of a continued business relationship with you, he should offer a discount. You could consider charging your customer what he normally charges an end user for this work and keep the difference as the markup on his work.

I get some business from a refinisher in town. If he sends the coustomer to me there is no discount. But if he handles the whole job (P/u, del, billing, fabric selection, ect) he gets a discount. He does the same for me when I bring him work.

General Discussion / Re: diamond tufting
« on: July 28, 2011, 10:09:53 PM »
The best way I know to estimate for fabric is simply measure the piece, making sure to measure down into each hole and then add about 10 inches to each side for wiggle room.

Your starting from scratch so I would go ahead and build the frame. Then glue your foam with predrilled holes to it. Now you can measure for yardage. If the headboard is more than 54" wide its best to get railroaded fabric.

Here's a good site that explains the tufting process on a chair.

Good luck and have fun.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: mark-up vs. labor prices
« on: July 27, 2011, 06:39:49 PM »
That's kind of a tricky question. Over the years I've figured out what my general overhead is and add that to my labor price. This includes mostly supplies and utilities. If your just starting out you haven't figured out your over head yet. Might start with $5 an hour.

When it comes to replacing cushion foam I include that as an add on. Some customers need it and some don't.

Spring work and frame work are another add on. You can ask them if it needs this when your making your phone estimate and they may say no, but then it wont be such a shock when you show them it does.

With vinyl, leather and fabric the cost can very greatly. But you can give a quote on an average price and tell the
customer this price can go up or down when they choose there material.

General Discussion / Re: Vacation Time !!!
« on: July 27, 2011, 06:16:08 PM »
I loved it when I sold my house packed everthng I wanted to keep  i
put my bike on a trailor and headed to Florida In my motorhome
with out a clue where I would end up  nobody looking for me

Oh their still looking for you. You can run but you cannot hide. :o

General Discussion / Re: He says anyone can do it
« on: July 27, 2011, 06:07:00 PM »
But all told, I give the guy credit; he didn't like the price and he went for it, making his own stuff.  Takes time, effort, research, and patience to fumble your way through something new. 

That's exactly it Bobbin. He can do it himself and the job will look like an amateur did it. Or hire a pro and add value to his boat.

The "GREEN" Room! / Re: Bus conversion video #7
« on: July 26, 2011, 04:54:59 PM »
Good video Mike. Can't wait to see the interior design. You took the A/C out of the back. Are you going to install roof mounted A/C. What will you use while cruising down the road. Couldn't you use the area behind the back wall for storage?

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