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November 13, 2018, 08:42:26 PM
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: Over Looked ?  ( 244 )
SteveA
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« : May 04, 2018, 07:34:30 AM »

I was visiting my buddy Jose a life long upholsterer - a customer came in and showed us a photo of a large French Settee that was just refinished.  The seat was ply wood and the finish high quality.  They asked how much would it cost to recover this and make the seat softer ?  Jose quoted $ 900.00. 
Without suggesting if the quote was too high or too low I asked him " how did you get to that price."  Without hesitation he said - I need springs, foam, cotton, burlap, webbing, and piping.

  He never mentioned the labor working around a newly refinished frame, matching the pattern, cutting around all the leg and backrest posts, and making the backrest and seat look well sculptured.  I thought to my self it's not quite the size of a sofa but $ 1200.00 would not have been out of line for this area of the World.

 I realize I'm doing the same thing - when a customer asks for a price I think about how much paint remover and lacquer I need - how much sanding - is it going to be a polished finish -  how far to go to pick it up - do I need help to carry it -  and the labor goes mostly unconsidered.
Is anyone else guilty of over looking the experience and craftsmanship that's brought to the table when a price is quoted ?
SA
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #1 : May 04, 2018, 08:12:46 AM »

So he is starting from scratch? No old fabric to use for a pattern or foam? Not to mention ripping out the plywood and adding springs. I'm guessing coil springs. An inexperienced upholsterer could make a mess of it. Your $1200 quote sounds more reasonable. Maybe even a bit more.

I'm thinking more than experience your work load dictates price. And perhaps the two go hand in hand. We are busier than we have been in a long time. And our prices have gone up. I'm not as fast as I once was, I do not work the hours I did when I was a younger man. And because of this not as much furniture is passing through the shop. But I made more last year and will make more this year than I ever have.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
SteveA
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« #2 : May 04, 2018, 02:57:42 PM »

Starting from scratch - no patterns - the springs will be ziggers so that's not as laborious.  In all the years I know him he is never slow or needs a job.  There is always the one he's working on and one behind it waiting.  He's not pricing to steal a job away - he's just not realizing his skill comes so easy to hm and he doesn't work enough of his talent into the quote.  I think we all must do that to some extent.
SA
Mojo
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I'm Always In Trouble


« #3 : May 07, 2018, 07:18:04 AM »

Oh Boy. This is a great topic. It happens in so many trades. I can remember a few jobs early in my career where I focused on materials and lost my proverbial ass in labor.

I can remember 2 jobs where I really overlooked labor and when the job was done I calculated I worked for about $ 3.50 per hour. One job I really remember and that taught me a lesson is one I completely lost my ass. I would have been money ahead if I gave the customer a crisp $ 50 bill and told him to hit the road. :)

Sometimes we get tunnel visioned and do not look at all costs associated with a job. That is the one thing about awnings. All I need is dimensions and I know exactly what every single tiny cost is going to be from thread to labor. I wouldn't even know where to start on pricing a job like you furniture guys do.

Mojo
baileyuph
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« #4 : May 08, 2018, 08:27:36 PM »

Mojo, no one, no how, will have all the answers on every thing.  Think about it this way, just to make
the point;  If an upholster started working on items (any thing - furniture - auto) years ago and did
that for the next 50 years, they would know a heck of a lot about what they to.  But, should an item
come up from a totally different technology, that old seasoned craftsman would have major issues working with car seats made during this era.  Then, it may be said, that older experienced craftsman might be able to learn the newer/later technology related to auto seats but it would take some effort and time.

Furniture and most things worked on today, if from a different technical period, present similar issues.

I, often get asked:  "how long did it take to learn your trade"?  My calm reply is "I will let you know -
still learning"  Learning is an on going challenge if we try to be current or perform some of the much
older task performed maybe before our time - same problem.

Mojo, it appears to me you are learning and learning well!

Doyle
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #5 : May 08, 2018, 08:32:30 PM »

Good point on the newer tech Doyle,
  Automobiles are a very good example. I use to do cars back in the 70s-80s. Now I would be lost.I did a mustang seat repair and was very surprised they were not hog ringed into place. It is a simple example but fitting. Air bags are a whole other story. Don't want to learn them touch them so I'm out of cars.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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Mojo
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I'm Always In Trouble


« #6 : May 10, 2018, 07:02:20 AM »

Doyle:

I learn something new everyday. Just when I think I have something figured out a change blows my comprehension all to heck.

I enjoy learning new things except when it comes to technology. My old brain grasps with computer based technology. I do fine with many different programs but find learning some new programs a real challenge sometimes. One thing I have found is that new software is becoming more intuitive and easier to use.

I will admit that upholstery was a hard trade for me to learn as my entire life was corporate based. But I had a huge interest in upholstery since I was 18. I just found that there was more money in the corporate world and chased the almighty dollar. I can remember when I was 19 a guy hired me to recover his poker table chair's. That was one of my first upholstery jobs but I never stuck with it. My time became limited as the demands of a young family and work trounced my wanting to be a stitcher. 

I find it amazing just how fast things change. Even in our trade. Fabrics are evolving, thread, etc. In the awning industry every year brings new assembly types and problems we have to work around to accommodate the changes. We have to maintain our knowledge base with the older assemblies while quickly learning the new ones. I have never counted just how many different assemblies there are out there but it is a lot. I am still amazed at how a simple square awning can require precise measurements, tapers, etc. in order for the assembly to work properly.

I believe that each of us will continue learning to the day we die.

Mojo
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