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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: crammage on December 18, 2013, 03:14:09 pm

Title: Tipping point
Post by: crammage on December 18, 2013, 03:14:09 pm
Ok guys I need some advice.  I'm at the point in my small part time business that I need to make a decision on how to proceed.  I'm swamped with work!!  It's been like this for six months.  My part time gig has really become another full time job and I can't keep up the pace for much longer.    I was suppose to take the month of December off so I could regroup before the new year, Ha, that didn't happen.  I'm already booked through Feb, where are these people coming from and how are they finding out about me?

Anyway, here's my question, I need to decide how I want to proceed with my business:
   1. Go full time - not an option, I make too much at my regular job with great benefits, this was just a hobby.
   2. Quit upholstery all together - possible and with feeling overwhelmed right now more tempting then ever!
   3. Select a few repeat customers (designers) and exclusively do work for them which would be plenty but not overwhelming.
   4. Continue on current pace until something changes - either collapsing from exhaustion or business tapers off or raising my pricing so no one wants to use me! 

Just throwing it out there for some of your excellent advice!

Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: SteveA on December 18, 2013, 03:19:28 pm
Nice situation to be in.  Not knowing much about your finances or benefits package - I vote # 3.
There is great satisfaction and rewards being in your own business but business can let you down so if you go that route make sure you have a plan B

Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: rlamoreaux on December 18, 2013, 03:25:56 pm
How about Option 5. Hire some retired person who has the time but maybe only needs a little training.
Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: sofadoc on December 18, 2013, 04:13:42 pm
I say go with the last part of option 4. Gradually raise your prices, until you weed out all the cheapskates.

Unless I miss my guess. You're getting flooded with work because people view you as a "hobbyist", and they expect hobby pricing (and they're getting it).

Charge like a pro, and the overload will taper off. You'll be amazed at how much your attitude will improve toward the remaining workload.

You're in a very enviable position. You don't really need the work. So there's no point in doing it if you aren't enjoying it.
Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: Mojo on December 18, 2013, 09:23:41 pm
I agree with Dennis. Raise your prices slowly and start cherry picking your orders.

Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: Darren Henry on December 18, 2013, 11:43:49 pm
I was going to suggest option 5 as well, but I was looking at both ends of the workforce.Get some teenager to strip down furniture and do the bull work and an experienced person to sew or do the paperwork etc...
Title: Re: Tipping point
Post by: crammage on December 19, 2013, 01:09:48 am
Thanks for advice. I think I'm going with number 4 and raising my prices.  I am in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose what I want to do.  It should be worth my time and effort of being so busy.   

I think one of the reasons things are picking up is that I have heard of a couple of other upholsterers who have died recently, old timers that were around for awhile and then another who just stop doing it so there are fewer and fewer people taking on the trade around here (west of the twin cities in Minnesota). 

I did have a high school kid helping me for awhile but then he moved away to go to college.  My wife helps with some things but isn't confident enough to sewing, but she's great at pulling staples!  If I could train her on using my industrial sewing machine I think that would help a lot but she's afraid it's too powerful!

We'll see what happens over the next few months.

A friend advised me to raise my prices by 20% and keep doing that until business subsides, that's the path I'm going to take.