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Learning is possibly what it is all about

Started by baileyuph, August 02, 2014, 02:18:37 am

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August 02, 2014, 02:18:37 am Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 02:58:03 am by DB
This isn't a cerebral statistic but it won't hurt to comment on some current events about the custom furniture and auto repair/redo market.

The information that I am sharing is; nothing is constant, except change, but it is constantly changing:  Just the past week my custom furniture work has shown a significant up tick.  Customers have come in to have cushions made with high quality fillers by the number and most only ask for an approximate price if at all.  Also to add, my auto seat repair work has hit a seasonal high also.  Picked up about a half dozen seat original seat repair work.  In a word, you can see it in the consumers eye that they aren't kicking tires - shopping.  They come with confidence that this is the "right" thing to do. 

As pointed out above, the type of customers referenced above are spending based on their confidence and/or previous experience with the business.  They don't have to be told about quality comes at a price.  They Knowalready! 

Kinda of refreshing, all this got my attention because there was something in the air other than "how much" and "I will let you know".  

Price shopping isn't over, but it is nice to enjoy doing business with consumers who value quality and good work.

Sure makes the week go faster.



Minichillo's Upholstery


I had an interesting encounter a few weeks ago; received a call about a slipcover with this comment:  "I've heard you're kind of expensive but you'll pattern in my home".  They e-mailed a picture, I gave them a ballpark estimate and time frame.  I did the job and as she was handing me my check she said this:  "I'm delighted.  This was so easy, you were on time, the work is lovely, and there was no inconvenience to me.  You aren't expensive, you offer a great value.  Thank you.".

So this sort of goes back to other discussions about professionalism and why it's important not to be sucked into the "low ball/cheapie" vortex.  The trick now is to continue to cultivate the sort of clientele who understands quality work and sees the value in it.  (not so easy)


Exactly.  I've also thanked customers for being decisive.  And having done some lounge cushions, or whatever, will happily provide swatches of the fabric leftovers they can take to the home store to purchase pillows or other accessories. 

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."

     W. C. Fields


They don't have to be told about quality comes at a price. ?


Recently had a customer have her parsons chairs recovered by me.  She supplied the fabric, whom she ordered through a designer who is also a customer of mine.  Anyway, when she came to pick up the chairs I told her she had a couple of yards left of fabric.  She seemed upset and said, "what am I going to do with extra fabric, I have no use for it!"  I graciously offered to credit her since she had several more pieces I was going to do for her and the fabric was high quality and I can easily resell or use on one of my projects.

Anyway, they took two of the chairs and then returned for the other two, and her husband then said that they were so grateful to work with someone who is honest and fair.  They both kept saying this as we loaded the chairs. 

Once I finished with the other pieces she had they actually paid me a "bonus" since they were so pleased with the work and integrity that we showed them. 

Again, being honest and professions reaps benefits beyond just the immediate job.  Not that I need more to do but she has since told me that she is telling everyone she runs into about our business. 

Guess that explains why I can't keep up and why people just keep calling me.  :)


March 17, 2015, 03:47:38 pm #6 Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 03:52:12 pm by sofadoc
Personally, I think that you're going above and beyond the call of duty by crediting the customer for excess fabric that she furnished through a designer.

Most of my COM customers furnish a couple of extra yards anyway.

If they buy the fabric from me, I only charge them for what I use, and put the rest on my remnant rack to sell on small jobs.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Returning leftover fabric is always a tough call. Some customers love it and some have a fit.

The upholsterer always has to add a yard or two for flaws or mistakes. There will usually be fabric left over and the customer should not expect a refund when this happens.

When I return fabric and the customer fusses I explain, yes and now you have fabric if something happens, like a stain on the cushion. Or often when setting up the delivery I'll tell them there is enough fabric left for toss pillows. Sometimes this will bring some more work.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


When an Interior Designer is supplying the fabric I always ask them if they want any excess fabric or do I give it to their customer or do I keep it.

If any excess fabric is to be returned, I always return anything that is at least as big as a 14" pillow cover. I've had folks have me make a pillow months after the job had been completed.

I remember the ID who gave me 3 1/2 yards of fabric. I had told her I needed 5. She said upholsterers always overestimate the fabric needed so they can make more money on the fabric. I reminded her that she bought the fabric. I wasn't making a penny on the fabric. That was one customer I didn't mind not seeing again.



I can not understand designers who short fabric. Isn't this how they make their money? If they give me 3-1/2 yds for a five yard job they are losing income. If their customers budgets are that tight they should reevaluate their business. I've lost many jobs because the customer simply couldn't afford me.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


Quote from: kodydog on March 25, 2015, 05:38:09 pm
I've lost many jobs because the customer simply couldn't afford me.
It's not so much that they can't afford me. But they can't afford BOTH the ID AND me.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban