• Welcome to The Upholster.com Forum. Please login or sign up.
July 11, 2020, 09:48:54 pm


Welcome to our new upholstery forum with an updated theme and improved functionality. We welcome your comments and questions to our forum! Visit our main website, Upholster.com, for our extensive supply of upholstery products, instructional information and videos, and much more.


Started by gene, September 03, 2017, 04:11:18 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


KodyD mentioned in another thread that he is booked up through December.

How do you guys schedule your business. We are technically job shops. We work when we get orders. This can make scheduling very difficult.

Do you assign a specific amount of time for each job based on what that job it? Do you have a chart or spreadsheet that you use that shows various times for different jobs?

Or do you just go by experience and guess how much time you will need?

I try to get a job completed within 2 to 3 weeks once I have the furniture, fabric, and a deposit. And even with this I can easily promise too much and find myself under pressure to get things done.

I have heard of upholsterers who will keep a sofa in their shop for months.



  I too have heard of shops that keep stuff for even years LOL. And it isn't as rare as you might think.
  I am a guesser and try to guesstimate the workload at any given time. I'v been doing this for a long time so I have a slight idea of time to completion. I say slight and mean it.
  Right now I guess we are 1.5 months out. If I am within a week it is good. No spreadsheet. Things aren't that consistent in this business.
Minichillo's Upholstery


Periodically, I will list all the pending jobs along with an estimated completion time for each one.

I generally run around 160 hours behind, but that doesn't include walk-in jobs that I may or may not choose to expedite ahead of the other jobs already in queue.

But it's all just to satisfy my own personal curiosity. Most of my customers don't really press me for a completion time. I guess if I worked for a bunch of pushy, whiny-ass decorators, I might have to get a better grip on scheduling.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Our decorators have learned if they want it tomorrow they better go someplace else. We're getting ready to do two built in benches. There huge and we will do them on site. We gave the estimate last march. Between getting the thing built by a carpenter and ordering the fabric the decorator is just now ready to upholsterer. And of course she wants it done tomorrow. Rose put her on the schedule and gave her a date.

We assign a specific amount of time for each job based on past experience. We don't pick up until we're ready to do it. Rose try's to schedule a certain dollar amount we need to make for each 5 day work week. Often I don't meet that goal and end up working Saturday and sometimes Sunday. Rose tells every customer when she gives them an estimate, When you get your fabric call us and that is when we'll put you on our schedule. It's funny because long time customers know all about Roses schedule and when they call they ask about it.

This week Rose called a customer to schedule a pick up. 6 weeks ago this customer told Rose the fabric was ready. When Rose called the customer told her the store only sent her 10 yards for a 13 yard job. She assured Rose the other 3 yards were on the way and we could pick the furniture up. Rose told her we will pick the furniture up when the fabric comes in. Rose then bumped her off the schedule.

Rose try's to keep a tight schedule. Its a hard job mostly because of customers lax attitude. Rose gave an estimate for a sofa 6 weeks ago. This week the lady e-mailed Rose and told her she has her fabric and you said you were scheduling in October. Yeah, 6 weeks ago we were scheduling for October.

Its funny because when we are busy Rose is like, I wish we weren't so busy. But then when we are slow she's like, I wish we were busier.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


We typically operate on a first in-first out system. But Ingrid allows flexibility. If an order comes in from a dealer, they get priority. They normally have a coach parked on their lot waiting for their order and sometimes that customer is staying in the coach. We also get customer now and then who lose an awning in a high wind and are stranded at a campground or resort. They get priority as well.

Otherwise we process orders according to when they come in. In all cases we stick to a two week turnaround and most of those really go out the door in a weeks time. It gets real interesting in the spring because we get pounded with orders. We go 6 and 7 days a week to clear the backlog and we have been behind by as much as 4 weeks.

Thankfully we have some very understanding customers.



One thing I can add is something I learned from an older gentleman I employed many years ago to run my office. He was retired from his own men's sore business and he always told me that it was better to tell the customer up front the job will take longer than we would actually expect it to. He said a customer is always happier to have his job back sooner than promised than later and this method insured that.
There are any number of issues that can delay the completion time and it's best to build them in from the beginning.
Everything's getting so expensive these days, doesn't anything ever stay at the same price? Well the price for reupholstery hasn't changed much in years!


A lot of things can make small business schedules difficult; for instance - telephone
whatever (soliciters, customers just calling for a price on something they usually wont have done, political related, and on and on) cost me time at work.  The point is, five or six of these a day is a major distraction to meeting schedule goals.

Sometimes I work weekends trying to keep reasonable control of the schedule and keep money coming in.

Back to the phone, there are phone calls from the phone company, loan companies, insurance, etc.  which if I can detect early - they just get a hang up!  Many of these
type of calls are recordings - they have nerve!!!

Yesterday, I had 4 "drop-off" jobs, fortunately most said get it done in two or three weeks, if it takes it.  It could, will see.