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Old 08-13-2005, 08:54 AM
Those who wander are not lost
 
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got a big fish on the line

Hi all, a little backround first, I am 18 years of age, been sewing for fun since I was nearly 4. as soon as I graduated high school, I opened an upholstery shop. been doing mostly boat tops, good money, but I love car interiors...I have done a few fairly simple ones. but I just went to go price a job for this guy who has a 48 chevy with a 3" chop....very nice looking and driving truck. He has replaced the old seats with a pair of fiero buckets. he wants the two seats done in velour, the door panels, the kick panels, the headliner, and also a cover for the wiring underneath the column. I didn't give him a real definate price, he doesn't want any real fancy design scheme, but there are speaker grates in the headrest through the velour. first of all, what is a fair price for something like this? and how can I get those holes for the speaker grates without having the material fray? btw please nobody tell me to read ron magnus's books, or watch some video.... I have already done that, and thank you all for your anticipated help
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:20 PM
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Use a leather punch to punch the speaker holes in the headrests, do it through the face of the material and LIGHTLY use heat (heat gun or hair dryer) from the backside to singe the loose fibers.

The price is all relative. A person who has been in business for years and has a reputation would demand more money for the job. Depending on the quickness of the upholsterer and the fabrication involved, i would say it sounds like a 40-60 hour job (for one man). Multiply that times your shop rate, plus materials and there you go....
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Old 08-13-2005, 06:58 PM
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You have an opportunity at the ripe old age of 18 so lets not blow it. More jobs will follow if you do a good job at a reasonable rate, a rate that will increase as you get better and more skillful. While your "fish" may be wanting simple design, I'm sure he does not want poor workmanship. You may want to give him an hourly rate and an estimate of how long it is going to take. Chances are it will take longer, but you may want to stay close to your estimate even if you end up working a few hours "for free". Your customer should go away happy and start the good word of mouth that is going to grow your business. You can chalk up the "free labor" as school cost because you are learning on his ride!!

Trees
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Old 08-13-2005, 07:14 PM
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As far as the pricing for the job, the info you have received already is going to take you in the right direction. As far as the speaker grates, before you poke holes in the fabric, do a test first. Most of the materials are acoustically invisible to a certain extent. You can test this by holding the material you are going to use over the speaker while the volume is at an average level, and compare the sound to the uncovered speaker. I have found that most times the difference is not enough to be noticed by the average ear, and the speaker location is hidden, making a cleaner appearance within the interior design. And, this test won't waste any of your material, either.
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:24 AM
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thank you guys for the advice, I will take all of it into consideration. usually, I name a ballpark price, and just get what I want for most jobs. I do charge an hourly rate if somebody wants some small repairs on things, (not newly fabricated.) Usually around 40 an hour unless they are family. but all of you have told me to go by an hourly rate. I estimate I can do it in one full work week....40 hours. so 1600 plus materials. Also, I think I am going to use Mr. Krist's advice for the speaker grates. I like the idea of having speakers in the headrest, if it has speakers, they should be emphasized with speaker grates. I'll have to practice a little with the heat gun on this fabric though. and I also liked what Tree said...I think it's important to "work for free" especially when you are first starting off, do a few favors and make a few friends in the feild.
thanks again

Mr. Cyr
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:24 PM
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The only thing I can add is that the title of this may be off base or telling of your attitude towards customers....I don't claim to know which.

Treat all customers with respect and give the small jobs the same effort and enthusiasm as the large jobs. If you do them all with your best effort and not look at them as a cash grab you will go a lot farther.

The term Big Fish on the line derives itself from the CON game and you would probably not want to be associated with that. Hope you take this as positive criticism. Good Luck on your new path, with effort it can take you far.
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativeinteriors
and give the small jobs the same effort and enthusiasm as the large jobs.
Well said.

The small jobs you do enthusiastically will have more word of mouth results than the big ones anyway !
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:46 PM
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I am sorry if you perceived my post, or title as an attempt to see how much I could possibly get for the job. My intent was not that in the least, I asked "what would be a fair price?" by "big fish" I meant somebody who would have steady work for me in the future. As I said before, I think it is good to do favors, especially when you are starting off. So that's exactly what I am going to do. Finally, any job that I take, I do to the very best of my capabilities, and every job I finish I must be proud to put my name on it. Any association of my name with with the word CON, Is hard for me to take as positive criticism, and I certainly hope that this has alleviated any confusion. I will post pictures of the job when I am finished If I can figure out how to Thank you all again for your advice.

Mr. Cyr
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:56 AM
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I said, "The only thing I can add is that the title of this may be off base or telling of your attitude towards customers....I don't claim to know which."

My comment on the Con side was to where the phrase comes from, I never called YOU a CON. Only that the use of the phrase can be taken as such.

There is another old saying is "Be careful of your thoughts, they become your words. Be careful of your words, they become your actions. Be careful of your actions, they are your character."

"Big fish" by itself may not be a problem in your eyes, if a customer were ever to hear it from you he may take it a lot differently than you mean. (Some like to be considered a large part of the business and a BIG FISH may make them proud others may not be so pleased). "On the line" means something else entirely different and when used together with "BIG FISH" it will be typically negative.

I don't want to come off as talking down to you especially that I don't know you. Bulletin boards are bad for that but it is also similar to a first meeting with a customer.

I have dealt with hundreds of personality types over the years I have been doing this. You said in your first post that you have been doing sewing from an early age and opened a shop out of high school and your 18. If you graduated at 17 it would mean a year. This could mean you are still developing your interactions in business with outsiders.

I am trying to help with a thing that I have learned from years of positive and a few negative experiences with words and people. All people have idiosyncrasies.

My criticism was Positive, meaning I am trying to give you something that will improve your future, Negative would have been telling you that the phrase is poorly chosen without any explanations. I did not do that.

I was saying, if you meant something other than you wrote don't use the phrase. Your words, your actions and your price are all important.

You seem to have a grasp on your work, great. You have a grasp on your price development, wonderful. Your words are just as important. If you are taking me as pounding on you, please don't. I don't pound on this board I am trying to help.

I am trying to help you with another big part of this business, customer relations and development.

If you want a lot of work be considerate of what you say.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:01 AM
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Being a auto repair business owner myself I could have not said it any better than creativeinteriors said. I too at first took it as a slam to the customer, then latter in the post decided that it was not meant that way. But from a customers stand point I think he/she would.
Just my .02 worth

Steve
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:44 PM
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I agree with Steve and Creative.

I keep seeing the Big Fish pop up but this is first time looked at posting as it just kinda repulsed me.

Don't think you meant it, just a bad use of words. I'm the master at using wrong words!

I like how you have moved right alone in your career.

Barry
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Old 08-19-2005, 07:24 AM
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I understand how that phrase could be seen as an attempt to milk a job for all I can, and no that certainly was not my intent. Though I would never use the term "big fish on the line" to a customer, I agree, that I need to be more cautious with my words. I just like fishing.... heh, and I am sorry to creative, for coming off so offensively, but to be honest I was offended by the word con, but now having realized that your comment was not meant to hurt but rather to help, I truly appreciate the comment, and trust me when I say that this has opened my eyes a bit wider to the sociology of business. and finally to all of you, a couple good quotes that I rememer from high school that pertain to this subject.

"Whatever is expressed is impressed. Whatever you say to yourself, with emotion, generates thoughts, ideas and behaviors consistent with those words." -Brian Tracy. (the words of a man whose words become his actions)

I will be free, even to the uttermost, as I please, in words. -William Shakespeare (the words of a man whose actions become his words, and thoughts become characters)

I hope somehow to become the best of both
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Old 08-19-2005, 08:02 AM
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Mr.shearcyr,

A well written response. If you need technical help please ask, just as in canvas there are a lot of little pit falls out there in Automotive.

To thyself be true....or something like that. lol

Good luck.
Creativeinteriors

Last edited by creativeinteriors; 08-19-2005 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 08-19-2005, 08:20 AM
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Wow. There's a lot of good advice and info in this post. I'm glad I clicked in. My mother had an upholstery shop in Louisiana for several years. Many of her customers were people from way back in the woods, literally. Many others were fairly well off people. She treated them all the same. There were no Big Fish, although many did fit your description as such. That term may be considered disrespectful. Hopefully this person is not on this site. Just watch how you throw that word around or you big fish may get away. It sounds as if you have a good career ahead. Best of luck!
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