Word travels fast. It's only been a day and a half since my in-laws returned from their travels and the orders are pouring in. Apparently the way to get noticed is to make over someone's couch.
Yesterday or the day before I got an email from Mr. Skooks' aunt requesting help making some (thankfully 2, not 8) simple cushions for her sunroom. She's had this wrought iron furniture (along with its original cushions) since they bought the house oh so many years ago and well, they've seen better days.
I had to laugh when I started to read her email though. She said something like, "I heard you do upholstery." For the record, tackling the couch was a bold and inexperienced move . . . I wouldn't say that because I did some upholstery work that I DO upholstery. Nevertheless, we went back and forth a bit about what she was looking for and time frames on when the work would need to be completed.
Something that really caught me off guard and had me questioning Mr. Skooks how to proceed: how much do I charge for my services?
I really have no idea actually. Is it like a regular job where they pay you by the hour? What if I'm naturally slower because I'm not a pro? Should they have to pay extra for my slowness? What about a flat rate per job? How does one begin to assess that? If I'm making something I've never made before how do I guesstimate how long it will take me?
Really, what is my time worth?
I circumvented the fee schedule with his aunt temporarily so that I could have some time to come up with a strategy. I also think I need to see said cushions in person to know what I'm getting myself into.
As I said, this all happened yesterday. Then today, I got a call from an uncle requesting 2 sets of bean bags made for the ever popular summer staple game: Bean Bags. I think I've heard it called "Cornhole" before, but that sounds so completely weird and wrong that I refuse to call it that. (For those of you who may be bean bag illiterate, check this out. You can buy sets, but they're not terribly hard to make, and they're very much worthwhile. It's beside the point that I'm kind of completely awesome at this game.)
Anyway, the question came up again: what would you charge me?
I didn't know what to say, again . . . so I ended up telling him that I would take note of how long it took me to make them and he could pay me what he thought was fair for my time. I did this because a)I felt that I needed an answer to his question, b)I was put on the spot, and c)because he's family. And because I know that making bean bags is not something challenging, it's just tedious . . . so I know that I won't be slow at it.
Do you find that people start asking you for sewing favors when they learn you can sew? Do you charge people? If so, how do you figure out what's fair? What kind of a discount do you give, if any, for family or friends? I mean, I want to be helpful, but let's face it . . . my time is precious. I've got 2 kids, a part time job, a husband I actually want to hang out with when he gets home from work, and the general day-to-day jazz that comes with maintaining a household.
Bottom line: I want to be fair . . . to both myself and the person asking for the sewing help.
Any and all input is most welcome. Please, let me know what you think in the comments.