Organizing Your Quilting Business
By Kelly Gallagher-Abbott, Jukebox Quilts
A streamlined process for how you will receive and handle quilts can make life easier on you and your customer. Clear expectations and good communication are sure to provide better customer satisfaction and better organization for your quilting business. Learn more about longarm businesses and Gammill’s business start-up special by clicking here.
The best place to get all the information you need is when your customer delivers their quilt. Create an intake form and a system for organizing completed forms whether in a binder or electronically.
Here are some items you may want to include on an intake form:
- Customer name and contact information
- Drop off and due date
- How they heard about you or referral source
- Measurements of quilt
- Disclaimer and permissions – some examples to include
- Disclaimer about variances in quilting
- Permission to photograph the quilt and use the image (you will need this if you wish to use photos of the quilt on social media or in other marketing efforts).
- Agreement on credit for the quilt if entered into competitions, publications, etc.
- Design or pattern approval with notations from customer
- Project File – If using CreativeStudio, include a jpeg of the mockup and note the location of the electronic project file
- Rates & Charges – Make sure quotes are realistic. If something unforeseen arises, immediately contact the customer.
- Rate by the inch or the stitch (include a space for final time or stitch count)
- An estimate of quilting charge
- Additional charges such as thread, batting, binding, etc.
Consider how you will organize your business. Those taking advantage of the Gammill Fall Business special will receive a free copy of Machine Quilters Business Manager Software. Click here to learn more about this software, which includes many of the tools covered in the intake form section of this article. Here are some other programs and tools that may be helpful in keeping your business organized:
- Evernote: Create pattern database, inventory of supplies, inspirational photos, notes and tasks, customer database, quilt gallery for customers and other tools
- Google Keep
- Microsoft Project
- Gaant Charts in Excel
- Google tools: Calendar, contacts, tasks, e-mail and docs
- Pattern Management tools: PVM, Ipattern or see Jukebox Quilts for using their Jukebox Pattern Finder using Evernote.
Let your customer know how to prepare their piece for longarm quilting. You can click here for a sample guide from Jukebox Quilts. Receiving quilts in a standard way can make the organization process go more smoothly.
Develop a task list that is to be completed for each quilt. Here are examples of what may be included on your list
- Complete intake form and planning session
- Photograph top and back of quilt with customer present
- Document the intake and dates on calendar or project management software
- Procure a pattern or design
- Receive pattern, thread and batting
- Order Supplies – thread, batting, etc.
- Schedule dates to begin and end quilting
- Complete invoice
- Photograph and document completed quilt
- Notify customer of quilt completion
- Deliver quilt
- Photograph customer with quilt for social media and your gallery
- Send a thank you note or coupon to the customer
- Send a thank you note or coupon to the referral source
- Request feedback on customer satisfaction, utilize positive comments on your website, Facebook and other social media pages.