labor costs for custom curtains or drapes

dandylandySeptember 28, 2010

Hi everyone,

Would people mind sharing what they paid for labor (not the fabric) for curtains and drapes?

Please include:

1. Size of window

2. Length of drapes (e.g. did you do full-length puddle on the floor, or in some rooms stop at the window sill height, etc.)

3. How installed?

4. Where you live (we live in NYC so I will adjust up for quotes from elsewhere, but please still post, b/c it is useful information!)

I am just trying to set up a budget, and would like to plan in this cost in very rough terms.

Many thanks!

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I'm in the Richmond, VA area. Prices varied (depending on window size and complexity of treatment) from a low of $300/window up to $850/window. That's before materials. I haven't done them yet b/c once I chose my fabric, I was at over $2K for each window/FD in the great room. I just couldn't choke it down after spending so much during the build....

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:44PM
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dixiedoodle, thanks for the info.

Today I had time to call a few places and none of them would give me even a rough estimate over the phone. They all want to make an appointment to see the place. I understand this is necessary before a final quote, but I was trying to narrow down a list of 10 purveyors to about 3.

What bugs me is this is not rocket science - if I ask for a GENERAL range for a solar shade for a few 5x6 picture windows, I expect someone to tell me - that is going to be ?? APPROXIMATELY $150 for the material for each window and ?? $125 labor fee for installation, for example.

I have looked at a lot of blinds and shades and curtains and valances and so forth online, but would definitely rather support someone locally to measure and install.

I'd be happy to pay for labor, but no one wants to quote me a price that way... And I want to support local businesses, and would even gladly order the materials through them at a slight markup to online retail, but so far I am finding they are not as responsive to questions as online retailers...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:40PM
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the big problem with ballpark pricing is, it really locks someone in, even if it technically doesn't.

if I tell you its between 300-850, you hear $300. even if you don't think you do, some people do. then they look at the job, and its a $650 job, or you pick an expensive fabric and its a huge window and each window is $2K. Either way, in the consumer's head the price just doubled or more.

basically they don't want to tell you something over the phone that is going to make it a much harder sale when the realities don't line up with low end of the averages.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Why not just have a few over to get real prices? Most places I know won't piece meal rates. A ballpark figure I use is about $125 per foot of width, this would be basic materials and hardware. It is very easy to go higher.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:50PM
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I went to a discount fabric store that had clearance fabrics, got a reference from them for someone to make the drapes and I was really pleased with the results and saved alot of money.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 7:34PM
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I don't know where you are with this project, but here's my .02. I also live in the Richmond, VA area. I have a really hard time paying the kind of money normally charged for custom draperies. If you have a little time & patience, can sew a straight line and follow directions, they really aren't that hard to do. I just finished making my own pinch pleated drapes for my dining room after getting a quote pushing $1500 for one window. A lot of that was in my fabric choice though.

What was quoted: 2 flat panel draperies (fixed - not to be closed) and 2 swags that hung over the side panels. The labor portion was about $500 to make them, another $120 for measuring, and $170 for installing.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 12:41PM
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I have found 50.00 per width to be fairly standard for the area - including Atlanta. That does not include fabric, hardware or hanging. It does include lining and interlining, but does not include the cost of the materials for lining and interlining. That is for a simple pinch pleat and is a labor only price. Of course, if you want to add a tape, a border, more elaborate pleating or other details, the price goes up from there.

As far as fabric goes, it can run 20.00 a yard to 200+ a yard. Same with hardware - the sky is the limit. You should be able to get a good estimate if you find a fabric you like and use that and price out the lining and interlining and labor.

Hanging would be separate if you don't want to hang them yourself.

Of course those are Atlanta prices . . .

If you have anything wider than a single 3' window, you probably need something wider than a single width. We had a triple window in our old dining room and we didn't ever close them (nor would they have covered the window) and we used a width and a half. That covered probably a 1/3 or 1/2 of each window on either side and let it still look like a triple window but didn't look skimpy. I would not have used anything less than that.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Well I'm in the business and it really depends on who you use to do your work. If you find a workroom that prices more at wholesale rates you can get panels for $45 - $50 a width, but if you are working with someone who is more on the level of a drapery designer - you will pay a good deal more per width. The professionals I network with (myself included) are more expensive than what's been quoted above. Not to say that more $$$ is always better, but just know what you're getting for $50 a width.

And yes fabrics are pricey - especially through a design professional but you can get fabrics that are only available to the design trade and you won't see them in Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, or the local fabric store. Your treatments tend to be more "one of a kind" and made specifically for you.

You're paying for design assistance when you hire a drapery designer, thus the price is higher. If you are a DIY'er and you know what works in your space and you want to do the legwork to buy the supplies (fabrics, linings, interlinings & hardware), pick out the treatment design, then you can certainly save money and use a workroom for the sewing side of it only and save money (if you find someone at $45 to $50 a width.)

Just see a sample of their work! Just saying!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:11PM
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I don't think 50.00 a width is unreasonable. I have a highly skilled lady in Atlanta that charges that, works regularly with designers, and it is "perfection". I used someone in Athens who also charged that and while she is very good, she is not on the same level.

This is an example of the 50.00 a width lady. Of course this was a bit more because of the ties at the top and the piping and border on the bias. Her charge for a width without all the extras is 50.00 though so the idea that you can't find someone good for 50.00 a width is not correct, at least in this part of the country.

I did have some drapes made for my husband's office and had to drive to the country to do it (and we are in a small college town so we are not big). She charged 35.00 a width and they were fine. Particularly for his office. Cheapest I have heard of though.

Whoops - can't get my photobucket account to let me attach the picture!~

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:05PM
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No I'm not saying you can't get good work for the price you paid just that the 2 prices listed were low to what I would consider reasonable, based on my profession. I am actually surprised that in the Atlanta area she isn't charging more for her time than that. I'm in SE TN and the cost of living is less here and my rates would be double hers. I'd love to turn her onto the WCAA chapter in Atlanta!

I really just wanted to make people aware that they may have to pay more than the rates listed, especially if they require design services.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Interesting. I have been doing design work for a while and that seems to be a general rule of thumb in Atlanta. . . Are you in Memphis? I lived there for a while but never had any drapes made :). A lot of it is going to the right person. This lady is a gem and does lots of work for people "in the know". I am sure there are plenty who pay much more than that in Atlanta. My mother used her first 20 years ago and we have been consistent customers since then so we may get a better price than average. Point being - there are often wonderful seamstresses who are reasonably priced in various areas. You just need a "lead" to find them!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:06PM
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I'm in the Chattanooga area. Yes there are drapery people out there at various prices. It sounds like your person knows what she is doing!

I am more in the design & fabrication aspect of the business and work with clientelle in their homes - bringing the fabric books/hardware lines to them and selecting for them, which comes at a different price point. Alot of the workrooms & drapery designers I network with are as well. There are those that are workrooms only - some are "to the trade only" and some offer their services to retail too. I only hope that when they offer their services to retail - they price accordingly! I won't go into that as it's a whole "nother" subject about this business and has no place on this forum! LOL

You are fortunate to have found a great person to do your draperies in your area! I imagine that when she works with you, it's almost like working for a designer as you already know what you want and have already selected fabrics so the design process has been taken care of.

I bet you can't wait to get some done for your new home (or maybe you already have.) I have barely had time to get my own done since we moved in a year ago, been too busy sewing for others! But it sure feels good when I am able to complete a room (no longer the cobbler who's children have no shoes.) But I've only completed 3 rooms. UGH

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:46AM
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