What should I charge?

euniceAugust 21, 2005

I never know what to charge for my work. I am finishing a dress for a lady who is an elementary teacher. She wanted a cool, comfortable dress because it is usually still hot when school starts. It is a princess-line, cotton dress. She tried it on and was pleased and asked me to make another one. She bought the fabric and pattern. What would you charge?

I do hems, mending, zipper replacement type things for quite a few people and probably do not charge enough. I know I charge less than the dry cleaners.

Any ideas? Do you charge by the hour or the whole project?


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Since she is paying for the materials, etc. I would charge her an hourly rate for your time. What is the minimum wage in your area? That is the cost of unskilled labor. You are skilled labor. You should get at least around twice the unskilled labor cost. Perhaps more. It depends on your area and what people will pay.

Why do you charge less than the dry cleaners? Is it to get more business? Is it because your location is inconvenient to your customers and you feel you have to 'make it up to them' in price? If you're doing this because you have 'extra time', that doesn't mean you have to give it away to people.

As a person who has taken the time to learn sewing skills, and does a good job, you are valuable! Don't give it away for free! :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 1:44PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, ell_in_OR. I think one reason I have a hard time charging enough is the old idea that sewing your own is more economical. My mother sewed for our family for that reason, but I know that's not true today!

I enjoy sewing and think I do a good job. Lots of other people don't have the time or the skills so I have to realize "I'm worth it"!

I'll go with the hourly rate.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 9:09PM
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"one reason I have a hard time charging enough is the old idea that sewing your own is more economical"

True ... if you have more time than money, as is the case of a mom sewing for kids - mine saved a bundle just by making skirts for us.

However, hiring a seamstress has never been cheap. It may be less expensive than store-bought, but the real reason for hiring a seamstress is to get something you can't get in the stores.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 10:06AM
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There is a really good website that might be able to help you out with your pricing troubles. The address is below. Hope this can help. Tell me how it goes.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 1:43PM
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What are the costings now, to make a lined dress for an old lady who has bought the fabric and pattern in 2011?

I am a skilled dressmaker working from home but I do not know what to charge, as I have now a studio, 4 threader overlocker and a new sewing machine , I usualy make cusions, baby pram shoes, baby blankets for charity, seat mats for hard chairs in church etc

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:02AM
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