Before give a client a phone quote, I usually ask some questions to help me determine the style, age, and condition of the furniture.Asking The Client Details Now, as far about about how I price. When someone calls me, I usually just give a quick "ball park" phone quote. To give this, I usually ask the client some details, such as:
- How old is it (this will help me know an approximate style and condition?)
- How many cushions
- If it is a sofa, how long long is it?
- Any buttons? (followed by, are they pulled in deep? Are there any folds between the buttons, etc.)
- Are the seat cushions in good shape?
- Does it have a skirt?
- And whatever other questions I think of at the time.
Figuring the Phone Quote
To give realistic phone quotes, you first need to figure out the approximate costs involved in recovering each basic type of furniture (i.e. sofa, chair, cushion, etc). It will be much easier and more accurage if you have this thought out and written down before you start giving phone quotes.
Some people use a per yard basis of cost, while others base the cost on furniture type and style. I use a combination of both. Also, rather than giving a single price, I usually try to give a price range. One reason to give ranges is that the client will most likely not have the exact sofa that you have in mind. It will be different in some ways.
Here is an example of how I figure the cost for the phone quoe. To make it easier for this example, I'm going to base the costs on the amount of yardage used to upholster a piece of furniture. For this example I"m going to use a basic 2 cushion sofa without a skirt.
For this sofa I might figure the labor at about $400, but knowing the client's sofa won't be exact like this, I'd figure a labor price range of about $375 to $500 to account for differences in style. I'd figure I'd use about $30 to $50 (retail) in supplies and about 10-11 yards of plain fabric, figure at about $20 to $45 per yard.
So, having it figured out ahead of time, it makes it pretty simple to give a somewhat realistic phone quote for this style of sofa.
Telling The Client
I usually round everything off and do some quick calculations. I'd tell the client that the job could run somewheres between $650 and $1100 in a plain fabric. I also follow up all my phone quotes with a disclaimer, something like. "The actual price could be higher or lower, depending upon the actual style and condition of the sofa, and the fabric that the pick out."
Having a Quick Reference Card
As I've explained all of this, it has reminded me that in the past I've had a "Quick Reference Card" that has the basic costs already figure out for some basic furniture styes phone. But it became out of date, and I have not yet made another one. Writing this out has reminded me that I need to make up some quick reference cards that I could used on the phone, and also that my wife could use as well. For the Quick Reference Card, I would have the basic furniture styles, with yardages, labor, and extra costs already figured out. I think I need to start working on that.
How Much Should You Charge?
Ultimately you should charge whatever amount you need to do the job right. This amount will vary from shop to shop. A shop doing high quality work should charge a lot more than a shop that "quick and cheap" work. To give you an idea of what other shops are charging across the nation, see our bookmarks here: Upholstery Prices. Each of the links on this page will take you to a website page of an upholstery shop's labor prices.