Example of Pricing Repair Jobs with Multiple Options

The job was a sofa recliner with 3 attached seat cushions with divisions and 3 attached back cushions, with divisions. A seam across the top of one of the seats had split open almost clear across the seats. The seam presumably had in inner division attached to the bottom side of it. Besides holding the padding in place, that dividing cloth was what held the seam down in a groove.

Giving the Client Options

A point of clarification. I realize that many upholsterers don't seem to like to explain much to their clients.
I come from a different perspective. I try to do what is best for the client, even if I don't get the job. If there is a way that is within their capabilities and willingness to do, I will go ahead and give them that option. I also give detailed estimates and detailed work orders in the sense of giving them full disclosure of what I propose to do with their furniture. They are the employers so therefore it is their right to know the details and options for their furniture.
By my giving the client multiple options with description, it either emboldens some clients to realize that they can do some or all of it themselves. (I'm OK with that, I have plenty of work)  With other clients it shows them how much is involved and they become more willing to pay my professional fees.
Here is an example of one estimate where I gave the client multiple options AND I explained what was involved with each option.

Hi (Client's name),

Thanks for sending the pictures. From what I can see it seems that your sofa is a pretty complex construction, (with divided attached pillow seats and backs. It also appears to be a recliner, which has mechanisms that would need to be disassembled if it was machine sewn. All of this tends to make it a lot more time consuming and potentially costly to repair. However, I can only tell so much from pictures. What I can't see from the pictures is whether or not there are inner divisions that were also connected to that front seam. (I suspect there are). In any case, I've seen enough to give you a rough idea of costs of doing it several different ways. 

Two Basic Methods

There are basically two methods of repairing the seam, hand-sewing and machine sewing, and each of those methods has several possible variations which affect the cost. The hand sewing method is quicker and cheaper, but possibly less durable (and it also is conceivably something that you could do yourself). The machine sewing method is presumably more durable and is more costly because it involves a lot more work. It involves disassembling much of the sofa and removing the seat cover from the frame and removing the stuffing from the covers so that the cover can be taken to the sewing machine.

I will give you various cost options involving both methods, starting with the least expensive first and getting progressively more expensive.
Hand Sewing Options
The least expensive ways to fix it is to hand sew it from the front. It involved lining up all the pieces so they are connected as the seam is hand-sewn back together. This is a time-consuming process, but it is a lot less involved than the machine sewn method. There are two methods to hand-sew up the seam.  (see A & B below). 
A. The simplest way is just to hand sew the top fabrics together. That gets rid of the opening but doesn't connect the inner divisions with the top cover. This is probably the way that you would do it if you took Option 1 below:
  • Option 1: Cost about $10 to $20Do-It-Yourself: you buy a circle needle and hand sewing thread and sew it up yourself. Here is a video that shows you how to hand sew: https://youtu.be/2YNkl8KPPi0
B. The more involved method of hand-sewing is to reach down in the opening and bring up the dividing cloths and attach them to the front fabric at the top seam. The separates the front and back padding and also pulls the seam back down to match the other seams. If possible and if applicable, this is the way that we would probably do the job.
  • Option 2: Cost about $125 to $250 & up: In Shop Repair: you bring the sofa to our shop. I will hand sew it here in my shop, and then you pick it up and take it home.
  • Option 3: Cost about $200 to $300 & up:   In-Home Repair: I go out to your home and hand sew it up at your place. (which would include my travel time of one round trip to and from your place
Machine Sewing Options - At Our Shop
The best and more secure way to fix it would be to use our sewing machine to sew it back together. However, that is the most expensive ways. That involves bringing the sofa into my shop, disassemble quite a bit of the sofa to get it all apart and loose enough to get the fabric cover off the frame, unstuff the attached seat cushion, open it up enough to turn it inside out and take it to the sewing machine and sew it up. Then reverse the whole process to put it all back together.
  • Option 4: Cost about $150 to $350 & up:   Client Disassembles and Brings Pieces to our shop. This would include you disassembling the sofa,  and only bringing the pieces that need repairing. The cost would greatly depend upon whether, after you had disassembled the frame you brought the complete individual pieces to use (complete with their wooden framework OR if you removed the covers from the wooden framework OR if you also took the cover off the frame and removed the stuffing from the covers
  • Option 5: Costs about $350 to $500 & up:   Client Brings Complete sofa to our shop and we repair. This would involve you transporting the sofa back and forth to our shop. We then disassemble the sofa as needed, resew the unsewn pieces, then reassemble everything. Then you would come to get the sofa and take it home.
  • Option 6: Costs about $480 to $650 & up:  We pick up and deliver the sofa and repair it in our shop. We pick up the sofa, the client supplies help to pack the other end. We then take the sofa to our shop and disassemble the sofa as needed, remove the cover from the frame, unstuff as needed, resew the unsewn pieces, then reassemble everything and deliver it back to client's home. The client supplies someone to help with the other end to get it back in the house. (Add $50 per trip if the client doesn't supply a helper.)
Take some time to determine which way you would and wouldn't want to to be done. Feel free to ask any more questions.
Best Wishes,
These prices are just rough estimates. All items that are not priced are not included. Your actual cost may be more or less depending upon the work that you want to be done,  the price and the amount fabric and supplies used on the job. Anything not listed and charged for is not included  Unless otherwise noted and charged for, all prices are based upon reusing existing padding and cushion filling,  All prices, yardages and info subject to change or correction. If our foam or supply prices increase before an order is written, those affected foam or supplies in this estimate will be subject a price increase. **Pick up and delivery charges are extra and may vary according to distance, and depending on if the client provides help to load any furniture into our van, local charges shown (Independence, Monmouth, Dallas, western Salem).   (c) Copyright 2006 by Stephen Winters

I finished the email with the disclaimer at the bottom of the email