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Topic: Question about taking custom orders  (Read 965 times)
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« on: March 23, 2009 09:54:23 AM »

I am planning on opening my business next year [yes, I plan ahead.. if I don't - it will never get done.  +sigh+]  Anyways, I've already had a few people in various places ask me if I take custom orders.  So, I have always wanted too.. but I have a few questions on it:

1.)  If you take custom orders, do you price it the same as you would if you were just making it to put up or do you charge more because it is custom?

2.) For those of you who do custom orders - and have fabric for people to choose from, how much fabric do youget?  Say I likie fabric x, and I want to put it on my custom orders form that shows everyone the fabrics they have to choose from.. do I ger 10 yards of fabric x, 20 yards, or try to ge ta whole bolt of it??  I know that this is not anything I will do in the near future, as I want to get some business out and it is mostly friends who want custom orders now, and so I can let them pick their fabric andI can buy however much I need [maybe a bit more in caseI mess up] and go that way, and is there a way to get a discount on fabric if you do it for a business???
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009 01:51:15 PM »

Custom orders are great for business. I just opened my web store 2 months ago(I make quilted ornaments) and at first wasn't going to do customs. I recvd so many requests that i quickly added the option. I let customers select 1 of 2 ways I can do them: 1. they send me the fabrics to be used(I return any unused portion) or 2.they describe what they want and I purchase fabrics.this of course is more expensive.  Since I use small amounts of fabric per order I only buy what I need and include cost in price. If they want something that I can only buy large amount of(and it is something I do not need/want) then I let them know and include cost in price and send remaining fabric to them.If it's something I can use in future I keep remnants and only chg for portion used in their order. This has so far worked for me and customers are happy with options. I hope I explained all that in a way that made sense Smiley.
It is great that you are planning ahead & getting all details worked out. I spent 6 months planning" my site.
best of luck

Shelly Cuthbertson
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009 02:41:56 PM »

Oh, thank you so much for your response - it is very helpful and I'm so glad thatI'm not the only person who plans WAY ahead.  [I have a 4 month old baby as well and I plan things I can do with her when she is 4-5 years old.  I think that I may be a little OCD]  Is there anything else you would recommend me planning ahead of time?  I have some idea - like what I will make/carry, what I will make custom.. etc.  +shrugs+  But anything else, I'm not really sure.. as I've never had my own business before.
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009 06:56:43 AM »

For me, the price of a custom order depends on a few of things:

1. Can the custom work turn into a regularly offered product for other people? If I can sell the design to others in future, that has value. I typically don't charge for research and development when I'm puttering around on my own, so a customer's idea and the work involved could fall into that category.

2. The cost of finding fabrics or other materials. If the customer has difficulty making decisions on the materials or their choices involved special orders or handling, that means more money.

3. Deadlines the customer has. Rush orders mean more money.

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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009 07:08:34 PM »

A large portion of my business is custom orders. However I may be doing it differently than some people in that I do not create a design specifically for a customer, they simply choose one of my existing designs and the fabric they want. I have had people choose a bag but ask for it to be 2/3 the width or something, but it is essentially the same bag so I didn't have to do any new design work.

I charge only for the fabric I use no matter how much I buy (I always cut swatches and add it to my custom order swatch book, you never know if someone else will like it too!). If the person provides me the fabric then I lower the price accordingly, and return the extra. If you plan on only offering a few choices, try to buy in bulk to save money. However you never know which ones are going to be popular, so maybe hold off and get a few yards of each until you can see what sells.

I do not charge a custom order fee, nor does the price of the item change, unless they choose a different fabric or would like to add features. If the fabric is more expensive than what I used to price the item (say I calculated it for a plain canvas but they would like a designer canvas) then I raise the price accordingly. The customer can also add pockets, lengthen straps, change the snap to a zipper, etc. all for a fee. This is based on extra fabric/hardware and additional labor.

You could plan all this out in advance so that when someone asks, you're prepared with an answer. Several times at craft fairs someone has said "How much to add this feature?" and I just blurted out a price so I looked like I had it together. Usually I go back and calculate after the fact to find out I lost money. This would be a good way to explore your capabilities when creating your line. I once had someone ask about adding a zipper, just to find out it was nearly impossible for that particular bag after I had already agreed to it! Perhaps make prototypes of each style item you plan to sell, test out the optional features, then use these as your demo pieces.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009 07:11:54 PM by oneyedsally » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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