If anyone sews for the public I would like to chat with them. My main question is I have too much business! sounds crazy but I am the only seamstress in town and it get really crazy. Any suggestions on how to say no other than no because that does not work. I have thought about putting a limit on how many items they bring in, one lady brought 18 pairs of jeans to hem! Or maybe taking work in the first 2 weeks of the month only? Any Ideas!
I try for a 1-2 week turn around on alterations but it all depends on how swamped I am with other work. Original dressmaking has a turn around time of 6-8 weeks or more, depending on the number of fittings and details; wedding gown alterations take 6-8 weeks; custom wedding gown can take months for example. Those 18 pairs of jeans would go at the end of the line and she would have a turn around time of as much as 6 weeks or more. I wouldn't put a due by date on them but would tell her I'll call her when they are done. And then work on them inbetween the other stuff as I have that color of thread on the machine or have the time at the end of the day for just one more hem.
Or you can charge more. That will weed out clients that want fast, cheep services but compensate you for working long hours for those clients who appreciate your service and know what they are asking you for.
And the answer "no" is a legimate business answer if you really are too swamped with work to take in any more at that time. You can then tell the client when would be a good time for those 18 pairs of jeans or promise x number of jeans now and the rest on will call status.
Thank you for your suggestions. I too in the past have had a 2 weeks turnaround but lately it is more like 3 to 4 weeks, which to me is too long. Most people are patient, thank goodness. I plan to close for 3 or 4 weeks at the end of the year to do a total catch up, make some new price list and raise prices and get everything in the shop done. Again thank you, it helps to get another viewpoint.
Do you work at home or have a shop?
I found that I had to educate people on my work hours as I work at home instead of at a separate place of business. When people learn that you work at home, they don't think about needing family time away from working. It's not the same to them as having a shop open only a certain number of hours. It helped a lot when I posted a business hours sign on the door to my sewing room. And turned my land line into my business phone. I now have a business orientated "leave a message at the beep" on the land line. Family and close friends know to call me on my cell phone.
Rather than taking on all work- pick the most lucrative work.........(.for me bridal and evening wear) and target your marketing at this area work. You will still get other work ( ie the jeans) but you will be able to tell the customer you are doing them as a personal favour -maybe because she had her wedding dress made by you, and she won't mind waiting.
Another point is it is that its unprofessional to take on work you cannot get done in a reasonable time. So tell your customers you are booked up, and also mention your quietet times of the year.
Are you undercharging? Or do you need an asssistant? Someone to take on the easier work maybe?
I too, had a thriving alterations business. When overwhelmed, I always let my customers know that I was running two or three weeks behind, so when I got the work out earlier they were pleased. Ideally, I think a one week turn around is best. Also, I did not allow my customers to pop over ant time of the day... I let them know that I did fittings between two and four p.m. (when I was tired of sitting in front of the machine). I learned early on that if I appeared to be stressed, that diminished their confidence in me. Also, make sure you are charging enough and turning out a quality product, and don't put up with difficult customers. Life is too short.
I would be willing to help with your jeans alteration. I do not know where you live to be close enough to help you.
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