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How to charge for machine embroidery job

MaryParrot | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

Gosh, my friend wants me to embroider the name of his business on some aprons.  It’s pretty simple, but I don’t have a clue what to charge him.  Does anyone have any suggestions? 


  1. ctirish | | #1


    This is an interesting one. I have never charged for embroidery work but the articles I have read say there is no hard and fast rule for how to charge.  Some charge by the image and some do it by the number of stitches.   There are some basic things you need to know (from what I have read in EMB magazine).

    How many aprons to embroidery? Is this a one time event or will you be doing more as time goes on... Are all the aprons the same or are you putting the employees name on the apron making each one unique?

    The quality of the aprons needs to be taken into account - the better the quality the easier it will be to do and the better the result. Are you purchasing the blanks (aprons) or is he?

    Who is digitizing the design?  How big is the design? How many stitches?  How many thread changes if you are doing this on a home machine?

    Can you estimate how much thread you will need?  What is the cost of the thread - how many spools will you need?

    Will type of stabilizer will you need?  Will you need to stabilize under the apron and then have a topping also.   If there is a possibly the design will get lost in the apron - you may need both.

    Don't forget to include an overhead charge for electricity, wear and tear on the machine, and a separate charge for your time. Whether you charge by the hour or by the design.

    I have read some people charge for digitizing the design and what they call the setup costs - getting everything ready and running tests until both you and the customer are satisfied? Then they estimate how long it takes for each piece to actually set up (get materials for each piece together, hoop and be ready to turn the embroidery on). Then they figure out how long it takes to actually run the design. Add in the time it takes to unhoop and remove extra stabilizer and get it ready for packing. 

    This may sound like it is going to cost a fortune, but the way they write it up....the actual charges for each piece were not very much.  However, this was a writeup about a small commercial  business. I can't remember the amounts. If I can find the magazine I will let you know...I don't usually save them.  The other thing to take into account is whether you are doing this as a favor or a business?  If it is as a business there are other things you need to consider, for example, who owns the digitized design.

    After reading your note again, this is probably too much detail for what you are doing. If he has had this done before - you can always ask him what he paid in the past to have them done.



    Edited 9/26/2006 5:36 pm ET by ctirish

    Edited 9/26/2006 5:39 pm ET by ctirish

    1. MaryParrot | | #3

      Jane, thank you very much.  The issues you raised are all very important and I appreciate the time and effort you put into your answer.  I must admit, it gave me second thought on whether I wanted to continue with this or not!!!

      In this instance, it is more or less a favor for a friend, but I think it could evolve in one way or another as the seasons change, i.e., aprons for waitresses now, sweatshirts or T-shirts for tourists later, etc.  Also special festivals along the way.  It could feasibly be a little money maker, and quite possiblyt even more than I want to do. 

      I have digitized the logo already and it's relatively simple.  So, I will continue to digest your response and see how I feel about it.  If ever you find that article, I would be very interested in seeing it. 

      Again, thank you and I appreciate your comments. 


  2. fabricholic | | #2

    Hi MaryParrot,

    When I was at the sewing machine dealer, we were talking about getting my daughter interested in sewing. She said that she could embroider her friends initials on bags and charge 6 or 7 dollars and then she bets that she would like sewing. Just a thought.


    1. MaryParrot | | #4

      Hi Marcy.  Thank you so much for your reply.  I'm trying to think of what I would pay for a Monogram on something.  Lands End catalog charges $5 for three initials.  This particular design has 20+ letters, but is relatively simple.  Hmmmmmm, I think I need at least $15 for this. 

      Thanks for your comments, I appreciate it. 


      1. mygaley | | #5

        My friend who does a lot of logos charges $20 for digitizing and then $15 each for sewing them out. She owns the digitizing she does. If the customer changes to another service, they must pay for new digitizing. If you wanted this to be a "favor" then the digitizing this one time could be free. You are right about the demand; she turns down work because there just aren't enough hours in the day. Galey

        1. MaryParrot | | #6

          Thank you Galey.  I like your friend's idea for the pricing.  Like you say, there are not enough hours in the day to get this all done, so I'm giving serious thought to it.  I really appreciate your response.  Mary

  3. basketnut | | #7


    I pay $12.00 for logo and name on a shirt at a local shop. She charged a set up fee for the first one $35, I think.


  4. Tessmart | | #8

    I just had an local embroidery store do some monogramming for me: they charged a pone time $15.00 set-up fee and $15.00 per name no matter how many characters. I had 4 done at once.


    Hope this helps


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