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What should I charge?

DesignandSew | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

What is a fair charge for custom embroidery?  I have done custom sewing and designing extensively but I have no idea about embroidery.  I just purchased an embroidery machine and have already been contacted by someone about embroidered items for their store.  They are willing to purchase the designs, materials, thread, etc.. and I will provide the skill, embroidery software, and machine.  Someone told me $10 for 1000 stitches with $25 in set up charge but some 4 x 4 designs I’ve seen are 15,000 stitches or more.  Any opinions? 


  1. mygaley | | #1

    I don't embroider, but I do have to set my own prices and this is the advice I have.  Do not let your customer set your prices.  If you feel a certain job has a certain value, then you will never be happy unless you charge that amount.  I find if I'm sewing, and I think the customer might find my charge a little high, then I know I've charged enough.  If the customer thinks it's cheap enough, you probably aren't making anything. 

     Also I try to set the fee in advance:  "The cost will not be less than $____.  In your situation, you do not really know what you will be called upon to work on. The prices you are quoting seem low to me, especially the set-up fee. 

    The shops around here charge school employees $10.00 each for a 1" mascot with the name of the school around it total size about 3 inches and they have had their set-ups for years.  Galey

  2. dlk311 | | #2

    I also have an embroidery machine and do custom embroidery for friends and local businesses.  Everything I have read suggests a charge of $1 per 1,000 stitches, which is what I charge.  My minimum charge is $5 (for a design less than 1,000 stitches, like putting a name on a shirt).  This is if the customer gives me the design already digitized so that all I have to do is sew it out on their garment.  If I have to develop the design (I don't digitize, but I have software that lets me create designs), I charge a set up fee of $25-$50, depending on the complexity.  There are a number of store-front embroidery businesses in my town, but I find I can still be competitive at these prices.

    One thing to keep in mind, some designs are just too complex and not worth the headache trying to put together - I don't tackle those because I've learned the hard way that they are over my head for a home embroidery machine owner and it's absolutely NO FUN tackling them; I refer those to one of the local professionals.

    Good luck and happy embroidering!


  3. SewTruTerry | | #3

    Whatever you do charge them for the embroidery do not let them buy the materials and the thread or designs.  Over time they will start trying to save themselves money or make more by using inferior product.  Also unless you are actually purchasing the embroidery designs or are digitizing them you have no legal right to embroider them.  If this customer has you embroider a copyright design that they either purchased or digitized themselves or had someone else do for them and you stitch it out you could face some legal trouble.  Aside from that then check out your local embroidery companies to find out what they charge and try to be competitive.

    1. kbalinski | | #4

      Call me an idiot, but it's taken me a year to get really comfortable with my machine embroidery.  I would give it a little bit of time to make sure you enjoy it before you agree to spend so much time at it.  Between stabilizers, needles, fabrics and design placement, I'm finally in a place where I'm relaxed while I embroider.

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