How to Price An Embroidery Project


Determining fair and profitable pricing for a home-based embroidery business involves several critical considerations. Here are five factors to consider.

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How to Price An Embroidery Project

Many modern sewing machines today offer an embroidery option. After doing a few items for yourself or your family, you might be asked to do a specific embroidery project for others for a fee. Or perhaps you justified the expense of that new sewing machine by thinking you could do a small home-based embroidery business to bring in some extra cash? But what should you charge? In this article, we provide you with a basis and some tips on whether or not to start up a business.

How to Price An Embroidery Project For A Home-Based Business


Pricing an embroidery project

There are many facets to consider when pricing an embroidery project

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Does the customer have everything lined up with colors, design, wording, and logos? If you have to create a project from scratch and change it 3-4 times before final approval is given, that is taking up time, your valuable time.

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How long will your machine take to stitch out the project? How often will you have to change thread colors? Will you have to re-position the material and align things over and over? How challenging is the fabric to embroider on? Again, all these actions take time.

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Repeat after me, "Never let the customer bring in the shirt, hat, jacket, or other fabric to do the embroidery on." Your customer might think the T-shirt she brings you is perfect and was bargain-priced, but when it shrinks or looks uneven; they won’t blame the material, they will blame the embroiderer. So only source quality material and recognize that mistakes might happen. You may have to redo the work on a new item, so be sure to charge an appropriate base amount for the clothing item that you provide. Know that some waste and re-work will occur. Just because you purchase blank items at a bulk discount, do not pass along that savings to a customer only ordering one or two things.



Don’t forget that the threads and stabilizers for each project are part of the cost. The customer might want a specific hue that you don't currently have in your collection. That lonely roll of stabilizer can quickly disappear on a big order.


Local taxes and codes

Check to verify that your local municipality will allow a home-based business and what taxes and licenses you will have to be responsible for. Be prepared to charge sales tax and have to report quarterly or monthly to local and state tax authorities.


Final calculations

So when determining a cost for an embroidery project, let's first determine your material outlays. The cost of supplying the shirt, threads, and stabilizers is a significant part of the project. Figure out your cost and add in an extra 50% at least. One or two "mistakes" that have to be redone could easily erase that 50% margin


If you already are working a job, what is your hourly rate of pay? You are going to want to charge at least that amount since that is what another person/ firm is valuing your time now. Frankly, you probably should be charging at least $25 an hour; otherwise, the time you dedicate to the embroidery might not truly compensate you for your time, skill, and effort.


If you are concerned that you are charging "too much", contact some professional shops in your area and see what they charge. You might find that they refuse small batch orders or have a high minimum total charge. Resist the temptation to charge less than the competition.


Do you have the time?

Let's face it, an embroidery business takes time. Sure you might be able to embroider a name on a work shirt easily, but what if that mushrooms to doing five shirts for ten employees? Be realistic about how much time each embroidery project takes and how much time is available for you to commit to the business.


Do you want a business?

Let's face it sewing and embroidery is often a fun hobby and stress reliever. Swap it to a business and will you have the same satisfaction and enjoyment while embroidering?


Will you consistently produce quality embroidery?

When doing work for others for payment, expect your customer to have a critical eye. Can you commit to providing quality workmanship, with all items consistently centered and with precise attention to detail?


If you start -up an embroidery business, start slowly, learn from your mistakes and verify what a fair profit margin needs to be to let you remain successful and profitable.


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Mark Bach
Mark Bach is an accomplished freelance writer covering multiple fields and embroiders on his wife's projects. He features new trends in the quilting industry and is always on the lookout for new tools and tricks to make quilting easier.
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