Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pricing a quilt

Googling my own ponderings (to avoid starting tedious work) has led me to some sites containing guidance on how to price a quilt.

It seems there are two basic approaches. The first is to take the cost of your materials and multiply. The multipler ( mutiplicand??!!) seems to vary between 1.5 and 3. Then you decide if the market can take that price and adjust accordingly. I multiplied by 2 ( but probably didn't factor in the cost of the show of postage to the client).

The second approach is to work out the cost of materials per square foot of quilt. Work out how long it takes you to make a square foot of quilt ( which could vary according to the technique used) then apply an hourly rate per square foot, add to the cost and multiply by the size of each quilt you make. The problem here is lack of any precise guidance on the going rate for a quilter. More than minimum wage perhaps less than a plummer is the suggestion!

Which does make you think really, doesn't it, how we value work in our in society. One of my bugbears is the press calling legal aid lawyers fat cats. I wish! Firstly there is no understanding of the difference between turnover ( what we charge the client) and profit (how much of that we keep after we pay all the expenses for the business - premises, staff, insurance, travel costs, postage, stationery, training courses, books and subscriptions, even wigs and gowns!). But even if we look at turnover, there is a vast difference in rates.

It is no secret at all that a barrister in Liverpool will charge around £125 per hour turnover depending on seniority for private paid work. (Much less incidetally than a solicitor as we have fewer overheads to pay out of our turnover). So, the market says that a two and a half hour hearing that takes say an hour and a half to prepare for is worth £500. If however that is personal injury case done on a contingent fee agreement ( i.e. no win no fee) the agreements allow for an uplift if you win ( to reflect the risk of not winning and not gettng anything). If a matter goes to trial that uplift is usually 100%. So that kind of case is worth £1000 if you win and diddlysquat if you do not. However, if that case is an interim hearing in a basic childrens case say, for a client on 'legal aid' ( now really called public funding), it would be paid just £130. It is perfectly possible for one barrister in the same case to get the £500 and the other the £130 for doing the same hearing!

Incidentally, £130 seems to be around about what UK quilt teachers charge per day. Now, I wonder which would be the nicer job to take on?!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This reminds me of an age-old issue here in the States -- garbage collectors overall make more than school teachers. Understanding how work is valued really does say so much about our societies -- and 'value' extends to people's perception of the work.

Additionally, there are two very different perceptions of hand work. One is the group that really values it, and understands the art involved and is willing to pay more than a machine made thing. The other group thinks hand made means 'easy' and expects the result to be less expensive. Let's not invite this type to quilt shows....