This is one of the most difficult and at the same time, easy topics to talk about. And it is normal for someone to ask me what it will cost to make something or for an alteration. So let’s talk about prices some to help both both of us understand the situation. I charge a flat rate of 25 dollars per hour for my labor and time. And if you think about it, to have a professional expert perform tasks for you, that hourly rate is rather modest. And to help put it into perspective even more, I will give a rate based on the minutes that I work for small jobs. So let’s say you have a minor alteration that needs to be done and I work 6 minutes performing that task. This would be one-tenth of an hour and thus, the rate would be $2.50 for that task. Normally I have a minimum charge of five dollars because I don’t charge my customers for the time that we are discussing the task that needs to be accomplished.
So with the above information, you can begin to imagine how much it will cost to perform your task. Of course, you will want to know over the phone how much it will cost and I will politely tell you over the phone that I don’t know. Why? Because often I have to see the item to tell you how long it might take. And the reasons are many, but let’s take an example where I have to remove a seam in the clothing and change it. I will have to see the material and see how it is sewn. I will also have to determine if changing that seam will affect your clothing in some other way. An example is when pockets will have to be moved but there are many others that can exist.
I can tell you very honestly that each situation has to be examined individually. And naturally that is a problem at times. Everyone is busy and you’re often looking for the best price to have something done. And there are many tailor shops that are conveniently located around the city. But sometimes you are going to want to spend a little extra time to understand what needs to be done to your clothing. You will find that most tailor shops have people with very limited skills. They can usually perform a simple alteration okay, but good clothing can have fine stitching which they can completely ignore. So be careful when using them and understand their limitations.
If you can accept that I will basically charge for the portion of the hour that it takes me to perform a small job, you will understand that this is not very interesting work for me. I am both a designer and a seamstress and my real interest is in creating clothing. But at the same time, I always try to support my customers and make sure their clothing problems are taken care of as best as can be done. And likewise, it can often be the case that a person needs to work with me some before they are ready to create something. So I fully accept that my job requires me to help people with their clothing problems, both big and small. And I can assure you that I think you will be better off to have an expert seamstress be able to discuss with you what needs to be done and just as importantly, why it needs to be done.
I would be the first to tell you that not all items should have alterations. The main reason is that the expense for changing the item may outweigh the cost of a new one. In such cases, I will even mention it. Yet, we all have favorite items that we wish to wear and are willing to accept these considerations sometimes.
One advice that I can give you is that if you have a high definition video connection on your PC, it is possible we might be able to discuss the cost over skype if I can look at it and get enough visual information to make a judgement. This will save you some travel time and I am willing to do it although we may have to schedule the call because when I am working with clients in person, I won’t interrupt their valuable time for such calls. You can contact me if this idea seems appealing.
There are times that I will have clients absolutely surprised at how low the price is for some things they wish to have done. And often, these prices are not known beforehand as I have to perform the task to see how long it will take. And there are other instances when people seemed surprised that it can cost so much to have the work performed that they wish to have done. But if you understand that the hourly rate is very reasonable and will even be broken down into a fraction for small jobs, you can at least feel confident that you will not be overcharged for the work that is being done. And finally, I hope when you call me to ask me that question about how much it will cost to complete your project, you will have a better understanding from the above discussion on what that price might be and how it is determined.