Financial survival is hard at any time, but now, in the summer of 2010, so many people are struggling to make ends meet. There may not be enough money for luxuries but if you can find a way to help people save money you can build a reasonable business that will potentially be enough to either finance your own family’s living expenses or augment the income you already have.
Everyone has a problem at one time or another – a zipper breaks, a seam rips, an alteration is needed and so on. So long as you feel confident with your sewing machine, none of these repairs is going to be difficult and your outlay for materials is going to be quite small. The best sewing machine for this sort of business is literally anything that sews in straight lines and probably sew a zigzag stitch too. For zipper repairs you would need a zipper foot for your machine and in general a reasonably good supply of threads and needles.
This is not as difficult as it sounds if you include items such as curtains, cushion covers and table runners into the mix. Mostly this is just straight sewing, but be careful there is an art to measuring curtains! You will need a good sized cutting surface for this type of work – a cutting board on your bed or a large dining table will do just fine – and accurate measuring is essential especially if you are dealing with very large sizes. The best sewing machine for this sort of work is one that can sew both straight and zigzag stitches and ideally one that will either create an overlock stitch unless you also have a separate machine to do that – Overlocker or Serger. For tips on how to measure for curtains, check out the main site.
Repairing Sewing Machines
This one is pretty specialized and you may need to do a bit of learning and practice before you embark on a repair business. If your background is in this sort of field – typewriter, copier and other small machinery repairs – the learning curve will not be so steep. There are places to learn and on the main site there is a course available online that may be of interest. The best sewing machines for this type of work is basically any you can get hold of very cheaply to practice on. Many people will give you their old machines for free just to get rid of them. You may need to place an ad in the local paper offering to dispose of unwanted sewing machines with free pick-up and you are on to a winner with this one.
This is great work if you can get it, but you do need to do a bit of research. Ideal candidates for your expertise are small clubs that want a logo embroidering on their T-shirts, jackets or caps and to be truthful you may need to do something for free so you have something in your portfolio. However, if you can organize yourself well enough and create as many samples as possible to put into a product folder it should not take long to get a good reputation locally.
The other main option is to offer specialty items such as ring bearer cushions for weddings, christening plaques or cushions and photo pictures for special occasions. Here is the downside though! The best sewing machines for this work has to include a good quality embroidery unit and for longer runs of T-shirts or caps for instance, you may need an industrial machine which are generally rather expensive.
Party Plan and Markets
So you can easily make clothes? If you have the skill to make a matching top and pants set for a toddler for instance or a party dress for a teenager, you can simply put together a range of clothes and persuade your friends to hold a clothes party or a pre-baby shower party etc. on your behalf. Advertise your services and get more people interested but be prepared to offer something nice to the hostess and possible run a little raffle or competition so one of the attendees can also win something from your range. Take your clothes (or household goods) to market and build your reputation for quality goods for affordable prices. The best sewing machines for this work is anything that sews straight and zigzag and ideally a serger/overlocker.
You know how to do it – use your sewing machine that is – so why not help others to learn how to use theirs. You can either elect to run classes which means you need a venue or you can persuade your local College to run the courses or you can be mobile and visit people and help them learn to use their own machines. If you want to teach non-sewers how to sew especially in a class format, the best sewing machine for you is one that is neither too simple or too sophisticated. You would need a good carrying bag which is easy enough with the new type of travel bag on wheels for sewing machines – available for about $50.
What Can You Charge?
This has to be considered very carefully and a notebook or spreadsheet program on your computer is a must. If you plan to work per hour or per type of job, list all of the materials you will use including electricity, travel time and costs and give an approximate price for each. Decide which materials are going to be provided by your customer and which by you. An example of this is the zipper replacement. If you provide all materials for this and the zipper cost $4, the matching thread $2 and it takes you 15 minutes to take out and replace the zipper, you will still need to account for your other costs including electricity, telephone, advertising, business cards and so on. This means that the materials cost $6 and perhaps a share of the other expenses is $2 making a total of $8. This means quite simply that anything over $8 is profit for you. Depending on what sort of price is being charged in your area (DO YOUR RESEARCH) you can work your price out. What you charge should be considered good value but not so different from other providers – for example, if the local dry cleaners offers a repair service and will replace a zipper for $16, you could easily charge $12 and be considered a bargain and making $4 profit. In this example, your time would be worth $4 x 4 = $16 per hour.
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