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View Full Version : How would you price it? Workplace conundrum!



JulieC
April 2nd, 2019, 09:24 AM
Recently, I made a wallhanging with my employer's new mascot. The boss loves it, and stated that she wants one as a pillow. My boss is a wonderful person and I have no issues making her a pillow as a gift. Enter one of my co-workers, who is her assistant. We've known each other for 25 years. She approached me about making it for the boss' birthday in June (I was thinking Christmas). She offered to pay for the cost of the materials. She mentioned the pillow to another co-worker, who now also wants to donate towards the materials. Which means that the rest of our co-workers may want to donate, as well. I feel like this is now less of a gift and more of an order for a customer.

I priced out the cost of materials -- 1/2 yd of this, 1/4 yd of that, batting, etc. -- and they add up to a little over $20.

I'm having two issues:
1. Quilting is supposed to be my happy place and having a June deadline is already stressing me out. Not to mention the one co-worker is going to drive me nuts.
2. I will have up to six of my co-workers donating a whopping $3 or $4 each for a gift while I spend several hours doing all the work.

What would you do? Would you charge a little extra for your time? The mascot is a combination of appliqué and machine embroidery.

Any advice would be appreciated!

SuzanneOrleansOntario
April 2nd, 2019, 09:33 AM
That is a dilemma for sure. I think since your colleagues all want to chip in, I would charge for your time, and divide among all. It then does not become a gift from you personally. It might create less friction in the office, of playing favorites. If getting it done for June is going to be stressfull, maybe have whatever is done wrapped with a note that says something like "good things are coming your way".

You have to be prepared that this might become a frequent request for other items, and so don't cheap out on your time on this first group gift.

MHG Winnower
April 2nd, 2019, 09:52 AM
It's hard to say no....or whoa.... I say "no" more often since folks who know me want me to "sew" things for them (well, I'm retired right? and have nothing to do, right?) I sew for R&R. Gotta love my friends and former co-workers, but not at the expense of doing something I don't want to do! It's a tough call; I feel for you. We often put ourselves last.

Caroline T.
April 2nd, 2019, 09:53 AM
You have to be prepared that this might become a frequent request for other items, and so don't cheap out on your time on this first group gift.

I agree, if you only charge for materials, then next time someone wants a baby quilt for a shower gift, they're going to expect to only pay for materials and not place value on your time and skills.

But personally, I wouldn't do this as a group gift. Your boss is going to know who put all the effort in, and while it will endear you to her, she may feel the other co-workers just "jumped on the band wagon without a horn to play" (as my grandmother would say). I would graciously thank the co-workers for the thought, but explain to them that you couldn't possibly get it finished by June, and suggest purchasing a different group gift for a birthday present that everyone can contribute to equily.

pcbatiks
April 2nd, 2019, 09:59 AM
I think Suzanne has a good point. Don't set yourself up to get continual request for you to make projects for everyone else to "chip in a few dollars." You could end up spending a lot of time working on things you don't wont to make. It already sound like the enjoyment is being taken out of it for you & being replaced with stress.

Maybe consider going back to your original idea. If you want to make the pillow for your boss, do it on your own time line. Then if you get other request, tell coworkers you quilt just for as a hobby for your own enjoyment.

amartin24
April 2nd, 2019, 10:39 AM
This is a tough situation and others are right - it will create a precedent. I like what Caroline said and not do this as a group gift. It puts way too much pressure on you. Now, recently, I quilted a weighted quilt for a co-worker battling cancer. I volunteered to make it since others were talking about purchasing one. Since I volunteered (and would've made it anyway if nobody contributed), I only charged those that went in on it the cost of materials only.

Patty J
April 2nd, 2019, 11:51 AM
I've been asked to make things for others and they'd pay me. I don't feel I want to do anything for money. If I want to make something it is because I want to make it. All the pleasure is gone out of the project if I feel stressed or rushed with the project. So that is what I tell them. Maybe you should say No too.

geegeequilts
April 2nd, 2019, 03:18 PM
I wouldn't have a big problem in making the pillow but I would do it from me & in my timeline not theirs. No to the "others" chipping in. My sewing room is my happy place & quilting makes me happy. Don't really like deadlines unless they're self-imposed.
Do what makes YOU happy.

Gina

JCY
April 2nd, 2019, 04:11 PM
If it's going to stress you out, don't do it. If you want to make the item, do it your way, in your time frame, & not have the others participate. Their hearts may be in the right place, but you'll end up doing all the work. I'd say back out of the group thing.

Peggi
April 2nd, 2019, 04:33 PM
But personally, I wouldn't do this as a group gift. Your boss is going to know who put all the effort in, and while it will endear you to her, she may feel the other co-workers just "jumped on the band wagon without a horn to play" (as my grandmother would say). I would graciously thank the co-workers for the thought, but explain to them that you couldn't possibly get it finished by June, and suggest purchasing a different group gift for a birthday present that everyone can contribute to equily.

I agree 100% with Caroline. It would irritate me to put all that time and work in it, and for my co-workers to get credit simply because they chipped in monetarily. I think you would feel better if there was a group gift that was equally everyone's.

PamelaOry
April 2nd, 2019, 05:19 PM
I like Suzanne’s idea of adding up ALL the costs, including your time and dividing it equally, if I were your co working and genuinely wanted to go in with you on the gift, I’d have no problem with this.

JulieC
April 3rd, 2019, 10:10 AM
I like Suzanne’s idea of adding up ALL the costs, including your time and dividing it equally, if I were your co working and genuinely wanted to go in with you on the gift, I’d have no problem with this.

I may do that, I think they to experience sticker shock...adding in my time, the pillow would cost over $100. That may be a conservative estimate, I did not time myself when I made the wallhanging.

Thanks to everyone for your input!

GuitarGramma
April 3rd, 2019, 11:51 PM
So, I'm a person who pretty much can never say no. And yet, I think you probably ought to. Maybe something like this:
"It is such a compliment that you want me to do this. I'm really flattered, but I'm just not able to do this as a group gift. Once money comes into the picture, my joy of making goes out the window. Instead of stitching with love, I'd feel like I have a second job. I thank you all for wanting to help me with this, but I think I'm going to go with my original plan to make this for our boss as a Christmas gift. If the office wants to pitch in for a June birthday gift, I'm happy to donate to that."

amartin24
April 4th, 2019, 01:15 PM
So, I'm a person who pretty much can never say no. And yet, I think you probably ought to. Maybe something like this:
"It is such a compliment that you want me to do this. I'm really flattered, but I'm just not able to do this as a group gift. Once money comes into the picture, my joy of making goes out the window. Instead of stitching with love, I'd feel like I have a second job. I thank you all for wanting to help me with this, but I think I'm going to go with my original plan to make this for our boss as a Christmas gift. If the office wants to pitch in for a June birthday gift, I'm happy to donate to that."

Perfect reply Toni!

JulieC
April 5th, 2019, 09:53 AM
Perfect reply Toni!

I agree, perfect reply! Thanks, Toni!!

GuitarGramma
April 5th, 2019, 01:57 PM
Julie, I hope things work out. Its a tough situation for sure. Let us know what happens, please.