This past weekend, I spent quite a bit of time preparing a quote for Potential Client. The project was to make and quilt a quilt designed by Potential Client, plus write pattern instructions for said quilt. After I submitted my quote, I was told that it was four times their budgeted amount. There wasn't THAT much wiggle room, so we parted amicably, me thinking Potential Client's budget was unrealistic and Potential Client thinking I was too expensive.
Was I too expensive? I checked in with Experienced Quilter Friend to see if my estimation of time to piece a complicated block were within reason. It was. I reviewed my calculations. My time estimates are reasonable for sewing the quilt blocks. Ditto for assembling the top.
Quilting calculations are easy using my standard charges for custom quilting based on size of Potential Client's design.
Writing instructions for a pattern is HARD and time consuming. Don't think so? Here's what is involved: Write instructions. Edit for clarity and order. Edit for simplicity. Edit for spelling. Add illustrations? Check instructions (best done by someone OTHER than the writer!).
Here's what goes through my head to write instructions for a simple 9-patch: Start by choosing fabric. Nine patch is best with contrast, so a dark & a light. Let's see, I want it to be 9" finished. So each square has to be 3" in the finished block. Add seam allowances, which means they need to be cut 3.5". I need to show a block diagram. How do I draw that? Black & white will be ok. Maybe I can find a color image somewhere online. Ready to write?
1. Choose 2 fabrics, one dark, one light.
2. From dark fabric, cut five 3.5" squares.
3. From light fabric, cut four 3.5" squares.
4. Arrange squares as shown in diagram.
5. Sew, pressing toward dark fabric.
Writing and editing those 5 lines took me about 10 minutes. What you see is the final result, all cleaned up and ready to use. Are you ready to try writing instructions? Try this at home: Write instructions for sewing a Y-seam block. How long did it take you?
I expect to earn a reasonable wage for my time, based on my experience and skill level. I'm willing to ask for it. And I'm willing to walk away from jobs that don't reward me for what I bring.
I'm easy, but I'm not cheap. I don't think that's a bad thing. Rant over.