Chair Caning Forum--The Caner's Community Hub™ for Beginners, Hobbyists and Professionals, since 2004
Re: Additional work needed when replacing cane or rush
Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:31am

Hi again Darlene,

Many of your questions have been answered over the 13 years I've had this forum going and if you'd do a Search here on the homepage you could get an idea of what others charge for their services. Do a Search on "pricing," "services," "charges," "what to charge for caning" or something like that. Play around with the keywords and phrases to see what all has been discussed over these many years.

When I first started in the business over 40 years ago, I too would do pickup and delivery and didn't charge for it. But you quickly learn that is not a good way to do business. Because as you know, when you are gone from your studio you are not producing, so you must be compensated for your time. I've figured out what I need for an hourly rate, taking into consideration my overhead and then charge for pickup and/or delivery based on that hourly rate.

It also depends somewhat on how far away your customer is and whether or not they are seniors living in a senior citizens high rise or something like that. If the person doesn't drive or is elderly and for whatever reason can't deliver, I always accommodate them and work something out. Many times, I'd just raise my price per hole a bit with their estimate or more often than not, just eat the delivery fee.

Here's a very old blog post of mine from 2006 that talks about my charges and also shows a three-copy printed invoice I used and still do, to give to my customer. They get the bottom copy and I keep the other two for myself. The top copy gets taped to their chair or hung in the clip on the wall and then the middle copy gets filed away for safe keeping.

When the customer returns to pay the remaining balance and pick up their chair, they bring their copy and I put it under the original and add their payment information on both copies and they sign that they've picked it up and it's no longer in my shop. Then I take my original and put in my income folder for taxes and enter everything on my spreadsheet. I must confess that I only started doing spreadsheets THIS YEAR! Have always done things by hand and a journal before, then finally took some online classes. What a lightbulb moment that was for me! Duh!

Then regarding those "not quite perfectly sound" chairs; if you don't do woodworking repairs yourself, seek out someone that does and build a relationship with them. I don't do any of the repairs myself, so absolutely need to have a good woodworker that I can call on for help with regluing, broken rails, broken rungs, etc. And when the customer brings me the chair, I stand there right in front of them and examine the chair, looking for all those things we previously discussed.

I wiggle the chair to see if the glue joints are solid or not, and also remove some of the hole-to-hole cane if they haven't already, to check for cracks in the seat rails. Many times the seat is split right down the side completely through the holes.

Then show the customer and explain that the chair needs to be fully repaired before we can proceed and you have to send out to your woodworker and be charged extra for it. Over the years, I've gotten a pretty good idea what my woodworker charges for various repairs, so I can add that cost (plus a bit for myself to cover pickup and delivery to him, 20 miles away) to their estimate.

One time, I had a student bring her chair to class with a broken seat rail. She had not taken off the cane at home like she was supposed to, so when we saw what was there, we had to make a quick fix before she could begin weaving in this three-day class.


Well, guess I'll quit for now, this is getting pretty long and I want others to chime in too. Good luck Darlene, and keep us posted! Have you joined The SeatWeavers' Guild, Inc.® yet?

The Wicker Woman®--Cathryn Peters

  • Additional work needed when replacing cane or rush DKR.SeatCaning, Tue Feb 14 6:21pm
    Darlene, here, again. As I mentioned earlier, I just started my business last Fall. On my Facebook business page, I say that I will only replace seats in chairs that are sound (not wiggly or loose)... more
    • Hi Darlene, I'm a relative newbie here, having started seat weaving in 2012. I'm much more of a hobbyist though I do charge for most of my work. I ask potential customers to check the wiggliness of... more
      • Additional work needed when replacing cane or rush DKR.SeatCaning, Thu Feb 16 6:58am
        Laurie, Thank you. That was a well-considered and thought-through answer. I suppose it is a matter of sizing-up your customer (and not in a sinister way). You need to be forth-coming with them about... more
    • Re: Additional work needed when replacing cane or rush The Wicker Woman®--Cathryn, Wed Feb 15 8:31am
    • extra charges nona 477, Wed Feb 15 7:39am
      Hello Darlene I used to have the questions you are having right now. I usually tell the customer that I do not refinish or re glue chairs. If it is just a small repair my husband will do it and... more
      • extra charges DKR.SeatCaning, Wed Feb 15 9:28am
        Thanks, Nona477, for your reply. Some follow-up questions: Do you inform the customer about charges for your husband to repair the chair BEFORE you proceed? How have you found the customer to react?... more
        • extra charges nona 477, Thu Feb 16 5:52am
          I forgot to mention that I do have a minimum charge of $45.00 so if a pressed cane seat is small and less than $45.00 with my 21 cents a square inch they get charged the $45.00. I tell the customer... more
          • extra charges DKR.SeatCaning, Thu Feb 16 7:41am
            Thanks, Nona, for the additional information. I hope my brain can be a sponge and absorb this all. I've been getting lots of good instruction off the internet. There are many videos and the ones I've ... more
            • extra charges nona 477, Fri Feb 17 6:15am
              Hi Darlene I live in Northern Ontario about 4 hours north of Toronto. I live with my husband in a little town Corbeil just 10 miles east of North Bay. Right now we have a lot of snow and seems to... more
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