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Old 02-05-2009, 19:46   #1
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Upholstered Sailboat Cushion Cost?

What is the average price to charge to cover 7 different sized sailboat cushions with Sunbrella fabric. They have 2-3 buttons each and zippers.

The sizes range from 27"X 75" to 36"X 45". They will have 3" medium density foam in them.

I am an experienced sewer, doing this small upholstery job for the first time.
Looking for what a marine upholsterer would usually charge, then give this sailboat owner a better price!

Thanks,
designer
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:31   #2
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Greetings, and welcome aboard designer.
I like your attitude towards competitive pricing.
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Old 03-05-2009, 13:17   #3
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Aloha Designer,
Welcome aboard! I can't help with your question.
Kind regards,
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Old 03-05-2009, 14:48   #4
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Quote:
The sizes range from 27"X 75" to 36"X 45". They will have 3" medium density foam in them.
You can get a lot of prices but you need to consider what is behind them. Foam is expensive and the really good foam is very expensive. Sunbrella makes a lot of different materials and all are actually made by Glen Raven Mills. They make some really nice stuff too not just covers for out door awnings.

You'll find a lot of woven materials all made from solution dyed threads like "Sunbrella". Basic cushion labor costs about the same no matter who does them. What does wander all over the board is what they charge for the whole job.

If price is the only issue then you can get some really low ball prices for some poor quality materials. It's not unusual to get bids that mark up both the labor and materials. No one sells materials for cost (even if they say they do) you have to pay at least 10%. 40 - 50% is not unusual. It's all how the game is played. They can make the price be whatever.

I would do the research and find the materials you want. The price is less about the labor than it is about the materials. 3 inch thick cushions unless in the cockpit are pretty bad. 4 inch medium foam with a 2 inch memory foam layer are going to feel like heaven. We have 6 plus two for sleeping on and I like it just fine. With the good quality foam they will fell that way for a very long time. Cheap cushions go flat quickly in just a few years. Shop for materials and if at the end you change your mind then find someone to do the labor.

One bit of advice forget buttons totally they were big 20 years ago but they break loose easily and are a very big pain to replace. If you loose a button you'll never recover a new one and have it match. Bolsters are more in now.

If you are doing it yourself then its not a matter of what someone would charge, it's more about what wasted materials and your mistakes will cost you.
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Old 03-07-2009, 14:21   #5
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Cost of cushions

My stinkpot requires 2 cushions to be reupholstered. Both are wood backed, the wood, and foam are in good condition. Each Cushion is 3" thick and 23" wide. One cushion is 7" long, the other 23" long.

Rought estimate of the amount of material for both is

I wanted white but would accept any color.

First quote was $75.00.

He just called back said 4th of July special $50.00

Al
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Old 03-07-2009, 17:58   #6
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He just called back said 4th of July special $50.00
Without a full list of materials and specs you could be doing well or not at all. There just are too many ways to cut corners in the upholstery biz. Unless you get into the details it's pointless to shop on price. They see you coming and zero in. Canvas work it even worse.
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Old 03-07-2009, 18:58   #7
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I am going through the samething simular right now. I made a boom tent and bow cover for my boat. South Florida it really helps. A couple of my neighbors ask for a price to make them the same thing.

Told them I used X material. Your job will require this many yards and this is what it cost to get to this location. You can pay me and I will order it or you can order it yourself. The labor is (which I just now figured out) 1.15 a square foot. Boom Tents are really easy. Measure, cut, seams and tabs. I am sure cushions would be alot more work.

There are only 16 slips in the Marina so I am sure it will be short lived. But I am kind of enjoy doing something beside sanding and varnishing my brightwork.
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Old 03-07-2009, 19:04   #8
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Almost forgot. Paul is right. It is the materials that is the factor not the labor. Foam and fabric can vary greatly.
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Old 03-07-2009, 20:19   #9
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Quote:
Foam and fabric can vary greatly.
Labor can double for a job done well. It really is easy to quote the price that's right and deliver what you paid for. Most shops mark up matorials and labor. Materials can not be sold at less than 10% cost. You can't stay in business at less. 40% is not the worst markups. Much of the cheap materials can be be marked up far more It's easy to quote a $50 price when you make an extra $50 on the materials. Oh, you wanted zippers?

You realy need to learn what the construction and materials is all about. Most good people can explain it. Would you buy a boat on a weekend end special? You can shop on price after you know the deal.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
You realy need to learn what the construction and materials is all about. Most good people can explain it. Would you buy a boat on a weekend end special? You can shop on price after you know the deal.
This is a good point, Paul. It's also why I tend to prefer to go to successful, respected tradesmen. A guy who has a great reputation for detailed, high quality is in a position to educate. I look at it as paying for having the job done right the first time by the folks who know the tricks of the trade and the trade itself. The key is finding those folks.

Designer: The above is not to discourage you, people tend to always want cheaper. But the race to the bottom eventually puts one on slide towards disposable items. But if you are designer, I would see if your background will give you competitive edge.
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:12   #11
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I charge a flat labor rate and add materials. A basic boxed cushion doublestitched (small) $100. Extra for welt,dacron wrap,poly wrap,multi density foam buildups,bolsters and divisions,snap tabs etc. Complexity adds labor and cost. I've got an upholstery job coming up on a sportfishing boat that figured at $400 per seat cushion labor. These have tuck and roll, bolsters etc that make the price very low. My prices are very low in general as I don't have the overhead of large shops. I try to bid my time at at least $45 per hour, but forget about time completely when starting a project. Then I take as much time as required to do a job I'm happy with.
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:37   #12
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We paid $365 (tax included) for 4 cushions ~4" thick. 2 were about 12x24", 1 was about 18x70", and the last about 18x50". All had plastic zippers but not the big heavy toothed type. We reused our foam so didn't buy new.

Fabric was Sunbrella. Don't have the code #.

Those in the know say that the week point is often the thread and don't spend $$ on Sunbrella fabric and then fail to use Sunbrella thread.

Hope this helps.

George
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:24   #13
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I have what I think is a really good CD on "Boat Cushions with Mark Shory and Jim Grant". (Actually - there are probably lots of them and lots of web sites as well).

I went through it and have done three sets of sailboat cushion coverings.

We just bought a "new to us" 1980 Irwin Citation 34 and the cushions are great. But - the bimini and dodger need recovering. I got a quote on the recovering at $1500 for the dodger. I have decided that for that price I will buy a Sailrite of similar sewing machine and do them myself.

Yes - it would be a great little "cottage" industry.

Go for it and best of luck to you.

Rik

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:15   #14
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Re: Upholstered Sailboat Cushion Cost?

I am in the exact same situation. I went to a website that offered foam, fabric and labor and got an idea of an estimate for a customer from that. Type in wholesale foam and see if you can get to that site. They gave me a place to start if someone was buying it off their site on the web. Try typing in [url=http://www.foamorder.com/] I Hope that helps.
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Old 12-07-2012, 13:28   #15
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These are on my list of to do things. Last night I took one apart and tried to sew a new one from the pattern...dang sewing is hard! I have the fabric and the foam and a pattern, just not enough experience to get er done right. If my 74 year old Mom lived closer she could knock it out in a week. And make supper every night!

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