Start Sewing Alteration Service

Sewing alteration could be a secondary or primary source of income depending on the way you approach the business. It could be home based or from a rented shop.
Sewing alterations requires an expert seamstress with good proficiency to perfect a dress and make it fit. Alterations are not always about making the dress fit but reworking the fabric to the desire of the customer.
To succeed the seamstress needs to work within schedule, exhibit her expertise and understand her client’s needs.
Develop the Skill
Any seamstress can cut, trim, hem and sew however do they have the prerequisite skill for precise sewing. The ability to alter a garment without telltale signs is the job description.
Generally people in this line of sewing business are able to fulfill orders using a basic or commercial grade sewing machine. Thy also need good hand stitching skills for certain fabrics.
Offer Services
There are a few services a seamstress interested in alteration business could offer. Some of the services include cloths repair, button replacement and custom tailoring. Other alteration work including grading garments down to fit, marking a pant hem, fittings
Get Sewing Jobs
For any business to succeed you need lots of clients. Seamstresses that carry out alterations leverage on word of mouth and recommendations.
Referrals could provide steady inflow of customers to your business. As a home based business owner you need to build a client base.
You could start by offering your services for free for a limited period. This will attract repeat customers especially if your work is excellent.
Other ways to attract patronage is try a pickup, delivery system. You could also display an outfit in a local boutique to showcase your skill.
Other avenues are through flyers, business cards and a signage board if you work from a dedicated shop.
Some established dress makers are over worked and find it difficult meeting orders. You could pickup work from them until you build your clientele.
Network with your local dry cleaners and do their alterations. They would split the income at a 50-50 ratio or pay your charges outright.
It all depends on your negotiation skills and fixed price agreement. Other notable ways to secure alteration work are bridal stores.
How to get Alteration Sewing Customers
  • Word of Mouth
  • Recommendations
  • Use Referrals
  • Build a Client List
  • Offer Free Limited Services
  • Display an Outfit in a Boutique
  • Use a pickup, delivery system
  • Liaison with dry cleaning outfits
  • Liaison with bridal stores
  • Print Flyers, call cards, signage board
  • Pick up work from established tailors
How to Retain Customers
Once you have started getting a steady stream of customers how do you retain them? You could offer freebies or fix problems at no extra cost.
Another technique is to provide discount for repeat customers and follow up with a phone call to ascertain the satisfaction of a client. You can offer neighbors, family and friends limited introductory rates.
 Try to approach local retailers and clothing shops for business. Use social media targeted to your locality to drum up business.
How to charge
You need to determine how long it takes to do an alteration. Study the going rate in your locality and charge pre- minute.
A good method is to calculate the amount of time to perform a task by a specific sum. Then base the charge on a 24 hours period.
Divide the 24 hours period to minutes and multiple that with the time it takes to perform specific tasks. A simpler method is make a list of alteration services and allot a sum to each task.
Keep the log and use it as a reference anytime you get jobs. While you set a price for each task factor cost of zippers, special pieces, thread and maintenance.
You can start your home alteration business with an old sewing machine. As the business grows you need a commercial grade sewing machine. It is a good ideal to have two machine one as backup the ‘’old reliable’’ and newer commercial grade machine.
Choose an Ideal Location
Although home based seamstress work has its merit you don’t want strangers coming to your home. Home based alteration practitioners usually do lots of pick-up and drop service.
It is also not ideal to put your home address on any flyer or business card. Once your home business grows find a small shop within your neighborhood.
You could operate the shop alone or have an apprentice/receptionist to collect orders. The best location for your sewing alteration business is within a residential area..


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