Finishing Jobs From Other Upholstery Shops

In this life many unexpected and unplanned things happen. For example, sometimes a client might take a piece of furniture into one upholstery shop and find out that some unplanned event happened. Maybe the upholster became too sick to finish the job. At other times, the client may want the job done before an upholsterer can finish the job. For whatever reason, on occasion a client may bring a job to us that was started by another upholsterer and want us to finish it.

In the client's mind he or she has already paid for the amount of work that has already been "finished." She may have the expectation that with the new upholsterer taking over the job that the "remaining balance" of the original cost of upholstery would just "transfer over" to the new upholsterer. He may think that the amounting owing on the job should be the same as before. She may also think that she was on the waiting list for a long time before the upholsterer finally got to her job.

Here are some of the realities

If we accept taking on this presumably partially finished job, it is a totally new job to us. We already have many clients in line ahead of this new job. This job will be put in line at the end of the line. No, this isn't fair,but life isn't fair. This is just the way it is. The customers who are already in line have been waiting quite a while. It would not be fair to them to push them all back to put a new job in front of them. If you can't live with this, then I suggest you contact all the other upholsterers in the area to see if any of them can have it done sooner than we can.

Before we accept a partially completed job, we would need to thoroughly inspect the quality of the workmanship and the condition of the pieces to determine if we could continue the job or if we would need to take some or all of it apart and begin again. Again, we would discuss that with you before we would accept the job.

Even if we do accept the job, there is a transition process of checking over what has been done and what still needs to be done. We would also need to check how much fabric is left and if it is enough to complete the job. Part of this involves measuring all the pieces and then doing a cutting layout to see where the job stands. The transistion process adds some to the cost of the job as well.

Another thing to consider is that many upholsterers may not order enough fabric, and then have to order more when they find themselves to be short of fabric. If a substantial amount of time has gone by, sometimes the fabric gets discontinued. This doesn't happen a lot, but there is always the possibility that there may not be enough fabric to complete the job.

Quality Upholstery Takes Time and Experience

Upholstery is one profession that people can get into with little or no training. I know, that is how my parents and I started into the upholstery business. In 1966 my dad just bought an upholstery sewing machine, some tools, some rolls of fabric, rented a small tin business building and we started into the upholstery business. In the beginning we worked cheap, did work for poor people who were thankful just to get a new cover on their threadbare and ragged furniture. They had very few expectations, just put a new cover on their old furniture.

At that time we didn't know much about upholstery, except, take the old cover off, put the new cover on. Our quality wasn't very good, and I'm sure that we didn't 'do a very good job very springs or frames. But we did the best we knew how.

Over a period of many years we all learned to do a better and better quality of work. We learned how to tie springs properly. We learned how to apply the webbing tightly, Using jute spring twine, we learned to tie the springs so that they were flat and tight. We learned how to repair the furniture frames, how to put new support linings to better support the padding.

No Official Upholstery Standards

Since there are no official standards to the upholstery trade, different upholsterers are at a wide variance as to the abilities and skill levels. Some amatuer or beginning upholsterers do low quality work. Other upholsterers who have been in the trade for many years (hopefully) have a much higher skill lever and do much higher quality of work. Even with that, some people are more detail people, and others don't care about the "minor" details. All of this affects the quality of their work.

The Work Order and Payments

You need to settle up the financial arrangement with the previous upholsterer yourself. Whatever he charged you and whatever the balance might be be between the two of you has nothing to do with us.

We also have our own labor and supply charges. We do not base our costs upon whatever the previous upholsterer was charging. We might be charging a similar amount, or we might charge a lot more. In any case, we will discuss that with you before we accept the job.

If we take you job, this would a totally new job. We'd make out a new work order with our own set of specifications and conditions on it. We'd need a 1/2 deposit of the approximate total of the job. The balance of each piece would be due upon completion of each piece. On large jobs addition installments may need to be paid while the job is inprocess.

Upholsterers do not all have the same quality of workmanship. A professional who specializes in doing high quality work may decide to not finish a job that was started by a less experienced worker. The professional may need to fix or completely redo the improperly done work.

Except if Warranted, We Normally Don't Give Discounts on Partially Done Furniture

When a client wants us to "give them a discount" we are just finishing a job that someone else has started, that means that we  have to:

  • finish a piece that has often inferior quality OR
  • redo potentially a lot of work to bring it up to our standard of quality. In this case, we may need to charge extra because of all the extra work that is needed.

In conclusion, unless the work that has already done meets our strict quality guidelines, we do not give discounts for a job that has been started by someone else, whether amatuer or professional. Sometimes we may need to charge extra because some, or all, of the work may need to be redone.