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Messages - mike802

General Discussion / Re: Bed Bugs
August 15, 2019, 10:07:13 am
"Have you filmed anymore of those great videos ?  I hadn't looked at your site in a long time since you have been quiet here"  Thanks Steve for your input on the Bed Bugs.  Yes I still post videos to my YouTube channel, I average about one a month.

Gene:  My clients also tend to be affluent, mostly second home owners often working through a decorator.  I have never taken in a piece that was infested with bugs.  I have found many disgusting things in peoples furniture, once a giant bee hive, but never bed bugs.  I am not one to fall for medias hype and I found most of my information on bed bugs through the Vermont Dep. of Agriculture, but it was the media that led me to looking into the situation.   It seems since DDT was banned bed bugs have been making a come back and now are reported to infect one house in three.  VT Dep. of Ag. believes it may actually be higher than that because many people are to embarrassed to report an infestation.  I have heard that new furniture can be delivered with bed bugs if the truck used to make the delivery is also used to remove old furniture, especially mattresses.  Bed Bugs can be picked up at movie theaters, restaurants, motels, any place people frequent.  I would think you could pick them up if you rubbed up against the wrong person.  Guests that come into your shop, or home could also bring along the uninvited little guests.  I want to be proactive and take precautions against an infestation before it happens.  I found whats called a bug tent on amazon, you put furniture, or any belongings in it and the interior is heated to 120 degrees F or better for a couple of hours.  This is supposed to kill the bugs and any eggs, cost depends on size, but one big enough to put a sofa in is around $1500.00 and it takes 4 20 amp outlets to run the thing.  I have heard that unless the spray in question is for bed bugs specifically results will be lack luster.   
General Discussion / Bed Bugs
August 14, 2019, 09:01:33 pm
Hi Folks:  How has everyone been doing?  I haven't been around for a while, so I thought I would stop in and say hi.  I have been thinking a lot lately about bed bugs, I hear they are making a come back and are becoming a national problem in the US.  Here in Vermont they are calling it an epidemic!  This is a problem I don't want to have in my shop, especially since my shop is located in my home.  Have any of you run into this before and if so what have you done about it?  I understand if you don't want to say anything, but just maybe you know of a friend of a friend who may have had this problem LOL.  But seriously it is being reported that one home in three is having this problem in the US right now.  The last time I signed in and talked to some of my old upholstery pals I was considering retiring from the reupholstery business and I still am, but for some reason I am still carrying on, but with this bed bug thing I just might follow through and finally throw in the towel.  I am considering doing a close inspection of any furniture before it comes into my shop, well I mean from now on I WILL be doing a close inspection before any furniture comes into my shop, but even that is no guarantee the furniture is bug free as the eggs are very small and they hid well.  I don't know guys this is really freaking me out.   
General Discussion / Re: What would you do?
July 20, 2017, 08:36:45 am
As customer supplied fabrics became more common I had to change my billing method.  My shop hourly rate now covers everything and fabrics sales are all gravy.  I also have a policy that the customer gets in writing and must sign that states, customer supplied fabric cannot be guaranteed in any way including yardage estimates and human error.   
A James:  Take a look at my video series, should answer a lot of your questions.
General Discussion / Re: Rush Jobs
March 22, 2017, 05:51:50 pm
I have this little post on my blog on my website:

QuoteI would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone, if you have a project that you would like to have built, or reupholstered please don't hold off getting in touch with us. I say this because it only takes a few projects to tie our work shop up for months. It is not uncommon for us to be booked ahead by 6 to 12 weeks, and that's before we can start a new project, not finish one and this does not take holidays into account. As a master craftsman, I do not relish the stress of deadlines. As a business man I understand work must be completed in a timely manner, bills have to be paid. It is always a balancing act between the two. But with proper planning the two can and do work together, so please plan accordingly, I really don't like to see people disappointed, but I refuse to let deadlines become the master. Your years of satisfaction with quality workmanship and art are worth far more.

And I stick to it.  All timelines given are estimates only, it's hard sometimes because we all realize the importance of making our clients happy, but in the end my business seems to run more smoothly when I run it not my customers.
General Discussion / Digging out from Stella
March 21, 2017, 08:13:11 am
Hi everybody:  Vermont got hit pretty hard with Winter Storm Stella.  That's always a good excuse to play a little, I got the old 1938 Allis Chalmers Model B out and moved some snow.
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
March 16, 2017, 12:18:33 pm
Sofadoc:  The only advantage I can see for paying the extra price from my regular supplier is they will stand behind it if it is defective, not always sure about the cheap sellers.  But yea, regular wholesalers selling on ebay, or other sites cheaper than what they sell to their regular customers is discouraging.  It leaves a feeling of betrayal, they make you jump through all kinds of hoops, tax numbers, references, credit reports etc just to buy from them and go ahead and sell cheaper to the the general public, the only way to explain it is greed.  In the end they cut their nose off despite their face in a massive rush to the bottom.

I was born and raised in the service station business, my father owned and operated a Texaco for years.  Towards the end he expanded into a convenience station with a deli.  He ended up buying most of his supplies at Walmart and reselling them because his wholesalers could not come close to Walmart's pricing.  Yea have to do what yea have to do to survive, but sometimes it really stinks.
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
March 14, 2017, 08:18:42 am
Thanks Gene:  I'll give their prices a good look over.
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
March 13, 2017, 06:19:28 pm
That's the spirit I like Chris, well send the boys over to work something out!  ;)  It's obvious that I am going to have to go over my suppliers head so to speak if I want to pursue this.  Unfortunately I don't have the volume sales that you enjoyed to give me some bargaining chips, I might be able to make a good deal with my current supplier, but I don't think they would discount 50% or more, which is what it would take to be competitive.  I am going to have to do some research, I don't even now where to buy supplies in volume, I'll have to start digging.  It will be interesting to find out just how much I would have to buy to get the pricing I need.

QuoteSometimes buying from a standard supplier is not going to get you the best price. A quick search on ebay will show you this. If you need to find the best pricing you have to do more research.
Agree, for regular reupholstering my suppliers prices work, but for selling retail on the web not so much.

Hi Doyle:  Nice to here from you also.  I also am not selling fabrics like I used to either, same situation as yourself and more and more people are buying off the web and bringing me their own fabrics.  I have adjusted my labor prices to reflect this and the customers do not seem to mind, their paying just the same but feel they are getting a deal.  I am in a very rural area, most of my clients are second home owners who are here for skying, or the country.  The majority of my supply sales are web based and I ship all over the US I have also sent orders overseas.  As nice as these sales are they are a very small part of the total operation.  The locals here are always strapped for cash, reupholstering used to be less expensive than buying new and that reputation has not died here.  Unfortunately that has not been the reality for decades! LOL  Anyway, if I advertise an upholstery class I can fill it with about 6 students in no time, so the locals here are not afraid of tackling a project by themselves.

The Business Of Upholstery / supply prices
March 13, 2017, 02:06:10 pm
Hi Folks:  If any of you remember about 7 months ago I was ready to throw in the towel.  Things have picked up a bit here and I have been busy lately. But I am still planning on doing something different eventually, but I guess I am going to keep on keeping on for the time being.  Anyway, I have been adding upholstery supplies for sale on my website a little here and their when time allows.  My YouTube channel has been sending people to the website to buy upholstery supplies, I can't say business has been brisk, but I sell a few things here and their.  If it wasn't for customers coming into the shop telling me they saw me on YouTube and checked out the website, the website wouldn't be worth the expense.  I offer free shipping on the website for the smaller items and this makes my prices a little higher than sites that don't offer this.  But I did a basic search and found this company.
These people are selling retail for less than I can buy from my wholesaler.  I suspect I am loosing a fair amount of business from this site.  Granted, I buy in bulk from my supplier and they send a truck my way every other week and I get free shipping if I use the truck, which helps with my overall cost, but I still cannot compete.  If I want to get serious selling upholstery supplies my wholesaler is not going to cut it.  The diy upholstery people must be buying from the same people my wholesaler is buying from.  I can only imagine what kind of investment it would take to compete with these people, any advice anyone?
General Discussion / Re: Carrs corner
August 24, 2016, 10:27:41 am
I used to post at carrs corner, but I just liked this site better.  My first web site was done by Jack and although he did a good job and his prices were fair he wasn't able to offer a more than just a web presence and I really wanted something more.  I have a better site now, but I also spend a whole lot more also.  I also did not like that I couldn't call Jack and had to rely on email for our communication.  I remember when I found these sites I wished they had existed back when I first started out, it would have been so helpful.  But like everyone is saying, participation is these sites is dropping off and I think it is because cheap throwaway furniture is killing our industry.
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Facebook members
July 28, 2016, 01:42:05 pm
Most of my facebook fans are past customers, I have never had someone tell me they stopped in because they saw my facebook page.  But I have had plenty of people stop in, or send me jobs because of my YouTube Channel.
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Facebook members
July 26, 2016, 08:57:26 am
I have two facebook pages, a personal one and a profession one.  Mostly by mistake, I only wanted a profession one but did'nt know how to make it and ended up with a personal one, from their I made the profession one.  I keep the professional one only about upholstery and woodworking, mostly what I have done, or am up to.  In all reality, I can't stand facebook!  I haven't updated my professional one lately and I try really hard to not post on my personal one, but some of the stupid sh#% I see on facebook makes it really hard not to.  But I know there are people out there who think the stuff I post is stupid sh#%!  The joy of social media, best to just stay away, unless you really like cute kitty videos!
Working with horses is making a come back.  This spring I saw one farmer plowing his field with a two horse team, that was really neat and he wasn't Amish.  Horses are expensive, to buy and keep, but on the other hand when did a tractor give you a new model?  I have absolutely no clue how to train a horse and would have to buy one already trained.  As much as I like the idea and the romance of using horses, it sure is nice to park the tractor and not have to worry about feeding it, or it getting sick, but if gas ever becomes nonexistent it sure would be nice to have a horse around.  Pros and Cons to everything I guess.  When I was a kid there were not many horses in Vermont, but today there are horse boarding farms all over the place, the popularity of horses has just exploded here in the last 20 to 30 years.  A lot of people who are into horses are fanatical about it, I know three people who keep horses and live a life of poverty to keep them.
I would really like to use horses, but I dont know much about them.  My son has a friend who is into horses and I am sure would be more than happy to teach me, but I think her knowledge is mostly based around riding, I'm not sure what she knows about draft horses.  It would be quite a learning curve for sure.   I think if I wanted to sell maple syrup and just label it Uncle Mikes and sell it in mason jars I could do just about anything I wanted and could do it on the cheap.  It's when you put it in those fancy bottles labeled "Vermont Maple Syrup" that you run into all kinds of regulation.  The state passed this law after they found out large company's were buying sap from all over New England and Canada, processing it in a huge plant in a city some where and bottling it up in those fancy bottles that say "Vermont Maple Syrup".  Maple producers felt it was important for the state to do something to protect the Vermont brand and I don't blame them.  There is a lot of help available from the state for people like me, also the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association can be very helpful.