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Cheap vinyl?

Started by gene, July 19, 2019, 08:41:31 pm

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July 19, 2019, 08:41:31 pm Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 08:43:25 pm by gene
I'm giving an estimate for 8 leather barrel back chairs with decorative tacks. The customer wants faux leather vinyl, which I think is fine.

I suggested $30 to $50 per yard vinyl with 75,000 to 100,000 rubs. He was going to pay for the vinyl separately.

He got two other bids that only have the decorative tacks around the arms and not around the base of the chair. He also has chosen EZ Vinyl, which you can buy at Joann Fabrics. It has 50,000 rubs. It also has a polyester backing. The label says it's for marine, indoor commercial, home.

The 8 chairs are used in the companies cafeteria.

He wants me to resubmit my estimate with the tacks only around the arms and include the EZ vinyl.

I'm thinking the EZ Vinyl will be OK, but is not the best choice. Any thoughts on why I might want to not put my name on EZ Vinyl?

This type of chair:



I do not know what the other bids are. And I don't care to know.


When a customer specs a certain product it is on them. As long as it is stated this is what is you want in the paperwork what else can you do. I would explain that EZ isn't very good vinyl and that's it. It is his or her choice. All we can do is educate.
Minichillo's Upholstery


Nice chairs for a cafeteria - I would advise him to buy several extra yards so you can redo areas as they fail.  I doubt anyone equates faulty fabric with your skill set.  Definitely do the job without pause.
Next is the bosses house where you'll use the good stuff I'm sure


July 21, 2019, 12:56:16 pm #3 Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 01:02:58 pm by kodydog
One thing to consider is the workability of EZ vinyl. I'm not familiar with the brand EZ but I can tell you some vinyl's at JoAnn's are very thin and very stretchy. Especially the type with the fuzzy backing.

On the chair in your link there are two areas that will require some stretching to get the puckers out. First place is where the arm curves up to the back. You will have to cut relief slits into the fabric. Then pull both up and down to get the fabric to stretch into place while leaving no puckers. On a cheaper and thin vinyl those relief slits will want to tear if stretched too far. You can use heat or steam but be careful not to use too much that it will cause the vinyl to separate from the backing.

Same thing where the side of the seat curves around the back. I don't know if there are any pleats back there. If there are not It will take a lot of heat and stretching to get the puckers out.

I'm saying this from experience and I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes trying to save the customer a little money puts more work on you. I would ask for a sample or go to JoAnns and check it out yourself. Check out the thickness of the vinyl compared to other vinyl's. If the top layer is thin you can show the customer.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


We now and again will have a customer demand we use Sunbrella. We typically give them what they want but explain we will not warrant Sunbrella and if there is a problem they have to deal directly with Sunbrella.

I would do the same and explain you wont warrant the EZ vinyl.



August 01, 2019, 06:53:59 am #5 Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 06:55:24 am by kodydog
When bidding against other shops, some customers are more impressed with knowledge rather than price. If the other shops have a "whatever" attitude toward the fabric choice but you show your expertise and experience working with different fabrics... often the customer will pick the more expensive shop who has more knowledge and better service. Kind of a value added thing. We're too busy to spend a lot of time with customers who indicate they are shopping price only.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


My question is...If an entire NEW chair costs $47, why does the customer think you can reupholster them for less than that cost?  I KNOW I couldn't and wouldn't


I have sent customers to the internet when they need a Breuer seat or back rest because they can buy new cheaper than I can replace the cane for them.  It pays back when they do  bigger job and remember how you gave them the right advice vs doing the chair at a higher cost.


Quote from: BlueFlamingo on August 21, 2019, 04:17:44 pm
My question is...If an entire NEW chair costs $47, why does the customer think you can reupholster them for less than that cost?  I KNOW I couldn't and wouldn't

That's a good question and I can see where you are coming from. The chair in Genes link is simply an example of the 8 chairs he is estimating  on. Also the chair in the link appears to be only one that was sold for the highest bid at $48. That was a good price for that chair but still only one.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


If you are concerned about the material used and want to use a better material why not phone your material supplier and tell them the situation. They may want to see higher quality on chairs and have clear out stock for you.