From my mail:
We have been moving our production from CA to TX over the last few months. We’re trying to streamline and save money. I’ve found a really great sewing contractor in the area, but she outsources her cutting and therein lies the problem.
The cutter I’m currently working with in Orange County charges me:
$70 per marker setup (including grading, which with my products is super simple)
$1.50 per marker copy
$.45 per piece
The prices her cutter wants to charge me:
$12 per marker setup (for 1-10 pieces)
$15 per market copy (!)
$.90 per piece
At those prices, it’s more cost effective for me to ship the cuts in from CA! The only other data point I have is that my main contractor in CA, when she does the cutting as well as sewing, adds $.35 per piece. Which of these pricing schemes looks off to you? I’m not at all opposed to paying people properly, but this is a huge difference, and I don’t want to get fleeced.
I can say that some of these charges look excessive but to be sure -after all, I’m not a cut and sew operation- I called a couple of people I know. The first thing I’ll say is that the price your CA contractor was charging for the marker copies is very low. So low that I think it must have been an error. While your products are simple, the marker size is substantial. Both my friend Barbara and I think the $1.50 is what you were being charged per yard of marker copying -which is a fair price. Now maybe that’s not actually what you were paying but 1.50 for an entire marker is way way too low; that’s why we think that is a mistake. The set up charges for the marker in CA are pretty high. However, the set up charges for the marker in TX are rather low. If your markers are ten yards long, then $15 per marker copy is fair. Otherwise, it’s not.
Now, about the charges for cutting. This will always vary according to the size of your order and I know that most of you understand that. It also varies on the type of fabric you’re using. The woven fabrics you’re using are the easiest to spread, so 45 cents per cut -what you’re paying in CA- sounds about right. Nobody I spoke to -here in El Paso- thought .90 cents for cutting per piece was a fair market price. Nobody. In fact, everybody said they wished they could get that. The prices I was quoted for your product ranged from .35 to .50 cents each.
Barbara’s take on the costs of the marker set up (in TX) was that this price is on the low side. If you (or anybody else) wants a quote on marking and grading, you can call her at 915-313-0065 or you can email her. She’s in El Paso TX. Also when any of you call any of these people, tell them where you got the information. In this business, you need a referral to be taken seriously. If you just say “you found it on the web”, you’ll be regarded with a degree of suspicion until you can prove yourself. Even tho most of you don’t know me personally, use my name; you’ll get in the door a lot faster. Sorry, that’s just how it works.
The cutting quotes I got were from 2 different cut and sew places, again in El Paso. Both of these companies specialize in mostly wovens and leather products.
3NH Fashions is highly regarded locally but it’s hard to get through to Pablo or Frank (I spoke to Javier but you should not ask for him). Their number is 915-541-8187 and leave a message! Often, the person answering the phone doesn’t speak English very well but they take numbers down just fine.
Then I spoke to Teco at JJ Enterprises. His number is 915-533-8110. Teco can do everything from denim to leather; he’s also done a lot of bags and knows how to do “inlays” (leather) which isn’t something that many people know how to do.
The end result for your problem is to see if you can negotiate price on the cutting. It’s 100% higher than it should be. Is it possible that your contractor is getting a cut on the deal? Most of the people I know don’t work like this. We don’t get a cut on a deal for a referral; it’s all quid pro quo. You do for me and I do for you. However, if you’re not in an area with a lot of cut and sew operations who work together to take care of customers, it could be that the contractor is collecting a fee on the cutting portion. I wouldn’t know.