Risky Management of Manufacturing Wholesale Window Coverings and C.O.M
With the cost of drapery fabrics ranging from $20 to well over $300.00 per yard, a drapery manufacturers risk factor increases dramatically when it comes to making the finished product. All it takes is one mistake for disaster to happen.
We’ve been manufacturing draperies for years and are confident in our risk management. As a business owner we need to rethink our pricing structure when it comes to making draperies and soft goods, because of the level of risk we take.
Cost of fabrics
With fabrics over $20 and in excess of $300 per yard it is risky. To serve an example: a drapery workroom that is a C.O.M (Customers/Designers Own Material) puts even more risk in making and installing draperies. The wholesale cost of manufacturing never covers for compensation if a mistake were to happen.
6 Errors that Can Occur During Quoting, Manufacturing, and Installation
Typos, software glitch, or human error are the most common reasons a shortage in yardage happens. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does more fabric is then required for purchase . It can be a huge risk.
We are fortunate to have a fabric inspecting machine for fabrics up to 72” wide. This helps extremely, but with 118” wide fabrics that are folded in half, the risk of inspecting just increased as you can’t see the second layer. Then you have those fabrics that are on a 118” wide tube or folded in thirds. We rely on the fabric vendor to supply quality material with hopes there are no flaws. We also roll out and inspect without a light table. Once the fabric is cut, per manufacture, there are NO returns. This is what creates the risk in this instance.
At times, items can be made incorrectly creating the need to purchase replacement fabric. This is a huge risk because the cost goes up significantly if this happens.
Dirt and Oil on Fabric:
One of the hardest tasks is keeping the fabrics free from dirt and oil during manufacturing. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it can again create the need to purchase replacement fabric.
The finished product is in plastic during loading and unloading to a job site. The risk here is that if the plastic gets torn, it creates a potential opening to dirty the fabric and leave a spot that could very well be permanent. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it can again create the need to purchase additional replacement fabric.
As careful as an installer is, they hold the risk of a spot getting on the fabric, whether it be from the installers hands, the ladder, window dirt etc. There is a very small chance that a spot may get on the fabric, especially if it’s white or ivory fabric. When this happens, it can again create the need to purchase replacement fabric. Any time replacement fabric is needed, it becomes a huge risk.
Why a cap on fabric replacement?
Because the cost of manufacturing never equals cost of materials, many workrooms have a fabric cap replacement. As an example, 32 yards @ $144.00 per yard (wholesale) = $4,608.00 plus shipping. The wholesale cost to manufacture the product was approximately $1,314.00. As you can see it’s a huge risk as workrooms didn’t sell the fabric, nor have any buffer to help offset if an error were to happen.
Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover This
What makes this even more risky is that typically, business insurance doesn’t cover any of these costs. Workmanship or error are not covered by insurance. Of course, there are some exceptions to coverage, like fire for example.
Cost of Fabric DOES Matter
For all the reasons stated in this blog post, it would be wise to know what the cost of the fabric per yard is. If the fabric is $20 per yard the risk is low, however if it’s over $250.00 per yard wholesale (net) the risk is high. In the instance of a higher price per yard, the cost to manufacture draperies should increase.