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FAQs
Please read the answers to these frequently asked questions

How much will my project cost?

First, understand that San Francisco made products probably cost considerably more than products from other areas or countries, due to the exorbitant costs of usable space, and living and working in San Francisco.

Second, keep in mind that embroidery work is not selling a product, where the price can be determined and set. You are hiring a person with equipment; custom work takes time; from planning to programming to embroidering, and there are materials needed that vary depending on the job (thread, bobbins, backing, topping, as well as the use of the machines). It often takes half a day or more to complete programming and sampling for a new project; the cost reflects this, which is why there is a $400 minimum order price for first runs of all new work.

When the work is for basic embroidery, after digitizing, the cost starts with preparing your items for embroidery, and then depends on how long it will take on the embroidery machine. This is determined by the number of stitches required for the size and complexity of your design. Estimates below are for a chest-area embroidery (up to ~3.5" wide). 

For discount pricing, the usual optimum quantity of garments or caps is at least 24 pieces, which, after digitizing a design, makes the average per-piece price for the actual embroidery approximately $18-$20  (When ordering in smaller quantities, the per-piece price is higher.)

Complex designs or designs with colored backgrounds require more stitches. Line art designs require fewer stitches and can be less expensive.

Changes to the artwork after digitizing will add an editing fee and may alter the per-piece price.

Rush orders (less than 2 weeks, less than 1 week, or 1-3 day turnaround), when I am able to accommodate them, are considerably more expensive, and will be priced on a case-by-case basis. For less than one week, plan to pay $100 or more in rush charges, in addition to the price of the embroidery. 

Please submit your design with details about the quantity and items to be embroidered for actual pricing of your design, and if the project is different than described, the cost will likely also be different. 

Initial prices are good for 30 days, are estimates (not firm quotes) until I see the actual finished artwork and the actual items to be embroidered, change if the scope of the project or the details of the project change, and do not include taxes or rush charges. Projects may cost more in the future, due to escalating prices of my supplies and other variables. 

I can not accommodate every project, I do not match prices from elsewhere, and my availability varies considerably. 

There are additional charges for different levels of work done. For example, to have designs in an exact location, the price is 60% higher per piece than standard quantity pricing due to the need to embroider the order one-piece-at-a-time (a multiple-head machine embroiders more than one at a time). Carefully trimming the backs of the embroidered area costs more because it takes more time. Embroidery on some items takes longer than the same logo on other items. Logos embroidered on backpacks or messenger bags, for example, with pockets and or zippers that need to be done individually are $30 each and up.

Sales tax is added at the standard rate for San Francisco, and sent to the state board of equalization. If you have a project for resale or a similar tax id, please provide that documentation at the start of the project, so I can bill appropriately.


I need my project completed asap. Can you handle a rush order?

Rush orders are considered on a case by case basis. I can only commit to work that I have seen in person to ensure the project is possible. A rush order often involves me rearranging my time off to go to my shop and work additional hours or days. Rush orders (less than 2 weeks turnaround), when possible, are charged additional fees, which are $100 and up in addition to regular pricing

Text or email for possible availability and to make an appointment to bring your items.

Even with rush charges and regular costs, a rush job often doesn't allow time to attend to fine details that can be accommodated with time to embroider many samples (I will edit until the embroidery is mutually acceptable; I include two edits in the estimated or quoted pricing; beyond that, samples are done as time allows and are charged the same as the actual embroidery in addition to the pieces being done.)  

Rush orders are far more likely to be accepted for regular customers who are reordering designs that are already programmed.

I do not fit in extra work during my regular work days and hours, when it would push back the orders of customers who are patiently waiting for their project to be completed.


How do I place an order?

For logos or images: First, email me at bzsews@yahoo.com with your artwork and a short description (or picture) of what you want to embroider and I will determine if I can accommodate the work. Include the type of garment or item you wish to embroider and how many pieces you wish to have embroidered. If you have a deadline for the work, please include that too. Though I would like to work on any and all orders, due to my available time, I have a pricing minimum  for any new orders that require digitizing (programming for embroidery), which is $400.

Note (tell me),  for pricing, if you are planning a project where you want more precise placement (for example, on a Patagonia or North Face or Marmot or Mountain Hardware style jacket or sweater that has a label on the front, and you want your logo across from it). It takes considerably more time to embroider garments one at a time (versus six or ten at a time). Standard deviation from an intended center start point of one-quarter to one-half inch top/bottom or side to side means the location from garment to garment may be an inch difference from one garment to the next. This is compounded when your items are different sizes, and that the factory labels are not in the exact same place relative to the garment. I charge more  (50-60%) to embroider garments or items one at a time. If you will be wearing the garments zipped up and want the logo placed exactly, tell me, so I can quote appropriately.

Exception: For a name or monogram: I can embroider names or other lettering using pre-programmed fonts, without the 12-piece minimum, and for one or two items I try to fit them in without the standard 2-3 week wait. You can email (above) or text me at 415 235-0305 for availability and to schedule an appointment, which is usually Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 9-1 for drop off. You can choose a thread color and font/lettering style when you drop off the item.

Please keep in mind that if I do not reply promptly, I am completing orders received prior to your inquiry. I generally reply to emails within 2 business days, though that varies. 


Why do I need to pay a digitizing fee if I just want one simple item?

With the exception of pre-programmed lettering fonts (names usually do not require digitizing unless yours is a custom-meaning not a standard pre-programmed-for-embroidery font http://docs.hic.us/pulse-software/dg-standardfonts ):

All custom work requires digitizing, a one time cost to program your design for embroidery machines. The digital embroidery file is reusable for future orders. Please send high-resolution image in  .jpeg, .pdf, and .png. (Please NO eps)

The cost for digtizing ranges from $125 for a simple design up to many hundreds of dollars for complex designs, and can be higher when rush orders are needed. This price is for the time it takes to program for embroidery and run samples,  and edit the embroidered image and re-sample until it is presentable, which ranges from a few hours to a full day or more. The time it takes to program for embroidery is the same if ordering one piece or a thousand pieces. 

If you don’t have a computer based image file, you can send a picture or drawing of the artwork to me for a digitizing quote. The more time I have to spend transferring your drawing to a computer file, the more expensive the digitizing will be.


Can you embroider caps or hats?

Yes! I can embroider caps and hats (and no, I am sorry I do not do puff embroidery/3D embroidery)

Caps & Hats require a a different hooping system and the cost to embroider hats & caps are slightly more than other items. Initial orders requiring digitizing have a $400 embroidery minimum, which can be for up up 12 pieces (complex designs or multiple designs on the caps are additional).

Names or lettering on the back or sides of caps is possible and additional cost. 

Production issues for caps may affect the price or location availability. 

The amount of time it takes to program a design and run samples is the same for one piece or 100. Therefore, embroidery of less items is less cost efficient. 


Do you make patches?

Basically, no.

Your best bet for having patches done is to go to an online company that specializes in patches.  I do not have the equipment (laser-cutter, merrow-edger, etc)  to produce patches at what I would consider a reasonable price. 

When yes:

I can make patches, however they are more expensive than direct embroidery on items. There is a digitizing charge, an embroidery charge, and an upcharge for the E-Zee preframe material the patch is run on. I do not apply backing that allows for iron-on.

Pricing for patches is often more than direct embroidery, as there are extra steps to produce them. There is a $400 minimum price for any digitized (an image that needs to be programmed embroidery),  regardless of quantity. 


Can you supply things like shirts and hats, or do I have to bring in my own garments?

We can embroider garments that you provide, or we can order the garments to be embroidered for you. We can order from sanmar.com, www.apparelsourcewholesale.com , alphabroder.com, outdoorcaps.com, and teamworkapparel.com. Please visit the websites for pictures, and email item numbers to me for prices if not listed on the site.

When bringing in your own items, please be aware that machine malfunctions, though rare, occasionally happen. Allow at least 3% for machine defects @ no cost to Barbara's Embroidery. (Supply 3% extra, or at least one additional piece per size/style/color to be used if needed.) 

Posted disclaimer: this is because I do not replace or pay to replace items brought in to me for embroidery. Name brand jackets or garments can run hundreds of dollars, sometimes even for one. Many shops will not accept outside items for this reason. I work on items brought to me for embroidery with this understanding. 


Do you offer a discount for orders in quantity?

Quantity discounts are offered for orders of multiple same garments/same embroidery location (such as an order of jackets for all the company employees), all being done at the same time. 

The items being embroidered are done on a multiple-head machine. The placement of the embroidery is approximate, and can vary from garment to garment (up to 1/2" in any direction is relatively standard). If placement needs to be exact, the items need to be embroidered one at a time so they can be exactly placed, and do not qualify for any discount pricing.

For example, after the digitizing fee, the same design in the same place on 24 items qualifies for a discount. A design that is embroidered in different locations on a variety of different garments and accessories (for example; one bag, one cap, a pair of pants, and a shirt) does not qualify for quantity discount.

Typically, I offer a discount of 50 cents per piece for each additional dozen items ordered over 23 pieces, up to 120 pieces. The price discount ends at 120 items.

Here is an example for pricing: The per-piece price for 48 items might be 18.00 each after digitizing. Later, the company needs  more shirts. There is not an additional fee for digitizing, but the per-piece price for 15 shirts may then be 20.00 each, as the quantity is smaller.  A follow-up order is for 2 pieces. Orders of less than 12 pieces are considerably more money, and two pieces will likely cost $30-40 each. 


How long will it take to produce my order?

Usually plan for 2-3 weeks because I have a line of work. It will take longer to get to your project sometimes, and when I can, I will do the work faster.

Even if I have given an estimate or quote, I must have your garments and your clear, high-resolution artwork before I schedule your work.

It does not help to send partial orders or incomplete directions, and this will delay your order. If you ship garments to me, include a printed version of the logo with the location marked on the garment, any other instructions including the date needed (which will be accommodated when possible), and the name & phone number  of the one contact person for me to text with questions. 

Choose one person to be the contact. I do not work with teams or groups where multiple people are contacting me, as that is a recipe for mistakes and misunderstandings. Sending emails to me from multiple people is a sure way to halt any progress on your project.  

When I agree to take on your project, it will be scheduled according to the number of other projects under way. My queue of work is usually at least 2 weeks long, and can stretch to 6 weeks or more before holidays or the end of a school year.  I try to start orders within 2-3 work weeks (a work week means weeks I am at work; when my shop is closed there is no work being done and the queue of pending orders is delayed until I am back at work)  from when I receive your items and artwork, though this is a guideline and not a guarantee.  Finish times may vary due to demand and seasonal orders.

Rush orders are accepted when time allows and are charged at premium rate. It is rare that I am able to take rush orders for new clients or designs that require digitizing, so if I do not reply to your rush request, you can safely assume I can not work on it.

Though standard size names or monograms may only take 15 minutes to 30 minutes, I can not always work on one person's order if other people who brought work before are waiting for their work. Therefore, if I state that the turnaround at any given time is 6 weeks, it does not mean it takes that long to embroider a name. If you need an embroidered name done quickly, when inquiring, understand that it costs more for a rush order and be willing to pay for it. Thank you for understanding.


Can I ship items directly to you from the manufacturer?

With the understanding that I must have clear directions and artwork in hand,  ship to me if you have my permission to do so, and a way to have the boxes marked who they are coming from. The shipping label should clearly note which company the embroidery will be for, and ideally the name or email address of the contact person is on the packing slip or somewhere recognizable. Except for regular customers, I do not take mail orders or orders that need to be shipped.

It is imperative that I have a local contact, who, if needed, can come to the shop and check the order before I start working on it, and who provides clear instructions and artwork and has the authority to approve the embroidery.

I will do my best but I am ultimately not responsible for checking the content of your shipment, counting garments, or making sure sizes or colors are what you ordered.  I will do that to the best of my ability but if there are mistakes in the box, or if there are items missing, it's out of my control.

Possible manufacturing defect or issues (including precision placement if not specifically requested, noted, quoted -the price is higher) makes it a very good idea for you to order extra product (recommended 5% or at least one piece per size/color) to accommodate possible problems, unless you have a long lead time and will be able to order replacements. While I will take work on items I do not provide, I am not responsible and will not reimburse for the cost of your items. 

Shipping label example:

You (meaning your name or company name that I will recognize...a parent company name my confuse me)

c/o Barbara's Embroidery

341 Arkansas Street Garage Level

San Francisco CA 94107


What is the price for names or monograms?

Though my equipment and business is usually doing larger orders, when time allows, I can take orders for names or monograms. You can choose a font and thread color when you drop off the item. The pricing is for the monogram or name to be embroidered on the item. If there is question as to how it will look, and I need to run a sample on a piece of fabric, there may be an extra charge for the sample(s). 

These guideline prices are the starting price for basic lettering (block or cursive) in one color up to 1" tall or 5" across (for the whole thing; not per letter). 

Monogram/Name: $30 each (and up)

Phrase, 1 or 2 line: $35-$40 each item (and up)

Poems. Paragraphs, 3 or more lines: $40 per item (and up)

Larger names or lettering on backs of jackets or other larger areas are $40 to $60 per name or line up to 10" wide or tall or $75 and up for a line or name between 10" and 13" wide. 

I may offer discounted pricing for multiples of the same item, whether the name or monogram is the same on all, or different monograms/names but on the same item and location. The pricing for this varies depending on quantity, embroidery desired, and timing. Generally smaller names on a set of 12 items may range from $15-$20 each depending on the item, size or type of font/embroidery, and timing, and I can tell you once I see the project what the cost will be.

Note: I do not accept work on vintage or other items (handkerchiefs, christening gowns, etc)  that are not replaceable due to sentimentality or unavailability, or that are so thin that the needles and/or pull of the stitches might damage the item.  It is up to customers to inform me when items are irreplaceable so that I can politely decline to work on them.


Do you deliver locally?

Yes, I can deliver. I charge $40 and up for within SF delivery (more if across town mid-day, or if there are large or many boxes); $100 and up for outside of San Francisco (Marin, San Jose, East Bay) depending on distance and how many boxes. I schedule deliveries as needed and when I have availability.


Can't I just call for a price quote?

Please do not call for pricing information as that leads to misunderstandings and inaccurate expectations. Instead, read the pricing guidelines on the FAQ page. I need to see your logo or artwork and the item to be embroidered to give accurate pricing. With the understanding that I have a pricing structure starting at 12 pieces for any new digitized work (I can do one piece or several, but the minimum charge applies), and a $400 minimum price, bzsews@yahoo.com is the address to send your artwork and a brief description of your project. I will get back to you with a quote just as soon as I can, as time permits.

I will take orders for less than 12 pieces, but considering the time it takes to program, run samples, correspond, etc, and do the work, the price for less than 12 pieces is not less than the above minimum.


What days are you open?

In general, when I am available to meet with customers, my drop off/pick up hours are 9 AM to 1 PM Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I love meeting my customers, but am a small custom shop so it may be best to check with me (by text please) at 415 235-0305 before driving over.

When I have large orders, I can not have customers in my shop and I can not stop working to discuss new work. Therefore, unless I have specified that I can meet with clients outside of the mid-day hours, the shop door is often closed even when I am in.

By appointment, though, I can open my garage door to meet for drop off or pickup outside the above posted hours. Text is best (I can't hear my phone ringing or return calls due to the noise when the machines are running).

I do not live at my shop location.

There are times during the year when I am unavailable; when I am out of town on personal or business trips; when I have appointments, and occasionally at the last minute, due to circumstances beyond my control.  

Please send your request including artwork, other details, quantity, impending deadline for your project either by text to me at 415 235-0305 or to my son John 415 305-0283, or email (bzsews@yahoo.com)  before dropping in (patience is necessary as I can not start on new orders until the ones that are already scheduled are done).


Can you embroider a Giants or other team logo for me? (No; I respect trademarks and copyrights)

I can not embroider licensed designs without written permission from the trademark or copyright owner.


Can you embroider on messenger bags, golf bags, or backpacks?

Yes and no. Depending on the bag and the material and location, the possibility and price varies due to production issues. The area to be embroidered needs to be large enough to fit in an embroidery hoop and over the base of the Tajima machine, on an area without pockets, zippers, or straps in the way.

I will embroider on golf bag pockets or bat bag pockets when the pocket comes off. The machinery doesn't work with large, rigid pieces.

Often I can not tell without seeing the actual bag whether I can embroider on the bag/backpack/messenger bag.

When attempting to embroider, there is a very real chance that some items may not work, and while trying to do the embroidery, the bag may be damaged or the embroidery may be imperfect. This is an issue with manufacturing, and it is normal to expect to provide additional bags just in case. I will not attempt to work on areas or bags that I suspect will not work. 

I can not embroider on padded or neoprene items such as insulated lunchboxes or suitcases.

Prices for names on items like messenger bags and backpacks start at $40.00 per item and can be more.

Logo or specialty lettering pricing requires digitizing, and there is a $400 minimum embroidery cost for initial orders.


Will you embroider large letters or numbers on my jersey (tackle twill)? (No)

Short answer: no...Longer answer: I don't usually do these items, with very few exceptions. The letters and numbers need to be ordered from a die-cut company and then digitized and embroidered individually, which makes one piece very expensive.

I suggest finding a hockey or soccer pro shop that has the capacity to do tackle twill for team jerseys.


Will you embroider on vintage or handmade items?

I may decline to take work that involves sentimental* items, due to the risk that the embroidery process may damage them.

I do not take work on vintage items that are no longer available to be replaced, due to the risk that the embroidery process may damage them.

I am not responsible for items brought to me to work on; for their replacement or the cost of their replacement. 

The machinery and equipment I use is for commercial use. The area to be embroidered has to be hooped very tightly to keep the fabric from shifting while it is embroidered. This can leave a mark on the fabric, and the pulling of the hoop and embroidery can tear the fabric. 

When I suspect this may happen, I will, of course, decline to work on the item. . 

It is implied that when you bring an item to be embroidered, you assume the risk. Needles poke small holes in material. That is the nature of sewing or embroidery. 

I am not an expert on every fabric or material that may be brought to me, and if damage occurs, it is out of my control. If I have been given extra pieces to first run samples, and the samples show that the embroidery will not work, I will not embroider on the actual item  (and the samples are charged the same as for the actual embroidery, because they take time on the machine(s)).

*sentimental items are valuable to you for reasons other than the cost of the item. They include but are not limited to: baby clothes that your mother made for you years ago; christening gowns passed down from generations; hankies that your grandma owned; christmas stockings that were lovingly made by you or your friend or your ancestor; book covers for your children's school that need to be personalized; things you acquired long ago and want to pass down, etc. 


Can I bring towels in to be monogrammed?

Yes, I monogram or embroider names on towels. Depending on the size and thickness of towels, pre-programmed lettering on washcloths or towels start at $30 each. Large lettering such as names, up to 10" wide starts at $50 each.

Discount pricing is for same item/color/area/monogram/size. Logos or custom lettering requires programming and digitizing fees, and there is a $400 minimum regardless of quantity.

Please allow 2-3 weeks to avoid a rush charge.


Do you embroider Greek Letters?

I do not offer mega Greek letter embroidery (applique) which is the large one or two color letters made of fabric and sewn onto garments or sashes, with few exceptions. I am not set up for die-cut letters, and one single mega Greek letter embroidery can easily take half a work day, which means my machines (and me) are unavailable for my regular work. (I charge $200 or more for a set of megagreek letters, if I agree to take them on.)

 I can tag garments with lettering on the hood, back, sleeves, and I have several crests programmed from past customers (Sigma Omicron Pi is one) that I can embroider for you. Prices for lettering is similar to names or monograms; $30 per embroidered area is standard for one line. The crest ranges from  $25 (small) and up ($75-$100 large) depending on size.

Standard Greek fonts are programmed specifically for small embroidery (up to 1" tall). The font can be embroidered larger using a fill stitch at additional cost.

 

  


I only need 2 shirts embroidered. Can you do this?

Yes, I can embroider two (or any number of pieces). My guideline for an initial order is 12 or more pieces (of the same item, embroidery size and location, done at the same time) because programming a logo is the same cost no matter how many items are being embroidered, which makes small orders cost considerably more per piece. 

If you truly need less than 12 pieces, the minimum price for an order that requires digitizing (a logo), or lettering that is not a pre-programmed, standard font, is $400, due to the time it takes to run samples and edit logos or other artwork. If you need it in less than 2 weeks, plan on paying more.


Can you bring your embroidery machines to my event? (No)

No, my machines weigh thousands of pounds, and are not portable.


I don't understand the minimum pricing and the digitizing costs. Can you explain further?

Thank you for reading the FAQ section.

I am not selling a product, and am not advertising or offering a set price, as that leads to misunderstanding of the concept what unknowns will cost, which comes with unrealistic expectations, especially when the project changes. Since I take on work on items that I do not provide, and since each logo is different, there is no way for me to offer a standard price and therefore, the pricing is theoretical, to give an idea of what to expect.

The digitizing (programming your logo for embroidery) starts at $125.00 but can cost much more, as it is based on the time it takes to program a logo. For example, your estimate for a chest area logo can easily be $150 or more or less;  it is not unusual for a large, very detailed image to cost $500 or $1000 or more to program, when it takes many hours or several days for the programming. 

The minimum $400 cost for a new logo (which has to be programmed as opposed to a name with a standard pre-programmed font) is because often it takes many edits and samples to program an image so the final product is presentable, and multiple hours equals more $$. Most new jobs that are for logos or other programmed embroideries take half a day or more, which can run $500 to $1000 when I am working solely on one project, using the digitizing program and the embroidery machines, to create a usable design file.

For very simple logos, the $400 minimum may include the actual embroidery on a number of items, which varies depending on how long the embroidery of each piece takes; understand that the costs are for labor and machine time, which can not be determined until the project is complete


What other options are there for embroidery that you can not accommodate?

I love meeting customers and welcome inquiries. I understand there is a need for many projects I just can't do. I have to decline projects when I don't have the specific equipment or when I am not certain I can do them, (even if it may be technically possible for me to do them) or I know I won't have time within several months. 

For embroidery designs without paying me to have one programmed, search online for "embroidery designs .dst" (which is the extension that Tajima machines run on). There are lots of preprogrammed embroidery designs. Be sure it is an appropriate size, and you can send me the link to the file to see what it might cost to have it embroidered if you provide the file. An approximation is that it will cost $40 minimum or 3 times the stitch count (a basic design at 2000 stitches still needs to be sampled and hooped and loaded into the machine, so that is the minimum; a larger design may be 15,000 stitches which would be about $45.00, or a jacket back stitch count could be 120,000 stitches which can take 240 minutes to embroider one piece or one sample (3 hours) and might cost $360 plus sampling or custom threads if needed). plus sales tax, for estimated examples). 

If you are interested in embroidery, personal embroidery machines are sold at many stores that sell sewing machines. The preprogrammed files can be embroidered with a personal embroidery machine, and you can learn to do that! I recommend buying a machine from a local distributor that will also sell you appropriate software and include training for the machine and software. 

I was a lifelong sewer who was interested in embroidery, and I started by buying a machine (I chose to buy an industrial Tajima machine) and later the digitizing software, and learned by trial and error over the past 21 years.  

Other embroidery shops are 707 Embroidery Zone in Napa (Carlos), and for caps locally, Off Top on Mission Street (Armando). 


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