So... You wanna buy a long arm quilting machine?
First of all, if you are looking to be a part of the quilting industry, or you make more than a couple of quilts per year, I heartily recommend doing it! Find the space, figure out the money. Do it. :) But here are a few things to think about before you do. This is the first in a series of a few blog posts. I am going to do an overview today and in following posts, I will delve deeper into some of the consideration topics.
Space was the biggest consideration for me, when it really came down to it. Living in New England, my husband and I live in a 900 square foot house. It is enough space for us and our two quilter dogs. But when you start carving up 900 square feet into a 3 bedroom house, that leaves small rooms. I have a whole bedroom for my studio, but it is 10.5 feet by 11.5 feet. Putting a 12 or even 10 foot frame into that space is literally impossible. I will talk more about this in a later blog, but let's just say that I struggled most with this problem.
The other main factor for me was obviously MONEY. I work from home, my husband is the main earner in our house, I have been running the Etsy site for a number of years, and thinking and planning how I will break into the quilting and sewing industry, or if that's even what I want to do. Well, with my husband's help, I decided to jump into starting a business. Therefore, the long arm machine could be a business expense. Yes, I still have to have the money to pay for it, and we personally funded the purchase, but I also shopped smart. I bought a newer used machine from a reputable dealer. I took a leap. It's a risk, but to me it was worth taking.
Speaking of dealers, that is another major consideration. Spend some time at the shop you intend to buy from. Rent some time on a machine there if they will let you, attend some classes there. Talk to the employees, talk to other customers. Spend as much time as you can there, to make sure you are comfortable with everyone. Do the employees willingly answer your questions? What do other customers say about the service? Including installation and maintenance? Luckily, the closest long-arm dealer to me is a national top seller, and the customers rave about the service, I have spent a lot of time there in classes and renting, and they are great. My installation already happened, and I can say the experience was great. I will, in the future, be telling other customers about my good experience.
To consider with dealer, consider their Maintenance program and professionals. I met the person who does all of the machine maintenance, and feel comfortable that he is competent and professional. I asked a lot of questions, even some I knew the answer to already, and was very comfortable with the answers I received from both the machine tech and from the other employees in the shop.
Brand choice, I guess is the first AND last consideration when buying a long arm machine. Another blog post will follow shortly about how I made my choice. My next blog post will go in-depth with how and why I made the decision that I did on my machine.
So are you interested? Are you curious? I would love to hear from you! I would be happy to answer any questions that you have in the comments below!