Sewing businesses often specialize in custom clothing or home decor projects for individual customers. A variety of factors are at work in every project, requiring specialized forms to maintain information. Business owners maintaining proper paperwork are more efficient, better organized and less stressed.
Importance of Forms
Forms allow sewing businesses to keep information organized and easily accessible. Because projects are often customized for each client, forms help the business owner to gather the necessary information in one place before beginning a project. Contracts, receipts and invoices also serve to protect both the business owner and the client in the event of a financial or contractual disagreement. Small business owners should always keep proper records for filing income taxes each year.
Customer Information Forms
By creating a customer information form with a sewing customer, the business owner is able to keep a record of each customer that includes contact information, length of business relationship, history of business and other necessary information. Through customer information forms the seamstress is able to keep customer measurements, customized patterns, pattern information and customer preferences on file for future usage. Contact information is beneficial when offering specials during specific times of the year, such as prom or the changing of seasons.
History of business with a client helps the business owner with quoting of project costs. Business history allows an owner to look back on past work to see how much was charged and how much time a specific project took to complete. This allows a seamstress to make precise price quotes for each client. Stored in files, customer information forms give business owners the ability to see their customers on a broad or individual basis.
Every project for a customer should have a written contract. Beyond laying out what the specific project involves, the project contract should be specialized for a sewing business. Measurements, pattern involved, fabric choices, estimated cost and project timeline should be laid out. For example, a customer comes in for a pageant dress for her daughter. A project contract will include the measurements of the daughter, the timeline for fittings and delivery of the finished project, who provides the fabric and notions, who keeps the extra fabric and notions, the estimated cost and what pattern is used. Pictures can be taken and added to the contract. Room should be left for any changes that are made or notes taken during each stage of the sewing project. The contract should lay out what will happen if the customer is not satisfied with the project. This protects both the business owner and the customer.
Any time money changes hands, the business owner should create a receipt for both the client and for the business records. Receipts are necessary to document the income of a business for local, state and federal tax purposes. Receipt books allow for a duplicate copy of each receipt written and are available through office supply stores. Various computer programs allow for the creation of customizable receipts for the small business owner. A receipt for a sewing business should include the date of pickup, description of clothing, whether the clothing was a custom piece or an alteration, name and contact information of the customer, type of transaction received and the signature or name of the person receiving the money. A disclaimer included on the receipt may contain a statement that gives the client a specific amount of time to bring the clothing back for additional alterations at no cost, such as in the case of custom wedding dresses or formal wear. A return policy on the receipt helps protect the sewing business from frivolous returns and informs the client what can and cannot be returned.
Lillian Teague is a professional writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in taking hard-to-understand subjects and making them easily understood. She's written thousands of articles for newspaper, periodicals and the Internet. Published work includes VA publications, MMS publications, USAF's The Mobility Forum, Wheretostay.com, Rateempire.com, 1Loansusa.com and many others.