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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stopped at a local auto upholstery shop today to ask about the cost of installing pre-made seat covers for my '66. I was a little shocked with the response of $500 to just install the covers (2 buckets and the rear seat). Any work on the seat foam or extra padding would be more. Is this quote out of line?
 

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My interior guy charges $100 per piece except for a front split back bench which he does for $125.
That's with me supplying the covers, of course.
 

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I had my front bench seat and rear seat (PUI) covered for $220--and they added some cotton batting to the bench seat.
Mine was $375 for the same work.

Don

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Wow... I worked at a mattress factory as a builder/sewer for 5 years. I have lots of experience with a hog ring gun and such. If you order the foam and covers and your springs are in good shape, it isn't that hard to put the covers on yourself.
 

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I bought my seat covers and foam from OPGI and had a local Amish upholstery shop cover them. They have done some classic car seats, boat seats and buggy seats. I only had them do the front buckets, because I tried and it was a B*#[email protected] Anyway they only charged me $129 for the pair. They looked great. The back seat I did myself and it was easy. Unless you have alot of patience I wouldn't recommend trying the buckets. See page 3 of my cardomain site for interior shots.
 

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Wow... I worked at a mattress factory as a builder/sewer for 5 years. I have lots of experience with a hog ring gun and such. If you order the foam and covers and your springs are in good shape, it isn't that hard to put the covers on yourself.
No. When I was 19 and had little money and a lot of exuberance, I covered my own. I had a buddy's mom show me how to do one seat back to get me started - she had upholstery experience. I even borrowed the hog ring pliers! Do a search here and you'll learn all the tricks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow - Thanks everyone for the response. Apparently there is quite a difference in prices from one shop to the next. I would probably be ok doing the rear myself. However I took off one of the old front seat covers and I think this is a job for someone with experience. The hardest part would be getting the hog rings on the inner part of the bucket. They were hard enough to get off, I can't see doing the buckets myself.
 

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They are not easy for sure...well the back seats are...I charge right around 200-300 for a whole set and more if there is major spring work to be done cause that is a pain and takes a lot of time...sometimes (usually do to the brand of cover involved) they don't always look top flight either...one can only do the best he can with what he has...
 

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2 years ago...2 buckets and back seat for my '69..upholstery shop quoted $425 to $475 installed, with me supplying the covers and foam for the buckets. They padded up the rear seat as required to make it look nice. Total came out to $475, and they did a really nice job.
 

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Man, I feel fortunate, I just had a set of 66 chevelle buckets done. I supplied the frames he installed cut and installed new foam did the seats in black cloth and vynle trim for $256 for the pair. last summer when I couldnt come up with buckets and all I had was the original bench in my el camino he redid the frames for $185 including foam. Jim
 

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I would like to add this in defense of high end upholstery shop owners...if they charge you $500 you'll get what you pay for...those high end guys are typically very expert at what they do and you won't have any problems with their work because those guys keep really high standards that is why they command the money...remember such a trim shop guy like that is charging $3000-$5000 for show cars and has more then he can do...you ain't gonna have any problems with mickey mouse springs or improperly fitted and ringed in covers...if you have a repop cover that isn't quite right (that happens with the best of them too) they'll catch it repair it and you won't know they did that...they'll be steamed free of wrinkles and the seats will be immaculate looking...
 

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When I went to pick mine up, they said they had to remove and replace the bucket covers numerous times because they didn't look right, I told them I was going to try it myself, they said without a steamer, as Jeff brought up, that there was no way they would look right,sometimes you have to pay for quality,sometimes you get lucky too.
 

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I would like to add this in defense of high end upholstery shop owners...if they charge you $500 you'll get what you pay for...those high end guys are typically very expert at what they do and you won't have any problems with their work because those guys keep really high standards that is why they command the money...remember such a trim shop guy like that is charging $3000-$5000 for show cars and has more then he can do...you ain't gonna have any problems with mickey mouse springs or improperly fitted and ringed in covers...if you have a repop cover that isn't quite right (that happens with the best of them too) they'll catch it repair it and you won't know they did that...they'll be steamed free of wrinkles and the seats will be immaculate looking...
I would say you're right. Any upholstery shop can slap the covers on in a day or less, but it could be a totally different story if you go the extra mile and really make everything fit and look perfect. One possible way to negotiate could be to ask the guys which brand of covers they prefer, what they have used in the past and what kind of problems they expect. If they haven't had a chance to see your seats, maybe a simple inspection could help too. If I were to quote a job like that, I would probably build in quite a bit of fudge for unforseen problems, especially if the covers are provided by the customer.

Personally, I would do it myself. You'll wear your fingers out and you'll also need an extensive vocabulary (some of which will be directed to me for giving you that advice ;)), but I would definitely use the $500 for something that I need more badly.
 

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my local upholstry guy priced my seats at 160 for both buckets with me supplying the foam covers.i am waiting to see some of his work before i drop off my seats.
 

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No. When I was 19 and had little money and a lot of exuberance, I covered my own. I had a buddy's mom show me how to do one seat back to get me started - she had upholstery experience. I even borrowed the hog ring pliers! Do a search here and you'll learn all the tricks.
Silicon Spray Helps a bunch. I have only used the hog ring pliers once. I used an air powered hog ring gun most of the time. Would probably have to use them without the pointed tips to do seats though. What I always liked was the weight.

Big D
 

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the only shop even remotely near me wanted $300 to do the buckets with my stuff....thought that seemed high...& i'm frugal, so i did mine myself, oh yeah, some help from the wife's hands also.....compare it to a long wrestling match out in the hot sun of your deck....i probably got close to 16 hours start to finish in those things, hey, they look good, but i wouldn't do it again.....well worth spending up to $300
 
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