Many new home stagers— and sadly even some who have had a struggling home staging business for a year or more— believe that getting better at choosing/rearranging furniture is what it takes to be successful.
In other words, they’re focused solely on the practice of home staging and decorating, and not on the business side of the home staging success equation.
You can make your business way more enjoyable and boost your home staging profits with these 4 tips:
1. Set and stick to your boundaries.
Reliable home stagers and decorators have boundaries in their client relationships. While a home staging business is a service business, that doesn’t mean you have to be at your client’s beck and call and ask “how high?” every time someone else says “jump!”
Or perhaps you have a home staging client who has decided they’d rather purchase their own home staging accessories rather than pay you to shop for them. Yet, every time they see something in a store, they call your cell phone for free on-the-spot advice on their purchase. Again, you are the one letting this happen and perpetuating the practice by always being there to answer their questions.
It’s up to you to create boundaries around what you do and when. Then clearly communicate how you work to your potential clients.
Don’t feel you have to be crabby about it or that you’ll scare your clients away.
You want to deal with people who have respect for you as a professional, not people who will constantly try and take advantage of your desire to please.
Once you’ve established and clearly communicated your boundaries, remember there’s also nothing wrong with “firing a client,” when they’re draining your time, energy or pocket book.
2. Establish home staging business processes.
Constantly reinventing the wheel can be a drain on your home staging business profits, not to mention your energy and patience.
You can establish processes for a surprisingly high percentage of what you do. Once you have these in place, you’ll:
- Run things more efficiently (cuts time and increases profits).
- Increase the percentage of prospects who become paying clients.
- Identify areas you can delegate to others.
- Free your time for more creative activities and less administration.
- Get more, and better, testimonials from clients.
- Lower your operating and marketing costs.
3. Be Resourceful.
Profitable home stagers are willing to “go-the-extra-mile” for their clients but they also realize they need to be compensated for their home staging expertise and creativity.
Your profitability will also be directly related to how resourceful you are with what you have.
For example, I spoke with a new home stager last week who was planning on renting a hotel room and bringing in rental furniture to stage it so she could get home staging portfolio photos.
She hadn’t priced this out yet, but it was obvious to me that this would cost her about $1,000 by the time she factored in the hotel cost (assuming any hotel would even allow this), rental furniture, truck and a couple of men for moving everything, pick up and delivery, insurance, etc.
Despite the time, hassle and costs of her idea, at the end of it all she’d have for her home staging portfolio was one room’s worth of before and after photos!
She hadn’t stopped to consider the resources she already had in her own home, or those of her friends/family before assuming she had to go out and spend all this money.
4. Offer initial staging consultations by phone.
Rather than running out to a potential client’s home and falling into the free estimate trap, spend 5 to 20 minutes on the phone with them before proposing an in person consultation for a fee. That’s your chance to learn about your prospect’s needs and wants and demonstrate how you’re the solution to their home staging, interior redesign or color problem.
In the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, I share the business model I created in 2002 and have continually refined as my own home staging business grew from $100 per home staging consultation to over $10,000 per month in home staging and redesign income.
This transformation did not come without a lot of struggle and wasted time and money. But I finally figured out the staging business formula and I love sharing it with others.
What tips do you have to increase profits in your home staging business? Do you have any business processes you like to follow? Please share in the comments below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Home Staging and Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva, has written about business and marketing since the 1990s when she wrote a column for Profit Magazine. She is the author of several guides including Staging Diva Sales Script: How to Avoid the Free Estimate Trap and Turn Homeowners into Home Staging Customers in One Phone Conversation.
Photo Credit: Flickr, used under Creative Commons