Anyone who has taken my training or has attended an Ask Staging Diva Live event knows that I am honest and upfront about how the home staging industry works. It bothers me when I see companies operating unethically.
Home staging associations, training organizations and others offering the latest “get rich quick as a home stager” product or “guaranteed staging job” are popping up almost every month and most of them offer their own special “credential” or unique “certification” for home stagers who sign up.
Despite some of the home staging training marketing you’ll see out there, the truth is that the home staging industry is a completely unregulated field and there are no real credentials or “accreditation” for home stagers.
You don’t need to take any home staging training to call yourself a home stager. You can decide right now that you want to be a home stager; you can get your business cards printed and say on them that you are a professional home stager and nobody can stop you from doing so whether you’re “certified” or not.
I could have made up my own certification or set of credentials and market Staging Diva Training as being the only place where you can get this pretend set of letters to put after your name. But I consciously decided in 2004 when I created the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program that I wouldn’t take that approach because I find it misleading both to potential students, and the public at large.
Marketing based on fake credentials is completely dishonest because there is no such thing in this industry. You could actually go ahead and make up your own set of initials to put after your name since this is an unregulated field.
There’s no governing body that regulates the home staging industry. It’s not the same as if you go to a university and take an interior design program. I cannot call myself an interior designer because that is a regulated industry, not the case with home staging or decorating.
Have you noticed that I’m not so-called accredited?
I decided to become a home stager because I had talent. I started earning money staging houses for clients in January of 2003 and called myself a professional home stager because I decided I was. I built my home staging business around what I knew about business and what I’d learned buying, staging and selling 6 of my own homes.
Even in my very first year of business, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day Magazine and HGTV didn’t questions my expertise or what my home staging credentials were! By year two, I was getting calls from CNN and the Wall Street Journal for interviews, again without anyone asking me to prove that I was a home staging professional.
What the media and my clients care about is that I portray myself in a credible and professional way; I share information in a professional way; I have a very good portfolio of my own before-and-after pictures; I have testimonials from my clients.
What wins clients’ confidence is projecting a professional image and knowing what you’re talking about, not having made-up initials after your name.
There are good home staging training programs out there, but pick one based on what they’ll actually teach you, not because you’re excited about a “certification” or initials to put after your name.
Your success as a home stager doesn’t depend on having the right “credentials,” it depends on whether you know what you need to have a successful home staging business and what you do to establish your credibility as a home stager.
If you have any thoughts on this topic, please share them by leaving a comment below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.