If you make a living as an interior designer or decorator any slow down in the local economy impacts your business. Running a home staging business in a recession is much more “recession-proof” – keep reading to learn why.
Most “non essentials” drop to the bottom of the priority list when someone is worried about money. So any plans to hire an interior designer or decorator are put on hold during tough times.
Nobody really NEEDS interior design services, especially in “have-not” times.
Maybe you’re one of the many trained interior decorators who work retail for a 100% commission. If the economy gets worse and you’re working purely on commission, where does that leave you?
Even in good times, if you work for 100% commission you might as well be your own boss. Then you’ll have the freedom to market yourself to new clients rather than being tied to any one store and sitting there day after day hoping someone walks in.
When I decided to take the reigns of my life back and do something that would allow me to profit from my creativity, I considered a career in interior design.
I struggled with that option countless times across a 20 year period when I was unsatisfied in my work. I researched, and even interviewed, many interior design schools and never enrolled.
I decided with my BA, MBA and a couple decades of experience in business, being in a classroom for two to four years (with students 20 years my junior) was not something I wanted to do.
Never mind tuition costs and the tremendous loss of income while you’re a student.
Who knows how many years of work experience as a designer or decorator would be needed after graduation to really start earning money. I wanted to unleash my creativity and love for decorating, but I definitely needed to start making money as soon as possible.
So, I started my own home staging company.
As soon as my business was launched, the money was coming in. It was all profit because I run my business without having any of my own inventory of furniture or accessories.
Within my second year as a home stager I was making up to $10,000 per month. Compare that to the median annual salary of $51,959 a year in a big city for an Interior Designer (with a college degree in Interior Design and 5 years of experience) according to Salary.com.
If you’re an interior designer or decorator and you aren’t making enough money, consider adding Home Staging to your service mix, or switching to a more profitable career as a Home Stager altogether.
Here’s where you’ll find part two of this story: why home staging is more profitable than decorating, especially in tough economic times.
Being a supplier to the interior design industry at http://www.fotoviva.co.uk we began to feel the pinch a few months back. If you can, one way out of it is to innovate so you have something new that can help you through the down times. We are always looking to improve and have some great things in the pipeline.
Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack the thread, just saying keep it fresh and you should be ok 😉
While I so appreciate your candid tips and motivation, saying you (Debra) were earning $10k per month in your second year is probably more like the fine print in any of the ads out there. “Results not typical” comes to my head. You have decorating skills AND a marketing/business degree, which is advantageous, I’m sure. But in a rural setting, what are the odds? And now, in this economy–what are the odds of me replacing my current salary as a teacher, with a salary that even matches, much less exceeds? Just trying to come up with the amount for the training I desperately want from your program would take me months to recover financially from.
I SO want to take the dare, but financially it’s scary.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva says
Michelle, You are quite right, there is nothing typical or average about my results in my second year as a home stager. I don’t achieve typical results because I work way harder at anything I attempt than the average person would. And you are quite right that I am also blessed with decorating talent. If someone doesn’t have that, they have no business trying to become home stagers. Just as I would fail miserably as a professional singer, I’m just not blessed with a great singing voice and no amount of training would fix that.
I can also tell you that I would have made way more money in my first year as a home stager if I had the benefit of knowing everything I figured out the hard way after 24 months in the business. Since I candidly share what I learned with all my students, they have a distinct advantage over others who haven’t taken my training and have to figure out these things the hard way. For example, stuff like:
how to properly price your staging services
how to never have to run around doing free estimates
how to make sure you get paid immediately for your services and upfront for any shopping you’ll do
how to market your business successfully, etc.
Now to your point about a rural setting. You’re right it’s unlikely that you’ll make the same amount as someone in a major urban area. But you don’t have to!
Your cost of living also isn’t as high. I live in a city where non-luxury condos can sell for $700 a square foot and where an average 3 bedroom house of 1500 square feet can cost $600,000 (and many of those need a new kitchen and new wiring). It costs $3 to take the bus, or $10 an hour to park your car downtown, and if I wasn’t self employed, half my income would go to the government to pay income tax. I could go on and on, but I hope I’ve made the point that it’s important to consider how much you need to make to live happily and comfortably wherever it is that you are.
If it will take you months to recover from an investment of about $1000 to start a new business, then I’d suggest that there are other issues at work then just a fear of not replacing your teacher’s salary. You really have to take a cold hard look at your situation and if you’re not happy with it, how it will change if you just keep doing what you’ve been doing up until now. Anyone contemplating starting a business can think of hundreds of reasons why it won’t work. Just as anyone rationally considering whether to have children would have to conclude that it’s completely impractical. After all it costs over $100,00 to raise a child not to mention the incredible inconvenience. Yet we still joyfully have children and millions of people joyfully pursue their passions and open their own businesses.
I think you’ll find these FREE resources helpful:
Ask Staging Diva: Can I grow a home staging business in a depressed economy?
If you want to be a home stager, luck won’t make it happen (be sure to also read the comments attached to this article)
How to tell if home staging will work in your small town – Part 1
How to tell if home staging will work in your small town – Part 2
Good luck Michelle, you are the captain of your ship and it’s up to you to decide where you want to take it!