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. 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.
Home staging is a service business. Yet, that doesn’t mean you have to be at your client’s beck and call and ask “how high?” every time someone says “jump!”
If you’re annoyed by the real estate agent who calls you at 10PM and demands that you be at their client’s the next morning for a home staging consultation, you have only yourself to blame.
Or perhaps you have a home staging client who’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 you 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.
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. 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. She planned 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.
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.
Click here for the exact script I use to turn a caller into a paying client in a single phone call.
Home Staging Profits – Some Final Thoughts
Dale Carnegie once said, “You never achieve success unless you like what you’re doing.”
One way to interpret that is you need to like what you’re doing to be able to stick with it long enough to make it a success.
While that’s true, here’s an even better interpretation.
Just making home staging profits doesn’t make you successful. True success means you’re also enjoying what you’re doing. At least that’s how I’ve always viewed being your own boss.
You can make lots of money working for someone else. So if you’re going to be successful as a business owner, you should ALSO like what you’re doing! Build a business that meets more of the needs than just the financial ones.
When I started my home staging business I knew I didn’t want to get buried in paperwork or run around doing free estimates. I also didn’t want to go into debt buying my own home staging inventory.
So I was determined to do it differently. I didn’t follow common practices other home stagers were doing that were time consuming and not necessarily profitable.
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.
I finally figured out the staging business formula and I love sharing it with others. Learn more about my home staging courses here.
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.
Patricia Sylvester Ebrahimi says
Eight years into my Professional Home Staging BUSINESS, I still only buy new inventory when I have secured a new signed contract to pay for it. And, only buying inventory I know I can use in multiple ways is also key. For example, to stay on trend I just added today’s patterned pillows to inventory I already had in stock. They have colors I can use with multiple pieces and looks I own.
Debra Gould says
Thanks for sharing your experience Patricia!
Patricia Archibald says
I love the fact that you are interested in your students and take the time to acknowledge even the smallest of accomplishments. I have added refurbished unloved furniture. Maybe it could be my own private line. Wouldn’t that be cool. I have sold every piece I did over. How cool is that?
Debra Gould says
Thanks for that feedback Patricia! Very much appreciated.
I believe there are no “small” accomplishments 🙂 There are so many hurdles to overcome when we’re trying something new (not the least of which is our own inner critic).
I love your idea to refurbish unloved furniture, and yes, why couldn’t you have your own line?! Very cool, keep me posted.
Mary Ann Benoit says
Thanks Debra. Whenever I turn down or do not pursue a client because of red flags such as wanting me to come stage their house tomorrow because they want to list the next day I hear you in my head saying “They are not your client”.
Debra Gould says
Excellent Mary Ann, thanks for commenting!!
naomi pena says
Thanks for this very helpful information, I am also trying to expand my portfolio, I have used my own house for before and after pictures and I a few of my friends have offered their homes, so I am working on that right now. After taking your course, I know that I don’t need to keep inventory.
Debra Gould says
That’s great Naomi, thanks for sharing and I’m glad I’ve saved you from tying up a bunch of money, or worse–going into debt– buying inventory you don’t need!
Cari Calhoun says
Timely as always Debra! I have been thinking about all 4 of these aspects lately. Like the broker who called and wanted me to drop everything and drive across the cities in a snowstorm THAT DAY and then said she would call someone else. Well that’s exactly what she did because that’s not someone I want to work with anyway. As far as the consults over the phone, this is a great idea, I met a professional organizer yesterday and she actually advertises FREE 30 minute consults over the phone on her website. What a great idea people love free things, you get them to pick up the phone and YOU are in control of how much advice you give them (with out driving anywhere) not to mention you start to build trust. Another great blog Debra!
Debra Gould says
Thanks so much for your comments and support Cari! I really appreciate you sharing that real estate agent example and how you handled it. I know this will help other stagers who may be afraid to say no.
Feel free to share this article with your fellow stagers on Facebook.
Linda MacDonald says
I will be doing my training this week and can’t wait to get started in this new and exciting career!
Thank you for the article and comments all very helpful.
Does anyone have any ideas to share for storage? Ways to manage the cost for storage? Thank you!! … Wish you all the best for a successful new year!
Debra Gould says
Glad this article was helpful Jackie. Storage is a huge issue for home stagers who have their own inventory of furniture and accessories. That’s why I teach my Staging Diva students how to run their business without buying/storing any of their own stuff.
Are you sure you want to keep your own inventory? You might find this article helpful.
Home Staging Inventory Problems Make Home Stagers Think Twice
Thanks for commenting Jackie and wishing you every success!