Last week I published a home staging business dilemma thinking it would be fun to do something interactive, giving readers a chance to have their say, or just to think about a scenario they might not have thought of preparing for otherwise.
The scene I set up involved a home stager at a consultation for the absolute perfect home staging project. The job was worth thousands of dollars and everyone was on board to get started, following all the stager’s recommendations. The catch was, the home sellers were only prepared to pay for home staging when the house sold. (Click here to read the original post and to see all of the great comments that were left. A special thank you to those who participated and shared such great information for others to learn from.)
Here’s what I would do in that same situation.
I would come to an agreement about my terms of payment before ever taking on a home staging project, large or small. I would also not agree to be paid when a house sold unless I was earning a nice percentage of the final sale price (comparable to what an agent might get), but even then I’d likely never do it.
Agreeing to those terms is rather like playing a game of roulette. The big payout sounds very exciting, but your chances of actually winning it may be slim. Here’s why:
Things happen. There are too many factors that go into the selling of a property that a home stager has no control of, making it crazy to wait until the house sells to get compensated for my time. If the sellers suddenly decide to take their house off the market, I would never get paid.
The house could be trashed when I leave. After I finished doing the best staging job of my career, the sellers might go around changing things or failing to keep the home in showing-ready condition. It doesn’t sell and I never get paid. Or it sells for far less than the client hoped and then they want to pay me less for my work, forgetting that they “unstaged” my staging!
I don’t know the agent. The real estate industry is flooded with agents. Some good and some not. The staging client might make a poor choice of agent who neglects the listing or prices it improperly for the market it is in. Either way, I have no control over this and yet my fee is hanging in the balance if I’ve agreed to be paid upon closing. This is not a position I’ve ever allowed myself to be in.
There are many, many things that can happen after your staging project is finished and it’s simply too risky to wait to get paid until a house sells. You could be waiting months no matter how fabulous a job you did, or you might never get paid at all.
To quote an old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” That’s because the further into the future your payout is, the less likely you are to ever get it.
I advise students of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to get paid as they go and for some things to get paid up front. While contracts sound great, if the other party isn’t honoring it, you still have to go to the time and expense of suing them. Following my method, you’re never out of pocket, you’re never at risk and you’re never waiting for a large amount of money to come in “sometime” down the road.
To learn how to properly set up your rates and pricing strategies, order Course 2 of the Staging Diva Program. Taking that particular home staging course will ensure you’re setting up your pricing properly and that’s the key to growing a successful home staging business rather than dabbling in a hobby! To learn how I always make sure I get paid, including how I explain my rates and payment terms and what I do when I’m at a home staging consultation, check out Course 3, Taking the Mystery Out Of Home Staging Consultations.