The question of when to get paid as a stager shouldn’t feel like you’re gambling at a roulette table.
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.)
Don’t Wait to Get Paid Until After the House Sale
Come to an agreement about your terms of payment before ever taking on a home staging project, large or small.
Don’t agree to be paid when the real estate sale closes. Unless you’re earning a nice percentage of the final sale price (comparable to what an agent might get). Personally, even with a potentially lucrative arrangement like that (assuming an expensive house), I’ve still never agreed to this in 2 decades as a home stager.
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:
There are too many factors that go into the selling of a property that a home stager has no control of. That’s why it’s crazy to wait until the house sells to get compensated. If the sellers suddenly decide to take their house off the market, you’d never get paid.
The house could be trashed after you’ve staged it.
After you’ve finished doing the best staging job, the sellers might change things. Or fail to keep the home in showing-ready condition. If it takes too long to sell, or doesn’t sell at all, you’ll never get paid.
Or if they keep dropping their asking price because the house no longer looks staged, your eventual payout will keep going down too!
You Can’t Control the Agent
The real estate industry is flooded with agents. Some good and some not. Your home staging client might make a poor choice of agent. They might neglect to promote the listing, take awful photos, or price it improperly.
You have no control over this and yet your fee is hanging in the balance if you’ve agreed to be paid upon closing.
Getting Paid for Home Staging Shouldn’t Be a Gamble
Many things can happen after your staging project is finished. It’s simply too risky to wait to get paid until a house sells. You could wait months (or years depending on the market) 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
- At risk
- Waiting to get paid at some unknown future date
Curious About How Much Home Stagers Make?
I’ve prepared a handy Tip Sheet on How Much Home Stagers Make.
You’ll learn the 4 phases of a home staging project and how much you can charge for each one.