For people who have an eye for design, home staging may be a lucrative career choice. If you are looking to get your home staging business off the ground, there are some important things that you need to know to get started. The most commonly asked question is: how much should I charge for home staging?
As a home stager, you should plan to charge between $500 and $1,000 per month for every fully-staged room. When setting your rate, be sure to consider your competitors’ rates, the size of each project, and whether you’ll be using a client’s existing furniture or providing new furniture.
Your pricing may also depend on the local market, types of furniture needed, or how much existing furniture you have to work with.
All that said, if you’re still a little unsure of what you should charge, keep reading.
For the rest of this guide, we’re going to help you through the process of starting your home staging business and getting the price just right.
Let’s get to it!
Decide On What Services You Want To Offer
Before you get started, decide on what services you would like to offer your clients.
And while you might thing, “the more services I offer, the more money I can potentially make,” don’t fall into this trap. As with any business, it’s important to identify the things you do well, and the things you don’t want to do.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some services require a lot of additional work. So, depending on your availability, there may be certain services that just don’t make sense for you.
Ultimately, it’s better to start small and expand than it is to offer too many services and either burn-out or provide poor service.
Most home staging professionals offer consulting services to their clients.
Some homeowners may just need a little help developing a plan to rearrange furniture and stage their property. In those cases, you can offer your expertise for a consultation fee.
To avoid having your time wasted, you may also want to charge a consultation fee to clients to evaluate a property and provide a quote.
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Stage Existing Furniture
Most homeowners still live on the property they are trying to sell.
Because of that, there may be existing furniture that simply needs to be rearranged to show off the potential of the house.
This is great for home staging professionals that don’t want to deal with the hassle of securing leased furniture. However, it does place a limit on your staging/design capabilities.
That said, with this service, you may still need to provide minor decorative items such as artwork, vases, and rugs throughout the space.
Full-service home stagers provide leased furniture that can be used until the home is sold.
This is especially important if the property is empty.
Prospective buyers may have difficulty imagining themselves living in the house if it is a blank slate.
This service requires making connections with a supplier who can provide the leased furniture. So, this might not be a service you want to offer when you’re just starting out.
Curb Appeal Services
First impressions are everything.
In fact, most buyers start to form an opinion about a property the moment they step out of their car.
Therefore, you can offer to stage outdoor areas such as porches and patios. You can also hire a landscaping professional to clean up the bushes, mow the lawn, and plant flowers ahead of an open house.
Just make sure to mark-up any costs you incur.
In addition to traditional home staging, you can also make a little more money by offering additional services such as hiring a janitorial company to deep clean the kitchen or a painting contractor to tone down boldly colored rooms.
Now that you know what service your business will offer, there are next steps and connections that you need to make before taking on your first clients.
Connect With Furniture Rental Companies
If you are planning to provide staging with leased furniture, you will need to connect with some furniture suppliers.
But before you employ their services, make sure to ask about delivery timeframes, lease terms, and pricing.
Also, I recommend shopping around and finding the right furniture vendor for you.
After all, competition is the best way to ensure your vendors are putting their best foot forward. Plus, it never hurts to have a backup company in case your selected vendor can’t come through in the middle of a project.
When you first start out as a home stager, it’s beneficial to create some basic marketing materials that you can give to prospective clients such as business cards, brochures, or a website.
If you create a website, include some before and after photos that demonstrate how your clients can expect you to transform their space.
Offer Your Services For Free
As you are working to establish your reputation, you might want to offer your services for free to a friend or family member who is trying to sell a house. This is a great way to build your portfolio and get examples to share with new clients.
This also allows you to iron out potential challenges in your process before you encounter them on a paid project.
Setting Your Pricing
The amount you charge to your clients will depend on many factors including what services you offer, geographic location, and your reputation.
There are a few things to consider when deciding on your pricing model.
Whether you are simply providing advice to a homeowner or real estate agent or doing a full home evaluation, you should charge for the time you spend reviewing the property and creating a recommendation.
Don’t forget to factor in things like drive time when developing your consulting fee.
As a good starting point, you might consider calling a few home staging companies in your area to find out what they charge for the initial consultation.
Restaging Existing Furniture
This option is the easiest since you don’t have to worry about bringing in leased furniture.
However, you will likely need to hire a small crew to help you reorganize the space.
In some cases, you may actually need to have some furniture removed to make the space less cluttered.
In those cases, offering storage services can be a great way to make additional money as a home stager.
Monthly Furniture Rental
If the project requires furniture, you can charge your customer a fee for each item.
Simply take the cost to lease the furniture and add a small markup. Be sure to include all costs from the rental company including taxes and/or delivery charges.
Offer Various Packages
Let’s be honest, customers like options.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to offer multiple packages for your clients to choose from.
For example, you could offer a basic package that only covers high traffic areas such as the living room and kitchen.
A medium package could include the entire interior space of the house.
A premium package might include other perks such as staging for exterior spaces or even deep cleaning.
When buyers walk through the house, they may decide that they like the decor or furniture that you have staged.
As a home stager, this is an opportunity to make a little money.
When setting up relationships with your furniture vendors, ask them about their affiliate programs that allow home staging professionals to keep a percentage of the profits on furniture sold to homebuyers.
You might get custom requests from clients that allow you to add a little bit to your quote. Try to be accommodating but be cautious about taking on requests that are way outside your expertise.
Oh, and make sure to create a custom quote for every additional service you perform. If your client wants you to do work outside the normal scope of a project, it’s critical that you charge them for it.
Finding Clients And Growing Your Business
As with any business, finding and signing your first few clients can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are tons of places to find homeowners, real estate agents, and brokers who need your services.
If you want to find clients as a home stager, it’s important to both set up a website and build a social media presence. These will give potential clients a good way to view your work, and contact you when they need your staging services.
Additionally, sites like Craigslist make for a great place to advertise your services to people in your local community.
Network With Real Estate Professionals
Reach out to all the real estate agents and brokers in your area.
Let them know who you are and what services you offer. The best way to do this is to call their office and ask if you can schedule an appointment or take them for a cup of coffee.
You might even consider offering to do the first few jobs for at cost to gain their trust.
Give Presentations About Home Staging
Reach out to your local networking groups or Realtor’s Association about attending an upcoming meeting.
These organizations are always looking for people to present to their members.
Networking events are a great way to show that you are an expert and meet real estate professionals.
Expand into Commercial Real Estate
Don’t limit yourself to just residential real estate.
You might offer to stage a lobby area for an office building that is for sale.
Apartment complexes also sometimes have a model unit that needs to be staged to show to new tenants.
Visit Open Houses
Going to open houses is a good way to meet potential customers and real estate agents.
If you choose to take this route, look for houses that have been on the market for a while that might need a little boost to get it sold.
More and more people are buying homes to rent out as vacation rentals.
However, getting short-term tenants can be difficult if the furniture layout and decor aren’t appealing. For that reason, a little professional help can secure more guests.
Look for vacation rentals in your area on Airbnb or VRBO and reach out to the owners to offer your services.
In many cases, vacation rental owners have more than one property. So, this is a great way to secure a lot of long-term business.
How do I find furniture rental vendors? Finding a furniture rental company can be a challenge depending on where you live. There are many national furniture rental companies such as CORT or Brook Furniture Rentals. You can also reach out to local furniture stores and make arrangements with them.
Do home staging professionals need special training? While there is no requirement to have special training, home staging professionals should have an eye for interior design. There are also certifications available through RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) to demonstrate to clients that you are a serious professional.