How To Start A Home Staging Business
You’ve probably been thinking about this for a while and, chances are, if you have an eye for design, you may want to start your own home staging business.
Starting your own home staging business can afford you the flexibility of making your schedule, serving those needing help selling their homes, and it’s an obvious way for you to flex your creative muscles. However, it’s no easy task (trust me).
In this post, I’ll walk you through the four key areas of starting a home staging business:
Legal and Accounting
Keep reading to find out how to start a home staging business!
How to Start a Home Staging Business: Legal and Accounting Aspects
Every great business begins with a legal and financial foundation. A home staging business is no exception.
Here are four areas of legal and accounting you should keep in mind when starting your home staging business.
1. Naming and licensing your home staging business
You’ll want to start by naming your home staging business. Make sure it’s something you like and something that your clients will like as well. Then, once you’ve decided on the business name (and make sure that it is not already spoken for in your area), register and license your home staging business with the state you plan on operating in. Here’s how to do that. Congratulations! You now own a home staging business.
2. Create a pricing structure for your home staging business
This is often a difficult step for business owners but it’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to succeed. There are many ways to develop your pricing structure, but two quick ways include 1. Looking at what other home staging businesses are charging and charge that or 2. You can determine your price per project by breaking the price down by the square foot or 3. You can charge per room (a living room costs a certain price, while a bedroom costs another). These methods will help you start your pricing structure.
3. Create home staging contracts for clients
You’re going to want something for a new client to sign to not only show them that you’re serious about working with them but also to cover yourself and your company. Having a client contract will help make you more legitimate and it could help you with unforeseen liability issues. You can find templates online or consult with a local attorney to create a contract that fits your specific home staging business.
4. Get insurance for your home staging business
It’s necessary to attain insurance before you begin working with clients just in case something happens (i.e. you break a client’s portrait, etc.). It would be bad for your business if you ended up in a legal dispute with a client and were obligated to pay for their items (and their legal fees). Search around for companies that can give you the coverage that you are comfortable with.
How to Start a Home Staging Business: Operational Aspects
Once you have the legal and financial pieces of the business in order, you’re going to set your sites on the operational aspects of your home staging business.
Such as suppliers, items necessary to bring your home staging service to life, and design inspiration.
1. Research stores for the furnishes that you will need
Every client is different. Some clients will come with their homes completely bare and ready for you to make something great with a clean canvas. While others will have their furniture and will just need a little touch-up. Either way, you will need to add in décor items to each home you stage, so it’s best to find stores that can supply the furnishings that you will need before taking on clients.
2. Invest in storage space
If you buy large furniture, or your collection of small décor items grows over time, you’ll need a safe place to store everything between your stagings. Google is your friend. Look up local storage spaces/warehouses and see if you can negotiate with the owner on the terms so you don’t have to pay a large monthly fee.
3. Research furniture rental options
Perhaps buying isn’t in your operating expenses budget just yet or you have a big client that needs a lot of furniture/décor. Some staging companies will only bring in small decor pieces (lamps, end tables, artwork, and other accessories) and will rent the large furniture items when needed. Again, Google is your friend. Search for local furniture renting companies and establish a relationship with a few of them. You will be ready for the staging job as long as you prepare!
4. Gather design inspiration
Just like Google, Pinterest, magazines, even some tv shows can be great allies for your home staging business. Design trends come and go, so you will need to stay on top of all the trends within your industry. These are all great resources for finding inspiration, curating looks, and organizing particular trends.
How to Start a Home Staging Business: Marketing
Once you have the foundational aspects of your home staging business in place and you decide on how you will run the business, then it’s time to set your sights on marketing.
Who do you want to target? How will you reach them? These are marketing questions that you need to consider so you can run your home staging business successfully.
1. Conduct local housing market research
Before conducting business, it’s wise to survey the area in which you will be staging homes. For example, is the area you want to work in composed of higher-income families or middle-class singles? If higher income, then you’ll need more expensive pieces. If more middle income, you’ll need furniture that is appealing to that market. Researching the demographics of the area you want to conduct business in will help you to readily appeal to the sellers there.
2. Identify your target market
Remember this – not everyone who sells a home is going to be an ideal client for you. That’s why, at the outset, it’s wise to focus on a specific target market for your home staging business. Maybe you’ll focus on middle-class families or seniors who are looking to sell their homes. Whoever you decide to target, make sure you get extremely specific. This will help you when you develop marketing strategies later.
3. Connect with local realtors
One straightforward way that you can quickly penetrate the housing market is by connecting with local realtors. Their clients are selling, and they will be the best link between you and the seller. They are also just as motivated as you (and the client) to sell homes. Consider going to some open houses or networking events to meet local real estate agents in your area. Be sure to bring your business cards and swap contact information!
4. Decide and execute marketing strategies
There are many ways to reach people but they all might not be the best for your specific target market. Do you need to set up a website? Will you send out mailers? Will you invest in search engine optimization? Again, you’ll need to think about your potential customers and how they will go about looking for your services. Then work backward to determine what marketing strategies you’ll need to execute and any marketing collateral that you might need to design. Make them specific to the target market you named earlier.
How to Start a Home Staging Business: Sales
After marketing comes sales. You’re going to want to have a sales process in place when beginning your home staging business so that signing and onboarding new clients is seamless.
This is the area where you will develop a templated proposal, learn to pitch, and sign clients. Then comes the big moment you’ve been waiting for since starting your business – receiving payment for your hard work!
1. Identify client needs
Before developing a proposal and working with a client, it’s wise to do some discovery work with them to see if 1. You’re a good fit for each other and 2. If you’ll be able to service their home staging needs. This will involve asking questions related to the scope of work (what is it the client wants to be done), the timeline (when does the client need their home staged by), and budget (how much is it going to cost to stage this client’s home and can they afford it). Consider these questions before developing a proposal for a potential client.
2. Develop the home staging proposal
If you’ve determined you’d be a good fit for each other and you can service the client’s needs, then it’s time to move onto the proposal. A home staging proposal is simply a formal document that details what services you will provide, how much they will cost, and the timeline of the work. Developing a templated proposal will help save you time during this process as every client will have unique needs but your process for addressing those needs should remain fairly standardized. Here’s a starting place for a home staging proposal.
3. Walkthrough the proposal with the client
Many stagers will simply email the proposal to the client after they have already met with them either in-person (once they have walked through the property with the client) or through prior correspondence over the phone or email. Either way, you want to make sure that all of their questions are answered and that you have expressed the value of your staging business to them.
4. Have the client sign and send an invoice
Finally, once the client has a grasp on the proposal and you both are ready to move forward, then it’s time to send out the contract for the client’s review and signature. This is simply a formal agreement to the terms listed in the proposal as well as what your company is responsible for and what they are responsible for. Once the client has signed, then it’s time to invoice them for your work (or schedule an invoice depending on how you structured your pricing) and move on to the actual work. Congratulations on signing a new client!
Once you’ve signed your first client, then you get to fulfill their service and stage the home for them! How exciting!
In this post, I showed you how to start a home staging business and you can do this by focusing on four key areas:
Legal and Accounting
Focusing on these key areas when starting your home staging business will help save you a lot of time down the road.
Now that you have them in place, you’ll have the confidence to go out there and acquire more clients.
Here’s to your home staging success. 😊
Blessings to you,
Saved by Grace Home Staging & Design, LLC. (owner)