Home staging is an art that very few people appreciate. Whenever someone steps into a new home they’re looking to purchase and everything is set up immaculately and tastefully, someone put their heart and soul into that effort.
That someone could be you if you were to start your own home staging business. So, how do you start a home staging business? Here’s what you need to know if you want to hit the ground running and be successful from day one.
Research Your Market
Before you begin home staging business, you should do a little research into the real estate market and figure out whether such a business would be a viable venture. This is because home staging businesses rely on their being a steady supply of new homes in need of interior design and furniture staging to be successful.
Fortunately, home staging businesses are usually profitable, even if the real estate market is somewhat slow or weak. Still, doing research can be beneficial since you’ll find what buyers are looking for in new homes and can tailor your home staging efforts to that effect.
Network With Real Estate Agents
More importantly, you should start networking with real estate agents before you get your first client. Real estate agents will be one of your best sources of business. They can refer you to their people, who might hire you to stage a new home to better their chances of selling the home to a new buyer.
This means attending real estate networking events, conferences, and homeowners associations. Anywhere a real estate agent might be on the prowl for new properties to scoop up is where you should be, too. Exchange names, phone numbers, and email addresses at every opportunity.
Build A Business Plan And Figure Out Your Finances
Like with any business, it’s a good idea to come up with a business plan for your home staging efforts. This involves coming up with a budget and figuring out how much money you need to get all your resources and materials together.
In many cases, homes that you’ll be hired to stage won’t have the furniture or items you’ll need to make them look fantastic. In these situations, you may need to rent or buy the furniture yourself. This may require you to save up money before starting your business or take out a business loan.
Furthermore, you might need to hire contractors like painters, electricians, or handymen to fix up a property. You can employ these people with your business as well, but it all depends on how involved you want your home staging business to be and what your real estate agents bring to the table.
A home staging business’ success largely depends on the interior design and decorating skills of the business owner. If you have a passion for interior design and have some natural talent, this might be enough. But you should also consider going to school for interior design or some other aesthetic discipline. This will give you the formal skills you need to make your staged homes stand out in the real estate market.
Make A Portfolio For Your Home Staging Business
One of the most important things you’ll do to collect new clients and prove your skills is create a portfolio. If you don’t already have some homes you’ve staged in the past, you can redo your own home a few times and create a basic portfolio that way.
Regardless, some evidence of your home staging efficacy before you’ll be able to convince real estate agents or other clients that you’re a good person for the job. As you get clients and successfully stage homes, take pictures and add them to your portfolio has needed.
Create Your Home Staging Business
Creating your business follows the same process as with virtually every other startup. You’ll need to:
- Come up with a name for your business. This should be short but memorable and informative as to your business’ purpose
- Figure out what business structure you’ll go with (i.e. an LLC, a sole proprietorship, etc.)
- Get your business license from your local state government
- Take out a business loan or credit card to handle finances
- Get an EIN or employer identification number
- Hire employees
This part is especially relevant if you plan to hire employees, in which case you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance. But getting any kind of insurance for your business is always a smart idea to protect you from lawsuits or other legal hurdles.
Come Up With A Contract Template
We’d also recommend coming up with a template for your home staging contracts. This allows you to set up new agreements with fresh clients quickly and painlessly, swapping out price values or terms without having to redraw the contract every time.
Market Your Home Staging Successes
Your business won’t be successful if you don’t market it like crazy!
A Website Is Key
In this day and age, a personal website for your home staging business is necessary. This website should be aesthetically pleasing (as your whole business model depends on your aesthetic tastes). But they should also have an easy link to your portfolio. Invest in an image-heavy website so you can show new clients exactly what you bring to the table.
You can also use your website to onboard new clients or take job propositions quickly and remotely.
Have A Brochure
It may also be wise to have a physical brochure demonstrating your services, pricing points, and more pictures of homes you’ve already decorated. Again, this provides visual proof of your talents and a brochure can be passed out in the real world.
Business cards are another great way to market your business with relatively low effort. Create a few thousand of them and hand them out whenever it’s appropriate, especially at those aforementioned real estate agent networking meetings.
But you can also be even craftier and place a few of the business cards within the homes you’ve already staged. If people come into the home to check it out and like what they see, they might pluck your business card from the table and consider calling on you for their own real estate ventures!
Start Staging Homes!
You’ve now learned exactly what it takes to start your home staging business. If you’ve got an eye for design, a home staging business may be the right job for you. Additionally, if you ever want to get involved in other industries such as rental properties, the real estate industry, or even party planning your home staging business knowledge will be an added benefit as you’ll already know how to set up your properties or locations so they look stunning. At this point, all that’s left is to start marketing your business fully and taking contracts. Good luck and remember to keep your portfolio updated with every successful client!