How to Start a Home Staging Business
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 puts their heart and soul into that effort.
They are known as home stagers, and you could become one if you were to start your own home staging business. So, how do you create a successful home staging business? Here’s what you need to know to hit the ground running and be a successful home stager from day one.
Research Your Market
Before you join the home staging industry, you should research the real estate market and home staging companies to figure out whether such a business would be a viable venture. This is because a home staging business requires a steady supply of new homes in need of interior design and furniture to be successful.
Fortunately, home staging businesses are usually profitable, even if the real estate market is slow or weak. Still, researching 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, it would be best if you started networking with real estate agents and home staging professionals 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 with home staging projects, who might hire you to stage a new home to better their chances of selling it to a new buyer. On the other hand, seasoned home stagers can share home staging tips, from ways to reach your target market, and startup costs, to getting potential clients.
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 most small businesses when they started, it’s a good idea to devise a business plan before starting a home staging enterprise. This involves creating a budget and figuring out how much money you need to get all your resources and materials together.
In many cases, the homes 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 furniture or buy it. This may require you to save up money before starting your entrepreneurial journey or take out a business loan.
Furthermore, you might need to hire contractors like painters, electricians, or handypersons to fix up a property. You can also employ these people with your business, 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’s success largely depends on the business owner’s interior design and decorating skills. This might be enough if you have a passion for interior design and some natural talent. But it would be best if you also considered going to school for interior design or some other aesthetic discipline. This will give you the skills you need to make your staged homes stand out in the real estate market.
Make a Portfolio for Your Home Staging Business
Creating a portfolio is one of the most important things you’ll do to get new clients and prove your skills to potential buyers. If you don’t already have some houses you’ve staged in the past, you can redo your house a few times and create an essential portfolio that way.
Regardless, you need evidence of your home staging efficacy before you can convince real estate agents or customers that you’re a good person for the job. As you get clients, successfully stage homes, and start making money, take pictures and add them to your portfolio as needed.
Create Your Home Staging Business
Creating a staging business involves the same process as with virtually every new business. You’ll need to:
- Come up with a business name. This should be short but memorable and informative as to your business purpose.
- Figure out what legal business entity or business structure you’ll go with (i.e., an LLC, a sole proprietorship, etc.)
- Get your business license from your local state government
- Open a business bank account and take out a business loan or credit card to handle finances
- Get an EIN (employer identification number)
- Get a storage space if you plan to buy large furniture
- Hire employees
Get Business Insurance
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, particularly liability insurance, 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 for repeat business.
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 home staging business models depend on aesthetic tastes). But they should also have an easy link to your portfolio.
Invest in an image-heavy website so you can show home sellers exactly what you bring to the table. You can also use your website to onboard new clients or take job propositions quickly and remotely. Additionally, use digital marketing to get your company noticed online by potential customers.
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 pick 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. 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 as your business grows!