If my business has no employees, what’s the best way to transport items besides my personal car? I can rent a truck but it seems people think I should not be driving it. I’m still small and not ready to hire someone.
– Rita Redman, Ohio
When you are a one-man show it is really hard, because you have to wear every hat. This is one you can take off though, and you really should. You open yourself up to a lot more liability when you drive a rented truck yourself. Let’s say you end up on a job until midnight, which means that you are also doing the moving alone, that means you will be driving the truck back in the dark. Its not safe.We were killing ourselves doing that at first. Then we finally realized that we could hire 2 guys with their own truck for about the same as what it costs to rent the truck ourselves. They do the back-breaking work and take on that risk, instead of us. Find some movers that you trust and who are careful with your things and with people’s homes. Using the same team all of the time will also save time and headaches. They will get to know your system, how you want things wrapped, how you like things placed, and where you want things put away. It’s a way to build your ‘team’ without actually hiring.
– Nicole Schenk, Ontario
This is a question that I am sure a dozen veteran stagers, would give you a dozen different answers to. It all depends on how established your business is and how full your schedule is. When you are starting out, you may need to give a lot of grace. If it is a realtor who pays for the consultations and sends you a ton of business, again, you are going to understand that it does occasionally happen.On the other hand, if it is a repeat offender, definitely charge them. Also, if you are so busy that you are tightly scheduled and taking on that appointment meant giving up another one, then yes. Generally, we reschedule at no charge, but if we actually go to the appointment and they don’t show, we do. Keep the big picture in mind. Is it going to help set healthy boundaries, or is it going to put a bad taste in the mouth of a potential client? Honestly as your business grows, some days you will be so busy with vacant staging, that you are going to be thrilled when an occupied consultation cancels.
– Carol Ann Wolf
I love this question, because I love myth-busting! Staging is still incredibly important even in a “seller’s market”. Yes, it may be easier to find a desperate buyer when there is a shortage of housing inventory, but that is just the thing – that buyer is desperate. When something new comes available, they are pressured to jump on it and make a quick decision. It may not be their dream house, but, hey, sometimes you gotta just take what you can get. They may not be totally in love with it, but they make an offer anyway.
If the buyers stay interested enough to make it through the initial negotiations to get their offer accepted, there is still the inspection to get through. That can definitely be a buzz kill. By now, they are starting to have buyer’s remorse. Their financing is not going through easily. (Lenders have really been putting the squeeze on, and interest rates are rising). Then the appraisal comes back low and they have to come up with more cash. (This is common in a hot market, as appraisal prices tend to trail a few months behind actual sales).
In the mean-time, another listing that they like better may come on the market. The buyers simply may not have enough passion to carry them over each of these hurdles. Losing the deal at this point would cost the seller a lot of precious time on the market, but the reality is that we are seeing a high percentage of contracts fall through.
That’s where staging comes in. It creates that emotional connection – that tie that binds. When a buyer is head-over-heels in love with a home, they will stick it out through the thick and thin of the entire process.
So all of that is what you need to communicate to your staging clients. At the same time, you will need to adapt to the current market weather. It may be that, with houses turning over more quickly, that you need to shorten your contract period. For example, if you were previously doing a 3-month contract, you might consider making it 2 months – or if it was 60 days, you might go down to 30.
You can also build up other revenue streams. A lot of people buying homes means a lot of homes needing new decor. Interior designers are on the prowl for clients with a new home. You have the jump on the designers, because you met that client before they even sold their last home and, even better, they already know they like you and your work.