How can I use surveys effectively to grow my business?– Bonnie, OH
RESA® is dedicated to advancing professionalism in the home staging industry, which is why we are so excited about our members only Professional Development Series! We will be co-hosting webinars, teleconferences and podcasts with leaders in the industry on topics to help you take your business to the next level!
– 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.
Bidding on a staging job. How do you know what to bid? I’ve seen ads on Thumbtack for a 2000 sq ft home Staging 5 rooms and then a 1000 sq foot home with 3 rooms. How do you know what to bid without seeing the property?
– Aimee Musgrave, NY
If you ask 10 successful stagers how to bid a job, you would get 10 distinctly different answers. We have each developed our own system to bid jobs in a manner that works for our company, in our market. Some stagers bid by the square foot (I’m one of those), some stagers bid by the room – they have figured out how much each room will cost them to stage, approximately, and then they add or subtract to get to their bid. Some charge a percentage of the list price, usually 1%-2%. Some assign a rental value to each item in their inventory and add all those costs up to get their inventory rental price, then they add their other costs, including staging fee, outside labor/movers, assistants, gas, truck rental, etc. No matter how you choose, you need to know what your costs are going to be. How much are you paying your assistants per hour? How many hours will they be working (don’t forget packing, loading, installing, loading up the leftovers, unloading at your warehouse or storage, and putting everything away. Then multiply x2 because you are going to have to destage, right? When figuring our your assistants’ cost, don’t forget to add in state and federal employment taxes, workers comp insurance, etc. Then you need to know how much your moving costs are going to be. Are you renting a Uhaul? Don’t forget to multiply x 2 for install and removal. Add in the mileage you will pay, the gas you will put in the truck, etc. Are you using movers? Are you paying hourly or a flat rate? Do you have to pay the mover mileage or a fuel surcharge? Are you going to tip the movers? Then you have to figure in the cost of your inventory.
A good rule of thumb starting out is to figure out what your cost of acquisition is for that item (don’t forget to add in the sales tax you paid if you didn’t buy wholesale, the time to go pick it up or delivery charges, etc.) then charge anywhere from 10%-20% for the rental fee. Add in your staging fee and your company profit. I can’t tell you what you should expect for a company profit, but I will tell you most McDonalds franchises make 6%-12% per year. If you are making 10%+ profit in your staging business, you are a superstar!
If you are renting furniture, I suggest you create a spreadsheet of the items you use most and their cost to rent. When you are bidding a job, figure out how much the furniture you would like to rent will cost. Add in 15% in case the cheap sofa you want to rent is out of stock and you need to go to a more expensive one. If you create this spreadsheet, you won’t have to wait on your sales rep at the furniture rental company to give you a bid. You will be able to create one yourself. Other than the furniture rental and the delivery, all of your other staging expenses will be the same as above.
As someone who has bid on thousands of jobs, I will tell you that you need to figure out a way to bid your jobs that is fast and efficient. If you are taking a lot of time to bid jobs that you may or may not get, you are losing time that you could be spending on marketing, writing blog posts, meeting real estate agents and growing your business. Refer to past jobs that you have done that are similar. Don’t agonize over every lamp or vase or whether or not to charge $10 or $12.50 for a lamp. You will make yourself crazy. Try to come up with packages of accessories that you can use for many situations.
– Carol Ann Wolf
Do you want the opportunity to share your expertise with thousands of RESA members and followers alike and also get recognized as a RESA expert in your area of expertise? Apply today to be considered a RESA Expert and contribute to answering industry related questions to be featured on RESA’s Home Staging Newswire blog, and Social Media Sites.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Be the expert. Solidify yourself as an expert in your niche by sharing your unique methods, techniques and philosophies.
Build your business and your following. Expand your reach by publishing to our monthly audience of more than 20,000 unique visitors. Each article you submit will link back to your social media outlets and include one link to your website.
Help others and build your brand. Home stagers and real estate agents visit our blog and social media sites each month because they know they can rely on us for high quality, and relevant industry related information provided by industry experts like yourself.
Build your portfolio. You are free to link to your article in your professional portfolio or use as general bragging material.
Want to jump on board?
Email our Chief Buzz Creator a sample of your writing – Felicia@RESA-HQ.org letting her know what you would like to be an expert in – and ask to be placed on the monthly expert contributor email list. We email out topics on the 1st of every month and content will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis.
SOME EXPERT TOPICS:
- Social Media
- Branding Strategies
- Real life conflicts common to home stagers and how to resolve them
- Organizing the Administrative Side of Your Business
- Photo Styling: How to Take Better Photos of Your Staging Projects
- Day-To-Day Staging Tips and Tricks
- Marketing Strategies, Tactics, and Campaigns to help grow your business
- Working with a staff of home stagers
- Pricing strategies for your market: How to ensure your business remains profitable and competitive at the same time
Written by Christine Rae, CSP
1) I can’t afford to stage!
A: In today’s market, you can’t afford not to stage! Every seller we talk to wants to get the most for the property when selling, not capitalizing on the opportunity to maximize your equity return is shortsighted. Buyers today want move-in ready and are willing to pay for it. They don’t want a list of deferred maintenance items without compromising what they are willing to pay.
Before you say no to staging consider the cost of NOT staging. Additional mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, and household expenses while your house sits waiting for a buyer who can’t see past your life. According to research by the National Association of Realtors® the longer a property sits, the lower the sale price will be. If you don’t have the money you need to get the house ready for sale, turn to another source. Perhaps borrow it from a friend, family member, or neighbor. Secure a home equity loan, use a credit card, have a garage sale, or sell something on eBay. PayPal offers a wonderful Bill Me Later service, which offers zero interest over six months. The world is full of money—you just have to find some. It is in your best interest to do so, and you can repay your debt when your house sells for more money.
2) Staging is JUST decluttering and cleaning. I can do that myself.
A: This is one of the biggest myths about staging. Pre-packing personal belongings and cleaning are only part of the recipe for successful selling. Fully preparing property for sale involves commitment to three vital steps. The first step identifies areas throughout the property which may adversely affect offers and produces suggestions to maximize equity. Step two is the fulfillment of those recommendations, and step three is the truly amazing component we call showcasing. This step ensures fabulous photos, impactful open houses, and memorable first impressions. Many people think of this as decorating, but it isn’t. There is nothing personal about showcasing; it involves research of the targeted buyer demographic and a scientific approach to furniture placement and accessory arrangement, using a subtle color strategy. You might think it isn’t necessary, or you can do it alone; the question to ask is why would you potentially risk thousands of dollars in equity by not working with a professional?
3) I get compliments all the time about how great my house looks! Why do I need to stage?
A: Again, this is the myth that staging is about decorating; decorating is a personal expression of how we live. The buyer of property isn’t interested in that—they want to envision how they will live. Decorating for living and staging for selling are two very different disciplines, and anyone who tells you differently is misinformed. Selling your houses is not about you, your tastes, or your decorating style; it is all about what the buyer wants and what we want the buyer to see in your property. We are selling what they inherit when your things move out.
4) My agent said I don’t need to stage my house; it will sell itself.
A: I am sure your agent believes that, and that she/he is giving you good advice because it is what you want to hear. The question to ask yourself is: at what price will it sell and when? Staging is a proven and sound marketing method to sell property around the world. Staging works. Sometimes we can’t see opportunity because our perception filter is through what has been before. Staging has radically changed the way real estate is sold. Not doing it puts the sale in jeopardy one way or the other—no matter what the economy is doing! A common cry from agents during hot markets is, “We don’t have any inventory, and the house will sell regardless of condition.” This is true, and if you don’t mind gambling with your equity then go ahead and sell without staging; however, if you are a savvy seller/investor and want to realize the most equity from the sale of your property, stage it before contacting an agent. More than 40% of stagers’ work comes directly from property owners. Those listings get referred to agents working with stagers. When the market is slower or softer, properties need staging to generate interested buyers. You may not stage your listing, but someone else who is selling at the same time and competing for the same buyer will, and they will be selected by the buyer as the property to purchase. Even in a hot market, not staging means leaving money on the table!
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