It is our job as stagers to bring life to each and every house we touch. At HOMEmade DESIGNS we take pride in working with our clients and transforming their homes to their highest potential. We take each house and develop an individualized plan of action to highlight each feature of the home.
Guest bloggers from The Staging Studio shared their blog about how to hire the best home stagers, find out the questions they insist you ask when interviewing a home stager to work with!
The staging industry although large in our span across North America, we are close knit through social media and our personal relationships. We are all watching the devastation wreaking havoc on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, and our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow colleagues who are affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Although we are only in the beginning stages of this disaster, we are thinking ahead of what help we can give to our members in need. RESA has set up a donation process for those who would like to donate to the RESA members who have suffered losses due to Hurricane Harvey.
If you would like to donate please click the graphic to the right for more information.
If you are a RESA member and Hurricane Harvey has affected you and you need assistance please email Alexis@RESA-hq.org to explain your circumstances. RESA staff will do all we can do to facilitate financial assistance or to help find resources for you locally. Financial assistance is dependent on the donations received.
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.
There’s a tool in the home staging industry, and in some regions it has met with growing enthusiasm. However, the more conscientious business owners are asking questions about the application of imitation furniture in staging homes. Is it cheaper? Is it practical? How effective is it?
Stagers using these cardboard fittings find them valuable when preparing lower end properties. Yet there are reports of million dollar homes selling despite using the dull and boxy fillers.
The staging professionals using this lightweight pseudo-furniture attest the product is compact, portable, and easy to move. Fake sofas, chairs, and book cases, will effectively express, for the potential buyer, how the available space may be used. The practicality of these props is evident. Yet it’s use is short sighted. Luxe Property Staging urges our industry to use discretion in implementing such items.
When a house is staged, priced, marketed, and shown correctly you have a greater chance of selling with multiple offers, in a timely fashion, and at better than the asking price. With this approach and proven investment, we believe in offering the REAL DEAL. Even those owning stock furniture may supplement what they have by visiting the affordable rental companies. Usually presenting varied lines of quality goods, they allow the stager to work within any budget.
Buyers have high expectations, and your 1st impression could be your last if you fail to meet them. Using cardboard furniture may be perceived as trickery or cheap creating a negative feel early in the showing. And at the very least lessens the comfort of the prospect. “See how beautifully we can use this space! Oh no, please don’t sit there.” A home you can’t sit in isn’t likely to sell well.
“Your client’s home is real. Their dreams are real. And the furniture should be real.”
For more, visit Kelly’s blog at LUXE Property Staging.