Teri Allen is the owner of Desert Home Staging and Online Staging Pro. Her small business offers not only in-person consultation and staging services, but also online services. Teri is stopping by today to share her tips for starting a home staging business from home.
Tell us about your unique home business.
As a result of starting my Home Staging businesses, I found that there is a whole untapped market that is in the gap between Home Staging and Interior Design businesses.
I would estimate that a good third of my business now is working with people who admittedly don't have the talent, time or energy to furnish and/or decorate their house and want and need help, but they don't need
a full on interior design job and they don't want to hire an expensive designer.
Give us an example of an average day or client interaction.
I was on a phone consultation last night for an hour looking at my client's photos and searching online for furniture I thought she would like. I helped her decide on selections that would work with her space and preferences. She was completely stuck before our call and when done she knew exactly what she wanted and what to do next. She was so excited she didn't want to get off the phone.
I'm working with her over the phone because she lives out of the area. She loved the job I did for her sister who has a home locally and wanted to work with me. Like my Online Staging Consultations, Decorating Consultations can easily be done over the phone with photos and internet access. This works for certain DIY clients who need help and advice but can do the legwork herself.
Onsite services vary but generally it's either a consultation format where I spend a few hours with the homeowner giving them advice and suggestions or I do the full job of design, purchase, install and
What Do You Need to Start a Home Decorating/Staging Service?
This is what it would take for a person to start their own home decorating service with probably less than $100 investment if they already have a cell phone, computer and internet access:
- Natural talent and passion for decorating
- Enjoys furniture and decor shopping and knows the best places to find things at good prices
- Is decisive and has the ability to work fast
- Isn't afraid of hard work and long hours
- Is friendly, service minded, gets along and works well with clients and vendors
- A camera or good quality smartphone for before and after shots
- Basic business abilities, computer skills, can budget money and time
- A domain name that is location specific (to rank in local search results organically) and a basic website
- The ability to market and sell their services and the initiative to find out how to do it themselves cheap
- The ability to do a good job, earn repeat business and build a good reputation and referral base through online platforms like Yelp, Houzz, and Pinterest.
- A toolbox filled with basic tools, picture hanging hardware, scissors, touch up sticks, and such
- Lots of reusable shopping bags
They don't need:
- A lot of money
- A facility
- Equipment or
- Professional design experience
How Much Do Home Stagers Make?
I charge by the hour, $100 for design ($300 flat for initial consultation) and $50 for shopping or flat fee by the job. The client pays for all purchases upfront or we use their credit card. I outsource all vendors, delivery, and labor and charge the client at cost sometimes with a small markup.
I really think it's a massive untapped market “home decorating service” that caters to the needs and budgets of the middle class or average homeowner (or apartment dweller).
Yesterday I met with a Canadian couple who just bought a second home and don't have the time or interest in furnishing it. They had an interior designer for the main home but here in the desert, they want an affordable and quick service that could furnish and decorate their new house in two weeks. I received a call a bit ago from a lady who is buying a condo who also wants help to furnish and decorate it.
Where Can You Learn More About Becoming a Home Stager?
There is no official home staging credential. The obvious skills you will need to get started include organization, a great eye for color and design, and photography skills won't hurt either. Your credibility will come from the quality of your work. There are a few great resources and courses available online today to help you brush up on your skills and the latest styles.
- QC Design School offers very reputable courses in a wide variety of design fields, including home staging. Payment plans are available.