Have you been considering a career in home staging? It seems like the perfect fit, because you enjoy decorating rooms, rearranging furniture to get a different flow, and have the traits for a successful home staging business.
Running a home staging business means more than just decorating homes every day. There are many jobs that you need to do in order to run a successful home staging business. These jobs can be enjoyable, but there is no doubt that they take you away from actual home staging.
Is running a home staging business the right career move for you? Understanding that you will be taking on many different jobs is important. In the beginning, you will be doing every job task. As you grow and have the cash flow, you will probably find that it makes more sense to delegate or outsource the tasks that aren’t the best use of your time.
5 Important Job Tasks of a Home Staging Business
The core service that you provide to homeowners, Realtors, and developers is home staging. Sorry to state the obvious. However, if you plan to operate your own home staging business, as most home stagers do, you will be doing a lot more than home staging.
Running a home staging business means that you will need to wear every hat. In addition to being the CEO, you are the marketing department, the sales department, the accounting department, the IT department, the business development department, the human resources department, and finally, the department of home staging.
Let’s dig into some of the more important jobs of a home stager, and we’ll assume that the actual task of home staging needs no explanation.
Marketing is the process of letting people know you have a home staging business, explaining what distinguishes you from other home stagers, and convincing prospective clients to contact you. It is about getting your message out to the right people.
It sounds easy, but the trick is knowing who to target, and how to target them. For example, an expensive billboard along the highway is a form of marketing, but probably not the right marketing for a home stager. Although a lot of people would see the billboard, the chances that any of those people would call you for home staging is probably pretty slim.
Instead, you should be marketing to Realtors and real estate offices. You should have a website with helpful content that prospective clients can find when they search Google for a home stager. You should make sure your business is on Houzz, Thumbtack, Yelp, and all other websites that people use to find home staging services. You should have at least one social media account that you use well so that people can share your images.
Marketing is effective because it can target a large amount of the right people. The goal is to turn the people who need a home stager into prospects for your business.
The line separating sales and marketing often gets blurred. However, they are both critical to a home stager growing their business.
Sales is the one on one discussion with a potential client. It’s understanding their specific needs, and explaining to them how you can address their needs. This is where you turn that marketing prospect into an actual paying client.
Don’t confuse sales for a home stager as being a used car salesman. You provide a great service that will provide value to that prospect, and your job in sales is to make the prospect understand that.
The marketing casts a wide net to get prospects. Then sales is the individual conversation with the prospect.
3. Information Technology (or IT)
Remember the days at your 9 to 5 job when your document wouldn’t print. Then your company’s IT department would send their low man on the totem pole to reboot the printer, check to make sure there’s enough paper, kick the printer, or reinstall the printer drivers on your computer as a last resort? When you run a business, you will get to figure out your printer problems on your own. And then there are the people in IT that you never saw because they were setting up the network, ordering new computers, and making sure the company’s security was up to date. That’s your job now too.
Large company’s systems are complex, and there is a lot of bureaucracy. Not so with your small business. You shouldn’t need much more technical knowledge than you need for your home computer and network, so don’t get stressed if you’re not very technically inclined.
On the other hand, you will probably have new software that you need to learn how to use. You will have a website that you will have to make or learn how to update. If you have a problem with those, then you will either need to figure out how to solve it yourself or contact that company’s technical support. Only you know your level of technical capabilities.
Did you know: Stager Sidekick can make your website. We will customize it to your brand, deliver it to you complete, and train you how to use it. We will also manage the hosting of your website, make sure themes and plugins are up to date, back it up once a month, and provide technical support. This is great for the home stager who wants to spend their time on their business, and not learning how to make a website and keep it up to date. Click here to learn more.
(We are not accountants, and we make not claims to be tax experts. The tax information below is from speaking with many home stagers and from personal experience. You should consult your tax advisor or accountant for your specific situation.)
You’ve got bills to pay, you have invoices to send, and you have payments coming in. Unlike buying groceries for the family on your credit card, keeping track of all of your expenses is not optional. Tracking these are not only important for you to understand your business, but it’s an obligation for your taxes.
You can do simple accounting to track how much you are spending on and how much you are earning from your business. Businesses on a small scale can often track this in a spreadsheet.
Then there is the beloved IRS. The government wants to know how much your business earned so that you can be taxed on it. The benefit of running a business is that most things that you spend money on for your business are tax deductible. This includes your business website, your business cards, your staging furniture and accessories, and your memberships. Did you also know that there are everyday things that you use for your business can be tax deductible too, like your cell phone, your internet, and your home office? Again, please contact your accountant to discuss your specific situation.
Once taxes are mentioned, accounting becomes a bit more complex. You can save yourself some time and headache by using good accounting software. We use and recommend FreshBooks, and you can get a free month of FreshBooks to try it out by using this link.
Unless your home staging business only offers consultations, you will likely be furnishing your clients’ properties with furniture and accessories that you own, you rent, or a combination of the two.
Can you move all of the furniture and accessories yourself or do you need to hire movers? When do you need to move the items into your client’s property? When do you need to get the items out? Where are you going to store your belongings in between projects? How are you going to track which property your belongings are, or if they are in storage?
Those are some of the logistics that you need to manage as a home stager. You will likely have several projects going on, each with different move in and out dates, with a combination of the client’s belongings, your furniture and accessories, and rented items. Logistics.
Final Thoughts on Job Requirements for Home Stagers
There are a lot of job tasks that come with running a home staging business. However, you don’t need to be an expert at each one of them to be successful. Instead, you should understand that there is more than just home staging to be done, and be prepared to handle those tasks.
A good home staging certification company (we recommend The Staging Diva) will train you how to best address each job task. Then you can “fake it until you make it.”