We've written another highly popular article on the topic of How to Start a Home Staging Business, so start there is you want to get in depth on this topic.
Let's review where we are currently at:
- You've decide you want to become a home stager
- You've built your foundation and understand the basic of home staging theory
- You understand the local market, know who the competitors are, and have an idea of what they are charging
- You've upskilled yourself with a home staging course
And now you are ready to take the next steps in starting a home staging business. Let's talk through the steps of this process.
1. Create your Home Staging Website
A good way to find and reach out to clients is to create an online presence. Having a website and social media presence lets you connect directly to prospective and current clients.
You don't need to spend thousands building your first home staging website, and we in fact strongly recommend against it. A home staging website doesn't need eCommerce functionality, so platforms such as Wix and Squarespace will work just fine.
Use a consistent logo and aesthetic across online platforms. Build a professional website that showcases your services, samples of your work and a way to contact you. Consider a blog to help drive more traffic to your website.
Keep your social media accounts professional. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter make it easy for you to share pictures of your work and participate in a conversation with others in your field and prospective clients. Your connections on social media can also help give you endorsements.
Develop your online home staging portfolio
Clients want to see your work so that they can verify if you are a good match for them. For this, you need experience in staging a home.
If you completed a home staging course, then you should have multiple samples to include in your portfolio. If you need more samples, try staging for a friend or family member selling their home. Even designing areas in your own home can provide pictures as you start to gain clients.
Make sure that your portfolio expresses the brand you want to present and what you plan to deliver. Take photos of every job you do so that you can keep updating your portfolio.
If you use one of the website builders mentioned above, you'll see they have templates for online galleries and portfolio's that you can select and use for your own work.
2. Determine your prices
We often get asked how to set the prices for your home staging services, but with students in United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand, we recommend looking locally at established firms to get a good idea of what you should be charging for home staging.
You'll find many firms charge for an initial consultation, then per room.
3. Source your products
Some homes you stage will have no furniture, while others might only need small touches, decluttering, or changing some of the furniture.
Many home stagers use a mix of rental and purchased furniture for their designs. What you want to do is a matter of preference. It is a good idea to have some pieces that you own. Look for discount decorations and furniture that could commonly match your niche. Pay attention to sales on items like paint or paintbrushes.
Try to stock up on the basics you plan to use, but keep your budget in mind.
Likewise, you should research furniture rentals before you start staging professionally. Note which rentals are available and the style you can find in each store.
4. Get your contracts, invoices, forms, and checklists sorted
You can skip much of this section if you have taken a home staging course from the Home Staging Institute, as you'll get all the forms you need for free. However not everyone is a Home Staging Institute student, so if this is you, you'll need to prepare the following:
- Home staging contract
- Home staging proposal
- A generic invoice template
- A home staging checklist to use
We previously relied on Microsoft Word and PDF documents for all our forms and contracts, but these days we like to keep them all as Google Docs or Google Sheets. This makes them easily edited from any device, and avoids printing any paperwork.
Be sure to consult with an attorney to make sure you cover the responsibilities of each party and limit your liability. Having a standard home staging contract in which you can simply change the name and cost saves you time and helps you look more professional. Especially when you start, you may be bidding for projects.
5. What about home staging licensing?
For many people wondering how to become a home stager, one thing they'll also be curious about is home staging licensing.
So, do you need to be certified or licensed to become a home stager? As mentioned previously, the answer is no.
What about a general business licence? Although there might be a few leading brands in your area, home stagers typically work for themselves. This means you may need to be fully licensed and insured.
You may not be able to take on a client until you do this. Licensing also enables you to file your taxes and qualify for any possible tax credits. Procedures for getting a business license vary by state. The general procedure for licensure includes filling out a few forms, providing identification and paying a small fee.
The rules for getting a license will also depend on the exact type of business license you want, such as for a limited liability company. Once you are officially a business, you need to get liability insurance before you take on a client to protect your personal assets and your business.
6. Continue Your Education
To keep your mind fresh with new ideas and to keep up with design trends, you need to continue your education.
This might mean taking another home staging course, or you could do simpler things like subscribing to top design magazines. Follow the popular designs you see on social media. Keep checking out boutiques and art galleries to feed your inspiration. Stay current on the real estate market, including the types of homes that sell. Regularly sell your older inventory items and buy new ones that reflect current trends.
Starting a career as a professional home stager requires a lot of effort, but the benefits can be well worth it. In your new profession, you get to use your creativity to help other people realize the potential of a home. Combining your skills in design with your knowledge of real estate, you can use these steps to create your career as a home stager.