How to Charge for Home Staging

how to charge for home staging
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There are a number of aspects that influence what you are able to charge for home staging services such as whether the house is occupied, the location of the home, the size of the home, the number of rooms and spaces to stage, and whether you are just needed for vignette staging, partial staging, or full staging.

When starting your business, spending time developing your fee structure for home staging can be a bit of a headache, which is why we’ve pulled together this guide looking at various fee structures.

How to Charge For a Home Staging Consultation

A home staging consultation is a great way for a home stager to supplement the income from their larger staging jobs, and you can often get up to $500 for a consultation with a written report.

From the seller’s perspective, a consultation is a great way for them to learn how to stage their own property themselves to ensure they get the best price for their property. At the end of the day, spending $200 – $500 for a consultation could earn the seller an extra $10,000 or more on their sale price – so it’s a no-brainer!

You’ll be visiting the client’s home and walking room-by-room with them, and providing specific recommendations on how to rearrange, declutter, repair, and improve curb appeal.

You’ll also make recommendations on what items and accessories the seller should keep in their home for staging, and which ones they could pack early for the move to help declutter.

If the seller has a bit of budget to spend on sprucing their property, then you can also make recommendations on repairs and paint colors used around the home.

But how do you charge for a home staging consultation? Let’s look at two options:

Option 1 – A verbal report (Ballpark figure: $150 – $400)

This is what you might see listed as a ‘walk and talk’ on some home staging websites. You will literally walk through the home with the client, room by room, and discuss recommendations on how they can best prepare their home for sale (both inside and out). You may like to make some casual notes along the way to leave behind for the client.

Option 2 – Written report (Ballpark figure: $250 – $600)

The process is similar to the verbal report, but after your visit to the client’s home, you’ll deliver a detailed report with the recommendations that you discussed during the visit. This is essentially a checklist for the client to use in preparing their home for sale.

Students at the Home Staging Institute should look in the Forms & Documents folder of your dashboard to download our documents and templates to get started with your written reports.

Real-life examples of home staging consultation costs:

  • Stage To Sell (Boston): A verbal report costs $350, and a written report costs $500
  • Three Bears Home Staging (Houston): A verbal report costs $249 to $349 depending on house size
  • Maison de Campage (Galveston): A verbal report costs $250 for a standard house, or $399 for a large house. A written report can be added for an additional $100.
  • Refined Staging (Ontario): A verbal report costs $175, and a written report costs $250

Fee Structure for Home Staging Occupied Properties

Occupied staging is exactly what the name suggests – staging a house while it is still occupied by the owners. You’ll be working with the homeowner to help prepare their home for sale. Occupied staging ensures the homeowners get the absolute best price for the sale of their home.

Typically, your services will be provided in the form of a consultation.

So how do you price your occupied home staging services?

Option 1 – By the hour.

You’ll need to check what your local competitors are charging, but generally, your hourly rate should be $100 – $200. You might think this is too high, and perhaps be nervous to charge this amount, but you need to take into account the unpaid hours you are working:

  • Driving to and from consultations (and your fuel costs)
  • Preparing reports when you are back at your office
  • Quoting and invoicing all take time
  • Researching and planning what you will do for the client
  • As well as general business costs: marketing, web development, stationery, printing, etc.
  • Phone & internet costs

All these need to be covered by your hourly rate.

Option 2 – By the consultation.

This is our preference and is more common as it provides certainty to both you and your client. It is a flat fee, that covers a certain number of hours of work.

You need to estimate how many hours you plan to work in the home (1 to 3 hours is normally enough – depending on the size).

Sometimes jobs will go over the number of hours you have accounted for, so it’s a good idea to add into your agreement that any additional time will be charged at your hourly rate. However, be flexible with this. If you are a chatty person and spend the first 45 minutes of the consultation making small talk with the client about your weekend plans, then it’s not really fair to count that is it (on the other hand, if you just want to get to work ASAP and the client keeps distracting you with their life story, then we feel it is fair to charge for some of that time).

It’s a good idea to keep track of the time during the consultation. If your occupied home consultation pricing accounts for 2 hours in the house, and you have 20 minutes left, then it may be a good idea to tell the customer there are only 20 minutes left, and ask them (or suggest) where this time should be focused.

Option 3 – Occupied Home Packages

You may also consider offering occupied home staging packages. For example, a half-day stage or a full-day stage. You could also offer a leaner service where you simply prepare the client’s home for a photo shoot to ensure the realtor can get the best images possible to market your client’s property.

Fee Structure for Home Staging Vacant Properties

Vacant home staging is when you go to a completely empty house, and use either furniture you own or hired furniture, to make the house look lived-in and to show it in its best light. This helps buyers form an emotional connection with the house and gets the seller a better sale price.

But how do you charge for vacant home staging?

Option 1 – By the hour

Charging hourly is one of the oldest methods in the book. You simply slap an hourly rate on your time, track the hours worked and do a little maths.

Sounds easy, right?

Charging hourly is a good choice if you are doing more of a coordinator-type job – such as managing a furniture rental company to deliver the furniture you have rented, or if your client is providing furniture that they have access to (eg a property developer might have some available).

Choose an hourly rate that covers not only the time you spend at the client’s property, but also the time you spend travelling, invoicing, planning, and strategizing for this job.

Option 2 – Charge per room

Pricing per room is a simple way to charge for home staging. You will have a good idea of home much furniture you need for each room, and the time each room takes, and you can use this knowledge to create your pricing spreadsheet.

It might look something like this:

RoomBasic StagingStandard StagingLuxury Staging
Living Room$300$700$900
Master Bedroom$300$600$900
Kids Bedroom$200$500$800
Kitchen$300$500$900
Dining Room$400$600$600
Entry Area$100$200$600
Home Office$100$300$800
Patio$200$400$900
All prices above are for illustrative purposes only. You’ll need to add your own pricing.

You can specify that you require a minimum number of rooms to be staged to make the job worth your while. It’s unlikely you’ll want to simply stage a patio and nothing else. By the time you factor in your consultation, planning, emailing, invoicing, travel, and actual staging, your effective hourly rate will be a fraction of what you typically charge!

Once you have your by-the-room “menu” created, you can use this as a foundation to build packages. We explore package home staging deals further below.

Option 3 – Per square foot

Charging for vacant home staging per square foot is not uncommon. You can set 3 or 4 different size brackets, and then set a fixed price for each bracket.

For example:

  • 2500 Square Foot and under = $450
  • 2500 to 4000 Square Feet = $525
  • 4000 to 6000 Square Feet = $600

You would typically set a duration for the fixed prices (eg one month) and then agree with the client that each additional month will be charged at a set rate, which is slightly lower than the first month’s price (since it doesn’t involve additionally strategy, consultation, deliveries, etc).

Note: The prices above are indicative only. You need to set prices based on your geographic location, competitor prices, and your target customer. In saying that, the prices above are also real prices a home stager in Texas uses.

Option 4 – Set fee pricing.

This is where you charge a set fee for each stage of the staging process. Typically these well-defined stages will be:

  • Design / Strategy fee
  • Staging fee
  • Installation fee
  • The delivery fee (note: take into account distance travelled, and how easy the property is to access)
  • Pickup fee

Option 5 – Percentage of list price

Typically 0.5 – 2% of the list price can be charged, particularly on high-end properties. The reason you can charge more for high-end properties is that they will require more furniture and accessories (due to their size), and they expect these furnishings to be of higher quality (due to their target clientele).

At the end of the day, a $200,000 house and a $500,000 will need roughly the same amount of staging. Both houses will have a kitchen, lounge, a couple of bedrooms, and one or two bathrooms.

But a $1,500,000 house might have 4 bedrooms, a dining room, a home office, a pool, a pool room, or more.

Option 6 – Flat rate

A flat rate is a simple price for a specified period of time. You can have a monthly rate or a three-month rate. It’s 100% up to you.

This flat rate approach sounds simple, but in reality, you need to factor in all your costs into the flat rate. Your time, tax, travel, etc. So in reality you are still calculating what the staging will cost based on another method, but you are presenting it to your client at a simple flat rate.

Option 7 – Package deals

You can choose to wrap up any of the previously mentioned pricing methods and make a range of simpler “package deals”. With these, the client doesn’t need to worry about hourly rates or different fees for different tasks.

They simply know what they are getting when they sign the contract, at one easy-to-understand price.

Here is an example of a packaged pricing structure you could emulate:

  • Package One: Basic Home Staging: Foyer, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen & Powder Room.
  • Package Two: Standard Area Home Staging: Includes all of the areas in the Basic package, with the addition of the Primary Bed & Bath.
  • Package Three: Premium Home Staging: Includes all of the areas in the Standard Area package, with the addition of a second Living/Family Room.
  • Add-Ons: Add-on any of the following areas for a set price per room: Patios, Game Rooms, Media Rooms, Secondary Bedrooms, etc.

Final thoughts on How to Charge for Home Staging

Knowing how to charge for home staging when you are just starting can be a bit tricky, but once you have your first 3 or 4 jobs under your belt you’ll have a better understanding of how much time and effort goes into each job, along with the costs that you will incur in doing these jobs.

At the end of the day, most cities in the world have a few home staging businesses, so the simplest way to know how to charge for home staging is to visit their websites and see if their pricing is publicly available. Then simply copy/paste and amend it slightly to suit your target market.

Sources

Fixr
The Village Guru
Realtor.com

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