Home staging is an ideal career for anyone with an eye for design and a passion for home décor. However, for many home décor lovers, the idea of starting a home staging business is overwhelming. Some of the biggest concerns are how long it will take to get trained and how much money it will cost to get the business started.
One of the biggest mental hurdles to starting a home staging business is what many perceive to be the impossible task of buying all the inventory they’ll need. However, you don’t need to fill a warehouse on day one – there are many different ways to set up a home staging business.
So, how do you start your business without owning a warehouse of furniture?
If you’re passionate about starting your own business but aren’t sure where to begin, here are four methods you can use to start one without having an inventory of furniture.
Method 1: Rent Furniture
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars building an inventory of staging furniture and accessories.
One of the easiest ways to get furniture when starting a home staging business is to rent it.
While renting furniture can be expensive, plenty of local rental companies and retailers will work with you and save you money during the startup phase of your business.
We’ve had good experiences with the following furniture rental companies:
CORT has a nice little saying which will appeal to many reading this article – Think of us as your behind-the-scenes furniture team”. That sums them up in a nutshell, and the service they provide.
You, as the home staging professional, can manage the staging process, but a company such as CORT can provide the furniture.
Brook Furniture Rental also specializes in providing rental services to home stagers. They act fast, and can set up a property in less than 48 hours. Brook Furniture Rental services in the major metropolitan areas across the United States, including locations within: California, DC, Flordia, Georgio, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
What to Look for in a Furniture Rental Store
When choosing a furniture rental store to work with, focus on safe and timely delivery and pickup services.
When you need to stage a home that’s on the market, time is of the essence. You need to find a furniture rental store that will deliver the pieces you need on time and help arrange them quickly, correctly, and professionally. They should also be willing to pick up the pieces soon after the house sells. Be sure to ask about these services, as many companies don’t include them in their initial quotes.
While this may sound like a no-brainer for some, it’s a factor that’s often overlooked and can end up costing you in the long run. Find a company to work with that’s located nearby. The further the company, the more you’ll end up paying for shipping costs.
Once you’ve shortlisted some furniture rental stores, you’ll want to check their reviews online. Consumer feedback is always the best guide to a rental company’s performance.
Method 2: Stage Occupied Homes
Most people don’t move out of their homes when they decide to sell. They’ll continue to occupy their home while it’s listed and move out when it sells. When you encounter such a situation, you can stage the occupied home by using the existing décor to stage it. Using the client’s existing furnishings can help them minimize clutter and sell their house for a higher price without spending any of your budget on furniture.
If you find that some new items would be helpful for staging an occupied home, you can talk to your client about buying new items that will help boost the home’s marketability. Make your recommendations during the occupied staging consultation and leave the purchasing decisions to the client.
Method 3: Start Small and Reinvest into Buying Furniture
You can build an inventory of furniture without buying it all at once. The idea is to start small and reinvest into buying furniture over time. As you earn income by using the other methods listed here to find furniture for your home staging business, reinvest some of your profits into slowly building your own inventory. For example, when you start out, you might rent a couch. Over time, you’ll be able to purchase your own couch, and then you’ll save on the ongoing costs of renting one. Eventually, you can invest those savings into buying additional pieces of furniture, and eventually, your personal inventory will snowball in size.
Remember that this is just an option – you don’t necessarily need to build an inventory of furniture. It’s possible to become very successful at home staging by following the other methods here. You can also follow this method to build an inventory of accessories, such as lamps and pillows. The premise remains the same in any case: you don’t need thousands of dollars in startup capital to start a home staging business because you can always build inventory later.
Method 4: Use Your Own Furniture
While some home stagers say you should never use your own furniture to stage a home, others feel it’s okay to bend the rules, especially when just starting out. If you decide to use your own furniture to begin with, follow the general staging rules below.
Keep it Neutral
No matter what furniture you’re using, the goal when staging any room in any home is to choose neutral furniture and accessories. It’s essential to use high-quality pieces that don’t draw too much attention and have more décor value than practical comfort. The furniture should also align with the style of the home. If your furniture doesn’t meet these requirements, consider looking elsewhere.
Decorate Bedrooms Lightly
When staging a bedroom, remember to use less furniture and accessories than someone would need if they were decorating it to live there. Bedrooms are very personal spaces, so when you want a prospective buyer to envision themselves living there, the décor needs to be minimal.
Don’t Forget the Patio
Don’t forget to stage the patio with high-quality outdoor furniture – but remember that the neutral rule carries over to the outdoors as well as the inside of the home. Keep the patio furnishings simple in color and style. If you have some neutral outdoor furniture and bright-colored accents, you can use them to stage a patio.
Don’t let a lack of access to a warehouse full of furniture stop you from starting a home staging business. As we’ve explained, there are several other ways to access furniture and accessories while you’re starting and scaling.
While the costs of running a home staging business certainly aren’t low, there are plenty of ways to save costs on furnishings while you grow your profits. In addition to the methods above, consider frequenting yard sales, consignment shops, auctions, and moving sales. If you’re into DIY projects, you can repurpose pieces by doing some simple reupholstering or painting. You can also consider partnering with stores to feature their pieces in the local homes you’re staging as a form of advertising. Whatever method you choose, don’t let the idea of acquiring furniture overwhelm you. Just follow the tips above!