How To Start a Home Staging Business...


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Contents

Starting a home staging business isn't easy.

You'll need a few weeks to get the ball rolling, and another few weeks to get up and running.

It could be a month or two before you get your first client.

I've been through the process numerous times before, both when starting my own home staging business, and helping others start theirs.

But the good news is there is a lot of information to guide you through the process. Unfortunately it is spread all over the internet, in expensive home staging books, and online home staging courses.

This is my guide, to teach you everything you need to know about starting a home staging business, at no cost. It's free.

All I ask is that if you like it, and get value from this guide, to share it with your network.

CHAPTER 1:

Market Research


No doubt you've already done a lot of research on the home staging business.

But let's just double check all boxes have been ticked.

You'll want a deep understanding of the opportunity in your area before putting in the time and effort to start a home staging business.

Research now can save weeks of pain later.

Whether you are completely new to home staging, dabbled in it before, or perhaps in an adjoining industry, there is a lot of research you should be doing before starting a home staging business.

Look at your future competitors.

Start on Google, and see what other home staging businesses are in your area.

home staging market research

A simple search such as "home staging atlanta" or "home staging businesses in toronto" should give you an idea of how much competition you have.

If you see pages and pages of home stagers in your area, how should you interpret that?

It could mean the market is flooded, and there is only enough work for each of these dozens of home stagers to have one job a month.

Or alternatively, it could mean that there is a thriving real estate industry and high demand for home staging services, and each of these companies is thriving.

It's up to you to make that call.

Ask yourself whether you feel the market is saturated, and if you believe you can make yourself stand out to create a sustainable & profitable home staging business.

While doing this, consider:

  1. Your areas population. Obviously large cities can create enough demand for home stagings, but there is likely very little demand in a town of 10,000 residents.
  2. What is your point of difference. If the realtors and customers have dozens or hundreds of home staging companies to choose from, why should they choose your company (more on this in a minute)
  3. How will your marketing stand out? Have you noticed that all the existing home staging brands have low quality websites, or perhaps they have good websites but their portfolio is letting them down? Both of these could be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
  4. Is their pricing publicly available? It's good to get a general idea of what the pricing is in your area. Is goes without saying that home staging pricing varies greatly between countries, states, cities, and towns. So although you might have a gernal idea based on what you have read online, it is super important to get a strong understanding of what the going rates are in your area.

apartment home staging

Whats your point of difference going to be?

No you have a solid understanding of what the market is like in your area, you'll likely be able to start imaging how your new company will fit into the landscape.

  • Are you going to be just another home staging company?
  • Are you going to be priced lower, and try to get a higher volume of work?
  • Is your niche going to be apartments and holiday homes, or standard houses?
  • Do you feel there is room for a high end home staging company and the market is currently not serving this niche?
  • Do you have a solid network of potential customers so you could potential afford to be "just another home staging company" (which there is nothing wrong with, to be clear).

The question you are trying to answer is "why should a customer choose me?".

If you can't answer that, then it might pay to stop here until you've figured out the answer.

Customers want to spend their money wisely, and if there are other companies with nicer marketing, better portfolios, more certification, and more hustle then you're going to struggle!

 

CHAPTER 2:

Home Staging Marketing


You don't need fancy and innovative marketing ideas when starting a home staging business.

The best home staging marketing ideas are tried & tested, and just take a bit of time and commitment.

Below is our crash course on home staging marketing to get your creative juices flowing.

Home staging marketing can cover many smaller topics..

  • Company name
  • Logo
  • Website
  • Digital marketing
  • Portfolio
  • Business cards
  • Letterheads
  • Home staging contracts
  • Proposals
  • Flyers
  • Events

We'll cover these off one by, and while reading our tips keep in the back of your mind which ones you feel will work best for your home staging business.

The team at The Home Staging Institute is a fan of the test and learn method, which means you trial many forms of marketing and make informed decisions about what works best for you.

You don't want to go two years doing only one form of marketing, when you could have been doing something else you hadn't yet tested and be getting twice the results!

Your home staging business name

Your brand name is probably already floating about in the back of your head. It is often the first thing people think about when starting a business.

In general, their are two types of brand names: the formal, and the creative.

home staging branding

Formal home staging business names

Formal brand names are normally pretty dull, but state very clearly what the company does. I personally prefer formal brand names as they help you be found in Google Search, where a lot of business is generated from.

I tent to recommend shying away from using a location in the name, as it limits potential growth, and also prevents you from easily taking the business with you should you move towns.

Some examples of formal brand names in the home staging industry include:

  • Auckland Home Staging
  • Albany Home Staging
  • Distinctive Home Staging
  • Nook Staging
  • Stage My Home
  • Impact Home Staging
  • Styled to Sell
  • Gorgeous Homes
  • Interior Concepts

creative home staging branding

Creative home staging business names

Creative branding is a bit more fun and funky, although it can often not be 100% clear what services the business offers just by looking at the name. It does help you stand out in the crowd however and creative branding is often more popular in premium markets.

  • Oak and Stone
  • SOJO Design
  • Bob & Friends
  • Ash Road
  • Little Mermaid
  • Ambiance
  • Huntly + Co

Checks before committing to a name

Before committing to a brand name there are a number of basic checks you should do.

Obviously, do a good Google Search to see that no one else is using the name in your country.

It also pays to check that no one is using a very similar name, as it might result in confusion and headaches which are best avoided now.

check domain name

Secondly, check if the domain name is available. It's normally best to get your county's top level domain (TLD) which is something along the lines of .co.uk or .com.au - but if those are not available then a .com is recommended.

You might see and be tempted by a number of other domains such as .net or .io but at the end of the day these domains always seem to be a little bit less credible.

We recommend Namecheap.com for your domain as they are both a cheap price to register your domain name, and a trustworthy company.

Once you have check your new home staging businesses brand name is both not used by anyone else, and has an available domain name, do a quick scan of social media to see if those profile names are also available.

Facebook and Instagram are the two you'll most likely want to use, but it also pays to check Pinterest, Twitter, and Linkedin too.

 

Logo

Creating a logo for your home staging business doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. You might be tempted to find a local design form, and if you can afford it then you'll get a great collaborative logo.

But not everyone can afford to drop over $1000 on a logo, so there are a few shortcuts you can take here.

home-staging-logo

GraphicRiver by envato is a marketplace of all sorts of graphics, print files, icons, fonts, and logos that you can buy.

Once purchased you just then need to edit them yourself in a tool like Photoshop, or ask a freelancer to edit the logo to suit your brand name and tagline.

Buying a logo for your home staging business from a place like GraphicRiver will cost you about USD$35.

What's the catch? The catch is simply that there may be half a dozen or so other businesses in the entire world that may use the same template as their logo.

This doesn't worry me for a number of reasons:

  • The brand on the logo will be YOUR brand. So you are really only sharing the icon / layout of the logo with other brands
  • You can change the colors to suit your own brands color palette.
  • The other businesses, wherever they are in the world, are more than likely small businesses that will never be seen by residents of your town or city. No big, global business is going to use GraphicRiver.net for their logo!
  • The other half a dozen or so businesses sharing the same logo template might not even be in the home staging industry. They could be builders, architects, painters, interior designers, roofers, realtors, retails, or any other company that somehow deals with houses or furniture.

home-staging-logo

99Designs is a similar marketplace to GraphicRiver, but it is more of a platform that actually connects freelancers with small businesses looking for design services. Logo design on 99Designs starts at US$299.

The quality of logos produced on 99Designs is exceptional, and you'll get a logo that is 100% unique and custom for your home staging business.

The process of getting a logo designed on 99Designs in quite unique with their contest feature. Here is how it works.

You start by creating a brief which will tell your designs what your needs are, and what general direction you would like the logo to take.

Once the brief is written, you can choose to either hire a designer, or start a content.

Hiring a design means you'll collaborate closely and craft the perfect logo for your business.

Starting a contest is great for when you want a range of options, and are quiet flexible with the type of logo you want. It is also great if you don't currently have much of a design already in your mind. When you start a content you open the brief to the community of designers, and then they start to submit their designs to you. You choose the winner, and s/he gets paid. Easy! (If you like none of the designs, you'll get your money back).

 

Website

Your website is perhaps the most crucial piece of the marketing puzzle for home staging businesses.

Since you have no store front, your website is the entrance to your brand, and peoples first impression of your business.

Luckily since you are considering starting a home staging business, you are likely already a creative individual and know what looks good. You can use this creativity to craft a beautiful website for potential clients.

What content do you want on your website?

Arguably the main pages of your home staging website are your homepage for first impressions, your portfolio, and your contact or "request a quote" page.

But there are a number of other pages you need on your site too. Here is the bare minimum.

home staging website

Homepage: Your homepage sets the first impression. Since we work in such a visual industry, showcase your best work with large images, and great photography.

If you have been lucky enough to stage a home that is for sale by a realtor, you might have access to some high quality professional photography to show off your work. For your homepage, low quality cellphone images won't be good enough (unless you're a bit of a whiz with your smartphone camera!).

A common term when talking about web design is "the fold", and placing important content "above the fold".

The fold is the area of the webpage that can be seen by the user when the page first loads. Essentially it is what the user can see before they need to scroll down.

The content above the fold is super important, as not all users actually scroll down a page. So make a great first impression above the fold to impress.

It also pays to include a "call to action" above the fold. This is a headline or a button which tells the user what to do next. Ask yourself, now that the user is on your website, what do you want their next step to be?

View your portfolio?

Request a quote?

Read your testimonials?

See your certification?

It's up to you, but the answer is probably one of the first two options above.

What else should go on your homepage?[TESTIMONIALS IMAGE]

If you have testimonials the Homepage is a great place to add two or three of these. Certifications in home staging or interior design should also be showcased on the homepage.

home staging services

Give a brief summary of your services.

Do you do full staging? Partial staging? Furniture hire without styling? Outline your main services, and link them through to more indepth information from your "Services" page.

home staging social proof

Sell yourself on your homepage.

Why should prospects choose your home staging business?

You should have a good understanding of the answer from Chapter 1.

Use the homepage too explain your unique selling point (USP). Remember that this could be pricing, quality, quick turnaround, niche design, qualifications, range of furniture, or any other USP you have identified for your home staging business.[IMAGE FROM https://www.thelook.co.nz/contact/ and https://www.homebase.co.nz/book-online/]

Request a Quote: This page can be as simple or complex as you like. It is typically a contact form which send the enquiry to your business inbox.

At a minimum, you'll want the users name, phone number, email address, and a small message from them describing the job. You can then follow up with more information such as dates, location, number of rooms, services required etc.

If you opt to gather more information from the contact form, you'll cut down on the follow-up work. You can add additional questions such as date of booking, property address, rooms required, client details, property accessibility, etc. Then you can follow up with any finer details you need to quote on the job.

Typically the simpler the form, the more enquires (and tyre kickers) you'll get. No one fills out 15 questions if they are just kicking the tyres and enquiring at 20 different staging brands.

One tip for your 'Request a Home Staging Quote' page is to emphasise that the quote is free, and no obligation. Although both of these go without saying (who charges for a quote?!), it pays to just give that reassurance.

Another tip is to always ask for a phone number and make the field mandatory. If someone isn't willing to give a phone number, they'll typically be a bit of a tyre kicker and need be a high maintenance customer.

Some customers lock in a deal after 2 phone calls, others lock in the deal after 23 emails of 4 weeks.

It's ok to be picky and choose low-maintenance customers to ensure you don't drown in admin and communications before you even get paid.

Testimonials: It can be uncomfortable tooting your own horn, but this is where you need to toot it as hard as you can!

For every home staging job you do, you need to ask for a testimonial.

Once the job is complete send two links to the customer, once for your Facebook page for a review, and then one for your Google My Business page for a review (this will help with you website traffic from Google, and helps you build credibility before the customer even lands on your site).

You can then copy/paste the best reviews of your home staging business onto your website.

Your testimonials page is also good to showcase your home staging certification, or any other home staging courses or training that you may have done.

See if the provider of the certification or course has a badge or seal you can use on your website, or a digital version of your certificate.

Having proof from the third-party organization is a quick way to build credibility and prove that you know what you're talking about.

home staging portfolio

Portfolio: Your online home staging portfolio will more than likely be looked at before the customer enquires with you, so it is critical to ensure you put a lot of effort into polishing this page.

This means high quality photography, and a range of photos showing a range of your work. If you don't have a portfolio of work because you are just in the early days of starting a home staging business, then feel free to stage your own house, and use this as your portfolio.

This isn't deceptive, as it is still showcasing your staging skills, and that is the goal of your portfolio. You can choose to show either before and after photos, or just show some top notch after photos.

The interesting thing about portfolios is they often filter the type of work you are going to get in the future.

If your portfolio shows mainly staging jobs you completed in apartments, with modern decor, then you are going to attract people living in apartments, who want it staged with modern decor. You'll then add these jobs to your portfolio, and then attract more of these jobs.

So if you are starting your home staging portfolio from scratch, start it in the direction you want to head.

Don't go staging an apartment to start your portfolio if you know there is only 2 apartment blocks in your city! You future work could be inhibited.

About: Home staging is quite a personal business. Customers are inviting a professional to provide their services. It's different to, say, buying a car or bouquet of flowers, where you are buying a product.

The customer will want to know bout you. If you have a team, they'll want to know about the team too.

Your About page should introduce the home stagers, their job titles, and a brief bio of the stagers history and credibity.

What qualifications does each home stager have, what do they love outside of work, what most excites them about home staging, how long have they worked in the industry, etc

Sell your home staging staff in a few hundred words! If possible, include a nice head shot.

home staging in the media

If you have ever been quoted in the media or on a blog, this is the page where you can showcase that too.

This once again comes back to credibility. If a home staging blog, or even an interior design website or architecture magazine, has quoted you or featured some of your work, it does WONDERS for building your brands credibility.

If you have never been quoted in the media, keep an eye on opportunities to squeeze your way in there.

 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing for home staging businesses typically comes in two main forms: Social media marketing, and search engine marketing.

Both of these topics could have 500 word books written about them, and both take a good number of years to master.

However there are a few easy ways to get your head around these topics. Then get stuck in!

Social Media Marketing for Home Staging Businesses

In United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, the main social media platforms for home staging business are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more formally Linkedin.

home staging on linkedin

Linkedin shouldn't take up too much of your time. It's a professional platform that potential customers may use to check out your home staging skills before awarding a large job.

Ensure your profile is professional with a nice photo of yourself, and a cover image on your profile showcasing the work you are most product of.

Create a Linkedin profile for your business too. Add the logo, a small blurb about your business, and a link to your website.

Then once your businesses Linkedin profile is created, go back to your personal profile, and add to your employment your new business, with it's newly updated profile.

What should you post on Linkedin?

From your companies page, start with a post that you have launched the new business, with a link to your website. Head on over to your personal profile and share this with your existing connections (if you have any).

Linkedin users typically don't take well to frequent low quality updates. So keep posts to every couple of weeks, and only when you have work you are proud to share, or an announcement from your company. Announcements could include staff earning a new certification, new hires, opening new stores, or a large purchase of some note-worthy furniture.

home staging on facebook

Facebook is used by nearly every home staging company, and the users on Facebook take more kindly to frequent small updates. You can post here every job you complete, new furniture in your ranges, small details of your favourite jobs, and even throw backs to old jobs to keep the content ticking over.

When you create a Facebook page for your home staging business be sure to go through all the settings and add as much information as you can. A description of your business, cover photo, profile photo, link to your business, links to your other social profiles, date founded, etc etc. There are literally dozens of settings that you can use to build your brand on Facebook.

Facebook ads for home staging business can also perform well to win new business. You can choose to boost your best posts to certain demographics.

One tip to try is to post your favourite work, and use the description to say you are currently open for new work. Boost this post to realtors and property developers in your area, and who knows, you may just get a few enquiries from $5 - $20 worth of marketing budget.

home staging on instagram

Instagram is perfect for home staging businesses. Every image you are proud of can be shared on the platform, and through consistent interactions with others in the industry, you can grow your following and get your new brand out there.

Start your profile off with a small bio and link to your website.

Upload your logo as your profile image.

Then, if possible, add 9 or so images to get the ball rolling.

I personally like to dd a two or three line caption below each image, and then leave my hashtags in the first comment immediately after posting the image.

Speaking of hashtags for home staging businesses, these are the ones I use. I've put them in a list below which you can copy and paste into a notepad file on your phone. Then each time you post a new image on Instagram, go find this note file, and simply paste it into your post. These are my favourite hashtags:

#homestaging #homestagingworks #homestagingtips #homestagingsells #designdecor #homeinspo #designlovers #homedeco #homesweethome #design

Add one more hashtag at the end of your list, which includes your city name. For example:

#homestagingtoronto or #homestagingbrisbane

Easy!

But doing this wont grow your Instagram profile very quickly. To accelerate this process, you need to interact with others.

The easiest way to do this is find similar profiles to yours, or profiles that have a following of potential customers, and interact with their followers. Here is an example.

  1. Find a real estate brand in your city that operates in the area you want to grow your business.
  2. Click to view their followers
  3. Go through these followers, and both follow them and like their most recent photo.
  4. If you have something positive to say, as a small bonus, leave a comment on their latest image (if it was posted within the last few days only).

I typically find about 10% of profiles I do steps 1 - 3 too follow me back. I don't bother with step 4, but I am sure it will improve results.

10% is good, but it also means to grow your home staging businesses social media page on Instagram, you'll need to interact with 1000 profiles to get just 100 followers. So set this interaction as a nightly task for 15 mintues for the first few months of your business.

Soon enough you'll have 500 - 1000 follows and you'll start growing organically.

Of course, to grow even faster, you can run ads or competitions.

Search marketing for home staging businesses

Search marketing refers to paying to be listed in the top four positions of a Google Search. You set the keywords you want to target, and the price you are willing to pay. Lets take a look at the main aspects of running Google Ads for a home staging business....

Keywords

Every Google search starts with a keyword.

"home staging business in sydney"

"best home staging company in new york"

"home staging albany"

These are all keywords. When you start a Google Ads campaign, you decide what keywords you want to trigger your ad.

Since you pay a dollar or so everytime someone clicks your ad, you want your keyword selection to be very precise, so you are only paying to get people to your website who are very likely to be needing home staging services.

For example, someone who seaches "home staging sydney" is very likely to be wanting the services of a home staging company in sydney.

However someone searching for "home staging books" obviously doesn't want to buy home staging services. They want to learn about home staging.

How you setup your keywords in Google determines how precise your ads are in targeting high converting customers.

There are three ways to enter a keyword into Googles ad system. I'll showcase this with three examples. Take note of the symbols used in the bolded keyword...

home staging - If this was your keyword you're targeting every search term that includes one or both of these words, in any order, in any sentence. So while it is exactly describing what you do, your ad will also show for people searching "home staging TV shows" and "buy home in new york". These two people aren't going to buy your services, so you are wasting money. For this reason I recommend you never enter a keyword with any of the symbols seen in the next two examples.

"home staging in new york" - See how I've put speech marks around the keyword? This shows Google that the user must search these words in this particular order for my ad to appear. If someone searches "new york" the ad wont show. They need to search "home staging in new york". This sounds perfect for anyone offering home staging services in New York, but there is one important thing to note. The user can add words to the start or end of this phrase, and your ad will still show. This means if they search "worst home staging in new york" or "home staging in new york for under $50" then your ad will show. Not ideal! But still better than the first example.

[home staging in new york] - This is called exact match. The user must type EXACTLY this in Google to trigger your advert. Nothing more, nothing less. This type of keyword matching is my favourite as you get to dictate exactly what people need to search to trigger your advert. You can then find 10 or 20 different search phrases and add them all as exact match. Below is a list to get started, with the city of Albany used as an example.[home staging albany][albany home staging][home staging companies in albany][best home staging companies in albany][staging companies albany][home stagers albany]

Ads

When you keyword is searched, your ad will appear. This is your chance to entice the user to click on your advert. Since your ad will be listed alongside up to 3 other ads, it pays to make your advert as enticing as possible.

State that you offer free online quotes, that you are rated 4.8/5 stars, and have a passionate and expert team (or whatever you can honestly say about your business).

Search for home staging companies in half a dozen other cities and take note of the best ads. Use these as inspiration for your own ads.

Location

Google allows you to target your ads to a specific location, so be sure to make use of this feature. Set it tight so you don't waste budget. By this I mean target your city or town, not your state or country.

Home Staging Portfolio

When it comes to marketing your home staging business, your portfolio or work is one of the most important aspects.

You can showcase your portfolio on your website, Facebook pages, Instagram profile, Linkedin, and even include your best photo within your business card design.

The main tips we have for your portfolio are:

  1. Use professional photographs wherever possible. The difference between an amateur photo with poor lighting, and a well-lit photo taken by a real estate photographer is amazing. You might not have professional photographs for your first or second job, but as soon as you can get your hands on some, then update your portfolio and make these your featured images.
  2. It's okay to cull old photos. I guarantee you that you'll look back at the start of your portfolio in 2 years and be a little bit ashamed of your first jobs. You'll have grown and improved your home staging skills significantly. With this in mind, it is okay to cull your portfolio over 6 months or so. It's better to have 25 amazing photos on their own, than it is to have 25 amazing photos mixed in with 25 other photos you aren't proud of.

Most website builders will have built-in themes with portfolios, or sliders to showcase images. If you are using WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace you should have no problems creating a home staging portfolio and uploading your photos.

Business Cards

We've actually written about designing a business card for your home staging business previously. You can find that dedicated blog post here.

What information should be on your business card?

Less is more, especially if you are going for a high end premium brand of home staging company.

If you strip away all the fluff, all you really need on the business card is your brand name, your name, phone number, email address, and website.

You could even drop the email address. It'll be on your website.

Do home staging companies even need a business card?

Business cards used to be pretty popular, and they still are in some industries. Some businesses choose not to use them, others get 1000 printed and still have 992 in their desk draws five years later, and some home staging business credit them for a good portion of their business.

To decide how much effort to put into your business cards have a think about how important networking and events will be for you to win business.

If you plan to frequent home styling events and expos, attend realtor conferences, and generally mix and mingle with your target market, then business cards are an absolute must.

If this is all out of your comfort zone, or you live in a smaller town where there are unlikely to be events you can network at, then you could consider passing on getting a business card sorted for your home staging business.

Whatever you choose, remember that it is 2020 and 99% of people will be happy to make a note of your phone number or email address directly into their smartphone. Let's be honest, for most of us, a business card lingers on a desk for a few weeks then ends up in the bin anyway.

Designing your business card

If you do decide to create a business card, make sure it is good quality. When you give a business card, it is the first impression of your brand and business. It replaces your website as the first impression.

So make it count!

Good quality card (nothing too thin), and a beautiful design, is what will win you business.

To get your card designed I recommend buying a free template online.

Take a look at the below template found on Graphicriver.

home staging business card template

It'll cost you just US$5 to buy this template, and you can edit it on Photoshop to change the contact information, colors, and image to suit your brand.

If you don't have Photoshop it should take a freelancer no more than 45 minutes to make all the changes you need.

That'll get your business card sorted for under $50!

 

Home Staging Letterheads

Letterheads might sound a bit 1999, but we can broaden the scope of letterheads to make it a bit more suited for the digital age.

There will be a number of different documents and home staging forms you use, and all of these should be branded if they are customer-facing. By this I mean any form or document the customer will see, ensure it is branded. Don't worry about your own notes.

What documents will the customer likely see during your journey as a home stager?

  • Proposal form
  • Staging checklist
  • Home staging report
  • Homeowner survey
  • Quotes
  • Invoices

You can download some of these home staging forms from our archive.

When setting up your branding on these documents you don't need to go overboard.

Your logo, phone number, and web address is all that you need.

You can consider adding a splash of color along the top of bottom, but don't go too overboard.

Once again, you can download beautiful home staging templates from Graphicriver.net. If you can't find anything when searching for home staging, search for similar industries that might share the vibe you are looking for. This could be interior design, real estate, or architecture.

CHAPTER 3:

Creating your Website


No doubt you've already done a lot of research on the home staging business.

But let's just double check all boxes have been ticked.

You'll want a deep understanding of the opportunity in your area before putting in the time and effort to start a home staging business.

Research now can save weeks of pain later.

Creating your home staging website

We've already talked above about what content should be on your home staging website, so no we'll get a little bit more technical.

You'll need three things: a domain name, a hosting provider, and a content management system (CMS).

These three are all interrelated. Your domain name directs visitors to view your CMS, which needs hosting.

buying a domain name

Domain Name

This guide has already recommended buying a .com domain name, or the top level domain for what ever country you may be in. For example a .com.au for Australian businesses, or a .co.uk of United Kingdom business.

I've had a good experiences with Namecheap.com before and recommend them to all our clients. However, 95% of domain name companies are all the same, so find the best that suits your needs and isn't overly expensive.

You'll typically pay about US$7 per year for a .com domain name, and about $USD12 for a .net domain name.

Domains specific for your country can range from USD$7 to USD$100.

wix website builder

Content Management System

You'll need a CMS to manage your content. This is where you create pages, and add content.

WordPress, WIX, and Squarespace are some of the leading content management systems, and some of the easiest to use for beginners.

I'll probably get a slap from some web developers for saying this, but if you simply want an "out of the box" website that gives you minimal headaches, and looks beautiful, sign up for WIX and Squarespace.

Both these platforms are intuitive and beginner friendly.

It also means you can skip the Hosting step I describe below, which is where things get confusing and you'll need a bit of headache relief.

Hosting

If you choose not to go with a service like Wix or Squarespace, you'll need hosting for your home staging website.

Hosting is where all the files of your website live. The HTML, CSS, JS, and all sorts of other files that I'll need a professional web developer to explain.

Once you have hosting bought and paid for, you'll need to install a CMS, then

CHAPTER 4:

Pricing your Home Staging Services


No doubt you've already done a lot of research on the home staging business.

But let's just double check all boxes have been ticked.

You'll want a deep understanding of the opportunity in your area before putting in the time and effort to start a home staging business.

Research now can save weeks of pain later.

What to charge for home staging

Knowing what to charge for home staging can be difficult.

There are so many variables you need to consider: your town or city, your state, your country, what level of service you are offering, your competitors prices, demand for your services, your qualifications, etc.

When you first open you home staging business you might consider charging a little less. This will help you build up your portfolio and network of clients quickly, and then you can begin to increase your prices as your confidence grows too.

 

CHAPTER 5:

Your Home Staging Portfolio


No doubt you've already done a lot of research on the home staging business.

But let's just double check all boxes have been ticked.

You'll want a deep understanding of the opportunity in your area before putting in the time and effort to start a home staging business.

Research now can save weeks of pain later.

The importance of a great staging portfolio

Every client will look at your portfolio before enquiring with you - especially if it is a "cold" enquiry (meaning they found you without an introduction through your network).

Your portfolio not only shows how well you do something, it also demonstrates your styles, and what sort of furniture and decor you have access too.

Even for professional home stagers who are at the top of their game, styles vary greatly.

What one person might love, others will dislike and avoid.

And that doesn't mean the stager isn't good, or the portfolio isn't great, it simply means the type of work you create isn't what the customer wants.

So how do you create a good home staging portfolio?

  • If you are just starting a home staging business, then consider staging your own home, or your friends and family homes. This isn't deceptive. Portfolios are meant to demonstrate your skills and home staging aesthetics. They aren't strictly limited to showcasing what you do for paying clients.
  • Ensure the lighting and photography is good. Unless you are passionate about photography, it's likely that a professional photographer will get much better photos than you can yourself. The $200 - $800 you will have to pay for your photos from a professional will be repaid from your first home staging job.
  • Remember to get photos from every home staging job. You only have one opportunity so you don't want to think back wish you got photos when you didn't.

 

Categorizing your photos

How you categorize your home staging portfolio is ultimately up to you, but here are a few recommendations.

Note that when we are referring to your portfolio, we are referring to your online home staging portfolio. This is the page that showcases your work to potential clients.

home staging portfolio

Organize by home

Showing your favourite 4 - 8 home staging jobs , with a handful of photos from each job, helps to demonstrate the different types of work you are able to do.

As mentioned earlier be careful to spread out your portfolio to cover the type of jobs you want to attract in the future. Essentially, if you are showcasing 5 of your top jobs spread them out over houses, apartments, and holiday homes if you want a wide spread of future jobs.

If you simply show 5 jobs which are all apartments, you can take a guess that who is going to like your portfolio and enquire for your services in the future.

Organise by style

You can also categorize your portfolio by styles.

Firstly you'll need to look through your work and see if there are any distinct styles you'd like to categorize by.

Do you have some farmhouse work?

Perhaps some Scandinavian?

Of some urban/modern?

Industrial?

Whatever styles you have, separate your home staging portfolio into these categories. You'll give prospective a really clear idea of the type of work you are capable of.

By housing type

By "housing type" I am simply referring to splitting your portfolio into freestanding homes, apartments, holiday homes, units, stuidos etc.

This makes it easy for people looking to stage an apartment to quickly jump to the apartment section of your portfolio. They'll be able to then quickly see if the way you stage apartments, is the way they'd like their apartment staged.

Anything you can do to make the research phase of the customers purchase journey easy for them, is a step closer to them enquiring with your business.

 

CHAPTER 6:

Home Staging Courses & Certification


Completing a home staging course is an easy way to add some credibility to a new home staging business.

If you can also demonstrate a home staging certification then you have something a little extra that you can add to your website to win more business.

You can find home staging courses online, and you can in fact get your home staging certification online.

Courses typically take a few weeks to a few months, depending on how intensive you want to go!

Home Staging Courses

Here at The Home Staging Institute we have been teaching home staging courses online since 2007. In this time, thousands of students have trained with us and have gone on to have successful home staging careers.

So when it comes to home staging courses, we feel we are in a good position to give you all the tips on what works and what doesn't.

home staging certification website

Firstly, who needs to take a home staging course?

There are three main reasons people will take a home staging course.

Firstly, some people are wanting to start a home staging business whom have very little experience in staging or interior design. This makes it very intimidating to start charging for something you've never done before. Finding home staging training and learning what works and what doesn't can help ease the anxiety of jumping head first into a new career.

Secondly, there are those who have experience in aspects of home staging, but no all aspects. For example you might have worked for a larger home staging company and looked after a certain aspect of the business. When you start your own home staging business you need to know about all aspects of home staging. The right training will teach you about all aspects of home staging so you can start your business with confidence.

Finally, a home staging course is great for those in similar industries who want to be able to increase their earnings. A good example is realtors who want a better understanding of staging a property ready for sale. Perhaps they simply have an interest in home staging, or maybe they want to start a home staging business to manage alongside their real estate business. The two businesses go hand in hand, and for every house you list for sale, you have a warm client that you can upsell home staging too.

Here at The Home Staging Institute we offer four different levels of courses, and one of these is specifically a home staging course for realtors.

Home Staging Certification

When you complete a home staging course, or any sort of home staging training, you may or may not get a certification at the end of it.

What is the point of getting a certification or home staging qualification?

It is simply a way to say loud and proud to potential customers that you completed a course, and have the badge to show it.

It shows that a third party has not only taught you some of the key home staging skills, but they have tested you, and that you passed the test.

home staging certificate example

Something important to keep in mind is that there is no national or international body that is licenses and overseen by the government to award home staging certifications.

So typically when you earn a "home staging certification" you are not being awarded a legal document that is controlled by a licenced organisation.

You are being awarded proof that you completed a course. Either online, or in person.

What should you look for when choosing where to get your home staging certification?

Firstly check that the course is right for you.

Does it cover the topics that you are most interested in?

Does it meet your industry needs? Home staging courses for Realtors can be slightly different to home staging courses for starting a new business in this industry.

What is the course flexibility like? With online courses you can do the training whenever you like. However with in-person courses you'll need to travel to a location at a set time, and complete the course in the company of your tutor and peers.

 

CHAPTER 7:

Home Staging Forms & Checklists


Completing a home staging course is an easy way to add some credibility to a new home staging business.

If you can also demonstrate a home staging certification then you have something a little extra that you can add to your website to win more business.

You can find home staging courses online, and you can in fact get your home staging certification online.

Courses typically take a few weeks to a few months, depending on how intensive you want to go!

Forms, checklists, forms, and more checklists!

Even in 2020 there are a number of forms and checklists used in the home staging industry.

When starting your own home staging business it can be a little bit frustrating to have to make these all from scratch, but the good news is there is a few shortcuts you can take.

In general, these are the documents you will need at some point in your home staging career.

Survey form: I like to use a survey form, which is a form I use to record information about exactly what the homeowner or client is wanting.

When first speaking to a customer this form has the questions I want to ask to get a better understanding of the job. It ensures I know which suburb the job is in, how many rooms need to be staged, current furniture that will be remaining in the house, what extra furniture will be needed, any special requirements of the property, how long it needs to remain staged for, what the budget is, what the purpose for the staging is, and if there is any accessibility issues.

The information I gather on this form is used to generate the proposal and quote. It saves me remembering every detail after a phone call with the client, or after visiting the property.

Proposal form: This is what is sent to prospective clients to win the business. It's a polished document with your branding on it. Your home staging proposal form should outline exactly what the customer has requested, what you will do, and how much it will cost.

When the customer signs and returns it, you've got the client booked and you can ask for a deposit and book the job in your calendar.

Staging checklist: Running a home staging business means managing a lot of little jobs, that together make up one big job.

The One Big Job is the home staging job.

This is made up of many little jobs. Booking furniture for the living room, finding a picture frame for the bathroom, organising flowers for the table display, deciding what books work best on the coffee table, organising labour and moving vehicles if needed, considering which rugs will work best in the room, etc.

It helps to have a checklist for each home staging job or you'll find yourself forgetting things and running in circles.

Trust me, once you have driven 15 miles to a job, you don't want to have to return to base and pickup that vase you forgot.

A checklist makes things go smoother, and that means less headaches!

Mileage form: One of expenses you might be able to claim as the owner of a home staging business is your mileage. Every time you visit a client, your office, your warehouse, or even driving to pickup and research new items and furniture could be recorded as a business expense.

Obviously this will vary country by country, and state by state, so it pays to get the advice of a local accountant. But in general, if you are using your vehicle for your business, even if it is your personal vehicle and not sign written, you might be able to save a little money when it comes to taxes.

CHAPTER 8:

Products & Logistics


One of the perks when starting a home staging business is shopping for new furniture and homewares.

Let's be honest, you wouldn't become a home staging consultant in the first place if you didn't love staging and interior design.

But just as importantly, is how do you manage to get your product to your clients houses, and where do you store all your home staging products?!

Furniture & products for home staging

You probably have your favourite furniture stores around you local town or city already, so sourcing your products for your home staging business might start here.

But something that you have to keep in mind when starting a home staging business is that you are doing this for profit.

You want to be "in the green" as soon as possible.

You also want to avoid hefty debt at all costs.

This means making sensible decisions when buying furniture for home staging. Some purchases you can get away with paying less, even if you don't agree with the quality of the product.

A prime example is mattresses.

home staging products

Nearly every staging job will include a bedroom, and that means a bed! A $800 mattress covered by a top quality sheet is not going to sell the house any better than a cut-price discount (or second hand mattress) that you find at the discount store, eBay, or Craigslist.

No one is going to lay on the bed to test it.

No one is going to pull back the sheets to check the mattress.

So you'll need to put your pride aside and buy something that you otherwise might avoid.

You can spend this money saved on products which matter, such as a nice couch or coffee table.

Can you use your own furniture?

We often get asked if you can use your own furniture for home staging? And we also get asked how to start a staging business without money.

The answer to the first question is YES!

And that means you can start a home staging business without a large amount of savings or a crippling bank loan.

In fact I know of one company who lists every piece of non-sentimental furniture in their home available for their home staging jobs.

The benefits of this are two fold:

  1. When you are starting a home staging business it typically takes a fair bit of capital to build of your range of furniture to use in jobs. If you are open to using the furniture you already own, then you get a bit of a head start.
  2. You also get the benefit of blurring the lines between "business-use" and "personal-use". You'll need to speak to your local accountant to understand the finer details here, but there is no reason you can't buy furniture you love, using your businesses income, and use it day in your home. You'll still need to make it available for home staging jobs, but that's no big deal.

Our only advice is not to use furniture that is sentimental to you.

If you inherited a coffee table, and it's been passed down through family, think twice about staging a property that will have frequent guests that may not care about the furniture as much as you do.

Also consider the small dings here and there is might get while transporting it to the job.

Where to buy home staging product from

You can buy the products you need for home staging from any of your favourite stores.

Don't forget to look at second hand stores as well.

trade-account

Also consider asking about trade accounts. I am aware of some retailers which offer up to 50% off the retail price to companies that do home staging, interior design, and wedding styling. For these companies it's a win-win. They get a lot of exposure since often work in these industries appears on blogs or magazines, and they also get a frequent high-spending customer.

CHAPTER 9:

Reviews & Growth


One of the perks when starting a home staging business is shopping for new furniture and homewares.

Let's be honest, you wouldn't become a home staging consultant in the first place if you didn't love staging and interior design.

But just as importantly, is how do you manage to get your product to your clients houses, and where do you store all your home staging products?!

Setting yourself up for growth

Two things will set your home staging business up well for sustained long term growth: reviews, and a great portfolio.

We've covered the importance of a great portfolio already, so now we'll touch on how to get reviews for your home staging business, and what to do with them.

Where do you put your reviews?

There are three main places you'll want to be gathering reviews.

home staging testimonials website

The first is on your own website. The visitors to your website are already interested in home staging services, and they are even considering hiring your company to do the work. Now it is your job to convince them that they are making the right choice.

The quickest and easiest way to reassure potential customers is to show that there have been other customers who are happy with your work.

Do this by picking the top half a dozen or so reviews and posting them on your site.

You can use them on your homepage, on a special reviews/testimonials page, or maybe even in the footer area of every page.

home staging reviews google

Secondly, you can ask users to leave your business a review on Google. This will help entice people to your website from Google, then it becomes your websites job to ensure those new visitors enquire for your services.

When you search for home staging in your city you'll often see Google Local listings, which shows the name and address of the business, and if there are any ratings or reviews.

Businesses that have more than 3 or 4 reviews really stand out in the home staging industry, especially in small towns.

This industry isn't like cafes or restaurants where you need hundreds of positive reviews to get customers.

home staging reviews on facebook

If you have a Facebook page, it is also worth asking for customers to leave a review there too.

These days more and more people are using Facebook to find businesses and to research before making an enquiry.

 

FINAL STEPS

Where too from here?


PLEASE, if you enjoyed this guide on starting a home staging business, share it on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or your own website.

Our team spent over 40 hours writing this free guide for you, and completed it during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. Any help sharing this with others who want to start a home staging business is greatly appreciated!

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