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What if I could tell you how to make more $$ in your staging business without actually staging houses? You would probably read this blog! Inventory is the secret to my staging business success. But what I am about to tell you will make some of you upset, and some of you scared, BUT since I tell my clients and Realtors the truth about the homes they are selling, I also feel it is my duty to tell new stagers the truth about running a staging business successfully.
YOU HAVE TO SPEND $$ TO MAKE $$
When I am staging a furnished home there is very little cost for me as a business associated with it. I have transportation costs (vehicle and gas) and insurance costs (liability and workmen's comp) and wages (paying my assistants)
When I am staging a vacant home however I still have the same costs as listed above but I now have to provide inventory such as artwork, accessories, area rugs, bedding, lighting and greenery. I have the cost of my time to select the items, the actual inventory, storage for that inventory and any other fees such as taxes and delivery. Often times if I am staging 4 rooms in a home (the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room) I will spend more money on the inventory for that home than I am making on the actual staging. I would make about $1000 for the staging and about $350 for the inventory. So why on Earth would I agree to this!!! Because this is how I grow my business.
What are my choices? If I do not have the inventory in stock I can tell the client that I am not interested in staging their home so I do not have to spend the $$ (they will then hire another stager and that realtor will not use me again), or I can stage the home and go out and purchase inventory to put into the home. When I stage the home I am essentially auditioning my staging skills to that client, that realtor and all the other realtors that see the home.
The next thing I know, the house sells, the inventory comes out and I am putting that inventory in another home. This time the cost to me is less. I still have to pay my transportation costs, the insurance and taxes, my employees, but I do not have to spend the time purchasing inventory or the cost of items. I am then breaking even on that job. Once that house sells and I put those items in the next home, I am then making money. Before you know it, the inventory has paid for itself and you are making $$ each month off your rentals. Depending on the number of homes you have staged you can actually make more $$ off your inventory that the physical staging of the homes and that is a beautiful thing since we all know how exhausting staging can be!
I write this blog because some new stagers are afraid to spend money on inventory. The truth is that just like needing to invest in marketing materials, you also have to invest in inventory since inventory is the tool that stagers use to stage vacant homes. The best advice I can offer is to purchase quality items that you can use again and again in a variety of homes. I also recommend that you purchase items that will work with rental furniture (see my blog about renting vs. owning furniture) so you can recreate the rooms you design again and again.
Here is a list of items I suggest that you invest in:
Area rugs- these make rooms look more expensive and cover up unsightly floors
Large artwork- larger pieces make a greater impact on a vacant space. They cost more than smaller pieces but you do not have to worry about hanging 3-4 items in a straight line and it is faster to hang one piece than 4
Large plants- they fill in space when a home owner wants to cut the furniture costs.
Bedding- Nicer, higher end bedding makes rental furniture disappear and you can then use less art since the bedding is the drama in the space.
Floral arrangments- larger, on trend floral arrangements can fill in a space on a vanity, the dining room table, a foyer table, the living room coffee table so you can use less inventory.
Decorative Lamps- rental furniture lamps tend to be less memorable. A fun decorative lamp can really set off a space and you can then use less inventory on the surface of the table or desk.
Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors- Use large mirrors to fill in a space and also to add drama and light to a room. I use wall mirrors in dressing areas or bedrooms in place of large furniture, above the dining room server, in the foyer instead of furniture. A well placed mirror will really set off a space.
Pillows gallore- I do not even want to know how many pillows I own. Silk pillows, beaded pillows, velvet pillows, linen pillows- these all add a punch of color on the neutral rental furniture and make the space look more coordinated when they pull in the color of the rug and artwork.
Below are some photos illustrating these ideas. I look forward to your suggestions of things to invest in for inventory. Just like you have to invest your time in marketing your business to be successful, you also have to invest your time and money into purchasing inventory to have a successful business. For me, I like the shopping the best!
Pillows tie in the color of the area rug and the large art to make the space pop.
Large art + large mirror + large floral = less staging inventory I have to hang or put in the home
Bright bedding, pillows, lovely lamps mean less art and less accessories
Hey! That's the same sofa as above with a different look thanks to new pillows, new art and a new area rug.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.