Everywhere you look, everything is a "deal". Markdowns, new lower prices, economy models, coupons, discounts, bargains, recession offers! We're all in this mess together I suppose. And we all want to survive. As a stager, I do not plan to reduce my fee. I am a successful professional and worth every penny...my clients tell me that.
I'm not cutting my fees, so how can I participate in all this deal making?
So how do I help my clients without reducing my fee? I have found several ways. I used them before the recession and I will continue. It's just smart business.
- When I get a new staging client, I immediately sign them up for Lowe's Realtor Benefits 10% off coupon, which can be delivered right to their email inbox. Everyone will need something from Lowe's if they're selling a house. If you are not a Realtor, have their agent sign them up. It's free.
- Develop relationships with good vendors for cleaning, pressure washing, electrical, plumbing, flooring, repair, etc. Get these vendors to offer a discount to your clients.
- Clean instead of replace. I have clients who are convinced that they "have to" replace the carpet. In reality, it may just need a very thourough professioanl cleaning. The money they save is usually enough to do all the other things that need to be done like replacing lighting, painting, and adding some new hardware and even paying the staging fee.
- Paint instead of replace. As a stager, I can "see" the potential in what is there. Very often, I can repurpose a piece of furniture or accessory to fill a void. Painting it is often a great option folks overlook. It it stands still, it can be painted.
- Suggest alternatives to making a purchase. Sometimes my clients need new bedding or a chair or some accessories. They don't have the money to buy or rent. I will ask if they have friends or family in the area. If they answer yes, I ask them if they might be able to borrow some items while the house is on the market. They ususally have not thought of this option and get excited and usually can come up with what they need...for free. This also works for storage too.
I always try to use as much of my client's possessions as possible before I suggest they rent or buy anything. Eventhough I make money renting items, I never recommend renting an item unless it is essential to the staging. That keeps my client's expenses low and their referrals plentiful.