What must Stagers do in this town to get a job?

Home Stager

Impressions Of A Rainy Day Stock Photography

As I sit here, in my office, looking out the window and watching the rain come down nursing a cup of cuban cafe con leche ; and I was thinking  that there are agents that will call 4 and even five stagers to get a quote for them, have them compete in price and in many instances even showing the stager their lowest bid and asking them to lower it and they will give them the job.  This has caused for Staging prices to go down in our area "BIG TIME".  I went to destage the 3 million dollar estate that just sold and I noticed in one of the For Sale estate neighbors that also said Staged on the sign.

 I went in and the stager did a beautiful job! , although the house was mediterranean style on the outside, the furniture used was contemporary, I have to say all together looked good, so I mentioned to the owner of the estate I was destaging and he told me that the stager had no room in her warehouse and offer them a free staging fee with a 500 dollars monthly rental, thats why the owner did it! WOW , and I thought to myself.....Is this stager doing the right thing?  Or is it better to have the attitude of "In business everything is valid, everyone to themself".

Bad Business Choice Stock Image

Question is???? Is it  okay to do this in a downtime Staging Season here in South Florida?

Share your thoughts

Comments (10)

Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

While it is hard to not say that the stager with the furniture has every right to do what they need to do to stay in the black - is it better to not pay a storage rental fee and rather have some income, even though it is astonishingly low?  It is hard to know... what I am sure of is that if they have so little inventory that it all fits in that one home and it is not really being paid for then chances are that this stager won't be in business very much longer.

Right now, our warehouse is busting at the seams, primarily because we've been selling houses!!  We do need to get the furniture out there but truth be told we would rather it sit in here than have it sit for too low out there...why?  because when we (or other stagers) underbid it becomes the new price for staging.  We don't play that game.

Recently there was a staging company in our area whose prices used to exceed ours.  They were very proud of their boutique price tag.  Apparently they must have had a bit of extra inventory and were doing roughly the same practice as the one you mentioned because when we bid against them we were told by the agent that while they wanted to use our services, the $1200 for 4 months staging fee (which included delivery, pickup and inventory rental) was so much lower the homeowner just had to go with them.  To top it off, ongoing months would only be $120 rental.  Ours was over 50% more than their bid and we just had to let the deal go.....

We simply would not underprice ourselves just because someone else was.  In the words of another CSP.... I don't care how they price themselves, they know what they are worth.

Jul 28, 2009 10:13 AM
Fernando Rosado
West Palm Beach, FL
561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950

Melissa Thank you for that . I totally agree with you 100% , we can't undersell ourselves. Thanks

Maureen Im sorry if you or anyone who read the old title  was offended by it. All Stagers and agents that know me ,know I talk like that.... meaning not to offend anyone. Im glad you didnt deleted it from Stage it Forward .  XXX


Jul 28, 2009 12:56 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Hey Fernando -- I think in today's challenging market, stagers and other real estate professionals price as they feel they have to in order to make ends meet.  I like the phrase Melissa used, and think it applies here!  If we would all just remember the tremendous VALUE that professional home staging brings to the seller and REA, we'd price what we are worth!  Hang in there and don't get discouraged.  :-)

Jul 28, 2009 01:00 PM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design

Fernando,  The same thing is happening in our town.  People are making deals all over town to get the furniture on the street.  I personally do not think it should ever be about the best interest of the furniture.  Although, I know that is how many survive.  Bargin basement pricing will only hurt us all in the long run.  After 4 years in this business, I for one want to get paid for my experience, but newer stagers are working for peanuts, but I think they will learn quickly that it is not worth it.

I think slashing rental prices so low is a short term solution to the market that will create long term effects for our profession.  my 2 cents

Jul 28, 2009 02:13 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Fernando, I can't fault someone for doing what they feel they need to do to keep afloat, but in the end we all have to know what we feel our time and expertise are worth.  We have to try to educate the Realtors and public about the value in Staging and we have to remember we are professionals in a real business.  We're not doing this as a hobby or as something extra to do. 

So would I drastically lower my rates or give my work away?  No

Would I come up with creative ways to make it a win-win business deal for my client and for me?  probably. 

BTW: I recently met a realtor-turned Stager who charges half what I do.  She has not taken any formal staging training and provides about half what I provide in terms of service. 

Jul 28, 2009 02:35 PM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

Fernando, don't fret by thinking that it's "just you", it's not.  It is happening all over SoCal as well if fact we are also dealing with furniture STORES & showrooms now offering "Staging" because they aren't "selling"... so we have that to go up against as well.

Here's another analogy my brother told me who is a VERY successful developer in Los Angeles - I guess it's becoming common-place....  "If you're overhead is $10,000 per month:  Would you rather lower your price to $8,000 and only be in the red $2,000 at the end of the month - or lose the bid and be be in the red $10,000"

I don't agree with cutting EVERY job because I KNOW my WORTH ~ but  it's all "just business"

Jul 28, 2009 05:33 PM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

I don't like it but business is business.   There are nail salons that do a good job at half the price of a boutique saloon.   Guess who's busier right now?

We all negotiate right now.  I have a house that the seller prematurely had me de-stage.  She was so convinced that the house was going to close.  Now three months later she is talking about staging again.   Because of the financial pain that she's in I agreed to lower the staging fee IF SHE does it the same day that I destage a home that is closing.  The labour costs, so I don't have to inventory it, seem to be worth the reduced price.

Jul 28, 2009 11:11 PM
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

It isn't uncommon in business for people to reduce their prices when the demand isn't there. That's good old "supply and demand". If the demand is low, people drop their prices and offer promotions ... some people will be driven out of business ... eventually the pendulum will swing back and things will get better. I suppose it's all about staying in the game the best you can. And there are some predatory people out there who will deliberately undercut others to get the business. Also there are poor business people out there who just don't have common sense about what it costs them to do business and they will eventually go out of business ... only to be replaced by the next poor business person. My best advice is to differentiate yourself based on your service offering. If you are the same as everyone else, then price is the only differentiating factor so you end up being more vulnerable to those who compete by price.Times are hard and competition is fierce right now.

Okay, so there's my MBA in marketing in a nutshell. Hang in there. We are all in the same boat. :0)

Jul 29, 2009 06:39 PM
Cathy Brosius
Arranged Smartly LLC - Saint Louis, MO
Home Staging St. Louis region

I've seen a few stagers close up shop in the last few months. I do try to price myself competitively, but sometimes I'd rather walk away from a job if I have to give away the farm. Do I adjust prices if I am sympathetic to the homeowners and am cutting prices on things I control? I do. But I still have to make a living and pay my bills. Pricing your service is one of the hardest things you have to do as a business owner and what we do as stagers is a huge value for sellers. Now we just have to get everyone else to understand that!

Jul 30, 2009 10:52 AM
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

Newbies are popping up like he speed of sound around here.  But they can't offer everything a veteran has to offer.  They usually do free consultations, which really aren't consultations as the homeowner thinks; you get what you pay for, or don't pay for.  A person that sees the value in staging understands and values the service from an established company.  We have everybody and their sister advertising staging, painters, tile companies, kitchen remodeling companies, furniture stores, etc.  It's really out of hand.

Jul 30, 2009 03:55 PM