Thank Goodness for Mulligans…
Most of us who’ve been in business for any amount of time have learned lessons...some the hard way and others that thankfully were learned before too much damage was done.
This month Grant Schneider is hosting the ActiveRain Contest: Who Says There Are No Do Overs? He has asked us to share mistakes we’ve made in our business that we were able to do over.
Mine was a common mistake that many who are in business for themselves make, and that is putting too much emphasis on pricing your service to get the business and not enough on pricing to make a profit.
Of course, I could not have started at a worse time in the housing industry...2007-2008. We’d moved back to Florida where the concept of home staging was very new. In fact many agents, I discovered, were not familiar with what it was.
Add to that the fact that many sellers were reluctant to pay anymore than they had to to sell their home, and things did not look bright for a home staging business in South Florida.
But, I wanted the business. I’m a bit competitive and the thought of saying “I’ll pass.” to a client just didn’t compute. The Hunter-Gatherer in me needed to gather jobs.
And so, I priced my services to get the client.
At the lowest point in our local economy, I even offered a $99 Walk n Talk Consultation for a limited time.
I’d hoped that this would encourage agents to try to sell this to their sellers.
How many of these were requested? NONE
Calls for staging vacant homes started coming in but once again, rather than price to make money, I priced to get the job. (somewhat like agents who will agree to a low List Price just to get the listing.)
I covered my actual expenses, but was I making money?
The consultations I performed cost me no more than gas and my time but, as my husband (and many others) said your time is worth something.
For my vacant staging fees, when I broke everything down to how much I made an hour, it was pitiful.
What did I do?
I knew that to make this a business and not a hobby, I had to look at it as such.
I began by speaking with as many stagers as I could. Some were once active here on ActiveRain( Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging , just to name one who taught me a lot!!!) and my sounding board Sharon Tara .
Many were in areas where home staging thrived and was the norm. I learned how they arrived at what they would charge for their service, keeping in mind that it would have to be tailored to Palm Beach County.
Next I went to Cort Furniture Rental to see how I could work with clients, use the services of Cort but take me out of the picture as regards to renting the actual furniture myself.
The last thing I did was create a spreadsheet. I included every expense and hours that it would take for a vacant staging.
I took such things into consideration as the extra time involved to stage a high-rise condominium, for example. Depending upon where the freight elevators are, it can take you at least twice as long to bring your inventory in.
Armed with this, I was ready to stage vacant homes and make money. As for the consultations, I set a fee and stuck to it.
I also allowed myself to turn down jobs and refer them to others. This is the best thing I’ve done for me in what I do.