Your Home Staging Business - You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers!

By
Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

Your Home Staging Business- You've got questions, I've got answers!

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After the recent round of  RESA/Stage It Forward Round Tables, it became clear that many professional home stagers, newbies and veterans alike, had a lot of questions about the business of home staging. I'm a big believer in the saying "A rising tide raises all boats", meaning the more successful one professional stager is, the more successful we all have a chance of being. As a successful veteran home staging business owner, I am opening up the floor to questions about the business of home staging. This will be a series of posts in which I will answer your questions, to the best of my ability, about how to run a successful home staging business.

Here's the rules: I will answer questions you have about starting, running or sustaining a home staging business. I will answer from my experience, but I will not answer any questions about my home staging business specifically, such as how much money I made last year (enough to support myself, my business, and put some in savings) or what, exactly, my marketing materials look like. If I think someone else can answer the question better, or someone wants to volunteer, I will invite them to write a guest post.

So, if you've got questions, I've got answers.

Feel free to post your questions here, or email me privately at Michelle@MovingMountainsDesign.com.
If I think your question and my answer should be a members only post, that is how it will be posted. If you want to ask a question, but don't want to be identified as the author of the question, your secret will be safe with me - I won't reveal your identity.

Let's help each other raise the tide on good home staging business practices so all our boats float higher!
Question 2: How do I grow my home staging business?


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Michelle Minch is an award winning designer and home stager.  Please visit our Los Angeles home staging web site to learn more about home staging and how we can help you sell your home faster and for the best price. You can also call Michelle at (626)441-8975.
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Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged hundreds of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

Click here to see our Los Angeles home staging portfolio

Click here to go to our Los Angeles home staging blog

Click here for more information about home staging in Los Angeles and how we can help sell your home faster and for the best price

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Stage It Forward...
Home Staging
Home Staging Resurce - HSR
Real Estate Staging Association
Real World Home Staging for Newbies
Tags:
home staging business
los angeles home stager
pasadena home stager
starting a home staging business

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Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Teri: You are already a member of Active Rain, which is a great start. Start blogging about home staging. Find your own original voice, as opposed to repeating what you were taught or you hear others saying all the time. Write about home staging, and make frequent references to the town/city where your business is located. Blogging is one of the most effective ways of marketing your services and the best part is, it's free! Try to blog about home staging, or home staging consultations at least once per week. If you don't already understand search enging optimization and how it applies to blogging, there are many wonderful and educational posts on Active Rain.  Just click on Search and type in SEO. Try and network with other professional stagers in your area. I have gotten many jobs referred to me by other stagers because I reached out to them. Beware of lowering your price too much. Your time and knowledge are valuable. Yes, we have to take the current state of the economy into account, but that doesn't mean you should devalue your services. Don't emphasize how cheap you are, emphasize what a great value you are. If there is a relocation assistance office on base, see if you can talk to the people who work there about your services. They might be a very good source of referrals. I wish you the best of luck and am grateful for your husband's service to our country.

Jan 05, 2009 03:43 PM #27
Rainmaker
120,664
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Grand Junction, CO
Staging For Realtors, Builders & Investors

Michelle - What a great idea! And a great way to start the new year.

I'd love to get your thoughts on staging with your own furniture vs renting. I have no desire to become a furniture mover or rent a storage space. I love the ease and flexibility of being able to pick and choose from a range of furniture and then have it delivered and picked up professinally.

However I am starting to wonder if stagers who do own their own furniture are able to under-price those of us who need to quote a minimum 2-3 month rental through our rental partners. I'm still getting 90% of my calls for vacant staging and price is really an issue even with high end homes!

Thanks!! Tessa

Jan 06, 2009 10:42 AM #28
Rainer
14,750
Ronelle Schroeder-Hill
Vacaville, CA

What a generous use of your time Michelle, this is the most amazing group of women( and guys too :0 ). To see everyone working more towards a common goal for all than just being out for themselves

Jan 06, 2009 02:48 PM #29
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Tessa: I will answer your question in another post since I have a lot to say on the subject. Thanks for asking the question though.

Ronelle: I agree. I get so much out of AR and I wanted to give something back. I saw a need and decided to fill it:o)) Thanks for your kind comment.

Jan 06, 2009 02:56 PM #30
Rainer
33,322
Reece Mack
Simplicity Home Design, Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Owner

As always Thank you Michelle for sharing your wisdom with all of us.  I know that I got a lot out of that 2nd annual meeting and was wanting more and thanks to you there is. 

Best wishes to you and your company this year and thank you again for helping to continue to grow and educate our community.

Reece

Jan 10, 2009 05:01 PM #31
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Reece: I'm happy to help. I was so glad to see you at the Roundtable in November. I wish you good fortune in 2009 as well.

OK, now that I've got my RESA Stager of the Year entry finished, I can get back to answering questions today. Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Jan 10, 2009 11:49 PM #32
Rainmaker
107,552
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales

Hi Michelle- Good luck with RESA Stager of the Year! (Sometimes those entries are very time consuming aren't they?)

It is wonderful that you opened this idea up for the many newer stagers.  I am always learning things for my business and you are a fantastic 'Fount of Knowledge'.  KUDOS!!  Regards-Kathleen G

Jan 14, 2009 01:18 AM #33
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Kathleen: Thank you for your good luck wishes. I have fallen behind answering some of these questions. I have been very busy. This January is much busier for us than last January. Knock on wood!

Jan 14, 2009 03:06 AM #34
Rainer
46,216
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Michelle: Last summer I contacted you because I was considering starting my own staging business in Utah and you invited me to join AR, which I did, but only recently completed my profile. Once again, you are showing great compassion and consideration by helping out at this stage of my business - thank you so much!

Meanwhile, I've been working on a number of things to get business: My website has is recently up and running; I have a huge list of Realtors who I've cold-called, introducing myself and sending them information about Designing Details; I've asked to attend sales meetings to no avail: put up posters in some local businesses among other things.

My problem is two-fold. Early on, I received some positive response for proposals, but did not end up getting the jobs. In the last few months, there has been no interest even in proposals. The only "jobs" I've done are those that have been personally referred to me by friends.

How do I get people to be interested in Staging, better sell my Company and the positive impact Staging with Designing Details ~ Home Staging & Design, will have on properties being marketed?

There is not a great way to ensure my prices are competitive for the state of Utah, but from what I do know, I have been pretty competitive.

I really do LOVE staging and want to do what it takes to make my business a success! Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

Jan 14, 2009 08:23 AM #35
Rainer
14,058
Teresa Mills Schremm
Looking Fine by Redesign, LLC - North Olmsted, OH
Online Home Staging - Coast to Coast, ASHSR

First of all, I think your willingness to share your expertise and to help others in the industry is absolutely wonderful and commendable!

I was pondering an email I received yesterday from a developer wanting a proposal for staging services for their buyers.  I haven't been successful in marketing to builders and/or developers, and frankly, the fact that there is new construction in my area is surprising so I don't want to waste an opportunity.  I'm wondering how you handle these clients.  Specifically, do you submit the same type of proposal as you would for a homeowner? (i.e. consultation, written report, etc.) Do you include "perks" that wouldn't normally be offered?  What about the contractual elements?  Do you have a separate service agreement? 

I would love to hear your thoughts, Michelle.  Thank you so much!

Teresa

Jan 15, 2009 01:35 AM #36
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Teresa: I'm not sure what you mean by "staging service for buyers". I assume that means that if someone buys one of his/her homes, he/she will pay for you to do a consultation to help sell the buyer's current home. Some builders use that as an incentive for buyers to buy their property.

I would talk to the builder and ask them what they had in mind. Are they planning to pay you for the consultation or are they just allowing you to market your services to their buyers? One strategy would be to tell the builder the price for a consultation, and tell them that after you have done 3 (pick a number that fits for you) consultations for his clients, that the price will drop (-$100?. -$50...again pick a number that fits for you). This is his/her incentive to keep using you.

What usually happens in this scenario, the builder pays for the consultation and you are free to upsell your staging services, which the buyer pays for. Some stagers will credit back the builder the cost of the consultation if the upsold staging is a great enough number. Again, it has to work for you and for your market.

I hope this answers your question, Teresa. If I didn't understand what the builder was asking, let me know and I will take another crack at it.

Jan 15, 2009 05:11 AM #37
Rainer
14,058
Teresa Mills Schremm
Looking Fine by Redesign, LLC - North Olmsted, OH
Online Home Staging - Coast to Coast, ASHSR

Michelle, Thank you so much for your great advice...it really helps!  Yes, the developer wants to offer their buyers staging services to help sell their existing home.  I am submitting the proposal tomorrow, and your input is very helpful. :-)

Jan 15, 2009 11:17 AM #38
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Good luck Theresa. Let us know how it goes.

Jan 15, 2009 11:29 AM #39
Rainmaker
37,549
Leanne Zumbrunnen
Showhomes of Kansas City - Lenexa, KS

Thanks so much for the offer!  I love this site and the people who contribute!    I have done 3 vacants so far and they have all been newly remodeled so they were very simple to fully stage.  I use my own furnishings and charge $1 per square foot for vacant staging.  Just wanted your thoughts on doing it that way.

So my next question is about occupied homes (which I have never done).  I plan to charge $100 for 1 1/2 hour consultation or possibly $.10 per sf but I'm not really sure how to charge if it goes to an actual staging.  Do I need to guesstimate the number of hours it will take me?  What about accessories?  I don't like the idea of mixing my stuff with theirs.  I'm sure if they needed new bedding or towels I would purchase them (asking their color preference) and have them pay for that since they would get used.  There are so many variables with an occupied home that it intimidates me! 

Jan 15, 2009 03:36 PM #40
Rainer
10,246
Kathleen Lordbock
Broker/Short Sale & Staging Specialist - Crosby, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

You my friend have taken on a task here - good luck and thank you from all of us.

 

Jan 17, 2009 02:35 PM #41
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

I have jus posted a response to Debra Valentine's question. You can read it at Your Home Staging Business - How do I grow my home staging business?

Jan 19, 2009 06:55 AM #42
Rainer
10,246
Kathleen Lordbock
Broker/Short Sale & Staging Specialist - Crosby, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thanks Kathleen, and thanks for the link.

Jan 20, 2009 01:06 AM #44
Rainer
35,105
Lisa Roy
SPACELiFT HOME STAGING, Greater Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

What a gift you are offering new stagers!  Stage it forward all the way.....

Jan 21, 2009 06:47 PM #45
Rainmaker
325,047
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Hi Lisa: Its not just for new stagers. I willing to answer questions from new stagers or old hands alike. Thanks for commenting.

Jan 21, 2009 11:46 PM #46
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Rainmaker
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Michelle Minch

Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA
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