With a new year soon upon us, many people take a moment to reflect on the year that was and set their new year’s resolutions. For many, this process involves assessing whether they are happy with their current career, or whether it is time for a change.
For those interested in interior decorating and real estate, home staging might be on the list of careers to consider.
So how do you turn your passion in this industry into a career?
Deep dive into the industry
Before committing to any new career it pays to spend some time diving deep into the industry to find out if this is really what you want to pursue. On the surface many industries look glamorous, but underneath they can be full of tedious paperwork and unexpected tasks.
Home staging involves all creative aspects of design and interior decorating, but does involve some tasks you may not have thought of. Some of the least appealing tasks are moving large furniture up flights of stairs, scheduling moving trucks, and as per every business, preparing proposals and chasing invoices.
After spending some time investigating what’s involved in being a home stager, and trawling through local real estate for sale and envisaging what changes you would make to the property to maximise its sale price, you’ll have a good idea if this is an industry you want to pursue.
Research your local market
Most cities have established home staging companies, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another. Different companies specialize in different areas of the market, so you need to spend time deciding what your speciality is and how you can stand out in this niche.
Some home stagers specialise in apartments, whereas others focus on luxury properties. It’s difficult for one company to capture all corners of the market, as the furniture and decor they have access to will largely dictate which clientele they can focus on.
By now you might already have a deep understanding of what style of staging you’ll specialize in, and who your ideal clients are. You might even be able to pinpoint on a map where your target clients live, and what other home staging companies service this area.
Set aside a week to really delve deep into your local market and keep in mind where you want to position yourself. Take notes from all the established home staging brands operating in this area. Who are they targeting? Will they be a direct competitor? How, and what, are they charging? Where are they advertising? Is their website showcasing their best work?
At the end of the week you’ll have a clear path forward for your business and you can start to form a very clear picture of your future business. But first, it’s time to hone your home staging skills.
Take a home staging course
Once you’ve decided interior design and home staging is your next career step, consider getting your home staging certification. An online course, such as those provided by the Home Staging Institute, will teach you how to become a home stager in as little as five weeks.
Apart from basic home staging theory and strategy, you’ll want to learn how to price your services, where to find wholesale furniture, how to market your services, and what paperwork is required to become a home stager. You’ll also need to start collating the documents required to successfully win business and stage a home, such as proposal documents, checklists, and home staging contracts.
Launch your website
A home stagers website is their storefront. It is often potential clients’ first impression of the business and the services they provide, so it pays to put as much effort into developing your home staging website as a fashion label would put into developing their retail premises.
In a heavily visual field such as home staging this means ensuring you have great photography, and an easy to navigate portfolio showcasing some of the work you are most proud of. These days, using editors such as Wix makes this job a breeze!
Photo by Le Buzz on Unsplash
Get your first client
Everyone’s first home staging client will be a source of nervousness and self-doubt. By following the process above you will have gained enough confidence in your own abilities to stage another person’s home with minimal worry. Most home staging courses will involve staging a property to some extent. Whether this is your own home, that of a family member, or within a training environment – it’ll help build your confidence.
Typically your first client will come from your existing network. In developing your business you may have come across a realtor which doesn’t offer home staging services to their client, or met someone through the grapevine who is in need of staging services. If you are yet to develop your network, digital marketing works well in this industry, particularly Google search ads.
Once you have your first clients job completed, add it to your portfolio, and look ahead to the next job! Home staging is truly a rewarding and creative industry to be part of.