Do you want to start a home staging business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a home staging business with NO money and no experience plus a sample home staging business plan template. If you are one who loves cleaning, repairing and updating the furnishings in a home, then the home staging business is one that you can handle. Before going into this business, it is important that you know more about the business by conducting a thorough research about it.
Your research should include how much it will take for you to start and run the business, what challenges you are likely to face during the course of running the business, who your competitors are, who you would need to align with, how much you should charge and so many other such details; this is so that you stay clear of avoidable pitfalls. If you are still wondering about how to go about starting your home staging business, then you should do yourself a favor by reading the article below.
17 Steps to Starting a Home Staging Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
According to the Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP), statistics show that 94 percent of homes that were staged were sold within a month, while homes that were not staged stayed in the market for nearly 5 months. Those who engaged in staging their homes usually made more money during sales than those who didn’t. According to the same statistics, the average staging investment usually made a return of more than 3 percent.
The home staging business is a section in the real estate industry and one of the major contributors to the industry and the economy in the united states of America. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the home staging industry is responsible for the job growth in the real estate industry and this is projected to improve within the next decade.
During this period as well, the industry is expected to bring forth an additional 38,000 jobs, thereby making those running a home staging business to be primed in reaping the high revenue that is bound to occur in the industry within this period.
In the year 2013 according to statistics, home staging businesses in the United States of America were engaged in home staging and sold more than 156,000 single family homes. The percentage of sellers having their homes staged has gone up by 114 percent in 2011 and 16 percent in 2012.
According to a survey by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), certain homes that were un-staged stayed longer in the market for close to 6 months. When the same homes were restaged, they spent just one month in the market, which came down to a 73 percent decrease in the time these homes spent in the market.
The staging industry saw a decline in 2008, when the economy coupled with the housing crises saw less people demanding for the services of home stagers. This led to more home staging businesses diversifying into other niches in order to be able to generate revenue and keep their head above water.
CareerBuilder and CNN as at 2009, pegged the home staging business as a career for growth, while the Academy of Home Staging, described it as the fastest growing segment in the interior design industry.
The staging industry is more prominent in metropolitan areas as well as areas where there are a lot of real estate activities. The home staging industry is directly tied with the real estate industry and they work hand in hand.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those that require the services of a home staging business are not limited because they include families, corporate organizations, home owners, managers of public facilities, property owners, foreign investors, as well as the United States government.
This goes to show that the demographics regarding the home staging industry is not limited to just a few people but is one that expands to include a whole lot of people.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
The home staging business is one where the agent needs to be creative and have the right certification in order to stand out. The industry has witnessed a whole lot of sellers adopting home staging in order to sell off their homes quickly enough. The home staging business is expected to be one of the driving forces in the real estate industry in coming years.
In order to however get a huge share of the target market, more home staging businesses are beginning to offer niche services in order to stand out from their competitors in the industry. While large scale home staging businesses can afford to offer more than two niches, small scale home staging businesses can afford to only stick to offering one or two niche ideas.
Therefore, some of the niche areas that a home staging business could major in are;
- Home staging businesses
- Property Management
- Property Auctions
- Sale of landed properties
- Sale of fully furnished properties
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition in the home staging business depends on the location where your business is operating from, it is therefore vital that you locate your home staging business in an area that will allow you to effectively compete against your competitors.
In order to compete in the industry and have an edge, large scale home staging businesses are offering more than the average home staging services and therefore due to the relationships built with industry stakeholders, they have an upper hand over small scale home staging businesses, when it comes to meeting the needs of several clients.
The niches available in this industry has afforded small scale home staging businesses the opportunity to pick a niche and focus on that by offering personalized services in order to compete effectively.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are brands that have distinguished themselves due to several strategies that they might have deployed during the course of running the business and the home staging business is no different. There are several home staging businesses that have achieved a high level of success and have become well known.
Therefore, some of the well-known home staging brands in the United States of America are;
- Meredith Baer & Associates
- Creative Home Stagers
- Home Staging Resource
- Leslie Whitlock Staging & Design
- Artisan Staged Homes & Room Redesign
- Chic by Design
One of the most regulated industries in the United States of America is the real estate, which means that anyone hoping to start a home staging business must apply, write and pass an exam, before getting a license that will allow them to operate legally in the industry and country. The only people who are exempted from obtaining a license in some states are lawyers.
One who is running a home staging business is regarded as a home staging agent and is required by law to disclose to prospective buyers or sellers, what relationship they have with all the parties involved in that particular transaction.
The home staging business is not all cut and dried as a downturn in the economy could affect the sale of a house whether home staged or not, which could mean that a house or property could stay or up to two or three years in the market due to unlikely things cropping up that might slow down the project.
In order to meet with the changing trends in the industry, it is important that a home staging agent be very creative especially when it comes to properties so as to become a major player in the industry. Also, most home staging businesses have started looking for more ways to generate revenue by also acting as property developers.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting your home staging business from the scratch or buying a franchise should depend on the goals and objectives you have regarding your business. Each option comes with its pros and cons and so you should be able to deal with whatever cons that will arise during the course of running your business. When starting from the scratch, you are in charge of controlling all aspects of the business which includes marketing and publicity, how to retain your clients, your financial and other related goals.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business faces threats and challenges and it is how an entrepreneur is able to rise above the challenges facing his or her business that will determine if the business is likely to succeed or not. Some of the threats that you are likely to face during the course of starting and running your home staging business include, increased cost due to high inflation, economic downturn, government policies, unforeseen delays from contractors and litigation.
Before going into this business, it is important to be adequately prepared to enable you rise above any challenges that might crop up, as no challenges or threats can be eliminated from a business.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
One of the most important decisions you have to make when starting your home staging business is what legal entity to choose because whatever legal entity you choose for your home staging business will have an impact on your business in the short and long run. Therefore, it is necessary that you consult an attorney or an accountant who is very experienced in your industry to help you choose the best legal entity for your business.
First, you will need to know the kind of legal entities that exist for your home staging business and go through their pros and cons before deciding that which is best for your business. In this industry, there are three legal entities that you would need to contend with and they are; partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation.
In the Limited Liability Company (LLC), personal liabilities for the company are limited as the company is treated as a separate legal entity from the owners. In the LLC, owners can decide on how they want to be taxed, as one can elect to be taxed on personal income.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Creating a business name for your home staging business is very important as the name is what you will heavily publicize to industry stakeholders. The name you choose for your home staging business must be one that is very unique, creative and memorable.
Therefore, if you are considering starting your own home staging business, here are some catchy names you can choose;
- Tina’s Home Staging Agency
- Home Resources Staging Company
- Slick Home Staging Agency
- Bob’s Property Rentals and Home Staging Agents
- TTT Home Restoration and Staging Agents
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Having the right insurance policies for your home staging business is very important especially as incidents could occur to you or your staff in the process of cleaning, repairing or decorating a home or to the seller or buyer of the home.
The insurance policies you therefore buy will be very useful in protecting you against any liability you might incur. If you are however confused on what insurance policies would best suit your business, you can consult with an insurance agent or broker so that they would advise you on the best insurance policy coverage for your business and enable you create a budget that will help you purchase the insurance policies.
Below therefore are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you might consider purchasing if you intend to start your own home staging business in the United States of America;
- General Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Payment Protection Insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Business Owner’s Policy Group Insurance
- Overhead Expense Disability Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
The home staging business is a process that involves cleaning, repairing and decorating homes in such a way as to make it attractive to the intended sellers. The business is a service based business and as such there is no risk of theft of intellectual property; therefore, you will have no need to apply for intellectual property protection.
Some entrepreneurs in this industry usually apply for intellectual property protection on their logos, business names or production materials. If you feel that this is a priority for you, then you might also consider applying for an IPP but if you are operating on a tight budget, then you might not need to bother with this.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Even though the home staging business is one that does not, in prior times, require any sort of certification, but home staging agents who seek to have an edge over their competitors in the industry today have started taking certifications in order to increase the confidence of clients in their ability to carry out a job. Also, obtaining the necessary certification will help you get links to industry stakeholders that will help your business grow.
One of the certifications that you can work towards achieving if you intend to start and run your home staging business in the United States of America include;
- HSR Home Staging Certification Training
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is very important that you have the necessary documentation in place before starting your home staging business in the United States of America. Not having the necessary documentation in place would mean that you are running an illegal business and if caught, you might be penalized by the law.
If you are therefore not sure of what documents to purchase before starting your home staging business, you should consider going to a town hall to make all the necessary inquiries about the basic legal documents that you would need to have in place before starting your home staging business.
Therefore, some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your home staging business in the United States of America are;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business Plan
- Business License and Certification
- Operating Agreement
- Employment Agreement
- Contract Document
- Insurance Policy
- Federal Tax Identification Number
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Even though the home staging business is not one that is capital intensive, if you intend to start your business on a medium or large scale, you might require funds for your business that is more than the cash you have at hand. If this is the case, then there are certain people/organizations that you would need to approach to get the necessary financing for your business.
This is where having a business plan comes into play because with a business plan, you would be able to convince people to invest in your business. Some of the financing options that you can therefore employ in order to start your own home staging business include;
- Raising part of your start-up capital from your personal savings and sale of stock
- Sourcing for soft loan from friends and family members
- Raising part of your capital from investors and business partners
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The home staging business is a business that will need you to physically meet with all the parties in the home sale transaction, so it is not one that can be located anywhere.
There are two options available to you when starting your home staging business and it is either to run your business from home or to lease or rent a property and run your business professionally. Whichever option you choose will have an impact on your business, so it is necessary that you are careful when making the decision of where to locate your business.
If you intend to start your home staging business on a small scale, then you might need to run your business from home. You will need to get a website to enable you engage in promoting and marketing your services to your intended target market.
If you however study all those who are making waves in the industry, you will notice that they rented or leased a facility, no matter how small in order to run their business professionally. If you are going to be renting or leasing a facility, you should ensure that it is in a location that is very visible and within the location of your demography.
You should ensure that you create a budget for your facility so that you do not end up causing a strain to your overall budget.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Starting a home staging business might not be so capital intensive, but you will need to have a lot of cash to be able to go into this business. This is why it is necessary to conduct a feasibility study to know how the business is and how well you are likely to do in the business.
This business is one that can be run from home or from a rented or leased facility. If you intend to lease a facility for your business, you will not have to lease a huge facility, thereby reducing your overhead. Your capital will not only be catering to your overhead but also to your running costs.
Therefore some of the tools and equipment you would need to conduct a proper home staging business will depend on the home you intend to stage as homes differ in requirements. Therefore some of the basic tools and equipment that you will need are gloves, hammer, ladder, homestyler, customer and accounting software, measuring tape, art supplies, props, furniture and office supplies.
Regarding the number of employees it would take to start and run a successful home staging business, one would require; a chief executive officer (owner), project manager, human resources and admin manager, marketing and sales executive, business development executive, front desk officer and accountant.
From the above breakdown, you will require at least 7 key staff in order to start and run your home staging business effectively.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
In delivering your home staging services effectively, you need to take your time in slowly building your portfolio of clients till your reputation as a home staging agent has been established. It is important that before you engage in any work for a home owner, property owner, real estate agent or contractor that you have a contract spelling out what you will do.
You will also need to keep up with the latest trends as regards ambient lighting for homes, draperies, home furnishings, as well as color schemes so that you will be able to not only meet but exceed your client’s expectations. To demonstrate your abilities to clients, you will need to show them photos of the jobs you have already carried out. You should remember that a home staging business can fall into the decorating, cleaning and repairing category and therefore you should be ready at all times.
Some of the home staging jobs you might encounter might require you to rent furniture and other decorations because the house is empty. Also, come home staging jobs might require you to paint or repair and therefore you might need to get a contractor to do these technical jobs and pay them before you can be paid by your clients.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Marketing is a very fundamental part of a business and any business that intends to generate revenue for itself must take marketing very seriously. Marketing is also a way of ensuring that industry stakeholders are aware of your business. When deploying marketing strategies for your home staging business, it is important to note that you will be facing a whole lot of competition; therefore you should ensure that your marketing strategies are one that would make you stand out.
Once you have drafted your marketing strategies, the next step is to create a compelling personal profile that would show intending prospects the jobs you have undertaken and how successful you were in it. Stating in practical terms what you have achieved will help to boost your chances in getting the customers you need for your business.
Entrepreneurs in most home staging businesses usually engage the services of marketing consulting companies to help with coming up with effective marketing strategies that are in line with the corporate goals and objectives of the company and will generate more revenue for the business.
Below therefore are some of the platforms that you can utilize to market your home staging business;
- Ensure that you introduce your home staging business to property owners and stakeholders in the real estate industry by sending introductory letters attached with a brochure of your services, your rate and contact information
- Place adverts for your home staging business in websites and real estate magazines
- Ensure that you use the internet as well as social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus) to market your home staging business
- Ensure that your home staging business is listed in yellow pages as well as online directories
- Empower your marketing and sales executives to engage in direct marketing in order generate revenue for your business
- Encourage your satisfied customers to help spread the word about your home staging business
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Generating publicity in order to boost the awareness of your brand as well as create a corporate identity for your home staging business is very important. Every entrepreneur going into business knows how important revenue generation is for the business as huge companies usually create a large budget to cater to publicizing and promoting their brands.
If your intention is to grow your business to become a national and international brand, you must be prepared to create a budget that will allow you promote your brand.
Publicity not only generates interest for your business, it also allows you to generate revenue that will help sustain, grow and expand your business. This is why you would need to study your target market properly in order to understand the best platforms to use and the best means to attract the needed attention to your business.
Below therefore are some of the available platforms that you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your home staging business;
- Ensure that you create a website that will promote your business activities
- Ensure that you distribute handbills and fliers in various strategic locations
- Position flexi banners with your company logo, services and contact in various conspicuous and strategic locations in order to raise awareness for your business
- Place adverts in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Participate in and sponsor relevant programs in the community where you are operating from
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram to boost awareness for your brand