Money money money MONN-EY!
Let’s talk money! I sometimes find that when talking to a realtor or investor and I give them an estimate of what I charge for a service, they respond that they have a cheaper option or their assumption about what I “should” charge doesn’t align with what I actually charge. This post is in no way an attempt to try to convince anyone of anything and it will contain information that realtors and investors may not be aware of. When it comes to what stagers charge for their services, it should depend on what they want their business to do for them.
Pricing is tied to target market and each person has to decide if they’re going to be the Walmart, Saks Fifth Ave or in between. Each of those places has a certain tolerance for a price level. We charge the prices that our target markets will bear. We also take into account expenses needed to run our businesses and that also has an impact on the price. Not everyone’s business is structured and managed the same way and below are some of the more commonly used factors that most of us have implemented into our businesses that cost money:
Legal team – it’s wise to have access to a lawyer who can review contracts and/or advise us when a situation could use legal representation
Liability insurance – Provides protection in the event anything happens
Gas & mileage – this goes without saying. We need to gas to be able to preview the home, shop, stage and de-stage the home
Warehouse / Storage – This is a monthly fee that varies by location and increases at least every year. Whether or not I have a home staging project, I continue to pay this fee
CPA – This is another one that goes without saying. Someone has to file our taxes appropriately
Furniture – This has to be purchased unless the client insists on renting from a local furniture rental company. I’m open to either option
Décor and Accessories – Extremely appealing and the cost adds up QUICKLY! Stagers in general tend to find it tempting to purchase accessories, only to find themselves out of $300 easily
Movers – If you have ever moved from one location to the next, you know decent, reliable movers will cost at least $500. The cost to stage someone’s home will include that expense if furniture has to be moved in and out
Furniture repair and assembly – This is a cost no one thinks about when looking at a “nice chair” from a major furniture retail company. Those shelves aren’t going to put themselves together. When a Home Stager purchases their inventory at wholesale, the delivery arrives in a cardboard box and isn't assembled by the delivery person. That stager has to assemble it or hire someone to assemble it and those expenses accumulate over time
Staff – As a staging company grows, what was once a “one man show” now has to hire at least 1 other person to assist with the projects and they desire income like everyone else
Software and other Platforms – As a staging company grows, the person leading the company may want to think more like a “big company”. Because of that, he/she may subscribe to automation software, project management platforms, calendar management services etc. to support them in operating the business
Furniture Rental – if the stager is placing their own inventory in the home, they may charge a monthly rental fee after a certain time period has passed
Other expenses – will include the head of the company’s salary and what they need to make in order to fulfill their financial responsibility to their family, along with the cost of their education and training
I’m sure I left many other factors off the list and this gives you a sense of what can possibly be used in order to run a home staging business. This is simply to create awareness so that clients who are looking to hire a stager will be open to any disparities when asking for a quote. My personal goal isn’t to get rich and I do want to be able to work in an area that I feel comfortable in and invest in any type of system automation to make processes more efficient.
I hope this gives you some comfort in knowing that each individual company is doing its best based on their current circumstances. I've decided that if a client or Realtor is price-shopping me, then they're not in my target market. I respect their commitment and I personally don't believe in doing a disservice to my industry partners. Instead, I focus on value, outcome and problem solving.
Until next time.