This will be the first post in a series about home business ideas that can be run part-time, as side hustles for moms, or as full-time income streams. This post will be about how to start a home staging business.
A lot of the same ideas get rehashed out there in the world of “home business ideas for moms” and “wahm businesses” etc. I am going to stick to the ones that I know to be realistic and relatively simple to start out (no, I’m not going to tell stuff like “if you are a CPA you can take on clients during tax season for extra money” — that is not helpful for most of us who are not CPAs). Another standard that must be met with these ideas is that they have to result in a decent amount of earnings. You will not find these useless click-around the internet for one-half of one penny per “job” completed, or slowly earning one point at a time on a point system that is like 10000 points = $1. In other words, I won’t be peddling garbage here. And I will try to keep the articles short and sweet, and steer you toward good resources for further info.
These ideas are not just for moms of course. But since this is a mom blog that’s what we’re talking about. The idea is to have businesses with flexible hours, a home-based (or mostly) model, and good earning potential.
What is Home Staging?
A lot of you are probably familiar with home staging because HGTV and other media sources have helped popularize it over the last decade. (It existed prior to that, but it was less well-known.) If you’ve gone house hunting recently, you may have experienced staging first-hand, because savvy Realtors and home sellers have made it a common part of the home-selling process. Why? Because it helps homes sell faster and for higher prices!
As a home stager, you will use a variety of relatively easy changes like paint colors, furnishings, decor, and lighting to show a home’s best features and make it look as appealing to buyers as possible. Home staging is not simply decorating, however, and this is where many people fall short when they start staging.
You see, psychology is as important as the decor when it comes to staging. Good staging works on many levels — visual as well as psychological. A good training program will teach you how to use home staging psychology. If you like working with color, arranging rooms, making things look good, seeing the possibilities, and want to use your creativity every day, then this could be a really good fit for you.
How Much Can You Earn as a Home Stager?
Home stagers earn anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, depending on the going rates in your area. A full-service staging job, including furniture and decor that you’re leasing to the home seller, could be $2500 (and up, depending on the size of the home and other factors), and the recurring fee could be anywhere from $1200-$2000 or more per 30-day increment after the first month. This gives you an idea of what earnings look like, of course there will be expenses. You can use leased furniture from places like Cort. This will be an expense that you’ll have to factor into your fees. You can also opt for purchasing your own items upfront, which makes each job more profitable (once the initial investment is paid off) and you will also need to consider your storage options.
Consultation fees can be $150-300 for up to two hours, on average. This is where you would simply tour the home and tell the home sellers what needs to be done. You can prepare a report, or you can do “walk and talk” style with the homeowners either recording you or taking notes. If you hate paperwork this is a good option!
Bear in mind these figures are rough averages, and individual home stagers should look at their market rates and business expenses to come up with an effective fee structure.
How to Get Started
You can learn home staging through a variety of online school these days. You can also read about it, watch HGTV marathons, and go for it on your own. But it can be helpful to go through a reputable training program and since they can be completed in weeks or months, it falls within my requirement of being a realistic option. There are training programs that cost a few hundred dollars on up to a couple thousand. A home staging certification online program like this one can get you started in a matter of a few weeks, and you’ll have a certification that can help sell your services to home sellers and Realtors.
Aside from the education, you should have some photos of your work so that you can put them up on your website and social media. Start networking with agents via email, cold-calling, or introductions at open houses. Get some business cards made. Make sure you have a professional-looking website. It does not have to be very elaborate, but it needs to look polished. You can do this via a web designer but there are also plenty of DIY options that will give you great results. I have seen gorgeous sites made with Squarespace and Weebly, and there is also WordPress.
Why a Home Staging Business Works for Busy Moms
I like home staging as a business idea because it pays well and can be done on a part-time basis. You can work around your current schedule, scheduling appointments for early evenings and weekends. You can become a professional stager without obstacles like expensive training programs that take months or years. Plus, if you like real estate and decorating, you’ll be doing something that may not even feel like work a lot of the time.
Another thing I like about home staging is that you can build it into a sellable asset one day. Unlike, say, becoming a freelance writer (another favorite idea btw), with a home staging business you can build it up to where you personally are not one and the same with the business. It exists as a separate entity that you can potentially sell to a new owner when you’re ready to move on. It can take years to reach that point, but it’s nice to think of the possibilities.
I hope this has helped spark your thought process, and if home staging isn’t right for you please check in again when we have more business ideas posted.