Home staging fee setting tips

by Debra Gould

Home staging expert Debra Gould built a profitable home staging business from scratch in a very competitive market and she says, “A stager will struggle to make money when they don’t charge enough for their home staging services.”

Here, Gould shares 3 tips to help establish the fees for a home staging business:

1. Remember all the time you won’t be getting paid for.

As you’re figuring out your fees, if you feel $75 or even $200 per hour is too much to charge a client for your home staging services, consider the many hours you put into your business that no one pays for. As a home stager, you spend time on many non-paying tasks, like:

  • researching design trends
  • tracking client expenses and time spent on each staging or redesign project
  • bookkeeping
  • researching and staying on top of the local real estate market
  • standing in line at the bank
  • shopping for office supplies
  • maintaining your home staging website
  • writing home staging blog posts and newsletters
  • networking with real estate agents, home owners and home sellers
  • negotiating with suppliers
  • preparing for client appointments
  • answering potential clients’ questions in advance
  • scheduling and re-scheduling appointments
  • traveling to and from meetings and running business errands
  • follow up calls (before, during and after the staging or redesign project)

2. Think of the many benefits you’re bringing to your staging clients.

You must believe that you bring real value to your home staging clients or else it will be very difficult to convince them to pay much for your services. Start thinking about the many benefits you can bring to a client if you do the job well.

Gould, founder of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program says, “Don’t start feeling embarrassed about your rates. Done well, a home staging project should generate anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 profit for the homeowner. So, why shouldn’t a professional home stager be paid well?

This was Debra Gould’s client’s house. It sold for $71,000 over the asking price. The client invested about $950 in Gould’s advice during a home staging consultation.

Someone might say, “wow, $950 just for advice, that’s a lot of money!”

But instead if you asked them, “what if you could invest $950 and make $71,000?” not many people would consider that too expensive.

If you’re thinking, “it’s a slow real estate market, my clients aren’t going to make that kind of profit on my services”, there are thousands of “proof home staging works” examples of homes that have languished on the slow real estate market for months (or years) until they were decorated to sell.

If home staging can save a client from the costs of carrying a house they don’t want, not to mention saving them from the emotional costs of having their lives on hold waiting to sell, how much is that worth?

When determining your rates remember that home staging is an investment in a potentially significant return for the client.

3. When you’re in a service business you’re selling your time.

Everyone has a limited “inventory” of time.  There are 24 hours per day – we all have the same amount. Since you can’t manufacture more hours in a week, the only way to earn more money is to charge more for your time.

Gould cautions stagers that, “You will never make real money in home staging until you get your pricing strategy right!”

The Staging Diva course “The Business of Home Staging: What you need to start and how to grow” includes a good discussion of how to properly charge for your home staging services.

If you’ve taken the course already, now is a great time to review your notes so you make sure you earn what you’re worth for the spring real estate season.

In Staging Diva course 2, you’ll learn what Gould charged clients when she started in 2002 and how she systematically increased her rates over time. She also shares the single biggest discovery she made in how to best price home staging services for profit.

About Staging Diva

The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate, including seven of her own homes. She is the president of home staging firm SixElements.com and has trained over 4000 home stagers to start and grow their own businesses.

Debra has gained international recognition through features in major media in the US and Canada including: This Old House, HGTV, CNN Money, CBC National News, CBS Radio, Global TV, City TV, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and more.

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