If you’re wondering whether or not starting a home staging business will come along with some major lifestyle changes, the answer is that it might and it might not. It all depends on your previous financial situation.
Maybe you imagine yourself scrimping, saving and starving during your first and second year in business as a home stager but that isn’t necessarily going to be the case, according to Staging Diva, Debra Gould.
Gould says, “It’s true that you may have to make some adjustments in your lifestyle when you set out to be your own boss but it’s important to remember that it’s all relative to what you were earning before.” She adds, “When I started my home staging business in 2002, I was living in a very expensive city and I had just come from a career where I was making more than $100,000 per year. In a situation like that, with those variables, it is almost impossible to maintain your previous lifestyle and income level in year one – whether you’re talking about staging or any other new business.”
In Gould’s first year staging homes, she made $40,000. Since that was the same as the median household income in the US that was a pretty good salary for her first year. She also hadn’t yet figured out how to properly charge for her home staging services, something she now teaches her students in the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, so they can have a better first year than she did.
“Given that the average minimum wage in the US is about $7/hour, most people who earn $20 an hour figure they’re doing pretty well. If you’re used to making about $20 an hour, you’ll probably make as much in a single day of home staging as you currently earn working full time for an entire week (likely doing something less enjoyable),” states Gould.
If you’ll be leaving a full time job where you make $50 an hour (or $100,000 a year) it will take some time to get back to that level but then again, you won’t have the typical costs associated with being an employee in that salary range. You won’t have to worry about many expenses including:
- Buying lunch everyday
- Dry cleaning
- Maintaining an expensive wardrobe
- Hiring a nanny, gardener, house cleaner, etc. (As an exec you don’t have time for these things but your schedule is more flexible as a home stager.)
- Takeout dinners
- Expensive morning coffees
There’s more to “lifestyle” than how much money you earn, however. Many people earn less staging homes but are happier because they have a more balanced lifestyle working in their own business. Many stagers like Gould find that their actual cost of living goes down because they don’t have to buy all the things that are required of a high-paying career in an office tower.
Gould offers the following advice to stagers, “Above all else, remember that the more you invest in your learning about the proper set up and pricing of a home staging business, and in marketing your services, the more you will get out of it! You’ll find lots of financial advice in the free downloadable report Ask Staging Diva: Can I grow a home staging business in a depressed economy?”
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.