The Staging Diva, Debra Gould, explains why aspiring home stagers shouldn’t choose a home staging course based on the credentials it offers.
There’s no such thing as a certified home stager
Every month there seems to be another home staging association or training organization offering the latest “get rich quick as a home stager” product or “guaranteed staging job” coming on the scene. Almost all of them offer their own unique “credential” or “certification” for home stagers who sign up, thinking they need to have those letters after their name to be successful.
The truth is that the home staging industry is completely unregulated which means there are no real credentials or “accreditation” for home stagers.
Founder of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould, says, “You don’t need to take any home staging training to call yourself a home stager. You can decide right now that you want to be a home stager; you can get your business cards printed and say on them that you are a professional home stager and nobody can stop you from doing so whether you’re ‘certified’ or not.”
Gould, who has trained more than 4000 people in the business of home staging adds, “I could have made up my own certification or set of credentials and market Staging Diva Training as being the only place where you can get this pretend set of letters to put after your name. But I consciously decided in 2004 when I created the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program that I wouldn’t take that approach because I find it misleading both to potential students, and the public at large who are looking to hire a home stager.”
Marketing based on fake credentials is dishonest because there is no such thing in this industry. You could actually go ahead and make up your own set of initials to put after your name since this is an unregulated field.
There’s no governing body that regulates the home staging industry. It’s not the same as if you go to a university and take an interior design program. You need a degree to call yourself an interior designer because it is a regulated industry unlike home staging or decorating.
“You’ll notice that I’m not so-called accredited,” states Gould. She adds, “I decided to become a home stager because I had talent. I started earning money staging houses for clients in January of 2003 and called myself a professional home stager because I decided I was. I built my home staging business around what I knew about business and what I’d learned buying, staging and selling 6 of my own homes. Even in my very first year of business, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day Magazine and HGTV didn’t question my expertise or what my home staging credentials were! By year two, I was getting calls from CNN and the Wall Street Journal for interviews, again without anyone asking me to prove that I was a home staging professional.”
What the media and Gould’s clients care about is that she portrays herself in a credible and professional way; she shares information in a professional way, has a very good portfolio of her own before-and-after pictures and has testimonials from her clients.
What wins clients’ confidence is projecting a professional image and knowing what you’re talking about, not having made-up initials after your name.
There are good home staging training programs out there, but pick one based on what they’ll actually teach you, not because you’re excited about a “certification” or initials to put after your name.
Having the right “credentials” after your name will not make you a successful home stager. What will make you successful is knowing how to build and market a home staging business and what you do to establish your credibility as a home stager.
About the author
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 thousands of home stagers to start and grow their own businesses. Gould created the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers to help home sellers and real estate agents locate staging services in their area.