Many home stagers make the costly mistake of charging for their services by the square foot or a flat rate per room. Staging Diva® Debra Gould explains why structuring the pricing for a home staging business this way can quickly lead to bankruptcy.
Why Charging a Flat Fee Can Flat-Line A Home Staging Business
The pricing structure (and items you charge for) you set up for your home staging services can either make or break your business. Good for you to follow your heart and get into a career you enjoy, but if you’re doing something you love and not making money, it’s not a business – it’s a hobby.
Even if you’re the best home stager in your city, if you charge a flat rate for your services, you could end up broke faster than you think. In fact, you could be setting yourself up to “flat-line” a business that could otherwise be extremely profitable.
Charging by the square foot or setting a flat rate per room is a common mistake that has ended more than one home stager’s career. Why? No two spaces are ever the same. It could take more time for you to stage a 900-square-foot condo than a 3,000-square-foot detached home. Why should you charge the same rate for both?
When you’re elbow deep in a project and realize it will take hours more to complete than you originally estimated it’s too late. By charging a flat rate, you will have successfully undercut yourself!
In The Business of Home Staging: What You Need to Start and How to Grow, I teach Staging Diva students how to properly charge for their services when they aren’t charging a flat rate. There are several common scenarios you probably encounter regularly as a home stager. In these classic time-sucking situations, your flat rate couldn’t possibly compensate for the amount of time that’s wasted:
The chatty client
Some homeowners really like to talk. It’s great to create rapport and make conversation with your clients, but some people will spend a lot of time telling you the history of all the furniture in their homes and why they love each piece so much.
The distracted client
Some clients are busy answering their phones and fetching cookies for screaming children while you’re attempting to conduct a consultation. The minutes and hours tick by and there you are not getting paid for your time.
The wishy-washy client
You’ll inevitably encounter those who schedule and reschedule appointments over and over leaving you with empty space in your calendar that you can’t fill on short notice. This is rough on an entrepreneur who only has their time to sell.
The indecisive client
Sometimes you’ll become very involved in a project only to learn that the client has changed his or her mind about using your services. Or your client wants to be the decision maker in all things, but can’t make a decision. You’ve probably gone to a restaurant with this type of person. The menu comes and they take half an hour deciding what to order.
The pack-rat client
These clients have houses so cluttered that they belong on an Oprah episode about obsessive hoarding. As a home stager, you’ll be amazed to discover how many people live with rooms filled to the ceiling with piles of stuff that needs to be sorted through.
If you have the proper pricing strategy in place, none of these time-suckers will matter. In fact, if clients like these are eating up your time, you will make more money with a better rate structure.
However, if you charge by the square foot or by the room you will find yourself working for nothing much of the time. Naturally you didn’t go into business for yourself to lose money, so why have a pricing strategy that would make that happen?
If you charge by the square foot or per room for your home staging services, you really need to reconsider your pricing strategy before you burnout from all the extra work you have to do to make ends meet or your business flat-lines.
Learn about how to properly price your home staging services from Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with 1000+ Graduates worldwide. Debra is the author of two home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more visit http://www.stagingdiva.com.