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Deals Brands. Sell Account. Delivery to: Finland. Why You? Compare Similar Products Set 1 of 1. Top Trumps style Game - Pitch various jobs against one another. Preferred Delivery: Lowest Cost Priority. Free Returns: No. Back To Top. Country of delivery:. Enter your postcode: optional. Send my basket. Continue Shopping. This seller does not ship to your selected delivery location. Learning how to Stage means learning how to merchandise the product the house.

A well-Staged house allows the buyers to 1 Buyers can mentally place their furniture in the rooms and let their minds wander to future happy times when the house has become their home. When you learn how to Stage, you learn how to communicate with both the homeowners and the real estate agent.


Staging is not decorating. When you decorate your home, you personalize it. When you Stage it, you do the opposite. In my classes I refer to the process as depersonalizing, which speaks volumes. You remove distractions so that potential buyers focus on the space, not what is in the space. The Staging professional must learn how to communicate with the homeowners so that they understand what should be done and never feel offended or hurt.

No one wants to hear that their house is not clean or that it has an odor, but both problems will distract potential home buyers. Home Stagers rely on many skills, the two most important being their ability to communicate and their creativity. I will address these and other issues in the chapters that follow. Admittedly, I had thought about it now and then. I used to hold open houses for builders as When my friend asked the question, it sparked that dormant interest and literally changed my life.

Some were filthy; others were crammed with knickknacks. Some were painted the most startlingly unattractive colors; others were falling apart at the seams. A few were all of the above! If you are in the real estate business, you know of what I speak. I ended up treading on sensitive feelings, something I have always tried to avoid. During the first 18 months I was an agent, I found houses for many buyers and was named rookie of the year in the real estate office where I worked, but none of my own listings sold!

I was distraught and knew I had to find a way to get past this roadblock. I have always been musical and I love to perform. In my younger days, I flirted with being a professional singer or joining a musical theater company. Although I gave up pursuing a music career, I was still tuned in to the theater and started to view my real estate listings as sets that needed to be staged to attract buyers.

It struck me that potential home buyers glanced into rooms as they walked through a house, but unless they actually entered every one of them, they clearly were not interested in the house. I realized that part of selling a property involves the same activity as putting on a play: You have to design the sets so that the audience is drawn into the drama. This was one of my first aha moments! As I explained my concept, my enthusiasm grew with every sentence, and before long she warmed to the idea.

She would be the producer and star, we decided, and I would be the director. It worked! Before I listed her property, it had been on the market with another company for several months. Once I Staged it, the house sold in a matter of days. Without really knowing how far-reaching that single event would be, I had indeed invented an industry: Home Staging. From that point on, I told every agent and seller I met that I Staged my listings and that once I did, they sold for top dollar.

I sold many houses in the Seattle area that next year and was well on my way to becoming a successful real estate agent. In , a promoter for real estate seminars heard about my real estate business and how I Staged homes. He asked me to speak at a seminar. No one, the promoter said, had ever shared a concept like mine before. That was the beginning of my professional speaking career. Soon I was speaking for up to 40 weeks a year, presenting to real estate agents my ideas for Staging homes. I estimate that I addressed at least a million real estate agents during these years, and soon word began to spread.

In , my world turned upside down. To add insult to injury, I suffered a series of small strokes in one weekend. Although I was unable to speak clearly for a while or move with much coordination, I did have a crystal clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish in the future: I wanted to train Home Stagers and real estate agents. This led to the creation of a certification program for the industry I had invented.

This was an important step toward ensuring that my industry would operate with a set of standards and ethics. Today there are 4, ASP Stagers who are spreading the good word about Home Staging—and their number grows every year. The ASP Stagers are building their businesses by serving others and doing what they love.

I also knew it was important to establish a professional association for networking and further education, and as a vehicle to reach the local communities where ASPs live and work. To learn more about it, visit www. These two- and three-day courses, respectively, qualify participants as ASP Stagers or agents, or both. When they continue their education through the Staging University on our web site, they join the IAHSP and participate in a worldwide network of like-minded and trained Stagers and agents to serve the public in the best possible way.

With Building a Successful Home Staging Business in hand, you will learn what it takes to operate a thriving Staging business I wrote this book to give you an overview of what I have learned as I built the industry and to present specifics about starting and maintaining a Staging business. This book also offers you a taste of what I teach during the two- and three-day seminars. This book is about building a Home Staging business. Home Staging is growing by leaps and bounds, and as is the case with all young industries, the marketplace changes all the time.

As useful as I believe this book to be, I hope it will stimulate you to visit StagedHomes. I look forward to sharing the journey with you! At that time, I discovered what you will find today: It works! For a good number of those years, I traveled around the country speaking to real estate professionals about the benefits of Home Staging. I estimate that I addressed more than a million people in those 14 years.

I believed wholeheartedly in my message and the need to convey it to real estate agents across the country. Because of this, the good news about Staging has spread. People are Staging houses from coast to coast. Television programs about selling real estate are often about Staging, whether the producers identify it as such or not. Magazine articles and web sites tout its benefits. Real estate agents suggest that their clients stage their properties, and with increasing frequency, sellers request that their houses be Staged.

All this is extremely gratifying to me, as I came up with the 7 Back then, I had no idea of the impact Staging would have on the real estate market, but recent years have shown that it has changed the real estate business forever. The most compelling reason sellers should agree to Stage their home is to get the best price for the property. Even they benefit because they have bought the house they want. The Staging enabled them to see exactly what they purchased, so there are no surprises come moving day.

They also learn firsthand the value of Staging, which means that when they decide to sell they will be receptive to the idea and, in turn, will get a high price for the same house. I get feedback from ecstatic sellers all the time. Recently, Sharon from Illinois wrote to tell me her Staged house had gone on the market on Wednesday. Obviously, your service worked, despite skepticism from many family and friends, who all thought I was nuts.

We sold it today. It was on the market for six days! I will enthusiastically recommend [Staging] to anyone I know selling a home. Two Stagers named Rahul and Melissa sent me an e-mail about a couple who had decided not to Stage because of the cost and because they had an Then they called Rahul and Melissa for help. We worked furiously to Stage it and after only one and a half hours of work, they received three offers in two days.

This is why I created Home Staging years ago—it was an act of love. During the more than 35 years that I have been in the real estate and Staging businesses, I have Staged and sold thousands of houses. When I started, I made every mistake in the book, but gradually I learned. Because I wanted to share what I knew with others in the business, I started teaching fellow real estate agents in greater Seattle, Washington, where I then lived. The idea slowly began to catch on, and today I am proud to say that with the concept of Staging, I am working to change the economy of real estate both in the United States and around the world.

Okay, okay. Enough about me! What is Home Staging? It is converting a home into a house that can be merchandised as a product. It is very much part of the real estate industry and not, as many believe, the decorating business. Even so, Staging has nothing to do with the condition of the house. By this I mean that if the house needs a new roof or furnace These major concerns fall to the listing agent to discuss with the client. Once they are addressed, the house still needs to be Staged. Decorating is a way to personalize your living space, to announce to everyone who walks through the front door who you are and what you like.

Staging is the opposite. If you keep in mind that when you decorate you are personalizing your home but when you Stage you are depersonalizing it, you will never confuse the two. A house shines when it is Staged. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Literally, the windows twinkle, the walls are free of scuff marks, the appliances and countertops sparkle, and the lamps glow warmly.

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A clean, clutterfree house welcomes everyone so that, regardless of the furniture, artwork, or color quirks, the buyers can really see what they are getting. The polish Stagers put on the property reassures the buyers about making the enormous financial commitment a house demands. Trained Stagers create additional wealth for home sellers, which is why I always explain that Staging is an investment. And in As I tell all the students who sign up for my three-day ASP Staging course, I experienced the benefits of Staging firsthand once again when I went back to selling real estate after 15 years away from it.

During that time I had been a traveling speaker who addressed real estate agents around the country on the subject of Home Staging, but after all those years, I felt I had been called back to real estate. Long ago I gave up the fear that often accompanies decision making and determined to follow my instincts, and I did so this time, too. They led me directly into an industry that helps others—Home Staging. I urge you to do the same. Intuition is a gift from God, a sixth sense that links you to the energy in the universe. It was , the Seattle market was sound, and I was excited about getting back to the business of selling one-on-one.

Nevertheless, the first house I listed had been on the market for 18 months and the second house had been on the market for four years. I Staged them both, and both of them sold to the first customers who saw them. Had I needed convincing that Staging still worked, those experiences would have done the job. Statistics prove that these two instances were not flukes. Independent studies as well as our own internal StagedHomes. My company, StagedHomes. About half of these houses were Staged before they The results were remarkable and should convince any doubters to sit up and take notice.

The first group, the houses that were Staged before they were officially on the market, sold in 8. They sold for an average of In some markets, the houses sold for as much as percent of the asking price, which in the high-end markets represented half a million dollars. The second group, houses that had been sitting on the market for months before being Staged, sold in They sold for an average of percent of the asking price, and like the houses in the first group, in some markets the percentage was as high as percent.

See Table 1. Table 1. They then were Staged and sold quickly. Some of the houses we surveyed had been sitting on the market for weeks or months. The ASP Stagers I have trained frequently contact me with success stories, and every one of them warms my heart, even as it sustains my conviction that Staging is the most important change to come to real estate in generations. The list price? When he contracted with a new agent, that agent brought Donna on board. She Staged his vacant house, which by now had been on the market for more than two months, and it sold in 12 days.

Melissa knew the price was right, so she decided to Stage the property. Two of the first four parties to tour the house returned for a second visit, and one made an offer that was accepted. The other interested party asked to be notified if the first deal fell through, and a third potential buyer asked to be apprised if the property came back on the market.

Showhomes® - America's Largest Home Staging Company.

I have realized my dream, and today the industry operates with a set of standards and a high level of professionalism. I have worked hard to bring my vision to fruition and create the Staging business. Stagers and real estate agents who can add those three letters to their names are held in high regard throughout the industry. The only way to earn the ASP designation—and the very best way to learn how to Stage—is to complete my three-day course. I teach the course, as do a group of superbly qualified trainers, through my company, StagedHomes.

Upon completion of the course, students receive certification declaring them ASPs, which entitles them to use the designation after their name. During the course, they learn the rudiments of Staging and get advice on setting up their own business. The three rigorous days consist of two and a half days of classroom instruction and a half day actually Staging a house for sale. After this training, the newly certified ASP Stagers are ready to take on the real estate market in their own regions. ASP Stagers are not sent from the classroom back to their home towns without ongoing support.

How I Got Started in My Home Staging Business - Start Yours on a Shoestring Budget

This means that not only do the Stagers gain knowledge, skills, and personal empowerment from the ASP class, but they also have access to all that the company offers. To achieve this level, in addition to the ASP Stager course, they must complete a five-day, hands-on course working in the field with me. This intense period of instruction incorporates the latest ideas for marketing and building your business, as well as the most up-to-theminute tips I have developed for Staging houses.

We also go shopping to preview the newest Staging accessories and supplies. This is extremely beneficial because the students must learn to communicate more effectively.

And, of course, good communication skills are key to becoming a top producer. This means the real estate agent invests half a day in Staging a house that is poised to go on the market. Real estate agents who earn the ASP real estate agent designation can help homeowners properly prepare their houses for sale and, most important, sell the houses quickly and profitably.

These agents realize the value of Staging when they see it up close and experience it in action. I started my adult life as a schoolteacher, and although I moved into other fields, teaching has always been in my blood. For this reason, I founded and have expanded the Staging University, which is the only such institution of its kind. Staging University is a rich resource for all ASPs. Their clients benefit, too, because the ASPs have access to the most up-to-date materials, forms, and education available anywhere. ASPs post Staging ideas on the university web site, as do I and my staff.

As you browse the online university, you will find new information with every click of the mouse, and you can count on my staff and me to update this information constantly. Staging University is a vital part of keeping the Home Staging industry on the cutting edge. Membership is renewable annually, and once you join, I am sure you will want to continue to belong. You will receive the monthly newsletter, and you can participate in organized conference calls with other Stagers.

These benefits can be a big help to your clients, who tend to be cash poor while they are selling their property and buying a new one. Perhaps the best benefit is that as an IAHSP member, you have access to your own featured page on which to showcase your Home Staging business. This featured page is your personal advertisement, telling visitors who you are, what you do, and why you are the best.

Business will be driven from our web site to yours. Once a year, the IAHSP Foundation, our charitable organization, hosts Staging Service Week, during which regional chapters get together and donate their time to Stage a public space as a way to serve their communities. This might be a shelter, a day care center, a hospice facility, or, as one chapter recently did, a Ronald McDonald House.

Because Staging brings peace to a property, this process improves the environment for everyone involved with the Staged locale. Not only does this bring joy and beauty to a small corner of the world, it also brings Stagers together, in spirit and love, to accomplish something meaningful. ASPs contribute their time, talent, skills, and dollars in the service of others to share the gift of Staging.

To head Yours may be similar to mine or they may be quite different, but as a rule they clearly state how you work and should be part of your written material, easily available to homeowners. Your professional policies will establish the nuts and bolts of your business: what days you are available, when and how you can be reached by telephone or e-mail, whether you put up signs on the property announcing that it is being Staged, how you charge, and so forth.

Notice I said that the policies should state how you charge, but they not do list the fees. Those should be tailored to the particular job, although your policies will explain when you set your fees and how you go about figuring them. Much more about this is in Chapter 6. Do you already have one and want to see it grow? You are in luck! Not only do I have winning strategies for making your dreams come true, but the concept of Staging is catching on like wildfire from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and beyond.

I have trained Stagers who live in countries as far-flung as Romania and Japan. Home Staging is a relatively young industry, so, by definition, it attracts ambitious, energetic people who see all sorts of possibilities by getting in on the ground floor. I could not be happier! You do the math! Real estate agents need Stagers to help them sell their listings, and homeowners need them to show their property off to its best advantage.

Building a Successful Home Staging Business: Proven Strategies from the Creator of Home Staging

I predict that in the next few years, Staging will become as important to real estate as are home inspections and open houses. Whether the market is hot or stone-cold, houses will always need to be bought and sold, and Staging has proven to move houses quickly and profitably. This is a business without boundaries. It will never go out of fashion or be overtaken by some sort of technology. Just as any market does, the real estate market will wax and wane, but it will never die. We all have to live somewhere and we all will, on occasion, need to move. Best of all, Staging is an exciting and gratifying career.

By relying on your own creativity and get-up-and-go, you will earn good money and go home every night feeling good about yourself. When you successfully Stage a home, you help people who have decided to sell their house realize their financial worth, and you help buyers see their investment with no hidden surprises.

Many others agree. It feels great to see the total I also love to help clients declutter their homes so that they feel more at ease living in them. It is incredibly rewarding to have such a life-transforming job. I was shocked when the real estate agent called me with news of the sale.

I am happy with how my small business is growing and I am excited about what the future holds. And I owe it all to you. I like to say that a goal is a dream with a date on it. To identify your goals, make a plan. I am not talking about a business plan, although that is very important I will discuss business plans at length in Chapter 3.

Here, I refer to your goals for the business. When you write your goals, think about the time span you allot to each one. Is this an immediate goal next week? A short-term goal in the next six months? A midterm goal next year? Or a long-term goal the next two to five years? Sit down with a pencil and paper or at the computer and list all you hope to achieve with your Staging business and, as I said, look at both long- and short-term goals. Once you have jotted down a laundry list of ideas, walk away. Go for a run or cook dinner for the kids and come back to the list the next day. Reassess your goals and discard those that do not seem relevant.

I want to work with a variety of realtors. Over time, your goals may very well change. Plan to revisit the list every few months while you are building your business to help you stay on track. Over the years, visit the list again and judge how many goals you have met. Edit the list, and add new goals. This will keep your business fresh. I will discuss other ways to keep the business innovative in later chapters, but my underlying message is that although running your own business is a joyous experience, you have to tend to it constantly to keep it growing and prospering.

Once you have a concrete list of goals, prioritize them in order of importance to you. From here, it will be an easy matter to write your mission statement, which I will expound on in Chapter 3, and from the mission statement you will create a business plan. All businesses are webs of ideas that intersect with each other—and a Home Staging business is no different. I am here to make sure that does not happen! During the years I have been in business and taught others how to build successful Staging companies, I have identified these as As you read through this book, these five elements will be addressed over and over, with a lot of explanation on how to achieve them.

Before you read any further, I will crystallize them for you. When I wake up every morning I can hardly wait to find out what that day will bring. Think of every day as an opportunity to enlighten real estate professionals and homeowners about Staging. When you do, your business will flourish and grow.

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Make a priority list of things to do and people to contact. You must market your business to two primary outlets: the real estate community and the public. There are numerous ways to structure a marketing plan, as I discuss in Chapter 7. Once you have a plan in place, the challenge is to keep it vibrant and lively. Target your market as narrowly as makes sense and get out into the community and meet as many people as you can face-to-face. Soon, you will recognize marketing opportunities as they come along. As I always say, the world is full of money; find some! Business expertise. As well as comporting yourself professionally, you need to have business skills that include computer competence; organizational abilities; knowing how and when to hire full-time, part-time, or freelance employees; and fundamental bookkeeping capabilities plus the good sense to work with an accountant and tax advisor.

The most significant business decision you can make when you establish your company is to buy liability insurance. Read Chapters 3 and 6 for more on establishing the road map and setting fees for your business. Staging skills. Without question I could write dozens of books about how to Stage properties for success. Take your craft seriously and keep it fresh, fresh, fresh! I predict a paradigm shift in who pays for Staging, with real estate agents soon including it as part of their marketing plans. At the same time, homeowners are starting to contact Stagers directly, bypassing the real estate agent altogether.

Perhaps this should be the number one key to success. How you communicate with your clients and the real estate community spells success and you might say is the key to the kingdom. Clients need to be educated. They must understand that how they live in their home is very different from how they sell their house. Staging represents temporary changes that remove the home from the house and create a product. I discuss this in more detail in Chapter 5 and throughout the book, but how you communicate with the seller and how you demonstrate your kind and gentle human side make all the difference.

If the homeowners are reluctant to stage the property, either they are not ready to sell or the Stager has not explained Staging clearly enough. Good for you! I have come up with a checklist of 12 things you should do to get going. Some will seem obvious; all are important. Name your business. When you give your business a name, you will feel committed and enthusiastic about the new venture. Choose a name that says exactly what you do. This will make it easy for people to recognize what services you offer. Be sure the name is broad enough so that you can easily expand your services as time goes by.

Here are a few examples of the names our ASP Stagers have selected. I am constantly amazed by the cleverness and ingenuity of our members! Talk to your accountant. Decide if you should be a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a corporation. Once you decide, register your business with your local municipality and state. Local laws, regulations, and fees change all the time, so before you register your company, take the time to investigate the forms you will need.

Start with the city office or town clerk and go from there. Local chambers of commerce are helpful, too. If you know people in the real estate business, bend their ear. This is one of those important steps that could spell success, or not. When you register your business and apply for a business license, you are stating that you own the name of the company. At the same time, you could discover that there is another company of the same name in your area. This is not permitted, of course, so the very act of applying for a business license eases your mind that your business name is yours and yours alone, and no one is going to come after you for infringement.

Decide on your business address. Post office numbers and apartment numbers raise concerns with some customers, who feel that a business is more legitimate if it has a bricksand-mortar base of operation with a street address. You may be setting up a home-based business. If using your street address concerns you, leave it off your business correspondence. If you need to give a client or business associate your address later, you can make the decision on a case-by-case basis. You could also get a second set of cards printed with your address for these folks. Open a commercial checking account.

This is just good business practice. Do not commingle your personal and business funds! Put your company name, business address, e-mail address, and telephone number on the checks. This is not the place to be guarded about your address. When you write checks in stores, the clerk will want to match Use these checks for every business expense; this way, you will always have a record.

Get a telephone number equipped with voice mail or buy a telephone with an answering machine. Although you will save money if you rely on your residential line, with a commercial line, you will be listed in the Yellow Pages. Very Important Client calls! Sign up, too, with a good cell phone service provider.

In my experience, you get what you pay for with cell phones, and it does not pay to cut too many corners. Set your fees. There is a difference between your fee and your hourly rate. The former is what you charge, the latter is for add-on work only. This may surprise you, and I will talk more about it in Chapter 6. Do not undervalue yourself, but do not price yourself out of the market. You can raise or lower your rates down the road. Markets fluctuate, and each house is different.

No two houses are handled the same way, even if they have the same floor plan. The more junk and clutter, the bigger the Staging project. And remember, this is your business. You As you will see later in this book, I suggest that you quote prices on a project-byproject basis and not simply by the hour. But we will get into this in far more detail in Chapter 6. This is essential, as I will explain in Chapter 4. No one should be Staging homes without it. Stock your office and check your equipment. Upgrade you computer, if need be, so that it can handle high-resolution digital photo files.

Buy a very good digital camera capable of taking high-resolution photographs. Learn how to download photos onto the computer. You will use the camera over and over as you work, and you will discover it is among your prized possessions. You may find it helpful to have two cameras and extra batteries for both. You might forget to charge the camera just when you get a call from a potential client. Create letterhead and business cards on your computer. Make sure the business card contains your business phone number and cell phone number and includes your e-mail address. You will need one box of letterheads and business cards to start.

I also suggest having number 10 envelopes business size printed with your return address. If not, you can order a rubber stamp with your Identify local resources that will be helpful and send business your way. Contact the local chamber of commerce and real estate organizations; see if you can join the latter as an affiliate. I highly recommend that you join Toastmasters International so that you learn how to make presentations in front of real estate companies and other groups. Visit the local library and scour any registries that list local business organizations.

Read books about running a small business and about real estate. Knowledge is never wasted. Look for a mentor. You will find all the information you need to run your business on our web site. As you read in Chapter 1, Stagedhomes. Invest time on our web sites, StagedHomes. You will learn a lot by reading about your fellow members, from our newsletter, and from the pages of information. The more time you invest in the university pages, the more you will learn and the better you will be able to serve your clients.

Once you have your licenses in hand, your business cards printed, and your office in order, you are ready to begin your career as a Home Stager. Taking my class and getting your ASP designation is a big first step to a successful Staging business. One of those things is to create a business plan. Read on! If you are anything like me, you are most excited about getting down to the business of helping homeowners Stage their properties, as you give free rein to your creativity.

Despite my eagerness to get going, I have the utmost respect for careful planning, and this includes writing a comprehensive business plan. A business plan is an important part of the process of getting your business off the ground. You may have read books, worked with other Stagers, sold real estate, or taken my ASP Staging course, but without a business plan, your fledgling Staging business may never take off.

Regardless of how confident you feel, how well connected you are, or how creative you know yourself to be, you owe it to yourself and your future clients to do it right. A straightforward business plan will propel you toward success more assuredly than anything else. Writing a business plan will ensure that you invest productive 35 A clear and concise business plan helps delineate the difference between being busy and running a business.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. This is where the business plan comes in. A business plan is composed of five elements: 1. Your mission statement. Your goals. Your target markets. Your daily activities. Details, details, details. It defines, in just a few sentences, why the business exists and what it hopes to accomplish. Invest as much time as you need in writing the mission statement—once you get it right, it will ground you as nothing else can. When you have a bad day or feel untethered from your business, pull out the mission statement and read it. You will come right back to where you began, and it will reassure you.

We burn out when we lose sight of our mission. I am on a mission to Stage the world. I believe that through the magic of Home Staging we can bring peace to our environments and in turn to Selling a Staged home or living in a Staged home is a calm and nearly stressfree experience. The mission statement is the cornerstone of your business plan and, thus, of your business. Before you write the plan, define your mission. Keep in mind that every successful business provides solutions for its clients.

A computer company helps you understand which hardware or software will make your life better; a lawn service relieves you of the worry of an unkempt yard; an airline makes it possible for you to get from point A to point B; a plumber ensures that you can take a hot shower. Keep this in mind when you write your mission statement. The mission statement for your Staging business might read as follows: To professionally prepare homes for sale by providing excellent Home Staging services to real estate agents and sellers.

As I do so, I will apply my best Staging techniques and rely on my personal integrity and honesty to get the job done for my clients. Look back at the list of goals you prepared, as discussed in Chapter 2. These could include honesty, integrity, diversity, and creativity, for example.

Ask a friend to take notes while you explain why you want to start your business. The key words that come pouring out of you I consider them to be one and the same: My mission is my purpose, and my business is my life. When you are ready to create your mission statement, use as few words as you can to write it, keeping the sentences short and clear. Some mission statements are no more than a single, concise sentence.

The words your friend writes down for you should appear in the mission statement, and in no time everything will come together. The mission statement will head your longer business plan, so there is no reason to include anything more than the essentials in it. Stage your ideas and distill them to their essence: You now have a mission statement. The mission statement like careful Home Staging sets the stage for the larger purpose: the business plan or in the case of Home Staging, the sale of the property.

It is what will make your company come alive to you and your clients. As concise as you make it, it should nevertheless convey passion for what you hope to accomplish. I am dedicated to change what worked yesterday for what excels today, and that which opens the way to tomorrow through the world of Home Staging and Training at StagedHomes.

Road map defines exactly The sad truth is that some people spend more time planning a road trip than they do investing in their business. I often say: If you fail to plan, you may inadvertently plan to fail. One of my students sent me a lovely note about the value of preparing herself for the business. I surely can say the language is not a big problem. I have confidence and I try to develop my skills all the time. I have a dream to open a Staged Homes business in Korea and [give] Staging classes for the Korean community here. I am now taking your ASPM class.

A business plan can be many pages long, or it can be far shorter. The plan should include your short-, mid-, and long-range goals, your targeted markets, your daily commitments to how you will operate your business, and a financial plan. I will discuss how to develop a financial plan in Chapter 6. Some of us live in sparsely populated regions of the These people would not feel the least hesitation about traveling for an hour to Stage a house. Many others of us live in congested suburban areas and therefore find our Staging jobs closer to home. The choice is yours, but my attitude has always been that if they call me, I will go.

If I have to charge a travel fee and the homeowner still wants to work with me, then why not? I go where I am called because I love to Stage. Defining your market is about a lot more than geography, however. Decide which businesses, people, or segments of a market you plan to work with. This is a crucial issue that you need to address. You might want to Stage private homes only, or you might want to venture into public spaces. You may want to Stage very large houses, or, conversely, you may want to Stage in the condominium market. The senior market needs you; builders need you; vacant homes need you.

The choice is yours. It is your business. The field is wide open. Be specific as you define your target markets in your business plan. You can always adjust them, but it helps to know what sector of the real estate market challenges you the most. Break these down into major target markets and then into submarkets.

Of course, Staging houses is fun, too, so you are way ahead of the game when you What you do each day drives your business. Action is a potent word, and when executed, an even better tool. Act on it and make it happen, I always say. Action is the key to daily tasks. When you feel down, simply taking immediate action makes you feel better, regardless of what is making you despondent. Action is powerful because it puts energy into motion, and once that starts, nearly any situation turns around for the better.

You are taking action, and proceeding action by action takes us to where we want to be—and even further! Think about the days you will work, and be honest about how much you are willing to do to drive your business forward and achieve your goals. For instance, you might decide that every day you will make X number of personal contacts, send X number of e-mails, and make X number of telephone calls. You might decide that weekly or monthly you will make X number of presentations to real estate companies, X number of appointments with individual agents, and X number of appointments with real estate company owners or sales managers.

These plans ensure that the weeks and days are committed, and Commitment comes first, followed by accountability. To illustrate this, draw a triangle. At the lower left corner write commitment; at the lower right corner write accountability; in the middle of the triangle write action; at the top of the triangle write results. Commitment, accountability, and action all come together to produce results. It works! Writing them down in your business plan is a good way to turn your dream into a business. Finally, when you write the plan, keep in mind that others will read it, or at least part of it.

They might be bankers who could lend you money, real estate professionals who want to team with you, developers who want to form relationships with you, or business partners or employees you bring on board in the future. These are just a few reasons your plan should be well crafted. Make sure to write your business plan in complete sentences and follow a logical outline. Set off sections with short, succinct subheads. Make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Double-space the document and number the pages.

With your mission statement and business plan clearly written and neatly presented, you are on your way to becoming a professional Stager. This plan is not written in stone. You must be open to change and therefore should review your plan often so that you This is your business and your plan. It is up to you and you alone to make it work, which will mean changing it as the need arises.

Before you start to work, though, you must take into account insurance and tax consequences. The next chapter covers these important issues. We all wish these realities were not as crucial as they are, but if you choose to ignore them or skimp on them, you do so at your own peril and expense. I am serious when I say this. These are necessary parts of running a business, and necessary is the operative word. The right policy will cover you for any injuries sustained while you work, for anything you break, or for anything you damage. The amount of insurance you need will vary. Talk to an insurance broker about buying a policy based on your specific requirements.

The broker will help you determine how much coverage you need, but the broker will in turn need some basic information about what a Home Staging business is. Very few insurance agents know about this. They are learning about our industry, but many still do not understand it. Your job is to educate them. Although Stagers decisively are not part of the decorating business, insurance providers categorize us as such—or at least as far as liability insurance goes. The same codes your agent uses to figure insurance for interior decorators can be used to figure yours.

This should help. Insurers who understand home-based businesses such as interior design should generally be able to recommend the right insurance for a sole proprietor of a Home Staging business. This may not be universally true. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage.

He or she may have some very good ideas about how to insure your business so that you are adequately protected. I recommend that you shop around. I have exciting news about business liability insurance. We at StagedHomes. This is the best policy I have seen for a Home Staging business. Talk to your insurance broker about the prices you will charge and the markets you expect to tackle. Ask the agent a lot of questions. Find out what is available and the amount for which you are covered in specific areas of the policy. Believe me, purchasing insurance is not too high a price to pay for peace of mind.

It is always better to be safe than sorry. I have presented here a sample yearlong Home Staging binder policy, which you can show to the broker. An Xpand proposal may not be bound without prior The Insurance Company underwriting approval. The policy might cover any inventory you keep in your house or garage. Review your car insurance if you use your car for business.

In some states, you have to adjust your automobile insurance upward if you attach a magnetic business sign to your car during business hours. How do you find out? If they are insured, they should have no qualms about sharing the information with you so that you can rest easy. Conversely, they need to know that you are insured and might ask for proof of your policy. Under no circumstances should you stage an Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Discuss the importance of a temporary policy with the homeowners before you begin Staging the house.

Require that the Stagers you bring on board or hire for a project have their own liability insurance, too. This might help you decide between hiring trained professionals or hiring the kid down the street who offers to help with the heavy lifting. Work with other ASP Stagers and you will be much happier, much safer, and so much more pleased with their work, which in turn will affect your own work. At StagedHomes. It is exciting to have the ability to work with more than a hundred IAHSP chapters in the United States and Canada and meet fellow Stagers who have had the same training and follow the same policies and guidelines—and carry business liability insurance.

This is as true for a retail store, a major airline, or a multinational corporation as it is for a small business such as yours.

I keep records of everything. I save e-mails, drafts, and final documents, as well as other records. You never know when you might need to refer to one of them to verify information. Understanding the income and outflow of your business funds is crucial to keeping your business afloat. For example, if you decide you need a new computer, is it in your budget? Can you Are you continuing to build inventory?

Are you making your insurance premium payments? Is there anything left at the end of the month for your own needs?