How Much Does a Home Stager Make? | 2022 Industry Guide

How Much Does a Home Stager Make? | 2022 Industry Guide

The following information is provided by award-winning home staging expert Shauna Lynn Simon. It’s backed up by thousands of clients, up-to-date and independent research, and 14 years of real-world experience in the home staging industry.

There are many paths to becoming a professional home stager and, yes, a career in home staging can provide you with a good stable income.

With the right tools in your pocket, you can start (and grow) your business quickly and efficiently. I’ve personally helped thousands of home stagers from all kinds of backgrounds and economic circumstances to become successful home stagers in their local area. 

Here’s what you need to know about how much home stagers make, and how you can kickstart (or rejuvenate) a career as one!

What does a home stager do?

Home staging is the art of furnishing and decorating a home to make it aesthetically appealing to anyone walking through the front door. A professional stager typically works with real estate agents or home sellers to prepare and stage owner-occupied and vacant homes prior to listing their property for sale in their local real estate market.

Professional staging is not the same as interior design. Interior designers work with clients and create an environment based on their personal likes, dislikes, personal functional needs and preferred home look. 

A home stager, in contrast, is trained to turn open houses into future homes that potential buyers find universally attractive. Selling a home is about marketing to today’s home buyers. 

The day-to-day life of a home stager involves: 

  • Doing consultations with new clients. 
  • Planning room layouts and furnishings. 
  • Physically managing the movement and placement of ALL decor and furniture into vacant show houses. 
  • Advising clients on how to arrange their existing furniture and decor
  • Helping clients clear clutter, clean surfaces and repair cosmetic defects
  • And much, much more! 
bedroom home staging

Home stagers often work to make small spaces appear bigger and more attractive to prospective buyers.

Why do people hire home stagers?

Home stagers position homes against their competition so that they stand out to and attract buyers. With more buyers interested in a home, the property will sell at a higher price — often 5-10% above the asking price.  In most cases, it also helps the home sell after spending very little time on the market (1-2 weeks). If you think about a $500,000 home, a mere 5% increase in sale price net’s the seller an extra $25k! Considering the cost of staging, their return on investment is five times more than the cost of staging.

 

Three types of home stagers

While estate agents have governing bodies like the National Association of Realtors ® as well as state/provincial licensing boards, there’s no formal roadmap to becoming a home stager. In a self-regulated industry, the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) provides standards and professional guidelines for members, however, membership is not mandatory to be a home stager.

As a home stager, your revenue is based on referrals from happy customers, partnerships with real estate agents, and the success of your marketing efforts within your area. 

Here are the different ways you can run a home staging business. 

Consultations-only 

You help homeowners develop a DIY plan of action in your initial consultation. This business model doesn’t require much capital to start, but you will spend less time doing actual staging, and more time advising, planning, and building resources.

In-house 

In-house stagers work for real estate agencies or home staging businesses. To find a full-time job in home staging, you need a portfolio of work, training, and experience. You may also start out as a staging assistant while learning the ropes.

Full-service business

A full-service home stager manages home staging projects from start to finish. They hold consultations, plan staging designs, arrange for furniture and decor to be moved or replaced, and physically set the stage of the house for prospective buyers. This type of business requires an inventory of furnishings that you rent to your clients or an agreement with a third-party furniture rental service. 

Real estate agents are known to exclusively engage the services of a full-service home staging business. 

Blank slate kitchen

A professional home stager makes spaces aesthetically pleasing and creates a blank slate for the new owners.

How much money can you make staging homes?

Data supplied by ZipRecruiter indicates that most people working as a home stager will earn between $26,000 and $42,000 per year. The top 15% of home stagers earn between $48,000 and $81,000. (Note: The average salary of a home stager works out to be around $48,000, thanks to these outliers.) 

If you are running your own home staging business, you will likely bill a rate of anywhere from $100-$200 per billable hour. Alternatively, if you opt to own inventory, you would also make a rental fee on items you use in a staged home. If you choose to work for a home staging company, your pay rate will depend greatly on your role and responsibilities within their company, however, you can expect to make an hourly rate between $15-$50.

But stats without context don’t really give you the full picture. 

Let’s dive into what your monthly income might look like as a solo business owner. 

Consultation fees on average cost +/- $300. This covers a couple of hours in which you assess the current state of the house, the number of rooms you need to stage, what the future home will look like, and the amount of work required. This consultation usually includes an upsell tailored to the client with one of the following solutions: 

  • Complete staging in each room with your inventory. 
  • Affordable staging with their EXISTING household items.
  • A hybrid solution, such as staging key rooms only like the living room and master bedroom only, or providing a mix of your inventory with their existing items.

Each room staged with your inventory can be charged at an industry cost of roughly $500 per month. (It’s possible to charge much higher prices and furniture rental fees to clients if you work with luxury homes.) 

Based on these numbers, the following monthly scenario could be what a 1-person business brings in every month: 

  • 6 x Consultations: $2,400.
  • 2 x medium-sized staged homes for one month: $4,000.
  • 2 x service-only stagings to stage the house with existing items: $1,000.

And that works out to a monthly gross revenue of $7,400. Next, you need to factor in your expenses to know how much you actually take home. 

Understanding your local market

Different locations will allow you to charge varying fees. For example, stagers in New York and Los Angeles will charge a premium for their services due to increased expenses, cost of living, and luxury expectations. On the other end of the spectrum, stagers in a small town an hour outside of Ohio may find that their market won’t bare the same prices and may need to price their service fees far lower. 

 

Factoring in your expenses

While most people will be happy to throw big salary numbers at you, they neglect to mention the costs of securing that revenue. I’ve noticed many people feel overwhelmed by the idea of expenses and operating costs, but it’s all part of running a business. And once you understand your expenses, setting goals and following budgets is as easy as pie.

When creating your business plan, think about the additional cost to do the following: 

  • The purchase or rental costs of your inventory.
  • Training and certification in home staging and business skills.
  • Your finance and administration costs (e.g., a bookkeeper). 
  • Movers, trucks, and storage fees. 
  • Mobile phone and internet costs.
  • Marketing costs (such as a website developer, social media manager, and even Google ads). 
  • General office supplies. 

There are some clever ways to manage and curb your expenses while you’re growing your home staging business. Here are a few great options: 

Option 1: Go all-in at the start

This is the method I personally chose. Because I purchased the bulk of Beyond the Stage’s furniture and decor upfront, I expected to run at a loss for a whole five years (home staging was an extremely new concept in my market at the time). In reality, that panned out slightly better, and it took just a little more than three years for us to become a profitable business. And boy was it worth it! I have enough inventory to stage several houses at any one time, and I was quickly becoming the go-to in my area.

This option is entirely possible, but it will take some upfront investment — so you need to go in with a clear plan for not only operating the business but paying your personal expenses (i.e. do you have savings, spousal support, or a second job that could assist in covering costs while you build the business?). 

Option 2: Start slow with consults and furniture rentals

Instead of purchasing your large inventory off the bat, keep costs low and rent them from furniture rental companies. Running a consults-only business avoids the expense of moving furniture in and out of houses entirely. Recently, virtual consults have helped stagers reach an even larger market while keeping their running costs at an all-time low. If you wish to provide inventory to clients, invest in the small goods only and leave the big stuff to a furniture rental company to provide. Alternatively, you can assist your clients with shopping for the staging items they need, and since they purchase the items themselves, they get to keep them in the next house!

Option 3: Become a home staging assistant 

This has a little less of the glory, but provides a close-up look at the ins and outs of a home staging business, without the upfront investment. You will help a home stager assemble furniture, clean surfaces, make and steam beds, arrange movers, and more. If you feel nervous about entering the industry, it’s a great foot in the door. I’ve trained many assistants over the years and have found it’s crucial to have some training before you start. 

your home stagin office awaire

Get started with your career in home staging. Click here to check out our free resources.

Home staging tips for people looking to enter the industry

 

  1. Passion for home decor is a must!
    On those days where you need to put yourself out there and give that little push to get yourself on the right trajectory… it’s passion that will keep you going. 
  2. Build systems from day one.
    It all comes down to the systems you create. If you have a strategy for virtual staging consults, traditional homes, and empty homes, you can free yourself from repetitive admin work and focus on getting new clients. 
  3. Get clear on your target clients from the start.
    Home staging is still a people game. Understanding where your clients will come from, and how best to interact with them, will be your secret to success.
  4. Invest in professional photography.
    This is your biggest sales tool and poor quality photos (no matter how great your smartphone camera is) could turn off clients before they’ve even contacted you.

 

Resources to help you get started

Styled, Listed, and Sold (SLS) Academy has all the resources you need to start a career in home staging. Unlike other training programs and academies, we also focus on business skills — our comprehensive training has helped many of our students grow a profitable business from scratch. 

We recommend signing up to our FREE 1-hour training webinar to learn more. Sign up here.

Home Staging Certification – What is it, and Do I Need it?

Home Staging Certification – What is it, and Do I Need it?

If you are considering home staging as a career, you might be underwhelmed by the amount of information about how to get started. While some colleges offer some basic courses on home staging, it can be difficult to figure out where to get your training, and whether or not it’s even something that you need.

If you are planning to offer home staging services, it is recommended that you enroll in a reputable home staging certification training program. Here’s the skinny on this – home staging is NOT a regulated industry, therefore, you are not required to receive any licensing, diploma, or certificate in order to call yourself a home stager. In fact, you can wake up tomorrow, call yourself a home stager, and *poof*, you’re a home stager.

Right…?

WRONG

Now that you’re calling yourself a home stager, what exactly makes you a home-selling expert? Why should people hire you? Why should your clients take your advice?

Sure, there are some great online resources available today that will provide you with some general information about staging a property for sale, but to become a qualified and successful home stager, you want to be sure to arm yourself with the best resources. Who do you trust with your money? Do you have a financial advisor, or an accountant? I’m sure that they have likely received some pretty extensive training; after all, you are trusting them with your money. What about your doctor, they received some training as well, didn’t they? I mean, you are trusting them with your life. When working with homeowners to sell their home, you are working with their largest asset, and they are trusting you to do great work – this means selling their home in the shortest timeframe possible, for the most amount of money.

You might be thinking that you have “staged” and sold many of your own homes already, and your friends have probably told you that you should pursue a creative career because of your natural eye for design, and this is certainly a valuable skill when it comes to becoming a home stager, but it isn’t the only skill needed.

Did you know?

Home staging is just as much about marketing, as it is about decorating.

 

Home staging is about properly merchandizing and marketing a property for sale. Even if you have received formal training to become an interior designer or interior decorator, you will find great value in taking a home stager certification course. While many concepts of the two industries overlap and inspire each other, home staging is a part of the real estate industry, and operates with very different guidelines, processes, and “rules” (whether official or not) – your home staging certification will teach you which design elements to use and when. Setting up a home for sale takes a lot more than a little cleaning and decluttering. Here are just a few things that your certification training program should outline and teach you:

  • The ins and outs of the Real Estate Market, the key players and how home staging fits in
  • The various business structures, creating your business plan, and registering your new home staging business
  • Creating your staging plan by addressing buyer perceptions, decluttering, and eliminating distractions
  • Furniture selection and placement for optimal flow and buyer appeal
  • Step by step review of the home staging evaluation – what to look for, and what to address with your home sellers
  • Accessorizing techniques for selling
  • What role textures and fabrics play in home staging and design
  • Organizing spaces for selling and living
  • Repairs and updates – what to address and how to understand the value and impact of each recommendation
  • Creating curb appeal and lasting first impressions
  • Identifying design styles and working within them
  • Creating and preparing accurate floor plans
  • Colour theory – using the colour wheel as a tool in colour palette selection; understanding the components and significance of colours
  • Preparing your home sellers for the process of selling their home, including managing seller expectations and resistance
  • The home staging consultation, from start to finish
  • The people factor – the importance of working with the homeowner throughout the process, and understanding their needs
  • Managing your owner-occupied and vacant home staging projects, start to finish
  • Building your portfolio (especially when you are first starting out)
  • How to set up your office to run efficiently and effectively to keep you out meeting with clients and building the business
  • Contracts – what clauses to include, policies to consider, and how to create these to ensure that they are ironclad
  • How to work with subcontractors
  • Health & Safety, and how it applies to your home staging business
  • Insurance – what you need, to ensure that you are properly covered
  • How to set your policies and procedures for smooth operating practices
  • Inventory management and best practices (applies regardless of whether or not you choose to own large furniture pieces)
  • How to outline your services and set your pricing (including identifying the various services that you can offer to help your clients, such as color consultations, shopping, decluttering, organizing, project management, and more)

 

In addition to teaching you how to run your home staging projects, a quality home staging certification program will provide you with the tools and templates that you need to be successful – this is invaluable! I can’t even begin to explain the amount of time that this alone will save you when you are first starting your business. Why re-invent the wheel? From outlining what your services will include, how to provide each service, pricing your services (to get paid your value as an expert in your field), plus contracts, insurance, and SO MUCH MORE! Mistakes can be very costly, so arm yourself with the tools and the information to safeguard yourself, and your business.

Becoming certified as a home stager will also add to your credibility. Keep in mind that the very real estate agents that you will be working with are required to take an intensive training course before working in the industry, and they are also required to earn additional credits through continuing education courses throughout the year, in order to maintain their license. They expect that the people that they work with as a part of their home-selling team are just as qualified, and have invested a similar amount of time, money, and energy.

Above all else, in taking a home staging certification course, you receive the thrill of learning something new, and I promise, you will learn something new. For more about how to choose the right home stager certification training program for you, check out our blog here.

 

 

 

 

How to Get Started as a Home Stager

How to Get Started as a Home Stager

Don’t you wish that there was an easy step-by-step guide to getting started as a home stager? I would love to say that this is it, but embarking on a new career is a BIG deal, and is one that should be given the attention that it deserves! That said, I can provide you with some tips for the first steps that you should take on your journey to becoming a home stager.

Do your research

Just like any career, you want to be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into! Don’t be fooled into thinking that what you see on TV is the full picture. So how do you learn more about the industry?

  • Reach out to local home stagers – the best way to do this is to find out if there is a local RESA chapter nearby where you could attend a meeting. Home Stagers, like most entrepreneurs, work very hectic schedules, and given that they are working in the real estate industry, most of their work is very time-sensitive. While most love to help to educate others about what a career in home staging is all about, they may not always have the time to meet or chat with you. That said, if you do not have a local RESA chapter in your area, absolutely feel free to reach out to home stagers directly, keeping in mind that you are more likely to receive a response during a time  of year when the real estate market is a little slower (this can vary by city, and in some areas, simply doesn’t exist).
  • What is the local demand for home staging services? Home staging has been a VERY lucrative and rewarding career choice for a lot of people, but keep in mind that some real estate markets will be much more advanced in their home staging awareness and adoption of this service into standard industry practice. A successful home staging business can be built anywhere, but if the home staging industry is less developed, some areas may take longer to build, and you will want to be prepared for this. In addition to speaking with home stagers, it would serve you well to talk to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and others in the real estate industry to help you to gauge the demand of your services.
  • Job Shadowing – this is a great opportunity to get to see what home staging is like, first-hand. I once had a staging assistant who had a great interest in potentially becoming a home stager herself, and welcomed the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the industry by working alongside me. After only two home staging projects, she quit. She said that she “just wanted to be a home stager”, and if I had any work that was more or less “just staging”, then she would be happy to help. What she failed to realize was that every aspect of work that was assigned to her, in fact, WAS home staging! She wanted a real look at the industry, and we gave it to her, but it turns out that she really only wanted to work in the TV version of what she thought home staging was. Job Shadowing a local stager is a great way to see exactly what a career in home staging looks like.
  • Join a Facebook Group – we happen to have created one geared at people just like you! Click here to join the group and ask any questions that you would like!
  • Strategy Session – Are you someone that would just prefer to talk it out? Click here to book a one-on-one with me, where you can ask me anything!

Budget for Your New Career

What costs should you expect when first starting your business? What will your on-going operating expenses be like? How will you pay your bills while you are building your business? Will you own your home staging inventory, or rent from a third-party furniture rental company?

There are a number of questions like this that you will want to explore BEFORE diving head-first into the deep end. We answer all of these questions and more in our Behind-the-Scenes webinar.

Get Professional Training

Just like any profession, proper certification and training is critical to success. The investment in a quality certification program is just like the one that you would make to become an accountant, a plumber, or any other skilled profession. While you may have a natural talent that will serve you very well in this industry, it’s your training that will make you an expert in your profession, one that your clients will be happy to pay for.

Create a business plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Once you have been trained as an expert in your field, it’s time to get yourself out there and start generating some business! To do this, you will need to select a business name, what type of business you will operate (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, etc), and set out your company’s policies and objectives. All of this and more should be covered in a detailed business plan – do NOT skip this step!  Remember:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Read my book (warning…shameless plug)

Oh yeah…did I mention I’m writing a book all about the ins and outs of becoming a home stager, and what you can expect as you embark on this career? Well, it’s not ready just yet, but you can check out an excerpt from it here, and we hope to open pre-sales for the book VERY soon!

 

To download our FREE Guide to Getting Started as a Home Stager, click here.

Still have questions about getting started as a home stager? Schedule a 1-on-1 chat with home staging expert, Shauna Lynn Simon – click here to select a time that is convenient to you.

Selling Home Staging in a “Seller’s Market”

Selling Home Staging in a “Seller’s Market”

If you’re living in a “seller’s market”, you may find that some real estate agents have lost interest in your home staging services. You know that their clients can still benefit from your services, but how do you motivate these agents?

What is a seller’s market? A seller’s market simply means that there are fewer homes for sale with a large number of buyers looking to purchase. This offers a great advantage to home sellers as this can drive housing prices up, and most house are sold with multiple offers. Buyers will be quick to move on a property that they are interested in, and will work to present the most appealing offer possible in an effort to secure the property. This can be a game-changer for almost any real estate market.

Here is where you come in as a home stager – in a seller’s market, homebuyers are often purchasing at the top of their purchasing power. This means that most buyers will have very little funds available, if any, to spend on any additional renovations or repairs upon purchase of the home and therefore the importance of a move-in ready home is higher than ever. Homes that are prepared properly will net the greatest return and largest quantity of offers.

Regardless of the market, most buyers have one thing in common – they do not have the time, nor the desire to perform work on a new house, and thanks to popular television shows, a buyer’s expectations of a move-in ready home have never been greater.

In a seller’s market, home staging is the ultimate marketing tool! Home Staging could mean the difference between an offer and a bidding. When selling homeowners and/or real estate agents on your services in a seller’s market, focus on where you add value:

  • A professionally trained home stager can help to identify hidden value in your home. Home Staging utilizes merchandising techniques to showcase the best features of the home.
  • The goal of home staging is to clearly define the space, show proper scale, and create an emotional connection for buyers – this results is higher quality offers and is achieved through the necessary updates and repairs, proper furnishing, arranging, accessorizing, and essentially, merchandising of the space.
  • A home stager can help to identify the most cost-effective updates/repairs to address to help to avoid buyer uncertainty and allow the home sellers to skip any unnecessary expenses.
  • Working as a part of your home-selling team, a professional home stager will provide practical and creative solutions for showcasing your home.

Emphasize to the real estate agents that you are a part of their team! The biggest pain point for a real estate agent in a seller’s market is securing listings. Homeowners know that their houses will sell, so they are choosing agents based on who provides them with the greatest value, and who can get them the most money for their home. Home staging is the best marketing tool that an agent can use – you could be the difference between an offer and a bidding war! Savvy agents will choose to present an effective home-selling team to secure their listings. In fact, there has never been a better time to invest in home staging – every homeowner is guaranteed to benefit from your expertise! You can return their support of your business by emphasizing what a great agent they are to work with to the homeowners. By working with you and offering your services, the agent will gain more listings, and in-turn, more referrals. It’s a win-win!

Have questions about becoming a Home Stager, or just starting out and need an extra boost in your business? Join our Facebook group, To Be a Home Stager – our very own Shauna Lynn Simon is live online every Thursday afternoon, answering your most pressing questions!

 

 

 

7 Steps to Get Started in a Career in Home Staging!

7 Steps to Get Started in a Career in Home Staging!

Free Guide Provides 7 Steps to Getting Started as a Home Stager!

 

7 Steps to Get Started in a
Career in Home Staging!

Download this FREE Cheat Sheet to get started

 

  • CNN named home staging as an industry poised for growth!
  • 81% of buyers say home staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their future home (NAR)
  • Staged homes spend 90% less time on the market (RESA)
  • Home Staging is an effective sales technique that integrates decorating with marketing and creates an experience for buyers

Start your journey to becoming a home stager

  • Take control of your future as an independent business owner
  • Put your creative skills to use helping others
  • Gain financial independence
  • Enjoy a fast-paced and exciting industry

Get Started Today!

“I really enjoyed taking this course. It is full of detailed information regarding all aspects of home staging from the basic “what is home staging?” to wall art hanging heights and what to look for in a home. I appreciate all the time and effort that went into the content of this course as well as all the downloads and personalized templates. I highly recommend it for anyone that is interested in home staging. I feel that I learned way more information than I originally thought would be included in the course and I completed it feeling confident in my knowledge and what was presented. The value for what you get it incredible.”

Nicole Pletz

RESP Graduate

“I enjoyed everything that I learned and Shauna Lynn, I think you are very confident and a great instructor. Thank you again for all of the knowledgeable information.”

Melisia Kelly

SLS Academy Student

“Attending SLS Academy was one of the best things I did for myself! Not only did I gain valuable information and the tools to become a successful stager, but it has given me the confidence to follow my passion. Thank you, Shauna Lynn, you have been such an inspiration!”

Dawn Dalke

RESP Graduate

Behind The Scenes Webinar

Behind The Scenes Webinar

 

Staging Insider Workshop

 

Your Backstage Pass To a Professional Home Staging career

 

 

Do you have what it takes to be a professional home stager?

Learn what it takes to become a Certified Real Estate Staging Professional (RESP)!

During the webinar you’ll discover:

 

  • What it means to be a certified home stager, and how the process works
  • Whether or not you will need to invest in owning your home staging rental inventory
  • Essential skills for a successful home staging business
  • What you need to register your business
  • What startup costs to expect, and how to plan for growth
  • Plus, so much more!

Presented By:

Shauna Lynn Simon