How to Become a Home Stager Without Breaking the Bank

by Shauna Lynn Simon, CEO SLS Academy

Staging a home is no longer just the purview of the elite. Eighty-three percent of buyers find that staging makes it easier to view themselves in a prospective home. As a result, buyers today expect homes at every price point to be staged.

Unsurprisingly, demand for home stagers is through the roof and projected to keep climbing. But for many would-be stagers, the prospect of getting started in the business can be intimidating. The costs of buying and storing inventory can be especially worrisome.

But how expensive is it to become a home stager really? Here are the facts.

 

Is Inventory Essential for a Home Stager?

Inventory can be a double-edged sword. As home stagers, we can get endless use out of the perfect piece. Having a collection of versatile pieces on hand can also make it quick and easy to add some style and texture to common spaces like seating areas and foyers.

On the other hand, inventory is an investment. It takes time and money to acquire it in the first place, and then more time and money to transport, store, maintain, and manage it over time.

Inventory can be especially difficult for new home stagers. No new small business owner wants to spend a chunk of their salary buying up and managing inventory. Many new stagers also need time to dial in their target market, the demands of their region, and other details before they can commit to investing in a storage facility and the staging items to fill it.

What too many of us forget is that we don’t need inventory to be a great home stager.

In fact, non-inventory business models can be more than just a thrifty way to get started in staging without breaking the bank. Done well, they can be powerful marketing and growth tools!

If you are interested in how to become a home stager, there are three great models you can use that do not require an investment in inventory.

  • Consulting-only staging
  • Client-funded staging
  • Hybrid-source staging

 

Consulting-Only Staging

In a consulting-only staging model, we as stagers help clients present their homes at their best using only items the clients already own. This model can hold tremendous appeal for both us and our clients.

It offers us:

  • Freedom from the costs and hassles of buying and managing inventory
  • A fresh challenge with each home
  • A chance to show our creativity in unique ways with each client
  • An excellent marketing pitch

For our clients, this method often appeals because:

  • They do not have to worry about or work their lives and schedules around rented items during the selling process
  • They do not have to put as much of their stuff in storage as they otherwise might
  • It keeps their costs to a minimum
  • It shows them new, creative, and attractive ways to use or display their belongings that they can carry with them to their new homes

This method may also strongly appeal to clients’ personal beliefs in minimalism, simplicity, frugality, or eco-friendly living because it gets the job done with minimum “stuff” and fuss.

 

Client-Funded Staging

For those among us in the staging community who like to shop, client-funded staging can be a delight. We evaluate how to stage a home for sale, buy the perfect items using clients’ money, and then allow the clients to keep the items at the time of sale.

For us, this:

  • Prevents the accumulation of inventory
  • Ensures we can select the perfect pieces every time
  • Keeps business costs low

For our clients, this:

  • Provides personalized staging results
  • Makes it easy to see exactly where every dime of their investment goes
  • Results in beautiful spaces that they can pick up and take with them to their next homes

Under this model, clients often feel like they get home staging and interior design services all in one. This creates value that rolls forward and gives them the feeling of getting extra bang for their bucks.

 

The Magic of Rental Companies

Another option for how to stage a home with little or no inventory and minimal costs is to become a master of using rental companies for your large staging furnishings. Essentially, this gives stagers access to fantastic inventory without the costs and hassles of buying and maintaining that inventory themselves.

It may take a little more legwork to arrange delivery and pickup of items between the client and rental company, but the benefits often more than outweigh that minor inconvenience.

 

Supplementing With Small Items

Some stagers supplement the “use a rental company” model with a small personal inventory of favorite items or pieces that fit the hottest new trends. This allows us to keep versatile odds and ends that we always seem to need on hand without a huge investment on our part.

 

Staying Flexible

One of the most ideal things about low inventory and hybrid staging models is how flexible they are. If we as stagers find that these models are a perfect fit for our businesses and markets, we can use them indefinitely.

Or, if we prefer, we can use them as jumping-off points until we are more established and have a clearer idea of what inventory pieces will serve us best. Then we can transition to other inventory models that serve us better as our businesses grow and expand.

 

Mastering Low or No Inventory Staging

Choosing the right home staging course is the first step to mastering the art of running a low-inventory or no-inventory staging business.

We know that launching a new career can be stressful and confusing, so our home stager certification training course takes the guesswork out of every step. We walk new stagers through:

  • The behind-the-scenes secrets of how the home staging industry works
  • How to competitively price staging services
  • How to write client contracts and handle client communications
  • The best staging techniques for every space
  • How to establish the policies and practices that make a business thrive
  • Portfolio building
  • The biggest mistakes new stagers make and how to avoid them
  • How to start a business without a big financial investment

Unlike many other courses, our course also sets you up for success by providing you with the essential tools you’ll need to get started right away. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Reference materials you can use on-the-job
  • A color wheel
  • An architect’s ruler
  • Our Consult Toolkit
  • A Sherwin-Williams Fan Deck

No matter what type of low-inventory or hybrid staging model appeals to you, we have the tools and knowledge you need to make it work.

 

Learn More

Learn how to get started as a successful home stager during our free virtual training session. Sign up now to learn how we turned our passions into a profitable career and how you can, too!