I’ve often told this story to Staging Diva Grads. I was very clear when I started my own home staging business 9 years ago that I wanted to focus on my creative talents to make a living. I had been a small business owner since 1989 and wanted to create something new that would be more in line with my passions.
Having bought, decorated and flipped 6 homes, I realized that I had the ability to visualize how a space could be improved almost immediately after walking into it. This is not something I was trained to do. It’s an instinct.
Watching so many ugly homes sit on the real estate market month after month, I knew my ability to reinvent a space (with only cosmetic changes) was a marketable talent that could pay me very well once I figured out how to properly price for my staging advice.
It took me more than a year to figure out the pricing piece, but when I did, my income went way up and my frustration went way down. To be honest, I had gotten to the point where I almost dreaded a new client because I would probably spend lots of time and not make much money. That all changed with the pricing formula I figured out, which I share with Staging Diva students in Course 2, The Business of Home Staging.
Another key piece of the puzzle I had to figure out was how to ensure I was doing work I really wanted to do.
Using my valuable time to wash towels, scrub floors or paint walls was just not in my plan! That would be totally out of my “Zone of Genius” as author Gay Hendricks calls it. When you’re in your Zone of Genius, work doesn’t feel like work and time doesn’t fly, it flows.
I’ve always viewed the role of a home stager as more of a “creative director” and “project manager, because I really don’t want to do the “grunt work.” As creative director I have the vision, and as project manager I make sure that vision gets executed on time and within budget. It doesn’t mean I have to physically do the work.
So why might you wash towels?
Because you’ve fallen into the trap of buying your own inventory of staging accessories — a practice I don’t recommend for a whole bunch of reasons.
That’s not to say it’s absolutely a bad idea in all situations. In fact I teach the pros and cons of having your own inventory in Course 2, “The Business of Home Staging: What You Need to Start and How to Grow.”
But realistically, unless you’re only staging vacant homes you’ll find yourself having to clean your accessories on a regular basis. (Even with vacant stagings, items have to be cleaned over time!) Since most homes need towels, shower curtains and bedding, these are the things that will need laundering. I’m just not ready to put on my “cleaning lady hat” —how about you? It’s all I can do to perform those tasks in my own home!
I’ve collected a bunch of complaints from stagers who own their own inventory and shared them in a recent blog post as an eye-opener for anyone thinking of going down this road.
“Vacant house was staged. Stager put up rods and drapes. In buyer’s contract, they asked for window treatments. Sellers knew they were not theirs, so it was crossed out and agreed to by buyers. At closing, the buyers wanted the rods, as they were affixed to the home and not disclosed as being stager’s inventory.”
“I have selected each and every piece of our inventory. We own around 7,500 pieces of stock including cushions, towels, bedding, artwork, accessories and furniture.”
“I am so upset! I am out of the country and I just heard the house that I staged was broken into. They took a lot of my inventory and the owner said he has nothing to do with it: it is my problem!”
> Share your comments and read more on this topic in Home Staging Inventory Problems Make Home Stagers Think Twice