A staging business is something many people don’t know exists until they need one! When you sell a home, the furniture, the plants, even the art, will influence its final sale price. The right staging in a competitive real estate market can potentially mean thousands of dollars in higher sales prices.
With that much money on the line, sellers want to get it right. You know all of this, though. That’s not why you’re here. You’ve got an eye for interior design and know how certain configurations of furniture and room styles can influence the price.
It’s an exciting time to start a home staging business in California. Each year, a growing number of people say they use a third-party home stager to help with the sale of their home. They know that spending a bit of money upfront can pay off in spades when it comes to the numbers at closing.
Knowing what looks good only gets you so far in the home staging business. You’ve got a lot of bases to cover and business acumen to acquire to start muscling your way into the market. Here are some things you need to know about how to start a home staging business in CA.
Getting a Business License
Yes, you’re going to need a business license before you start doing staging work. You’ve probably got friends and know stories of business owners who ramped up under the radar before getting a business license.
While a lot of these stories do exist, why take the chance you’ll end up being the exception? If you’re found operating a business without a proper license, you could face significant fines that can tank your company before you’re even on your feet.
Getting a business license in California involves filling out forms with your business name and other company information. You’ll have to indicate what kind of business you are, its address of records, expected annual sales, and other information.
Choosing the Right Name
As mentioned, you’re going to need to write down your business name on your license application. That means you should spend some time thinking of a name before you submit your application. Choose something that captures the essence of the service you hope to provide your customers.
Finding Your Niche Style
One mistake a lot of new business owners make is taking on too large of a potential market at the beginning. They try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one. The same goes for a staging company in California.
To be successful, you’re not going to stage a modern home and a colonial house the same way. Make your mark by deciding on a niche market and specializing there.
One thing you can do to find the right mix of opportunity is to look through real estate listings in your area. Notice the types of homes for sale and if there are enough of the homes you like and feel confident staging. Adjust and align your staging offers and style as necessary to capture the right amount of business.
Pick Your Price Point
MBAs and corporate executives spend hours upon hours and millions of dollars every year on pricing strategy. Pricing is so important! The right price will draw in the correct size of an audience for your business and make you stand out. Your price tells customers about what kind of business you are and what level of staging and service they can expect when they hire you.
Don’t just look up the average cost of staging in your area. Find the competition you want to compete with the most. Learn as much as you can about what they provide and how much their clients pay for their service. Then have a discussion with yourself about how you’re different.
Are you going to undercut them to offer more value as a lower-cost option? Do you have a better style and are willing to go the extra miles to get them higher home sale prices? Adjust your pricing accordingly to find your niche.
Pay for Appropriate Business Insurance
It’s understandable why so many new business owners fail to get appropriate amounts of business insurance. After all, managing expenses in the early stages of building a business can mean the life or death of the company. However, with some business, and particularly with home staging in California, getting business insurance is a must.
Think about it. You’re spending a lot of money to buy the right furnishings to stage expensive homes in one of the highest-cost areas of the country. There’s a lot on the line. What happens if you accidentally damage a client’s home and have to pay for it? What if some of your prized inventory is damaged during a showing? Give your company the protection it needs to keep operating if bad things happen.
Grow Your Realtor Network
Most of the time, homeowners don’t hire staging companies, Realtors do. Real estate agents, the successful ones anyway, partner with staging companies that respond and get things right the first time. How are you going to win Realtors over who have been working with the same staging company for years? Imagine if you’ve used the same supplier for years, what would someone have to say to you to get you to switch?
Growing a network of Realtors is a long, often slow process that requires persistence and determination. You have to show realtors that you’re responsive, dedicated to your craft, and ultimately want to help them and their clients make money. Attend industry events, build a social media process, reach out to people on LinkedIn.
Even showing up to open houses can be a good way to connect and offer suggestions. A useful free tip here and there on a house you’re touring can plant the seed for doing business with a Realtor down the road.
Winning over Realtors has a lot to do with their bottom line. Whatever value proposition you put forward that tilts the odds of making money more in their favor is likely to spark some interest. That can be done with a generous revenue share that shifts over time. It’s a possible way to show them that you’re willing to earn their trust and prove your company’s worth.
Another thing you can do is offer Realtors who recommend you to other Realtors some form of incentive as a reward.
Build Your Staging Inventory
After you’ve waded through all of the red tape involved in starting a staging business, now comes the fun part: building your inventory! When you’re out buying pieces to use in staging, you should buy quality pieces that can last a long time and have broad appeal. Your style and sense of interior design should certainly shine through as well to give your staging company some distinction. Your style will do a lot to separate you from the competition.
When you’re buying inventory, you also need to think about where you’re going to be storing it. Modern storage facilities have a lot of great options that range in size and price that are great for a small business. As you grow, so can the size of your storage units to accommodate your business and your clients.
At Snell Mini Storage, we work with home staging businesses on storage solutions that make it easy to access your inventory and build your business. Call us today to learn about how we can help you get your home staging business off the ground!