Q&A: “What Home Staging Training, Courses or Certifications Would You Recommend?”
I recently received this email through our Yelp page:
I have a question that I was curious if you could help me with. I currently own a hair salon in Northern California and wanted to do home staging/interior design/ professional organizing on the side. As I’m doing my research online I noticed that you don’t really need a certificate of any sort? I still would love to tak some classes but don’t know what is reputable and what is not? I was curious if you had suggestions on good classes, offerd any or possibly where you went? I live far away so am not a competitor by any means. Was referred to you by a realtor friend in the Bay Area. Would love your suggestion. Thanks and have a wonderful day.”
I get similar inquiries a lot, so I decided to make this one public since this particular inquiry cover several misconceptions that often cause home staging businesses to fail.
It took a lot of hard work for me to build my business, I know how discouraging and heartbreaking it can be to feel that you are not succeeding in business. I hope my answers can help others to avoid some mistakes that I’ve made.
HERE IS MY A TO THE Q:
Thanks so much for writing. I may be a little bit harsh and long winded on this, but I do feel these are important points to consider before you invest time and money that do not get you the results that you want:
Getting into the home staging business is pretty easy, as your research will probably tell you. But sustaining a business is hard, as you probably know from running your hair salon. If you already own a hair salon, are you ready to take on another new business? Even if it’s “on the side?” Are you ready to take attention away from your core business? I think that’s something you really need to think about. I have done freelancing visual work while I’m running my home staging business. It is exhausting even though I love it. But physically it is not sustaining and it is not a long term plan.
What kind of home stager do you want to be? Regardless of renting furniture from a third party vendor or not, you will still need to invest in home accessories, soft goods, etc. Where will you store your inventory? How much are you prepared in investing in inventory, shelving, bins and moving materials?
Will you have enough support? No matter how organized you are and how supportive your team are of you, running 2 businesses at one time means both businesses will suffer. Your attention will be diverted and at times you may feel that you are failing at both. Or worse, you may almost killed off your original business in the process of launching the new one. I’ve seen this happen many times in real estate. Many people do real estate on the side as agents, and they never establish themselves as a full time agent unless they really, really, really want it. Most part time agents do not produce. When they do produce, they are not as experienced as full time real estate agents.
Home staging / interior design / professional organizing are actually 3 different businesses, so which one do you want to do? Just because as a home stager I pack bins, organize props, teach clients how to edit their styling, doesn’t mean that is professional organizing. Home staging and interior design are also two different disciplines. Home staging needs to be fairly neutral and appealing to a broad range of visitors, whereas interior design need to only appeal to the home owners. The project scope of home staging is generally fairly short with limited homeowner input, but in interior design, you may be dealing with home owners for several years on one project. So defining what works for your personality, your interest is very important.
About certifications: Yes, you do not need certifications for a career in home staging. In regards to suggestions for classes, frankly I don’t know. I’ve been staging since 2006. While I have done most of the courses on the market like ASP, ASPM, CSP, Dewey Color System, IRIS ( Interior Redesign Industry Specialists, now defunct) early on in my career, that was several years ago. These courses probably have changed by now.While I appreciate all the education I have received through these schools, my best lessons came working in the field. You as a hairstylist probably feel the same way. So that brings me back: what is your why? If you are looking to make more income, it is much more easier to just get a part time job. If you want to do it because you love the industry and want to get more experiences, I’d recommend working for someone before you venture into a new business. That may be more manageable for you since you already have a business that you need to run.
Ultimately it is your decision on how you would like to build your career. I’ve also written 10 Ugly Truths Before Becoming a Home Stager that describes the home staging business in more details. There are a lot going into sustaining a business and making it successful. I would recommend if you are serious about becoming a home stager, shadow a few seasoned ones first, and then decide if it is for you.
I know this answer is probably way longer than you had expected, but I do feel that it is important to consider these points before you want to jump into a new career. I hope my answers are helpful.