How to Start a Home Staging Business

A living room decorated by a home staging business

Lee Edwards / Getty Images

If you have an eye for interior decoration and would like to use your skill to build a business, home staging is a viable option. You can start with a small investment of time and money, making it a great part-time gig or something to do on the side until the business grows enough to support you. 

What Do Home Stagers Do?

Houses that are cluttered or tired-looking not only take longer to sell but also often fail to get a great price. A home stager works to increase the appeal of a home and the chances of a sale at the maximum price. They achieve this through a variety of methods including removing and/or rearranging furniture to show off the best features of the rooms, adding decorative items such as artwork, knick-knacks, and flowers, as well as adding color and texture through fabrics such as curtains and pillows.

Home stagers can earn anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a project depending on the square foot of the home, the number of rooms being staged, and the amount of work that goes into staging the home. 

Pros of a Home Staging Business

If you have an eye for home decor, there are many pros to starting a home staging business, including:

  • Very low start-up costs—no inventory to carry and minimal supplies. With that said, many home stagers eventually build up an inventory of furniture and decorative items that can be used in their home staging business.
  • Services can be in demand whether the real estate market is strong or weak.
  • No licensing or specialized training required.
  • Ease of marketing through networking with real estate agents, mortgage brokers and others involved in real estate. 

Cons of a Home Staging Business

Like any business venture, there are a few possible downsides to home stating such as:

  • Finding homeowners who see the value and potential financial gain in hiring a home stager.
  • Getting your first clients to help start building your portfolio.
  • You may need to work weekends and/or evenings, as many of your clients will only be able to meet with you during those times.

What You Need to Start a Home Staging Business

  • Learn about your local real estate market—What homes sell quickly versus those that don't? What are buyers looking for in a home?
  • Network with real estate agents who can be a good source of clients, but also, a resource for current market conditions.
  • Prepare a portfolio of homes you've staged. You can start by doing your own home. Consider providing home staging for a friend or a real estate agent for free in exchange for portfolio items and referrals.
  • Although you don't need any special training or certifications, interior design courses can give you credibility.
  • Good people and sales skills to convince prospects to hire you and to handle objections or concerns from clients.
  • Resources for home decor—It's possible the home will be empty and you'll need to rent furniture or that the homeowner's items need to be supplemented with or exchanged for items that make the home more appealing to buyers. You also may need to know quality painters and other professionals (i.e. electrician or handyman) to help fix up the house.
  • Energy and willingness to do hard work, including cleaning, moving furniture, painting and more.

There are several internal design software programs that make it easy for you to create visual room layouts complete with furniture and fixtures and present a realistic view of any space. 

How to Start a Home Staging Business

A home staging business needs many of the same things as other startup businesses including:

  • a business name and structure;
  • a business license;
  • a business and marketing plan to map out your success and how you'll reach your market;
  • marketing materials including a portfolio, business cards, brochures, etc. You should have a website with your portfolio and business information as well;
  • a pricing structure;
  • contracts; and
  • participation in networking groups. Also, reach out to real estate agents, contractors and others who are involved in the real estate market in your area. Develop strategies to get testimonials and referrals.