Update: What do you think?

In March of 2012, I wrote a post called ‘Random Thoughts on my First Year of Staging’. Well, this year is almost over and I have had some time to reflect on my progress….and the results are mixed.  My business has grown and my business practices have improved I think.  But I still have a lot of things I wrote about on that first blog that I need to work on…and some new issues as well!

About Staging:
  • It is still exhausting work.
  • Staging in snow, sleet, rain and wind is just as nasty as ever.
  • Some doors/entrances are too small to fit a sofa….after two unsuccessful tries with two different sofas, I finally had to resort to a small sectional to fit it in.
  • I have not used slipcovers since my last blog on this subject.
  • Art & mirrors and cushions & throws and rugs are definitely my best friends when it comes to transforming a room on a budget.
  • Outdated light fixtures are still my pet peeve.
  • The most difficult and time consuming part of staging for me is hanging art & mirrors.
  • It is great to have a helper for hanging art, etc.
  • Having 7 houses staged at once (most of them vacant) is stressful!
About Realtors:
  • Some Realtors seem to have a ‘cash-flow’ problem. 
  • Some Realtors never have a ‘cash-flow’ problem.
  • Some Realtors think they are stagers and I have actually had one override me…against my knowledge. 
  • Some Realtors are great stagers.
  • Most Realtors will only consider staging a home if it has been on the market for a while and is not selling.
  • A few Realtors have the foresight to stage a house before it is on the market. 
  • Realtors often pay for a consultation.
  • Realtors sometimes pay for the actual staging.
  • I prefer to have the home owners pay for the staging.
  • Some Realtors are still difficult to work with.
  • Some Realtors are still great to work with.
About Home Owners (clients):
  • Some clients fight about every dollar paid to me.
  • Some clients gladly pay me for my work. 
  • Most clients have too much ‘stuff’.
  • Most clients do not understand the difference between decorating to live and staging to sell.
  • Most clients are very trusting and give me a key to their house.
  • Almost all clients tell me the staging was well worth their money…after it is finished.
  • Most clients take it very well when I tell them they need to ‘de-clutter’ and remove all their collections and most of their personal photos.
  • Many clients wonder why they didn’t think of ‘doing that before’.
  • Most clients love the final results.
Money Matters:
  • E-transfers are still the easiest way to be paid for both me and my clients.
  • Some clients want the option of paying by credit card…which I now have implemented.
  • A large deposit upfront with the remainder due on the day the staging is completed is the best policy for me.
  • A signed contract before the job is started is ideal….a policy I practice in most cases.
  • Keeping track of the ‘books’ is not my strong point.
  • Having an Excel spreadsheet outlining all income and expenses works well.
  • It is hard to get the time to do the ‘books’ when I’m busy.
  • Some rental agencies are very rigid with renewal dates.
  • Some rental agencies are a little flexible with me.
About inventory:
  • Keeping track of  my inventory rental is still difficult.
  • An organized dedicated space for inventory storage is helpful.
  • A larger vehicle would be a great asset.
  • I find it difficult to know how much to charge for my inventory rentals. 
  • There is still a dearth of rental furniture in this city.
  • It is still impossible to rent accent chairs, sofa/console tables, dining room buffets/servers.
  • Much of the furniture at the rental companies is too large for many of my houses and condos.
  • Occasionally a piece of my inventory goes missing…I’m assuming stolen.
  • A large piece of my art went missing a couple of months ago…still have not been able to figure that one out!
  • The busier I am, the more inventory I have to buy, which eats into any profit.  
Randoms:
  • I’ve learned that it is usually best to trust my ‘gut’ instinct when it comes to the honesty/character of Realtors and clients.
  • I really need to get a tool belt!  I keep misplacing my tape, picture hooks, level, hammer, etc.
  • I am definitely getting faster with my jobs, but I still agonize too much over the details.
  • Email is still a great way to correspond with Realtors/clients because there is a record ….and has saved my skin at least once because I had it in ‘writing’.
  • Texting is great for quick messages.  I’m using it more and more especially with Realtors.
Things I have improved or need to improve/fix:
  • I almost always get a signed contract now before I start any work.  
  • I always get a 50% deposit before I do any work.  I have occasionally waived that requirement for Realtors paying for the staging. 
  • I now have a dedicated room for storage of my inventory…but will soon need a larger space!
  • I will have to hire some help when I get too busy.  I have already done this on one occasion and it was great!
  • My blogging is decreasing the busier  I get with staging…I have to fix that.
HOMESTYLING BY CATHY
Home Staging & Redesign
(709) 341-7115
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