Why Charging a Flat Fee Can Flat-Line Your Home Staging Business

The pricing structure (and items you charge for) you set up for your home staging services can either make or break your business. Good for you to follow your heart and get into a career you enjoy, but if you’re doing something you love and not making money, it’s not a business – it’s a hobby.

Even if you’re the best home stager in your city, if you charge a flat rate for your services, you could end up broke faster than you think. In fact, you could be setting yourself up to “flat-line” a business that could otherwise be extremely profitable.

Charging by the square foot or setting a flat rate per room is a common mistake that has ended more than one home stager’s career. Why? No two spaces are ever the same. It could take more time for you to stage a 900-square-foot condo than a 3,000-square-foot detached home. Why should you charge the same rate for both?

When you’re elbow deep in a project and realize it will take hours more to complete than you originally estimated it’s too late. By charging a flat rate instead of by the hour, you will have successfully undercut yourself!

There are several scenarios you’re likely to find yourself in if you do any amount of home staging at all. In these classic time-sucking situations, your flat rate couldn’t possibly compensate for the amount of time that’s wasted:

o Your home staging client has to tell you the entire background of each piece of furniture or art work in their home and why they love them all.

o Your staging consultation is interrupted dozens of times by a client that’s constantly taking phone calls or breaking up fights between screaming children.

o You find yourself elbow-deep in a project only to learn that the client has changed their mind about using your services.

o You end up in the midst of heaps of clutter that would rival an Oprah ‘hoarder’ episode, spending hours to go through your clients’ beloved items.

If you have the proper hourly pricing strategy in place, none of these time-suckers will matter. In fact, if clients like these are eating up your time, you’re making more money by charging hourly. However, if you charge by the square foot or by the room you will find yourself working for nothing much of the time. I’m sure you didn’t go into business for yourself to lose money.

If you don’t charge by the hour for your home staging services, you really need to reconsider your pricing strategy before you burnout from all the extra work you must do to make ends meet or your business flat-lines.