What do you do when your staging job goes a tad sideways?

In an earlier post I mentioned that I was staging a vacant 2 bedroom condo. I found (I didn’t actually hire anyone) a painter to do some work, and cleaners to really clean the place so it would be ready for selling. All good.

I selected the inventory (look at my earlier post) and it all arrived on time for the staging. The movers were fantastic as they put your large furnishings exactly where you want them which saves you time and energy.

So far so good – right? My team arrived on time – Lisa Maddocks and Cheryl Grattan were my paid assistants and since I teach home staging two other PRES members were invited for a work experience – Tracy Johnson and Elin Ife.

* Well when I went to inspect the painting I found that through a MISCOMMUNICATION the painter had painted the white mantel over the fireplace BLACK and what I had requested was that he paint out the BRASS not the mantel. What to do, what to do… we just got busy and staged the condo as you see here, and I am going to see what the home owner thinks about the black mantel. It’s not that bad so the lesson is – make sure you have everything in writing and not just verbally as I did with my painter.

* When we went to open up the blinds in the breakfast nook one of the blinds went flying off and so, we were slowed down by having to fix it. In my follow up email to the client I let them know about that, and also 2 of the hallway light fixtures were not working. It’s a nice little ‘value added’ that you can give your client once the job is done.

I’ll keep you posted on whether or not we repaint the fireplace!

Do You Have a System for Sourcing Rentals for Vacant Homes?

As part of my PRES staging course the PRES Gold and/or Platinum members are invited to do staging jobs with me. This time I was sourcing a job from a rental furnishing company for a vacant property. It’s great to have your own rentals and I do recommend having accessories and small items such as lamps, floral, art, cushions, etc. but the bigger pieces like sofas, chairs, beds (blow up or other), dressers, tables, etc. I prefer to source from a number of local suppliers.

This is what I do and have found it works quite well:

1. Take photos of each of the rooms I am going to stage
2. Make a rough floor plan of the layout of the property if I don’t have an original one
3. Print the photos – I get them done with a mat finish so I can write and draw on them
4. Glue them on 8 1/2 x 11 paper
5. I have a standard template of a List Of Rental Items that I would normally rent in a home so I just fill out the form. For example I would have LIVING ROOM and under that SOFA, CHAIR, LOVESEAT, LAMPS, AREA RUG, COFFEE TABLE, SIDE TABLE, ART, ACCESSORIES – I just check off what I need and how many items of each.
6. I take the photos and the List of Rental Items needed to the rental store. We are fortunate in Vancouver BC because we do have some very good stores to source from. I like Fluff Rentals for the selection and great staff!
7. Using the paint colours of the home I decide on my ‘Colour Story’ for the property.
8. I start with one room and pick the art first that works with the colour story and then my biggest items from here.
9. I don’t go on to the next room until I have finished (or almost) finished with everything I need in that one room – basically the same way we stage a property.
10. I have a cart to put all my small items on and I have a colour sticky that is for the larger items.
11. I review my order with the staff; they provide me a quote; I confirm it with my client; and I prefer to have my client pay directly and sign the insurance papers as well.

Here are a few shots from yesterday. I’ll do some ‘before and after’ photos once we are done next week. The rental costs for this 2 bedroom condo were about $2000. It is about 1100 square feet and I typically average the rentals to be about $2/square foot and this one falls into that category. Of course my charges for the consultation, report and staging are on top of this as is the moving company cost.

The sourcing took about 4 hours but there was also training going on!

Working From Photos and Inventory CheckList

The Final Colour Story

The Final Accessories after 4 hours...

Do you have what it takes to be a Solo-preneur?

Do you have what it takes to be a Solo-preneur?

Here are two facts:
1) The majority of home stagers in North America are solo-preneurs (single owner entrepreneurs).
2) 80% of women entrepreneurs in North America do not have any employees. (They will have contractors who they contract with)

Having taught home staging for many years now, as well as interior decorating, there is one question that I like to ask potential students inquiring about getting into either of these businesses.

This is it: “Do you like to work at home alone?”

If the answer is ‘YES’ then they have a better chance of succeeding in the long term with their business. However, if the answer is ‘NO’ that doesn’t entirely mean that being a successful solopreneur it unattainable. People like and need to feel connected to other people, often in the same industry. So here are a few suggestions so you don’t give up on the dream:

* join associations so you can connect with other home stagers – find out who you might be able to contract with or for
* consider taking a part-time job in an industry related field such as a paint store, lighting store, Home Depot, Home Sense, flooring store, etc. This way you get to interact with other people and may get some clients as well.
* get out to as many networking events as makes sense with your schedule
* follow up with people you connect with so you get out of the home as much as possible
* RESA has an annual conference in Las Vegas in January. Check it out and get connected with like-minded successful people to get inspired and learn some new ways of doing business

And most importantly keep connected because being isolated can feel devastating in the long term. Connect – get out there- read inspiring books – follow bloggers who inspire you – get that I CAN DO IT ATTITUDE!