Many people wonder why staging an empty home costs as much as it does. I though it was obvious, we are essentially moving in and setting up an entire home in a matter of hours and transforming it to look amazing and attract buyers. Think about how long it takes you to unpack your own home when you move and you pack up, get there, set up, clean up and go in less than 24hrs? We can!
But this was not the case, home owners still didn't understand WHY and WHERE the money is going and I can assure you the entire fee is not in our pockets. *NOTE: this is a breakdown of the average job in Ottawa Ontario Canada. Other cities may have different structures / supplier options.
Vacant Staging Fee Chart
Their are 4 main components of a vacant home staging.
1) Inventory (furniture & decor)
3) Stager & Team Time
Inventory (approx 60%).
As stagers we have 2 options available for inventory choices. First is to rent directly from a 3rd party supplier which is a direct in out expense. If a client needs a couch and it rents at $100 then we charge our clients that $100 for the product. This happens for each and every item being brought into the home so hence the larger the home the more expensive the rental fees will be.
The other option is for the individual stagers to own the inventory and this comes at an extremely high cost. Not only do we need to purchase the item at retail prices initially but we also have to have a place to store everything so in comes the cost of a warehouse, heat, hydro, security, insurance, maintenance etc. Then the direct cost of owning the furniture where we have to cover the initial purchase fee, replacement costs when an item is damaged or stole when on the job, shipping and assembly of the furniture, fixing any damages that are fixable, ETC ETC the list goes on. So for a couch purchased at $1000.00 ends up costing a home staging company about $130 a month until the item is paid off which can take as long as 12 months sometimes.
This is where on the invoice you'll see $1000-5000 for inventory rentals. Yes this may seem high but think of it in relation to purchase price. If you were to purchase everything being brought in you'd be looking at $15,000 -$80,000 worth of inventory and accessories.
Delivery (approx 20%)
Delivery is the next expense and their are three options a stager can have when making the quotes. First is when renting from a 3rd party supplier they will have their own set delivery fees for the job depending on the location of the home. This too is a direct in out expense, so should delivery fee be $400 then that fee is passed onto the client directly.
Second option for a stager is to hire a professional mover to move your own inventory. Generally movers are hard to establish relationships with because they book on a first come first booked basis and as stagers we need them available in a 2-3 day window. If your stager is lucky enough to have a good established relationship with the mover they will also have set fee's per job most are 3hr minimums or it's not worth the time of their truck & employees. Most movers will charge $300 PER USE so for 1 staging job it costs the stager $600 immediately on that job just booked.
Final option is for a stager to own a truck and have hired movers. This too can be just as costly as owning furniture because now you'll have new costs such as, truck purchase, gas, maintenance, insurance, movers, WSIB costs, etc. For stagers to have this as a viable option they must book 3 or more jobs a week. If they are that busy then comes the increased costs of having a team behind them which is also costly.
No matter where the delivery is coming from it's always an in out expense that can not be adjusted.
Staff & Stagers (approx 15%)
This is how the team is paid and the average vacant job takes about 15-20hrs from start to finish to complete. The team will perform the following duties
-Provide clients with additional information on staging / quotes (admin) ~30 min
-Book the initial consultation (admin) ~30min
-Initial consultation by stager ~1hr
-Sending of Contracts & Payments to clients to book ~1hr
-Review & Pre-Planning of the staging project ~2hr
-Scheduling The Team (movers & stagers) ~1hr
-Inventory pulling & coordinating from multiple sources ~2-4hrs.
-Loading of the truck & delivery to house with men ~1hr
-In House Staging ~5-8hrs
*This is with a team of 2 movers and 2 stagers. 4 people on site for proper & quick set up.
-Future De-Staging, Return to Warehouse & Unpack ~3-4hrs
So as you can see their is A LOT of back end work to stage an empty home. It is approximately 17-23hrs from start to finish to get a home staged properly and quickly.
Profit (approx 5%)
Finally we have profit. This as you may know is what every business strives to have at the end of any job. Once all the bills are paid the average job in profits is around 5-10%. The lower 5% you may be wondering why anyone would do a job for just 5% profit, well that's all part of the staging business. Especially when you are starting out and growing your inventory. The theory would be that you'll eventually have lots of inventory that is paid off and can start making the company money but this takes time, and this can only happen if the item doesn't get damaged, stolen, broken or out dated before the profit threshold has been met. The decorating, staging and design industry has lots of trends and though in staging we can't be too trendy we do need to have key items that can be considered "on trend" and thus will go out of style faster.
So, this is where you need to ask yourself an important question. IF you are getting multiple quotes (and remember comparing stagers is like comparing apples and oranges -both are fruit both offer completely different things) then ask yourself "What will I be missing or lacking on this lower quote" It will probably be someone using less inventory, inadequate inventory, dated inventory, their staging skills are not up to par or they have hack movers at low rates that can end up damaging your home.
Essentially you are paying the price of professionalism, quality and excellence ALL which directly affect how fast your home will sell. So find the source of money to stage your home RIGHT the first time and you'll end up saving thousands in the long run.
CEO Capital Home Staging & Design
613-832-8958 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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