Home Stagers: how to find your staging niche
When I first started out as a home stager in 2011 I had 2 criteria for prospective clients:
1. Are you alive? 2. Will you pay me?
Over time I’ve worked out what houses I love to style and what clients I love to work with. Also, over that time the home staging market in Brisbane has grown and more and more people are starting a home staging business.
This means more and more stagers competing for often the same piece of business. When this starts to happen price is often a determining factor and stagers drop their price to get the business. A losing strategy for the stager and the category in general.
I think it’s time for all of us – new and existing home stagers to find our niche. There’s plenty of room for us all but not if everyone’s chasing after 2 bed units!
I’m currently overhauling my website (the company that built it not longer exists so I don’t have much choice). It’s a great opportunity to ask myself questions about the type of business that I want to attract and what I can offer that’s different to other stagers. In short, what do I want to be known for?
There’s a real estate agent in Brisbane who sells houses with tennis courts. Now there’s a niche! But a clever one. Tennis courts usually come with acreage and large luxury houses. If I had a tennis court – she’d be the first person I called when selling my house.
So, how do you find your niche?
Ask yourself questions such as these… (or better still, get someone else to ask you).
The tangible questions
- What suburbs do you want to work in?
- What type(s) of houses are in those suburbs?
- Where’s the growth in the market? units or houses? What type?
- What businesses are other stager’s chasing?
- What business are you currently chasing and why?
- What business do you tend to ‘lose’ ? and win? Why?
- What style of inventory does the furniture warehouse have?
- What inventory do you have?
- Do you want to grow or decrease this inventory?
- Where’s the untapped potential?
- What do you want to earn?
- Where do you earn the most money? And the least?
The intangible questions
- Why do people say they ring you?
- Why do people say they hire you?
- When the phone rings, what business makes your stomach sink?
- When the phone rings, what business gets you excited?
- What owners do you like to work with?
- What’s your overall style?
- What have been your biggest successes?
- What projects give you the most satisfaction?
- When do you give your clients the most value? And the least?
- How is your style different to other stagers?
- What do you want to be known for
- Sum up your point of difference in one sentence.
Answering the above should give you a good idea of your potential niche. You probably knew this at some level already. Here are some ideas of niches that may appeal:
- Large builders
- Small builders
- Renovated properties
- Holiday homes
- Rentals. I get called for this quite often. If anyone can find a low cost way of staging a rental the market is yours!
- Investor units
- 2 bed units
- Busy Family houses
- Houses on the market that aren’t selling
- Acreage properties
- Period properties
- Individual properties e.g. converted church
- Moving from home to aged care
- Staging to stay: I get lots of calls from people who don’t want to move but want to fall in love with where they live
- Vacant properties
- Occupied properties
- Partial staging. Using what the client has and bringing in hire furniture where necessary
- Consult only: There is still so much business to be had in this niche but very few stagers actively seek it out.
- Houses that need renovating. You project manage or specify during the project
- Luxury houses
I’m sure that you can think of more and when you start thinking about it there is a lot more business to chase after then just the ‘standard’. If you become the expert in one area you will rarely need to compete against other stagers and your clients will happily pay for your expertise.
I think this will help the stagers who are struggling on page 2 and 3 of google. If clients are just looking for ‘a generic stager’ you won’t get a look in but if they are looking for a stager who ‘partners with builders’ that’s more specific and you stand a far better chance.
Now that you have a niche to work towards you can start attracting it. Make sure your website, blog, social media, flyers, business name, newsletter – every point of marketing and client or agent contact promotes your niche. If you’re just starting out you get to do this from the beginning but you can still make the necessary changes along the way.
I’d love to know if you already have a home staging niche, whether you think you need one or what niche you’d love to be known for. I love to read your comments.
What a fabulous business we all work in and what great opportunities we all have.
I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. I’m currently working on my niche! You can contact me on 0432994056 or through my website