“Half a pound of your cheapest staging please”

(Credit: Jill Paints)


According to a report on cbsnew.com, the top 5 products where buying the cheapest and most generic choice does not provide value for money are as follows:

  1. Bin bags
  2. Toilet Paper
  3. Batteries
  4. Major Electronic items
  5. Cheese. Yes, that’s right, Cheese

I’m going to add one more to the list – Staging 

All stagers have experienced the ring around client or agent. “I’m just ringing round to ask how much it would cost to stage a 4-bed house?” they ask. Their goal is simple – furnish the house (and often only furnish a few rooms) at the lowest possible price. Job done.

What these type of inquiries don’t focus on is that the quotes they are comparing are half a pound of apples vs half a pound of pears. 

Compare the quote below:

The Apples quote The Pears quote
Poor quality furniture, art, and accessories Great quality furniture, art, and accessories
Furniture style and size at odds with the house style and size Furniture style and size in keeping with the house style and size
Selected and installed by an inexperienced stager Selected and installed by an experienced stager
Bare minimum inclusions and accessories Appropriate level of inclusions and accessories
Short hire period Longer hire period
Doesn’t address most likely buyer Targets staging to most likely buyer
Poor room purpose and layout Room purpose and layout appropriate to the target buyer and space in house
Price doesn’t include GST or transport or insurance or professional art hanging Price includes GST, transport, insurance, and professional art hanging
Low level of furniture available to select from Good level of furniture available to select from
Poor back end logistics and communication Good logistics and communication



I’m willing to bet that Quote 1 is the cheapest but it’s Quote 2 that delivers the best value and provides a better chance of a quicker sale at the best possible price.

What the above means for clients and agents

Staging is a growth industry and there is still a lot to learn. Know that staging is not a generic task nor are stagers generic people. Ask questions before you engage a stager “what furniture will you use?”, “how long is the hire period?”, “what does the quote include?”,  “Can you show me similar houses you’ve staged?”.  Price will always be a factor in a decision but questions like this will help you find the best value and help you compare apples to pears. 

What the above means for stagers

Be confident in your rates and the value that your staging adds. Don’t answer the “how much will it cost?” question first. Ask instead “Tell me a little about your house and how I might be able to help you”. Once you’ve shown you can add value you can talk cost and that cost will, therefore, be valued.

Show examples of houses that you’ve staged and the result that you’ve achieved. In other words, show that your staging works.

Make it clear what’s included in the quote, whilst reminding your potential client that not all quotes will cover the same inclusions.

Think really hard before you discount to win business. It sets a precedent, it lowers the perceived value of what you’re offering, you might not do your best work as you will need to cut corners. Longer term you might not think the money you earn is worth staying in business. If you have your own inventory it could bankrupt your business. Discounting does the whole industry a disservice. You do not want to be known as the equivalent of own label toilet paper!

Are you a stager? Do you get the ring around?  How do you respond? Do you discount?

Are you a seller or agent? How do you pick a stager? How much does price dictate your decision?




I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in Brisbane Australia. You can contact me via my website or on 0432994056. Or just leave a comment below











9 thoughts on ““Half a pound of your cheapest staging please”

  1. What a well written article – so true and really gets to the heart of what home staging is all about.

    1. excitemedia says:

      Thanks Mel!

  2. Gloria Simpson says:

    Hello Imogen Brown my name is Gloria I’m a Interior Decorator and need direction on how to get started in staging. Where do you get the furniture from . Is it rent to own centers. I’m new to the business is it profitable being a stager or realtor. Do you need to attend staging school . What’s the price point and where so i get forms from is their software I’m good at what i do and have a good eye but I’m very teachable

    1. excitemedia says:

      Gloria, It’s probably more profitable to be a realtor but you can make good money being a stager. I trained with Staging Diva (google her). I hire the furniture from specialist furniture hire companies that are aimed at property stylists like me. They are in every major city in Australia (and therefore should be in America and Canada too). Hope this helps

  3. Vicky Muscat says:

    Hi Imogen,
    I have been reading your blogs since I started home staging about 3 years ago.
    I absolutely love what I do but because I found it solitary at first, reading your articles felt like I was sitting down with an honest friend who told it like it was. Thank you so much, you gave me strength and confidence to stick with what I love when I needed it most. Vicky – Clear your headspace – Sydney based property stylist.

    1. excitemedia says:

      Vicky, apologies, I didn’t see this comment come through. Thanks for your lovely words. Yes, it can be lonely and it sometimes feels as though I’m writing on my own too! It’s great to know that what I write helps you keep going. Hoping your 2018 is a great one x

  4. Jeff and Heidi Ross says:

    Great article!

  5. Lee says:

    Excellent blog Imogen!! We sometimes compete with other stagers, but we DON’T discount or price match. We know what we offer and we know our worth as interior decorators and professional home stagers. Like you, I believe that discounting = cutting corners, lack of quality control and just plain nasty staging.

    1. excitemedia says:

      Thanks Lee, Your company is a shining example of delivering a quality product and therefore great value to your client. We are lucky to have you flying the flag for quality in Brisbane

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