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No Place Like Home

[ 0 ] Dec. 20, 2010 | SBO Editor

5 reasons to start a home-staging biz in any economy.

Jeff Bevis (left) has a knack for success. He previously led and developed an extensive rebuilding of senior care provider Comfort Keepers and today is president and CEO of FirstLight, a non-medical home care franchise. The industry is experiencing a boom now that the graying of America has finally taken hold. Last year FirstLight posted sales of more than $240 million.

Think home staging is a career choice only for creative people who love to decorate? Think again.

Careerbuilder.com listed Home Stager as the top emerging career in the down economy and the remarkable sales results home staging produces is creating potential for enormous growth throughout the coming decade.  Ironically, to grow, the industry needs fewer hands-on designers and more traditional business operators, who can operate, manage and market scalable businesses.

Here are five reasons to start a home-staging business in today’s market:

1. There are large numbers of houses for sale today and higher percentages of houses are vacant and need staging. Furthermore, research shows that staged homes sell 78% faster, while vacant houses often sell for 15-20% lower prices than fully staged homes.

2. There are far fewer home-staging companies than people who need staging. Part-time and hobbyist home stagers, who currently dominate the industry, barely put a dent in the need for the service. Full service home-staging businesses and franchises are few and far between, which leaves a large niche of potential customers, most of whom prefer to work with a reputable, full-time company.

3. It’s only going to get better. Shell Brodnax, President of the Real Estate Staging Association had this to say about the future of staging: “Since home staging has had so much exposure over the last few years, more and more people are aware of it and home stagers have an easier time starting their businesses.”

4. Think the home-staging business is just for decorators? Wrong. Home staging is just like any other service business: It requires sales, systems, customer service and product quality. The industry needs more business-oriented operators who can run and manage a scalable business.

5. Using a home-staging company to prepare a home for sale and even manage it while it is on the market for sale is becoming more and more common. Trade associations like the Real Estate Staging Association focus on educating both realtors and homeowners about the benefits of using a staging company so it becomes as normal as using a realtor or title company to sell a home. This effort has significant momentum and will continue to grow.

Nashville-based Showhomes, a nationally franchised home-staging company, has experienced positive growth for the past six years and is rapidly expanding in today’s real estate market.
“What we are looking for is someone with the drive and skills to manage a business,” said Showhomes CEO Bert Lyles. “To take advantage of the growth opportunity, staging businesses need much larger scale than most part-time stagers have in today’s market. We’re expanding and recruiting business owners who might never have staged a home themselves but have the skills to hire and manage stagers. It’s an amazing opportunity for positive growth in a niche business.” •

Showhomes At-A-Glance

Showhomes is a home-staging business with a twist: The company uses live-in caretakers to manage vacant homes while they are on the market for sale and offset a homeowner’s expense to stage a home. The innovative marketing strategy has been producing results since 1986 and the company has helped over 25,000 homeowners sell vacant houses valued at over $8 billion.

The Franchise Fee is $29,900 and the total investment begins at $43,800. Financing is available and Showhomes offers a discount to veterans. According to a company spokesman, “We’ve had a double-digit increase for the past six years straight and this year looks to be an all-time record. We did just under $6 million last year and expect to do $7.5-8 million this year. We’re expanding rapidly as well and have already added 12 units so far in 2010 and expect to add as many as 40 by year end.”

For franchise opportunities and more information, please visitwww.showhomesfranchise.com.

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Category: Magazine, Start Your Own Business, Start Your Own Business Winter 2011