How to Start a Home Staging Business | Free Home Staging Course (Unit 7)

How to Start a Home Business: Business Structure, License, Insurance

Home Staging Course Unit 7

How to Start a Home Staging Business?

When you start thinking about all of the steps to starting your business, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus.

The key is to break it down into small pieces that you can complete and then move on to the next piece.

So in this part of the course we’re going to go over how to start a home staging business.

If you?ve missed the beginning of the course or just want to review, go back and check out Unit 1 of our home staging course.

My goal is to keep you on track with action steps that will lead you to an up-and-running business.

In my experience as a home staging instructor, I know that one of the common problems students face is that they want to have all of the answers before they get started.

So let?s get this out of the way right now.

It?s not possible to answer every question about every potential scenario that you may encounter as you start running your business.

You have to trust that you will be able to figure things out as situations arise.

You don?t have to have it all worked out in advance ? trust yourself and trust the process.

You WILL be able to handle it.

And even in the event that you make a wrong turn along the way, this is just how life works. You learn from mistakes and move on. So please don?t weigh yourself down with ?what if? thinking.

Action Steps

Here is your plan for how to start a home staging business, in a nutshell:

Ready to start?

Work on Your Home Staging Skills

Make sure you are confident in your skills before you start getting clients.

The best way to do this is to study the material, complete the exercises, and stage every room that you have access to.

This is a simple but important part of how to start a home staging business ? make sure you’re ready so that you’ll be confident when working for clients.

The more you stage, the better you will get and the faster you will be able to work.

The first time you?re presented with a room that?s in need of staging, you might not know how to jump in and tackle the trouble spots.

After you do it a few times you will develop your eye and a system that works for you.

You may end up using a process that differs from the steps I?ve listed for you.

As long as you get it done in a way that makes sense for you, that?s all that matters.

I?ve had students stage a friend?s house, a neighbor?s house, and even lobbies and offices at work.

A commercial space like a lobby might seem like an odd place to stage, but you?re practicing a lot of the same skills. I’ve had students do it this way. I had one student use a space at her church to do her practice staging.

So, spend some time staging anywhere they?ll let you.

Make sure you take before and after photos. Get in the habit of having a camera handy when you’re about to approach a staging project.

Before and after photos are one of the most important parts of your marketing.

Don?t think too much about it, just shoot before and afters every time you tackle a new room, or even a corner of a room. You may not end up using all of them.

It?s more important to have quality rather than quantity when it comes to your portfolio, so only use the best photos.

The goal is to practice sizing up rooms, making decisions, and developing your hands-on systems for editing and arranging. If you get to the point where you?re having dreams about staging, congratulations! You?re definitely a home stager.

If not, don?t worry, it?ll probably happen at some point.

How to Start a Home Business: Business Structure, License, Insurance

Business Structure

This is the part where you get to make some decisions like whether you want to become an LLC or operate as a sole proprietor or partnership if you have a partner.

(There are other business structures but these are the most common ones to consider at this stage.)

Please note that I?m not a legal expert or a professional business consultant.

Business structure rules and regs and fees vary from state to state, and I?m definitely not an expert or even very familiar with all situations for every state.

Listing every state?s requirements I beyond the scope of this course. I hope you understand.

A sole proprietorship is a great option if you are getting started and plan on doing consultations at first, without any hands-on work. It?s great because it is easy to get started and you can always file the LLC paperwork down the road.

It is easy to set up as a sole proprietorship because, depending on your state, you may not have to file any forms to get started.

With a sole proprietorship, your personal assets are on the line in the event of an event like a lawsuit. You and the business are one and the same. That?s why I suggest using a sole proprietorship when you aren?t doing any hands-on work.

An LLC (Limited Liability Company) will give its owners protection in case the business is held financially responsible for anything.

You can use one of the online services that set up LLCs for a fee, or you can get on your state?s Secretary of State website and find out which forms you need to fill out.

Some states may be easier to navigate than others, and you may decide that a service like LegalZoom is well worth it.

In my opinion, another benefit of the LLC structure is that you?re creating an asset that you can sell one day. If you operate as a sole proprietor and your business name is Mary Smith Staging, that doesn?t give you anything to sell at some point, if you desire, because you literally are the business.

On the other hand, say you build a business called Napa Valley Home Staging LLC. One day you want to sell so you can retire. Now you have something you can sell.

Just to make sure you have this information clearly explained, I?m going to turn it over to the legal experts for a second so you can read this quick article.

Business License

Your local municipality may require a business license. A business license is basically a way for the local powers that be to make sure that the business you?re running is appropriate as a home business according to zoning laws.

Since you?re not doing anything on the premises except keeping an office, there should not be an issue about business activities that are not allowed.

For example, some areas may not allow a home business that has clients stopping by. Other areas do allow client visits, but only up to a certain number per day.

They also want to make sure you?re not employing a large staff or doing anything industrial or noisy.

Applying for a business license for your home business is largely about making sure your neighbors aren?t going to be inconvenienced by your business activities.

The other reason cities have you get licensed is so that they can tax you on your business income.

Where I live, you can make up to a certain amount per year without having to pay tax.

Some areas don?t require a business license for this type of business.

These rules and regs vary so much from place to place that I can?t possibly give an accurate overview of how it will work in your exact location.

In my 15 years or so of teaching experience, I know that students have reported back to me that it was pretty easy and straightforward in most cases.

It might be helpful to do a quick search right now to see what you need to know. Just search your city or town name + business license and you should get the info you need.

You?re probably going to fill out a fairly short form about your business and the activities involved, and there will be a fee involved that it usually in the $30-75 range.

If you are in Canada, here is a business start-up checklist for you.

Get Insured

There seems to be a lot of concern among students about getting insurance. If you are doing hands-on staging work then you definitely, definitely need insurance. You don?t have to join any kind of staging organization that collects yearly dues just so you can get insurance.

I am a huge fan of being very well insured. Things don?t usually go wrong but sometimes they do and in that event you want to be protected. This is extremely, extremely important if you are operating as a sole proprietorship.

An LLC is designed protect your personal assets, but LLCs are not bulletproof.

Make sure you have insurance before you start. Don?t skip this part.

home stagingHome staging insurance is just a type of business insurance, it?s not very hard to find. Insurance agents are basically salespeople. If they have the right thing to sell you, they?ll do it.

So call up your agent that you use for your auto, home, or renters policy.

Tell them you?re looking for business insurance for a home staging business. This may or may not involve you having to explain what?s involved in home staging.

If it helps them understand it, tell them it?s similar to being an interior decorator.

Home staging is becoming pretty mainstream so they may know exactly what kind of insurance you need without any explanation.

If they don?t have a business policy, ask them if they have a recommendation for who to call. Insurance agents are salespeople and networkers so they should have a name to give you.

I have never heard of a case where this method didn?t work, but if you get stuck on this part, please email me and I will help you get on the right track.

Now that we’ve covered the first steps for how to start a home staging business, are you ready to move on with more about how to become a home stager?

We’ll get into fun stuff like business cards and getting your home staging website set up.

Move on to the next lesson.

Some recommended products may use affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc or its affiliates.

How to Become a Home Stager | Free Home Staging Course (Unit 8)

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Home Staging Course Unit 8

How to Become a Home Stager

This is going to be a short section about how to become a home stager.

Keep taking steps ? that’s what this is all about.

If you’ve missed the beginning of the course or just want to review, go back and check out Unit 1 of our home staging course.

So far we’ve learned all about why we stage homes and how to do it. You understand home staging psychology, and we’ve gone over our checklist for staging any home.

You’ve done the work and practiced and started putting together some before and after photos of your home staging work.

And your business start-up steps are underway!

So let’s just talk about business cards for a minute. This is a good time to go ahead and order them.

How to Become a Home Stager

We made some steps in the last section with your business start-up.

To become a home stager, you have to stay on track and get these action steps done so you can get your phone to start ringing.

Get a Logo Designed for Your New Business

A professionally-designed logo is not a requirement. There are free logo tools that you can use and they’ll give you nice results, though it takes a little bit of time and figuring out the tool itself sometimes.

There are affordable ways to have a designed create one for you. You can fill out this form to have a designer start working with you ? just submit your design preferences and company info, no credit card required to get started.

Order Your Business Cards

how to become a home stagerThe next thing to get started on is business cards.

Once you get your order placed you?ll be looking at some turnaround time so you can get the ball rolling on the cards and then move on to the next step, or give yourself a break for a couple of days.

You’ve earned it!

If you have the budget to hire a graphic designer to create cards for you, that?s wonderful!

This section will probably not apply to you since we?re going to talk about getting business cards from an online service that allows you to design your own cards on their platform.


I have gotten good results from Zazzle and 1-800-Postcards?and OvernightPrints. I also like a lot of the designs on

With the exception of Zazzle, where they seem to have an endless list of attractive but non-categorized designs, you can sort by category so you can look at interior design or real estate designs, or pick something classic and non-industry specific.

Another option to consider is to get a logo made at this time.

You can get a logo and business cards at the same time from a company like this one for a reasonable price.

If you have some before and afters ready to go, you might think about getting a marketing postcard made at the same time.

Postcards have replaced pamphlets and brochures in a lot of ways, and you can use them for sending to agents as well as handing out with your business card when you meet people.

It can be like a mini version of your portfolio and services presented in a concise postcard format that can have a huge impact in just a few seconds.

You can hand someone a business card so they have your contact and website info to look at later. But a postcard tells your story and shows your work. It?s something you might want to consider.

OK time to move on 🙂 Business cards are the easy part.

The next step in how to become a home stager has to do with something a bit more involved: your home staging website.

But the nice thing is that getting a website is a LOT easier than it used to be and I have some great options for you no matter what your start-up budget looks like.

Move on to the next lesson.

Some recommended products may use affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc or its affiliates.
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