If you’re thinking about starting a home staging business, one of the questions you have may be about whether to get certified. There’s been a lot of talk over the years about home staging certification and whether it is necessary for becoming a professional home stager.
What Does Certification Mean in Home Staging?
Let’s go over the ins and outs of certification and the reasons why you may or may not want it.
No matter what profession or trade you’re talking about, a certification is a way to ensure that practitioners have met certain quality standards required. With home staging, there isn’t an industry-wide standardized list of skills and knowledge and there are certifications offered by various programs.
Many staging schools are built around offering certification, making it seem like the certification they offer is the one thing that is critical to your success as a home stager. The first thing to realize if you’re trying to decide whether to get a certification or not, is that there is no industry-wide certification, credential, or accreditation required.
You can become a professional home stager without any specific qualifications.
That’s one of the reasons why home staging is such a good business to start — you can earn a very good living without having tens of thousands of dollars in tuition expenses and years of schooling.
Home staging certification can definitely be beneficial for you if it will help you feel more confident. Many students have mentioned a desire for “that piece of paper” that they can show clients or agents. If it helps you feel more qualified when you’re starting out, then certification is a great idea.
The most important thing to have is a good portfolio. Your before and after photos will definitely be more of a deciding factor for clients than whether you have a certain certification. Your before and afters are where you can truly show off what you can do. No certification can do that.
Another important aspect to whether you win a client over or not is your professionalism. Do you return calls promptly, come across as knowledgeable, and present yourself well? Professionalism is much more important than what certification you may or may not have.
What is the Best Home Staging Certification?
Simply stated, the best home staging certification is the one that works best for you. Since there is no definitive credential, accreditation, or certification in the home staging business, it’s up to you to determine which program best suits your needs.
Do you want a very expensive program that will take some time to complete? Do you want a program that is extremely thorough, or do you think too much information at this point is just going to slow you down? There are different ways to look at it. You may prefer a quick, nuts-and-bolts program that’ll get you up and running and doing beautiful staging work quickly.
Look around at the programs available. Decide how much money you’re comfortable with spending, see which program seems to have the right “feel” for you, and which one will give you the information you need.
Keep in mind that you can and will figure things out as you go, and there isn’t a program that can prepare you for every potential scenario that you will ever encounter.
In addition, take a look at the entities/associations that exist in part to give credibility (for marketing purposes) to certain stagers or staging schools. Look at the board of directors to see if there are any individuals involved with both the association and the training program. Ask yourself if that seems like an unbiased system. Apply some basic logic to the situation and make your own decisions. Just sayin’ 🙂
FYI, School of Home Staging is run by a staging trainer with experience that predates the existence of such associations. There is no personal bias here, only years of experience and a discerning eye for what’s going on in the field of home staging training these days.
The main takeaway is this: you can start a home staging business with any level of training, with or without a certification.
You DO need to know how to do great work, give your clients results, and conduct yourself in a highly professional manner. Otherwise, your reputation will suffer and your business probably won’t last.