Quick Intro: Hey guys, Eva here! I was scrolling through Jake’s LinkedIn and came across this awesome article he wrote back in May 2020. I couldn’t help but notice that it somehow hasn’t found its way onto our website yet, so I’ve decided to fix it. It’s a great read full of golden nuggets (pun intended). I’d recommend it to any Home-Stager regardless of what stage of your business journey are you currently in. Enjoy!
To be a successful home stager you don’t need thousands.
You don’t need thousands of clients, you don’t need thousands of followers online, and you don’t need thousands of real estate agents to know who you are. To make a living as a home stager you need only five Golden Agents.
A Golden Agent is defined as a real estate agent that recommends your service to anyone and everyone who will listen. An agent who sells your services to a client before you’ve even met them. These Golden Agents think of you as part of their team and won’t do business without you. They aren’t interested in what your competitors are offering, or in getting quotes from other suppliers. You are their home staging partner, period. Your relationship is based on their 100% belief in the value you offer both to them and to their vendors. Your relationship with a Golden Agent is so strong that it transcends the professional environment and is often akin to friendship.
If you have five agents like this, you can make a living, if not a very significant and successful home staging business.
First, your business model needs to be set up in a way that you can make $1,000 profit from each staging job that you complete. That is easier to do for some businesses than others, but it is a good challenge because it’s not simply a question of pricing, but also of costs, efficiency and value.
Second, your Golden Agents must be listing a quantity of new properties such that you will stage at least one property per month for each Golden Agent. That is, you will have a minimum of five staging jobs per month from your five Golden Agents.
Third, not every agent you work with will be a Golden Agent. While the support of five Golden Agents is the basis of your business, for every single staging job that comes from one of those Golden Agents, you will have one or two jobs that come from other agents. Think of concentric circles with Golden Agents at the centre and a wider circle of other agents around them. These other agents may be a source of work only occasionally or may have worked with you only once. But these jobs also expand your total income. Still, you want to focus on the Golden Agents because the enthusiasm of Golden Agents can increase the patronage of other agents. Golden Agents are not only the primary source of your income but can also be your chief marketing force for the other agents.
If you complete an average of five jobs per month for your Golden Agents, and another five for other agents, that’s 120 staging jobs completed in 12 months (slightly less than one every two business days). If you keep the full $1,000 profit from each job, that’s $120,000 per year. That’s a living for most folks.
Five agents is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than thousands of fans/clients. Gaining thousands of paying clients one at a time is not a realistic goal to shoot for, especially when you are starting out. But five agent relationships is doable.
The number $1,000 (profit) is not absolute. Its significance is in the fact that it is achievable for any home staging business, even the one starting as a sole trader who hires furniture, outsources logistics and completes the work themselves. The actual number must be adjusted for each business. If you can earn $1,500 per staging job, then you only need 3-4 Golden Agents. If your Golden Agents give you 2 jobs on average per month, you might need only 3 of them. For the businesses who own furniture and have warehouse and staff overheads, the profit number may be $3-4000 per job, but will need to account for overheads each month.
Or you may need only $75,000 per year to live on, so you adjust downward. Or if you have a partner, then you need to multiply by 2 to get 10 Golden Agents.
The home staging industry at its simplest level is broken into two types of businesses:
- Sole traders – those who hire furniture and use contractors/outsourced teams (low overheads, low margin, low capacity), and
- Those who own their furniture, manage a warehouse and have a full time team (high overheads, high margin, high capacity).
The math is different for each, but the concept of five Golden Agents works for both:
The truth is that cultivating relationships to the point that an agent can be considered a Golden Agent is time consuming, hard work, sometimes nerve racking, and requires a mindset whereby everything you do with and for that agent delivers value to them (and their clients). This is not about convincing an agent or having an expectation that they act in a way that works for you. In fact, here’s where the crux of this model becomes clear – it’s not about the agent at all.
It’s 100% about you and your business, how you approach every agent interaction and business relationship, and how you think about your service and the value you deliver. It’s about understanding that ANY agent has the potential to become a Golden Agent and how that knowledge underpins every interaction you have.
It’s about the type of business you become when you truly understand that it’s about earning the right to call them a Golden Agent by delivering so much value that they become a Golden Agent in their actions and in the way they do business with you.
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