"Dant-Dant-Dant-Another One Bites the Dust . . ."

By
Home Stager with Sensational Home Staging

Well - that was my weak version of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" - which is a great song and I am deciding between that one and "I'm Still Standing" as my team mantra for this quarter! 

I have been receiving quite a few emails from Stagers in various areas - not just my region - that are going "out of business."  We are getting emails to buy up inventory, as these Stagers decide to pack up, cut their losses and move on.  This can lead to some pretty good deals for those that are sticking around. . . but it makes me wonder about the WHY.  Was their dream not big enough?  Did they expect success too soon and not have a plan for beyond 1-2 years?

And I say - with sincerity - good riddance.  Some of these Stagers I really liked - so it's nothing personal.  It's just that when the going gets tough, the not-so-tough pack up and leave.  And that leaves the tough to ride out the market and make more money.  I am OK with that.

I do feel sorry for some of them - some that over-invested too soon, to the tune of I have to say about $100K - without the business to support it - I just cringe inside.  I KNOW they were not taught that in any course they took - but impulse takes over and in anticipation of the big bucks they would earn - they bought and spent and got things like a truck, t-shirts, storage, furniture, and a ton of accessories - placed an ad on TV - and did not have a job yet!  What?  What were they thinking?  It took me 2 years before I did anything exhorbitant like that!

For others that got injured on the job - I know mostly it was because they undercut their competition, did not have enough help on jobs, and strained their backs or ruptured discs.  On one hand I want to say, "I'm really sorry about your back," and under my breath I am saying, "Serves you right - Cheapo!"  Does that make me mean?  These are the same Stagers that "beat" our price for Staging or maybe they beat your price if they are in your market.  I want to empathize, but I am sort of secretly happy they are leaving.  It makes my job a lot easier when I don't have to account for the cheapos in the market.  Forgive me - but maybe those of you that are in an honest mood will fess up to your secret glee streak too! :-)

And I am not a mean person - so I don't know where these thoughts come from except to think that "what comes around goes around" - and a person cannot continue to operate at a loss and stay in business, or operate a business without help - and not get injured.  Those are 2 truths that are part of Staging.

So - another one bites the dust . . . I think we will see a steady shake-down of the Staging industry with the demise of the real estate market - unless Stagers are able to reinvent themselves and find another niche market.  Those that have developed relationships and have set up their business for success with proper pricing, will stick around.  If we are not in this for the long haul, we will be singing that familiar tune . . . "Dant, Dant, Dant . . . " For the rest of us - hunker down, smile, and stick with the long-term plan we started with!

- Jennie

Posted by

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO, Owner & Principal Stager, Sensational Home Staging serving the Greater Denver region

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Show All Comments
Rainer
63,852
Vincent McKamy
Long & Foster - Fredericksburg, VA
Realtor Fredericksburg Virginia
Jennie,  I too have seen a few stagers get out of the business already.  I'm in the real estate business and we are in the same boat.  But as I see these people leave - I look at it as just more business for me and I smile.  Have a good day
Mar 19, 2008 05:26 AM #1
Rainmaker
71,431
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

Hello Jennie, have not seen you in a while.  This is exactly what Linda and I have thought would happen for a long time now.  To add all of the overhead before the business has developed is pure suicide.  It has taken much more physical work and time for us, but we only added overhead when the business has matured to be able to support it.  As far as the fallout of stagers, it was inevitable.  Too many misconceptions, too many mismatched to what it actually takes, too many without the resources or support structure to grow and unfortunately too many simply located in places where the philosophy or population just won't support substantial growth.  Linda's plan has always been to develop and grow her business and the plan has served her well, sometimes we think too well, but it has not been easy.  It is not for the timid, the faint of heart, not for those that don't dream big, not for those that do not have the natural ability to work well with people and you better come to the party with a ton of intuition for the art and a business head on your shoulders.  Fallout simply is, what it is, not good, not bad, just inevitable.

Good to see you again,

Mar 19, 2008 08:27 AM #2
Rainmaker
420,326
Melissa Marro
Watson Realty Corp - Saint Augustine, FL
St Augustine, St Johns, Ponte Vedra
I think it is good when good stagers come and good when bad stagers go.  Unfortunately I do know that some actually go because they have grown too fast.  There may not have been enough funds to keep up with the demands of the job and the number of jobs they were being offered.  Capital is king and if you don't have any you could quickly find yourself in trouble. 
Mar 19, 2008 08:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
94,244
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

HI all - thanks for your comments.  And Gary - it's good to be back - even for a short time.  When I don't have anything to blog about that I feel is noteworthy, I usually don't come in and write.  These most recent scenarios struck me as share-worthy, so I am here.

I think the strong survive - in any business - not just Staging.  I don't think that all that are leaving are bad Stagers - to me what I see is they were not in it for "life" - this was a stop on their road of life - and now they are on to something else.  Of course that fact that we have to continually market for business and Staging is hard work - both physically and mentally - might be part of it.

Maybe we have made it look "too easy" for people - and then when they really get in and make a go of it- without a plan of action and commitment to stick with it - people give up.  I know the TV shows that feature the "fun" of Staging - the transformation and the kudos from clients - are not doing us any favors.

And - heck - none of you said I was mean - so thank you for that!  :-) 

- Jennie

Mar 19, 2008 09:38 AM #4
Rainer
3,579
Lisa Conover
Rearranged For Change - Omaha, NE

Great Post Jeanne, made me smile today!!  My partner and I started Rearranged For Change almost 2 years ago and this morning I was reviewing P&L comparisons from last year to this year so far.  Our sales are up 150% and profits a whopping 2000%.  I know that's not saying much about last year, but we were buying lots of inventory and now it's finally paying off!!  So, I so graciously added myself to the "good" stager list this morning because of your post!! Thank you!! Smile again! 

Lisa Conover Rearranged For Change Omaha,NE

 

Mar 19, 2008 09:56 AM #5
Rainmaker
94,244
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Hey Lisa - I bet that most Stagers out there don't have a P&L statement or even compare their business from year to year.  Good for you - and way to go on the increase in profits!  Tax time is a great way to assess one year to the next - it's sort of a natural review of what happened to all the money from one year to the next. 

We cannot escape an investment in setting up a business, and yet there is a point where you can begin to really profit off the investment - and roll in the dough - like you have with inventory!  Then it is about maintaining the level of income and finding ways to grow past it if you want. - Good for you!  Glad you have a smile on your face this morning!

- Jennie

Mar 19, 2008 10:20 AM #6
Rainmaker
115,496
Elaine M. Gage
A Wonderful Space, LLC - Lakewood, CO
A Wonderful Space, LLC
Jennie- You are a mean, mean woman! Just kidding! I've had one good friend quit the business and someone I knew through my Realtor's association. My friend's reason for quitting, was because she just wasn't making the income she needed to feel like she was contributing enough to her family. I have my own opinion on that: she was trying to stage and sell real estate, and she was relatively new at both! And, she chose to advertise herself as a Realtor, and not a stager. But, it's a shame, because she had a real "eye" and did a beautiful job staging. The other failed because I believe her "staging" was just a way to get business for her husband, who did painting, flooring, tile work, etc. All her consultation reports were full of suggestions that the client hire him! And, people didn't go for it! So, I guess I have mixed feelings about when I hear of someone calling it quits! And here's MEAN for you...I'm sorry the second stager quit, because I LOVED beating her out for jobs! ;) WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS....
Mar 19, 2008 10:21 AM #7
Rainmaker
94,244
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Elaine - your comment made me laugh - good to know that the art of business does require competing.  You are probably right in both instances about your former stager colleagues.  What I have found with Realtors that also want to Stage - is that they have to choose one master or the other.  It's hard to serve both and do it well - and succeed.  So they have to pick which hat they are going to wear.  For your other friend - she missed a real chance at developing a business that did not rely on her spouse.  Staging is not about marketing someone else'e services - it's about what we can do to help present a property.  Looks like you'll just have to find someone else's butt to kick in your area - which I have no doubt you'll do!

- Jennie

Mar 19, 2008 11:38 AM #8
Rainmaker
115,496
Elaine M. Gage
A Wonderful Space, LLC - Lakewood, CO
A Wonderful Space, LLC
Ordinarily, I'm not that mean--but this woman ticked me off from day one when I met her. My partner and I gave a presentation at an association meeting, and described what we give clients in our consultation reports. At the end of the presentation, she stood up and said "I do everything Elaine and Nancy do, PLUS I include photos of the areas that need work". OUCH!!
Mar 19, 2008 12:27 PM #9
Rainmaker
191,384
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Love the song!  Thanks for making my husband and I laugh this am!  :)

I have had a direct competitor go out of business.  We had met for lunch about 1 year ago and she went on and on about how she was growing her business.  She mentioned her banker, her employees that worked all over 3 states for her and how she was opening up a store front in an industrial area!!!  I was shocked and kind of in awe.  I started doubting myself and thought maybe I was doing something wrong. 

Well she is now out of business and has moved to another country!  I still work with the same flooring company that she referred me to and they said she just disappeared!  I feel bad for her but I am not surprised. 

My business philosophy was always to grow slowly.  Slow and Steady wins the Race!!!

Mar 19, 2008 12:45 PM #10
Rainmaker
94,244
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO

Thanks for the comments all - it is amazing the circumstances that lead to someone walking away from Staging although I have never heard of anyone leaving the country, Janice!  LOL.

As for what course, if any, these people took - I can't say.  And it's not "my" course (although I see you went through the same one but I don't want this blog post to become a debate about blame).  Fact is, I took a course and have succeeded, as well as MANY other Stagers, and there are those that take a course and do not succeed.  It is not the course or content or cost or any of those things.  People want to try and blame an outside entity, but at the end of the day, the person staring back in the mirror is who is responsible for success - or failure.

It always always always boils down to one word:  Marketing. People give up on having to get out there - and when that happens, business slows down or stops.  Those that do not want to continue to stoke the fires of success will fizzle out.  Like in the animal world - it is survival of the fittest - and in our case, we don't mean physically - it's about marketing and creativity.

- Jennie

Mar 19, 2008 03:21 PM #12
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Rainmaker
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Jennie Norris

Denver Regionnulls Premier Home Staging Resource, ASPM, IAHSP, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO
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