Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Decorating and Home Staging rates

As a small business owner, I keep a close tab on my bottom line. I try to keep a good balance of giving value to my customers but also making sure I make a profit. I never aim to make a huge profit but as you know the purpose of having a business (and not a charity) is to make money.

As the cost of gas has increased dramatically in the last few months, I have had to increase my prices. When almost all of the profit from a job goes into the gas tank and not the bank - something had to change.

Here are two examples of my most popular services and the price changes:
Home Staging Consultation is $149 (was $130)
Do-it-yourself Decorating Plans is $79 an hour (was $69).

(By the way - I am one of only a few professionals that put prices right on the website - I want people to know upfront what to expect)

As you can see, I did not increase them dramatically but just enough to make sure I can put gas in my tank and get to your home and back. Thank you for understanding. Wave at me when you see me at the gas pump.

Interior Decorating professional policies

Establishing professional policies for your interior decorating or staging business helps to keep your business profitable and manageable. Unfortunately some of my professional policies have been instituted because a previous client has some how ruined it for the rest of the clients.

One of the professional policies that I have instituted in the past year is that I do not allow my "design inspiration and planning boards" to leave my presence. About a year ago I pitched my decorating plans to a potential commercial account and left my boards for them to "think it over." I did not get the job but months later I looked at that company's website and - wouldn't you know it - they had done my exact ideas from my boards and followed my recommendations and using in-house staff.

Now when I present a large project or am competing for a job, I do not leave my boards. On my last big job, I explained my professional policy and they did not have a problem with me not leaving the boards.
For those for you who are interested in starting in this profession, learn from others and establish policies that work for you and your business. Are there professional policies that you never thought you would have to implement? Tell me your story.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Congrats to Jenss of Amherst, NY

In the most recent edition trade magazine, Home Accent Today, there is list of the best and brightest retail stores 2008. I was thrilled to see a store in my geographic area made the list.

Jenss D├ęcor is one of the largest stores of its kind in the Eastern United States featuring the world's finest collectibles, crystal, giftware and china.
Congratulations on being named a STAR!.

These homeowners get a prize!

The other day (May 14 to be exact) I did a home staging consultation in a great neighborhood, nice house, and lovely homeowners. They had already found their next home and need to get this one sold as soon as possible.

One major issue I found was:

Yep...these homeowners still had their Christmas tree up, decorated and even had a couple poinsettia plants. Yes, this was in the middle of May!

Thinking that maybe they could be a military family and are wanting for someone to get back home to celebrate, I wanted to be sensitive about it. No, that was not the case.

They bought this large pre-decorated tree last holiday season but when they went to put it away in the basement, it was too tall for their low basement ceiling so they just decided to leave it. (OK but that doesn't explain the small poinsettia plants)

I told them it absolutely needs to go in the garage with a sheet over it. It can't be in the house nor can the home be photographed with the Christmas tree in it.

Yes, they get a prize! (I didn't tell them they won - I have some decorum)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Simple project adds color to walls

On a recent project, I needed to add color and art work to a second bedroom wall. But as usual, the budget was tight.

This simple trick to good for all kinds of rooms.

Take artist canvas and wrap them in cool looking fabric. In this case the canvas was 16 by 20 and the fabrics are called 'fat quarters' and are 18 by 22. There is no cutting or sewing. Just dip the fabric into liquid starch and wrap the fabric like a present to the front of the canvas. Let dry.

I would love to see your favorite inexpensive art tricks! Send me an e-mail with photos and I'll be glad to share.