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Virtual Staging Business (As a Second Business)?
VIRTUAL STAGING BUSINESS --

Virtual Staging Business has the potential to bring more money, especially If you hold a real estate agent license. I bet you have experienced the extent to which an empty or neglected house can painfully lose its value over time. If there was a magic button to sell the listings instantly and beyond the asking price, I bet you would want to press it right away!
Let us face it, and there is no magic button! Even though this might burst your bubble, this article provides sure-fire insights that will shed light on ‘something’ that will help you add value to your real estate deals and leave you satisfied in the end.

I’ve written this article from the experience of growing a virtual staging company with 19 different services. Below is what I think is the best practice of making virtual staging an add-on service besides your main company.

George Nicola – expert virtual stager

While there are several strategies that skilled real estate professionals constantly use to improve their businesses, home staging is on a whole new level. Statistically, 38 percent of realtors stage homes for sale before listing them in the market.

An exciting idea worth exploring is running a virtual home staging business as an add-on to your primary business. I recommend that you start small with minimal investment of time and money, and you will be surprised how fast your business will grow gradually.

If you haven’t launched your real estate company, check out the video Graham Stephan made some years ago, I love it as it’s simple and very well explained. He has made a course on this as well: click here.

Instead, if you’re already into the game of real estate, move on and keep reading after the video.

What can you earn with a virtual staging business as an add-on?

Depending on the market, the current demand, the square foot of a home, the number of rooms, and the amount of workload, virtual stagers earn anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per project, $25 to $200 per room, and $100 to $250 for consulting only.

What Virtual Stagers Do

Behind any gorgeous, saleable real estate listing is an expert home stager. Since 90 percent of home buyers start their property search online, virtual stagers ensure that the images of properties stand out online. A virtual home stager improves the attractiveness of a home using several graphic design techniques to fix essential aesthetics and personality in a home, which consequently increases the chances of selling it to interested buyers at a competitive price.
While realtors mainly focus on setting prices and seeking potential buyers, virtual stagers put extra work behind the scenes to make a home more attractive.

The following are key things that virtual stagers do: 

Work with Professional Photos

A virtual stager must work with professionally taken photos of a home to render the high-quality results of empty homes. They work with photographers to plan and produce professional pictures with the best angles to make the digital furniture and decor look real. 

Furnish Homes

To make potential buyers envision themselves living in the space, virtual stagers furnish the home with 3-D furniture and accessories. The digital furnishings help prospective buyers to visualize the ins and outs of the property effortlessly. 

Decorate Homes

Besides furnishing homes with 3-D furniture, virtual stagers may often recommend other decorations in a home, such as pops of color in specific rooms, light fixtures, rugs, art, sculptures, planets, wall decorations, etc. 

Create Virtual Tours

Virtual stagers create virtual tours of newly staged homes by blending a series of short clips, still images, sound effects, music, narration, and text. This helps potential buyers to understand the property before physically visiting it entirely.

Pros of Virtual Staging Business

pros of virtual staging business
Pros of virtual staging business

While this list may not be conclusive, below are common pros to starting a virtual staging business:

Low Start-up Costs

Statistically, virtual staging is 90 percent cheaper than traditional home staging. You do not need to buy furniture and decorations that cost thousands of dollars to venture into the virtual staging business. You can fill an empty room with digital furniture, interior decorations, and accent pieces at a fraction of a cost. Besides essential equipment like a PC, good internet connection, and widely available apps, virtual stagers incur a one-time fee per image/room 

Independent of Real Estate Market’s Seasonality 

Virtually staging is better than physically staging a home because the latter is usually seasonal due to the volatility of the real estate market. Virtual staging is a year-round business because time is of the essence in today’s real estate market. For instance, a virtual stager can help you get the listing up and running within a few business days when marketing a property. This makes virtual staging a pivotal addition to your portfolio of services. 

No Licensing or Special Training Needed for Virtual Staging Business

Virtual stagers do not have to go through the tedious process of seeking to license because they predominantly use technology to present a property. They only need legal advice before making the specific home and specific language changes to digitally staged photos. In addition, you can horn your virtual staging skills via step-by-step tutorials provided by various software or on our virtual staging tutorial page: click here

Ease of Marketing 

Virtual staging is the ideal real estate marketing tool designed to help buyers imagine the practicalities of a home. Depending on the buyer demographic, virtual staging businesses can customize a home and market it successfully through realtors, mortgage brokers, and other networks involved in various real estate markets. When you virtually stage your home, customers will recognize its highest potential more quickly than traditionally staged homes.

Cons of Virtual Staging Business

cons of virtual staging business
cons of virtual staging business

Like any business venture, there are a few possible downsides to virtual home staging, such as:

Difficulty in Finding Interested parties at first

While traditional home staging started in the early 1970s, virtual home staging is a modern-day phenomenon of the technological world many homeowners are still coming to terms with. This makes it challenging for virtual stagers to find the right homeowners who clearly understand the need to hire them and the potential financial gain in the end. In addition, getting long-term clients to help you build your portfolio can be daunting. 

Several Revisions from Clients

Unlike traditional virtual staging, which is usually a straightforward one-time task, virtual staging demands detailed adjustments to rooms, decorations, colors, accessories, etc. Be ready to do extra work to meet the expectations of your clients until they are delighted with the virtually staged home. You will need to hire a support team to help you, including skilled real estate photo editors, graphic designers, etc. 

In addition to the disappointment that potential homebuyers may experience at a physical viewing, your virtual staging business can attract other real estate legal issues. The common one is a misrepresentation lawsuit, which negatively affects a buyer’s decision to take up a contract. These include:

  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation – This means intentionally sharing false information about a property or knowingly failing to reveal a known problem, e.g., leaking ceilings.
  • Negligent Misrepresentation – This occurs when you fail to perform your due diligence before providing information about a home, e.g., inaccurate square footage of a room. 
  • Innocent Misrepresentation – This is neither fraudulent nor negligent, e.g., editing out trees and power lines.

What You Need to Start a Virtual Staging Business

what you need to start
what you need to start

Generally, to rise to the top of the game as a virtual home stager, you need to have exceptional home staging skills to differentiate your staged properties from the competition. This calls for top-notch entrepreneurial skills to grow your business, including finding the right clients and charging the right price without engaging in unnecessary price wars with competitors.

So far, you already know that virtual stagers help homeowners and realtors sell homes faster and make a decent profit. While this justifies the lucrativeness of a virtual staging business, you still need to set up a few things before you go full throttle.

Below are some common prerequisites you need to put together before starting a virtual staging business: 

Create a Website

Having an online presence allows prospective customers to examine the potential of your business and understand the value you can provide them. Ensure your website is excellently branded and optimized so that potential clients can find it easily. Include a blog for posting relevant topics that might interest your target customers. 

Choose a Specific Target Market

While virtual stagers have a global playing field thanks to the internet, I recommend that you focus on a specific target market to maximize your marketing efforts. For instance, you can go for local flippers, apartment building owners, owners of commercial spaces, and so on. 

Network with Local Realtors  

The fastest and most suitable way to connect with home sellers is to reach their real estate agents. To do so, narrow down on homes that sell quickly in your target market and share your contact info with their realtors so they can refer sellers to you once an opportunity arises.

Develop a Pricing Structure

The pricing strategy is an essential prerequisite in a virtual staging business. Consider the time it would take you to complete each project, the size of the homes, and so on. Ideally, the pricing structure will allow you to create quotes for new clients effortlessly. As a starting point and a good strategy is to form fees based per photo while you gain more understanding of the service and grow your clientele; on this page, you can check out our pricing structure for virtual staging services: click here.

Put together Marketing Materials as Virtual Staging Business

Even with the popularity of virtual staging, some homeowners and home sellers are yet to accept it. Your marketing materials must be armed with solid pitches to gain the trust and loyalty of both potential and skeptical customers. On your website, include testimonials of your previously staged homes to provide social proof and the value of your services.

How to Start a Virtual Staging Business

how to start virtual staging company
how to start virtual staging company

By now, I bet your interest in a virtual staging business has gone through the roof. Right? But the biggest question is, how do you even get started? Keep reading the below eye-opening guide that will help you launch your virtual staging business successfully. 

What Investment Do You Need? 

It is important to note that, unlike traditional home staging businesses, virtual staging businesses have relatively low start-up costs, meaning you can get yours up and running with little out-of-pocket investment. You can channel funds from your existing business(es), but applying for a loan is a viable option if it is insufficient. 

I recommend that you develop a solid business plan to refine your cash flow and monitor the needed capital before investing it. Once secured, invest at least 15 to 25 percent of the money in the total start-up costs. 

To Whom You Can Talk about Strategies in the Virtual Staging Business

Networking, and I repeat, networking is the only particular skill that will make your strategies succeed in the virtual staging field. One of the most practical approaches to networking is to reach out to other realtors to learn about the resources to look for and how they engage with other home stagers. 

Try to reach out to other business owners and real estate professionals who have a wealth of networking experience. Moreover, you will need to build a long-lasting rapport with your first customers by providing professional services in a timely and reliable manner to keep them engaged, hooked, and satisfied. 
You can also reach us at george@tallbox.co.uk

What is the Most Important Software in Virtual Staging Business? 

Many virtual staging software is available today. However, it is essential to note that the best software last year may not be the ultimate one this year. While your choice can spell out the difference between closing a sale and losing a valuable customer, you need to select the ones that are worth your time, energy, and investment. On this page, I’ve laid out some tips and tricks into the software and tutorials side of the business: click

software for starting add-on company
software for starting add-on company

For reliability, affordability, and authenticity, I have categorized the software according to their functionalities, i.e., customer relationship management (CRM), time management, photo-taking, photo-editing, 2D floor plans, 3D property models, invoicing, client engagement, cloud file storage, and integration. 

The following are the 10-best software for 2021 and beyond that will allow you to revamp, design, and decorate any home space with ease consistent with your preferred style.

AutoCAD LT

AutoCAD LT is the best 2-D floor plans app for uploading, opening, drafting, and documenting 2D drawings accurately, including layers and external references (Xrefs) of your home. Essentially, this software is the low-cost, 2D version of AutoCAD, its 3D version.  

SketchUp 

SketchUp is an inspiring 3D modeling software that comes with a robust set of features for 3D imaging, 3D printing, animations, document management, data import/export, etc. If you are a complete beginner in virtual staging and need a SketchUp tutorial, click here to learn the basics effortlessly. 

Photoshop/Affinity Photo

Photoshop and affinity photo are worthy alternatives for virtual stagers looking for fully-featured image editors. Both have mutually recognizable features, including brushes, adjustments, layers, brushes, etc. While Affinity Photo lacks the depth of Photoshop, its set of features is sufficient for most users. If you cannot justify Photoshop’s recurring monthly fee, Affinity Photo’s one-time fee of $49.99 is your best bet.

Pro CamX 

This app comes with unique features for taking professional photos. Through your smartphone camera, you can easily control the focus, ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. Other features include burst shooting mode, color effects, interval timer, and real-time filters to adjust images. In addition to phone apps, you will need some more gear, check out another piece of information we’ve written recently:

VSCO

This popular photo and video editing software not only helps you capture high-quality pictures from its im-built camera but also stores the images with thumbnail previews. The app also keeps essential information, including location, date, filters used, etc. 

Timely

The output of a virtual staging business depends on its effectiveness to manage the time spent on various tasks, including marketing, emailing, cold calling, negotiations, social media, design, etc. Timely software tracks time and manages tasks, including the costs involved.

Structure

Structurally software uses AI/machine learning chatbot called Aisa Holmes to build relationships with potential clients with customized messages at first contact. Such a personalized client experience keeps website visitors engaged, and you can take charge of the conversation at will.

Google Drive + Dropbox

Both Google Drive and Dropbox backup your virtual staging files in the cloud. Google Drive gives you 15GB of free storage, while Dropbox offers 2GB. To get 2TB of storage with Google Drive, you must subscribe to Google One for $99.99/year. To get 2TB of storage with Dropbox, you will be charged $119.88/year. 

While the obvious choice is Google Drive, Dropbox Paper might change your mind. This desktop app creates and coordinates your virtual staging designs by allowing you to edit, comment, manage tasks, or run meetings on your PC. 

Invocera 

With 30+ payment gateways and custom invoicing options, this invoicing software organizes your finances by recording expenses, providing detailed tax reports, forecasting sales revenue, and attaining higher customer retention. Its 3-layered security keeps your data 100% safe.  

Zapier 

Zapier software acts as a go-between for two apps to automatically execute commands and trigger changes in the other. Zapier is compatible with Gmail, Facebook, Calendar, Dropbox, Microsoft Outlook, etc. 

Additional software

If you are starting your primary real estate business, you will need good management, and that comes with some good software and phone apps; it’s a good idea to check out our other piece of information written with a focus on that, too: click here

Finding clients for Virtual Staging Business

  • Put money aside to market your virtual staging business continually. After all, how do you think potential clients will know your business exists? Whether you choose to ask your family and friends to spread the word, share your business contacts on the neighborhood’s social media page, or post a flyer at your co-working space, self-promotion will pay off in the long run.
  • The excellent news about self-promotion is that marketing your virtual staging business online, especially on social media, is expensive. For example, Instagram Live is effective in luring potential clients to know more about your services. You can invite up to three local realtors as guests to join you in the live session as you discuss pertinent ideas about your business.
  • Another way is to seek collaborations. Reach out to real estate firms and home staging businesses in your target market and ask out one of their realtors for coffee so that you can exchange notes about what you can both bring to the table to benefit your businesses mutually. In the end, you will learn critical insights into finding home sellers looking for virtual stagers.
  • Email marketing can magically help you stay in touch with your past clients and convert potential customers into loyal ones. Use impressive images of previously staged homes to email campaigns and increase the number of email subscribers. Send monthly newsletters about new properties, provide tips, and include links to ‘before’ and ‘after’ virtual tours of your virtually staged homes. Such visual elements will make the message more convincing.

How to Sell to Clients

The most crucial factor to consider when selling to clients is to set the right price as per the market rate. Below are some tips on how to settle on the right price: 

  • Research the Market – Conduct a thorough analysis of the local market to know the prices other virtual stagers offer. Comparing prices of recently sold homes will help you quote the most competitive price that mirrors your objectives and projected profit.
  • Consult Real Estate Agents – You can use a local agent with admirable experience selling virtually staged homes to help you analyze your local market in detail. The realtor will consider your objectives and motivations before setting a realistic price.

Compare the Cost per Square Foot – To arrive at the approximate appraised value, you need to compare homes with similar square footage. Keep in mind that price per square foot usually increases with a decrease in size and vice versa. Also, smaller homes have a higher square foot cost and vice versa.

There is an amazing piece of information that covers how to sell with virtual staging as an add-on to photography: click here

Outsourcing Virtual Staging Business as an Add-on to the Main Business 

You can use your virtual staging business as an add-on service in the central business by referring real estate sellers looking to rent or sell unfurnished properties to it or instead sell virtual staging to your colleagues and competitors. It will widen the possibilities of business with them. Outsourcing comes with the following critical virtual staging benefits:  

  1. Selling more homes faster – Virtually staged homes sell up to 75% faster without the need to buy furniture or hire interior decorators.
  2. Increasing buyer interest – Since 90% of buyers start their home search online, virtually staged listings quickly draw their attention. 
  3. Higher selling price – 83% of virtually staged homes sell for the actual or more than the asking price, as the buyer can quickly evaluate the property’s full potential.
  4. Access to the latest 3-D rendering technologies – Outsourcing virtual staging services helps home sellers gain access to the latest technology without investing.

Closing Thoughts

With the tips mentioned above and tricks on how to start a virtual staging business, just put in the work, and you will be flying high even before you know it. If you need expert guidance and advice, drop us an email or call us, and I will be happy to help. 

FAQ on Virtual Staging Business (As a Second Business)?

What Virtual Stagers Do

A virtual home stager improves the attractiveness of a home using several graphic design techniques to fix essential aesthetics and personality in a home, which consequently increases the chances of selling it to interested buyers at a competitive price.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Staging Business?

Pros:
– Low start-up costs
– Independent of real estate seasonality
– No licensing needed to run the business
– Ease of marketing
Cons:
– Difficulty in finding clients
– Several Revisions from Clients (Bottlenecks)
– Legal Issues (Fraudulent Misrepresentation)

What You Need to Start a Virtual Staging Business

To start virtual staging business you need:
– website
– a target market (start local at first)
– network with realtors
– pricing structure
– marketing materials
– a team of virtual stagers

How to Start a Virtual Staging Business

I recommend that you develop a solid business plan to refine your cash flow and monitor the needed capital before investing it.
Try to reach out to other business owners and real estate professionals who have a wealth of networking experience.
It is essential to select the most appropriate software for staging that will match your target market and pricing

How to Sell to Clients virtual staging service?

Conduct a thorough analysis of the local market to know the prices other virtual stagers offer.
Use a local agent with admirable experience selling virtually staged homes to help you analyze your local market in detail.
Keep in mind that price per square foot usually increases with a decrease in size and vice versa.
Offer your service at first as a Bonus add-on to your main package.
Gain trust with your new service and slowly build your client base.

Can you outsource virtual staging instead of making it as a add-on business?

You can use your virtual staging business as an add-on service in the central business by referring real estate sellers looking to rent or sell unfurnished properties to it or instead establish a relationship with already established virtual staging company.

How much money you can generate with Virtual Staging Business?

At first, probably less than $500 a month; After you establish the practice, grow your clients and pricing structure, you can generate between $1,000 and $5,000 in the worst-case scenario per month.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.
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