Whenever possible, home stagers want to meet clients in the home to walk through before creating a staging bid, but there will be times in your home staging business when that just isn't possible. (Hello, COVID quarantine!) Here are 5 steps to follow when creating a home staging quote without visiting the property:
1. View Property Photos Online
There are several ways to “view” a property that do not require a physical visit. Google the property address and search for websites that have photos of the house from a previous listing date. Websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com will often have photos. Also, look for room dimensions on these sites. If you have MLS access, you will be able to see the listing history.
2. View the Property Through the Eyes of the Homeowner
If photos are not available online, call or FaceTime the person who is requesting the quote and have them “walk you through the house.” Be sure to stage your own background to appear professional over video.
Have them start at the front door and ask questions such as, “What do you see immediately to your right and to your left when you enter the home?” Most homes have a basic floor plan and can be easily understood over the phone, especially through video.
Here are more questions you’ll want to ask in order to complete a home staging bid:
3. Explain the Online Staging Quote Process
Tell them WHEN they can expect to receive the quote in their email and inform them, if they do not receive it, to check their spam folder. Send your quote within 24 hours. Remember, this is supposed to be a quick response, so reach them while the kettle is hot!
Pro Tip: Let them know you will stand by your quote. In other words, once you’ve given them the price, don’t change it on them. Even if you have to use an extra piece of furniture or art. Be sure to prepare your quote with prices that fit your staging business model and do it carefully. This will allow them to move forward with confidence. Do set a 'valid through' date, so they don't hold onto the bid for 2 years and then expect to get the same price. We suggest 30 days.
4. Send the Quote and Paperwork
Include your quote, contract, and any other important paperwork all in one email. By including everything the client will need to get started, you save a lot of time and may even answer some of their questions. All the contracts and forms you need are part of the Staging Design Professional™ Expert Level certification.
5. Follow-Up Quickly
Check-in with your client via phone call or text message within 24 hours of sending your quote. This is probably the most important step in your online quote process. Use the Boomerang feature in Gmail to send yourself a reminder to follow up. This is an easy tech tool that anyone can use. A follow-up phone call will allow you to ask for feedback and answer any questions they might have.
An online home staging quote is a valuable tool to have in your home staging tool belt. Occupied consultations can be conducted virtually as well. As people seek socially-distanced ways to conduct business and increase working from home, it's important for stagers to have processes for these virtual options.
Interested in becoming a home stager? We have lots of resources for you, including our free home staging training video series, our Right-Fit quiz to see if staging is the career for you, and our Facebook group, Staging Studio Society.
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This is the beginning of a beautiful journey together into the world of staging and design.