Starting a new home staging company with the experience of previously starting a successful one should give me an edge. Most of the time it does. Still, sometimes, what I know from before works against me. It is really difficult to go from having a large home staging company with a nearly 4000 sqft warehouse, staff members, a team of stagers, and nearly $750,000 in inventory at my fingertips to two 10×25 storage units, one part time team member, and only a few homes of inventory.
I have been getting busy, and recently staged an 8000 sqft, $1.375M home in Jacksonville. I have a builder model set up in World Golf Village. I have a few smaller individually owned homes staged. I’m currently working on another builder model and I have two others to do by the end of January.
This is where the trouble begins.
When home staging meets chaos, an inventory nightmare
Did I mention that I only have 2 10×25 storage units? I’ve been gathering inventory for 3 models in these units, plus what I had leftover from my sale of First Impressions (my previous staging company – I kept some of the inventory). I have been refinishing pieces to save on budget as well as having some unique pieces that you can’t just pick up anywhere.
Thursday was the day we were supposed to move everything into the home. Of course this meant pulling apart both of these units, nearly pulling everything out of them to get to the pieces that were for this home, not the other two models we are also buying for. Then, because the units were stuffed to overflowing, I had to have the movers come by my home to pick up items that were being stored in my garage, my dining room, and living room. Because they’ve been piling up here, needless to say the chaos extends where I live also.
A move that should have been two hours, now ran to nearly four. Had I not known how quickly this should be done, with a well organized warehouse, this stress would not have started my frustration levels.
When home staging chaos costs time and money
Disorganization costs time. Time is money in business. As an experienced home stager, one of the worst experiences for me is wasting time because I simply can’t figure out what is available and where it is. In our old warehouse, we had sections where we could find everything. There was a wall of pillows, a mezzanine of accessories, rows of chairs, a packing zone and so on.
For me, a home staging job that should have taken one day seemed to spread out into 3 days, all because of disorganization. There was a lot of shopping needing to be done in the last two days. Shopping that I didn’t know about until after everything was into the home. I have no doubt that if I had everything organized prior to it getting into the home, and had been able to see everything, all laid out, that I would have better known what I didn’t have.
Home Staging in a box
You can see in the photo of our previous warehouse, that everything was where you could see it. When working out of a storage unit, in order to make the most of the space, everything is in boxes. Staging out of a box is just not easy. It’s another time waster. You either opt to just take all of the boxes to the stage (which is what I did) or you have to unpack and repack everything. Either way, as an experienced home stager, I know that there is a better way.
While an inventory management program, like MyDarby, helps you to know what’s there. Without a very large space, you still can’t see all of it. You just can’t put it all out. Wasted time = wasted resources = wasted money.
What I’ve learned
I’ve had a smaller warehouse because I was trying to save money by not diving into a larger space. I didn’t want to immediately outgrow my warehouse by growing too quickly and create another problem. Of course what I’m really finding out is that the money that I’m “saving” is costing me far more in the way of resources. I may spend more money on inventory pieces because I can’t find it or don’t have access to it. I’m wasting time, both mine, and the movers (and at $125/hr that’s definitely money).
A bigger, well organized space is worth the money. I can see a new warehouse in my future. Goodbye home staging chaos.
Michelle Minch says
We just moved into a larger warehouse. I was in a 1500 sq. ft. Space for 4 years prior. Now I have about 2,200 sq. ft. And the space is already spoken for! This is just accessories and artwork. I’m starting to buy larger furniture and I will probably get a second warehouse to store it. We try to be very efficient and organized. It helps with profit margins and also helps me sleep better at night.
I hear you about needing the organization to help you sleep better at night. It is something that helped us get things done very quickly in our Charleston business. When you can see what’s there and don’t have to move everything to get to one piece, you get a lot more done.
Bernadette Flaim says
Melissa, thanks VERY much for speaking out so clearly for many of us. Starting over myself — reacquiring inventory and finding adequate storage is my #1 priority. I was impressed by your creativity in upcycling furniture and finding adequate storage that will help streamline the process and leave more money in our pockets!
Thank you Bernadette. I’m still working on the storage solution, but getting there.
Wow! Great post (that I wish ya didn’t have to write)!
While reading this post I felt like I could have written it! I too, have 2 10’x 25′ units and just yesterday we had to pull everything out just to load what we needed. Then I get to the property and realized they we are missing a few items! Yup, I am going back today to finish today. :/
Time is money and my small storage units are not saving me money. They are creating an unnecessary loss! Now, I need to take time to look for a better warehouse.
It is so nice to have someone who understands how I feel. It seems silly to be complaining about something as insignificant as not having enough room to move around in storage, but it really adds to the cost of each move and the overall time of each project.