vacant home staging – setting my priorities and why I’m referring them out


Liz Jenkins


I have been teaching seminars lately – partly as a marketing endeavor but also as a way to clarify my thoughts on organizing and life in general. My seminars this week are on time management but I’ve made the focus goal setting and prioritizing. This went over well in my session yesterday (had about 30 people attend!), and I had some great handouts which people really seemed to like focusing on specific tips. I’ve been giving a lot of thought over the last year about my own goals and priorities, and made the decision a while back to go with my gut on what I want to do with my career and my company. And I realized that I really didn’t like staging vacant homes. I’m good at it and can make some money doing it. But there are a couple of things about it that really contradict who I am.

Such as:

1. I don’t like having a lot of “stuff”. When you stage vacant houses you have to have a lot of furniture and accessories. This entails gathering the stuff, storing the stuff, and then moving the stuff around. I have an 1100 square foot house that is very tidy and organized. I like my little house – we moved here on purpose for the lifestyle of downtown Franklin living. I don’t have space for a lot of stuff. Which means I have to have a storage unit which is not super convenient and is an added expense.

2. I don’t really like moving the stuff around. I’m not extremely physically strong, and especially after cancer treatment 2 years ago, my stamina isn’t exactly always at top performance. So I always end up dragging my husband into moving furniture which he doesn’t get paid for (and he complains about that – let me tell you!). Granted, it’s great “quality” time together but not all that romantic. And my muscles always ache afterwards.

3. I hate de-staging. All that packing up, moving everything back to the storage unit, slogging around in the rain (because it will inevitably rain on de-staging days), etc.

4. I don’t like having to rent furniture from others. Renting from a rental company involves contracts and time commitments plus dealing with delivery dates and other annoying things. Renting from other stagers involves a constant worry of damaging something.

I’ve decided to refer out my vacant home staging jobs to those who love it. I referred out two jobs last week. I know two great stagers who love vacants so I sent one job to each of them. They each got the job which is fabulous for them, and good for me. I know they’ll do a good job so I look like the hero for referring them. They make some money doing what they love – and they’ll each give me a small referral fee which is nice but not totally necessary. So it’s a win-win all the way around. I’ve decided that my own priorities need to take precedence over what I think I “should” do as a business owner, and really focus on what I love to do. This was the main point of my talk – to set your goals and look at what is really important. I firmly believe that if you keep those goals in mind and do what you love, the business will come. The caveat is that you need to be clear about what you do so that others can understand it. Otherwise, how will they hire you if they don’t know exactly what you do! But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

PS For more information on my seminars, visit my website at to see my upcoming events.  I’m teaching them at the Williamson County Public Library in downtown Franklin, TN.