Since home staging as a career has gained additional exposure over the last several years, there are now more options than ever for home staging training. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose which one is the “best” one to take. The answer to this question will depend greatly on what your goals and expectations are. There are several factors to consider in selecting the course that is right for you:

       How long do you hope to work in this new career for?
o   Regardless of what your answer is to this question, what sort of skills will your training program provide you with?
§  Will they be there for you through the various stages of your business? What sort of support will they provide?
§  If you plan to be in and out of the business in a short time-frame, will they help you with the exit-strategy?
§  If you plan to make this your career for the next couple of decades, will they keep you up-to-date and current as trends and techniques change and evolve?
 
       Are you interested in expanding your services beyond home staging (i.e. home organizing, colour consultations, redesign services, and more)?
o   If yes, you’ll want to review what additional training they will provide you to ensure that you are properly equipped to provide these to your clients. Many courses offer advanced options in the areas of design, through continuing education, and others incorporate it into the home stager training course.
 
       Do you have any experience running a business?
o   If not, what sort of training will they provide you for managing the business, including registration, day-to-day operations, outlining your services and pricing, marketing, expansion, and more?
 
       What vendors are offered?
o   Are they teamed up with resources that will help you to build and grow your business? Any reputable home staging program will have affiliates that they work with to provide you with valuable information, supplies, and discounts.
 
       How much time will the course take?
o   The answer you’re looking for for this question might not be what you think! The longer that the course takes to complete, the more comprehensive it likely is. Whether it’s an in-class or online training program, you’ll want to identify the time commitment before registering, to ensure that you are ready to make the commitment that it needs.
 
       What does the course content cover?
o   What value will you get for your investment into your training? Review the type of information that you will learn, from home staging techniques, to design theory, to creating your systems and processes, and running the day-to-day business.
o   Will they offer you templates and cheat sheets for starting your business, or will you be creating these yourself from scratch?
 
       What direction do you wish to take the business?
o   Do you plan to own your own home staging inventory, or rent it? Do they teach you the differences, and help you to decide which is best for you?
o   Is there a particular niche that you hope to specialize in? If so, what training do they provide in that area?
o   Do you hope to add staffing to your business, or keep it a solo operation? How will they help with whichever direction you choose?
 
       What additional support do they offer following completion?
o This may include, but is not limited to: coaching, mastermind groups, continuing education training courses, and networking.
 
       What certification do you receive?
o   While this should not be a deciding factor, you will want to consider what your “title” will be once you have completed the course.
 
       How do their members interact?
o   Do members offer members support?
o  Do you have an opportunity to connect with and collaborate with others within your designation?
 
       What will it cost you to keep your certification and training up to date?
o   Some courses will charge you a membership fee in order to keep your designation title, whereas others will charge you a fee to maintain your access to your training material. Be sure to clearly understand these fees upfront before investing, and ensure that you are prepared to pay them over the coming years.
 
       Who will be your training instructor, and what is their experience with home staging?
o   Are they currently operating a home staging business, or have they operated one in the past?
o   If they are not currently operating a home staging business, when was the last time that they worked hands-on with clients?

You’ll notice that price was not mentioned as a factor here, but in truth it should be mentioned. The reason that it was not outlined as a deciding factor is that most reputable training programs will be comparable in price, and therefore this shouldn’t be a deciding factor. If a program is listed significantly lower than the others that you have researched, the chances are that the training provided will be sub-par (you’ve heard the saying that “you get what you pay for”, right?).

At the end of the day, choose the one that best fits your needs and your expectations. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and contact them directly to ask your questions. Heading down any new career path is a big decision, and one that you want to make carefully and purposefully.
Happy staging!
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