Money now or money later? When do you get paid?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2011 in Blogs | 20 comments

Money now or money later? When do you get paid?

Like any other small business, home staging businesses need cashflow in order to survive.

So the priority for any home staging business owner should be to get paid as soon as possible, after all, once your advice and recommendations have been supplied your end of the contract is complete and you have nothing else to haggle your payment over.

Most home staging training programs teach their students to get upfront payment on their work, both property reviews and furniture installations. This is some of the best advice I received from completing my home staging course. It taught me not to be bashful about explaining my payment terms and conditions and not sit around waiting for the payment to arrive.

Don’t go down the path of a ‘payment on settlement’ situation unless there is a built in cost factor for the time you will have to wait for your payment to come through, or a risk factor that the property may not sell (or be taken off the market) and you don’t get paid. Your agent might not sell for 30, 60 or 90 days and then settlement can be over the same terms. Imagine waiting half a year to get paid your consultation fee??

A business with a slow cash reserve will simply not last, and if you are spending most of your time chasing payments instead of completing staging projects, you are not making anything.

Most people are accepting of payment up front fees these days. We all do it when booking airfares and accommodation and it is becoming the norm in most service industries. Therefore, homestaging should be no different.

This is more important in a slower market, as we are currently experiencing in Australia. When things are tough, people tend to pay those suppliers as they have to and sometimes bills get pushed back to pay others.

Most home sellers will appreciate the fact that you are providing advice up front and are value-adding their sale process, and being open and honest about your payment process will generally not cause you any loss of work. In fact, those that protest this payment structure are likely to be the ones that wouldn’t pay you until they have to anyway.

So what are your payment policies? Do you get paid upfront? What have been your biggest issues in receiving your payment?

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20 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great post…such a good point!

    And I DEFINITELY agree. My policy is exactly the same, ie. payment up front. One of my very successful business mentors once told me “Always get paid before the mission!”.

    And I have made that standard practice since then.

    What’s more, it is possible in any industry. Even those you don’t think would be possible. I even know lawyers who get paid upfront!

    • It is an integral part of being a home stager or property presenter. Most clients who are selling their home also understand the reasons why the charge is upfront too, they are getting valuable advice on how to improve their single largest asset at sale time.

  2. I agree guys, I always ask for full payment upfront, can be tricky with some clients.

    • Thanks for your feedback Naomi

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