Today I’m sharing with you tips on how to get paid for in-home consultations and why you should charge for this service to build your professional organizer career.
I’m hearing from new Professional Organizers that they are spending a lot of time on estimates and writing proposals, even going into homes before they are hired or collecting any fees. So let’s look at an alternative approach better suited for home organizers looking to build a full-time career in professional organizing.
Are you only charging your clients when you do home organizing work?
We’re going to take a look at how you can add value to your time with your home organizing clients so you can move away from giving estimates and move towards an additional paid service that you can add to your list of existing services.
I want to present an alternative approach to working with your clients that is actually set up to better serve them and put more money in your pocket. And that approach is to create a paid consultation rate.
Here are 5 reasons to add paid consultations to your list of professional organizing services to build a full-time career in the home organizing industry.
Reason #1 Your Advice is Valuable
A lot of what we do as Professional Organizers is give advice, make recommendations, and share ideas and research. I tell my clients that during our first visit we will “organize their home on paper.” Meaning that during that first in-home meeting I’ll identify the source of the clutter (perhaps it’s paperwork, sentimental items, or leftovers from incomplete projects). Then discuss how things could be downsized and rearranged to make their home more organized.
From the moment I step foot in their house, I’m ready to make a list of all the actions required to improve their space. Charging my client for this time allows me to keep my business going so I’m available to share these resources with the people who need it.
Your knowledge is valuable too.
The sessions that follow are simply sorting, helping the client with the discard process, and reorganizing and containing the things that remain.
#2 Paid Consultations Streamline your Sales Process
We are professional organizers, not professional salespeople. So any way we can make the selling of our services easier is a good thing. It’s a lot of pressure to sell your service and all the things you could provide to your client – the sorting, hauling, purchasing products, space planning, time management and productivity tips.
It’s hard to even explain all the services a professional organizer could perform during that first phone call with a potential client. It’s much easier to sell an in-home consultation. From that paid consultation, many project sessions could follow.
#3 Organizing with a Plan is More Efficient
During an in-home consultation I can take a house tour, talk to the client about goals and priorities, get to know them and the space better, take measurements, and have some idea as to the products and installations needed to maximize their space.
We can work on a floor plan and other ways to increase the functionality of their home.
Your projects will run more efficiently than if you just walked in and started sorting through a closet or home office without seeing the big picture.
#4 Initial Consultations Lower the Overall Cost for your Client
Let’s face it, custom in-home organizing services are expensive! Add the cost of purchasing storage products or a custom closet install to that cost and the total project can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. That is great for celebrities. But what about average folks who just need tips, motivation, ideas, and direction?
Wouldn’t it be nice if they had an option as well to work with a Professional Organizer? That’s where your paid in-home consultation along with an action plan is a win-win. You can provide those resources to your client in a do-it-yourself action plan.
I like to create my action plans in an app called Trello which makes it super easy to share and communicate with my client.
I teach you how to use the Trello App and create custom action plans in my course Creating Digital Action Plans in Trello. Digital action plans are perfect too for those of you working virtual sessions with your clients. I also created a KonMari inspired action plan for my fellow KonMari consultants. It’s a more efficient form of communication that just constantly e-mailing and texting your clients with tips and resources.
Your client now has a checklist and the guidance needed to complete projects on their own at a fraction of the cost.
#5 Turn your Time and Effort into a Sellable “Product”
It’s easier to charge for consultations if you offer a tangible product. For me this is my digital action plan, the customized project plan I created using Trello. For you, it may be a floor plan or vision board. I share this plan with my client and because it is digital they can access if from their phone or computer.
The digital action plan gives the client checklists to get them started, product recommendations, and links to local resources. They are able to begin the organizing process right away.
Often my clients will book sessions following the consultation to work on specific problem areas like the kitchen or main clothing closet. Typically, sessions are done in the areas that have the most items to sort and that they would like to hire me to expedite the process. Organizing a whole home takes dozens, sometimes hundreds of smaller actions. Some of these your client will be able to tackle on their own if they have a plan to work from.
Explaining this to your client during that first phone call will help them understand the importance of the in-home consultation.
Now some of you may be thinking – but Katherine, my clients want me to just jump right in and start organizing their space ?
You do not have to turn down clients who want to start with a paid organizing session. Simply tell them that before the sorting begins, you will tour the entire home to get a better idea of all the problem areas and where items are currently stored.
I’m also making a mental note of the overall volume of clutter and how to make the space more efficient. This time serves as an initial consultation and I may add time to that first session to create an initial plan and start sorting in our first project area. I just inform them that the first hour or so will be dedicated to a home tour and will be more consultative in nature. Either way, I will still charge for that initial time.
Are you struggling to get paid for your time and expertise? Let me know at [email protected] and what you think of offering paid consultations and action plans in addition to your organizing session.