ers while projecting the company’s brand.
Kline recommends that stagers and commercial clients have conversations with
human resources sta; to set design expectations and for relevant insights about
the company’s business practices. Kline
recommends that brokers or business
owners hire a stager who has experience
working in an o;ce environment.
Kline, owner of the full-service staging
company The Staging Guy, did not solicit
commercial gigs; instead, he transitioned
into commercial spaces via referrals. This
is a common route for residential stagers
who have reported staging yachts, medical o;ces, building exteriors, condominium and o;ce common areas, o;ce
buildings, and model units. In Kline’s
case, many of his luxury residential
clients are business owners who sought
his help for their work environments. For
instance, after he staged a client’s home
that was going on the market, the same
client hired him to furnish a second home,
and again to stage a 50,000-square-foot
beverage distribution center.
Staging, Schwarz explains, can
take the cold edges o; of commercial
spaces by adding sophisticated residential touches and creating a space that
tenants can envision for their business.
That was the goal when Bob Kenehan,
owner of DBP-Chicago, a design and
printing company, hired Schwarz to stage
two floors of a downtown o;ce building.
Kenehan was leasing 8,000 square feet
of loft space— 2,000 square feet for his
business—and wanted to sublease the remaining 6,000 square feet. As part of this
project, Schwarz replaced the carpets
and bathroom floors; repainted walls;
added contemporary o;ce furniture,
paintings, standing mirrors, and conference tables; and hung attractive hand
towels and a Marilyn Monroe portrait in
the men’s restroom. When prospective
tenants exited the elevators, they were
greeted with music. “You get them with
‘hello,’ ” says Schwarz.
Within two weeks, the entire space
was leased. “It was an amazing transformation,” says Kenehan, noting he
was able to sublease without lowering
square-footage rents because of the
improved aesthetics. The staging fee
was roughly 20 percent of one month’s
$8,000 rent. “It was such an easy ROI
Staging Without Stagers
S2 Capital, an Addison, Texas–based
multifamily investment firm with a
portfolio of more than 5,000 apartments,
has been staging its model units and
common areas for five years, according
to Scott Everett, principal of S2 Capital.
Selecting a Stager
b Visit the sites for the International Association of Home
Staging Professionals (iahsp.
com) or Real Estate Staging
b View candidates’ portfolios.
b Interview a minimum of three
b Compare costs. Stagers’ bids
are based on the number
and size of rooms or suites,
accessories required, moving
trucks, labor, and furniture
rental costs (three to six
months in advance). Stagers
may charge a flat fee, hourly
rate, or square footage rate.
The average hourly rate is
$100, according to Barb
b Interior design degree: Not
required. Stagers may or may
not be interior designers.
b Warehouse and inventory: Not
all stagers carry inventory, and
the overhead is not required;
instead, stagers may create
customized packages using
furniture rental sources.
1 6 BEFORE AFTER