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What Should I Charge as a Professional Home Organizer?

Updated: Apr 15



hiring-professional-organizers


Ever wonder if you are charging enough? Ever question that you are charging too much? The professional organizing industry is still not considered mainstream or an essential household need (though I am sure all of us in the industry recognize it as absolutely essential) which means that organizers across the country and even in similar markets are charging very disparate amounts for their services. 


For so many professional organizers, their businesses started as a “jobby”. I often hear, “I was good at organizing and started to do it for friends and then it turned into something more.” or “I wanted something fun to do when my kids were all in school so I started organizing.” or “I never knew this would turn into what it is now, a real business.” 


Whether you set out to create a “real business” or to just use your unique talents and skills to help others and make money at the same time doesn’t really matter. Neither does where you are in the process of owning and running your own professional organizing company. What does matter is recognizing that this is a REAL business, filling a REAL need, in a REAL industry…and it has the potential to make you some REAL money. That’s the dream right? I don’t think any of us signed up to work well over 40 hours a week to make less than what a part time job could bring in.


So the question remains… How much am I worth? How much are clients willing to pay? Will I lose potential clients if I price myself too high? Do I charge for backend work that isn't time spent organizing in the home? How much do I pay those organizing in the home? How much do I charge their time to the clients? How much do I pay those working for me whose time I can’t bill directly to clients?


These are the questions I hear asked every time I am with a group of organizers and it has been fascinating to see how we all have figured out a slightly different way of billing and pricing our services. 




Accept Your Value


One hurdle I had to get over when first establishing my business was how expensive the final invoice often was. I was uncomfortable providing a service that I, myself, could never afford. Everyone needs organization. I had a unique skill I genuinely wanted to share with anyone who would benefit from it. And I loved that my unique skill set was going to help others. But I quickly learned that there would be no way to make real money from organizing without owning my value and charging accordingly. As my expertise grew, I developed a method and training program, as I organized hundreds of spaces and learned the dimensions and uses of over a thousand products, I was able to own my value even more. Yes, organizing is expensive. It is not a service exclusively reserved for the uber rich, but it is expensive… like any service providing a particular skill, hiring a specialist to come in and solve a problem comes at a price. I have been able to reconcile my desire to help anyone and everyone get organized and my desire to build a profitable business by sharing my knowledge freely and being generous with helping others learn organization skills through sharing all my tips and tricks on Instagram and speaking engagements. 


But the service of going into someone’s home and transforming it is a business. And a business needs to make smart business decisions. And you are an expert. You have unique skills that transform the way people live in their homes. What we do as professional organizers is hard work. It’s real work. And it has value. You should be paid for your expertise

You should be paid for your time.




Establishing Your Rate


Here are my top tips for figuring out what rate makes the most sense for you and your business:


  • Cross market analysis- research organizers in your area. Really research them. Use google, use Instagram, use Facebook. Search different keywords: city-home-organizer, state-professional-organizer, etc. Start a spreadsheet and record your findings. If they share rates on their websites, track their hourly rates or their package rates. Fill out their intake forms to see if they have rate information there (we have a question that gives general price information so clients know what to generally expect before a call). See what other professional organizers are charging in your area. Every area is so different and it is helpful to have a baseline.

  • Interior Designer analysis- do the same thing with interior designers. It is harder to access hourly rates from interior designers, but this can be such a great tool when figuring out your market. Start to network on social media with local designers. Share that you are launching an organizing business in the area and want to better understand the hourly rates of adjacent industries and ask if they will share. 

  • Identify your ideal client- Create Personas for those ideal clients. Identify if those personas fit your market. If you live in a small town where the median income is 60K and your ideal client persona are C-level executives, then that might not be a fit. Find neighborhoods and communities where this type of service might be more well received. Look at average house prices in those neighborhoods. I know the cost of homes and living is extremely different across the country, but I am finding that our most typical clients have homes worth 2 million or more.

  • Don’t ask your friends, mom, or husband what you should charge 😉. In general, people don’t understand how expensive professional organizing is and getting feedback from those in a similar demographic as you isn’t always helpful.




What do you bill for?


At the beginning of my business journey, I started slow. I ordered all the product. The product came to my house. I unboxed all the product. I started to store product at my house. I did the returns. I did the invoicing. I did the designing and planning ahead of time. So much time was spent, but I was only charging clients for when I was IN their home organizing. It wasn’t until I started outsourcing some of those tasks that I became aware of how expensive it was to outsource support without charging any of it to the client.


There is no one right way, but Reset Your Nest (Utah)  and Sikora Solutions (Colorado) bill in the same way (even though our hourly rate per organizer is different). We have three main line items in the invoice we send our clients:


Labor: The time spent organizing in a client’s home (we have a higher rate for the lead organizer and a different rate for all additional organizers). We also track loading and unloading product from the company vehicle and charge that at a lesser rate to the client. 


Product Costs: We do not have a wholesale license or purchase items tax-exempt for resale. We also do not mark up the cost of product for profit, but we do add 11% to the retail price of the product to cover our tax costs and any shipping costs. If we are able to use a coupon or get a trade discount, we do not pass that discount on to the client.


Project Management and Design Fee: This fee varies depending on the size of the project and covers all costs directly related to a specific project. We track time spent walking through the space ahead of time, time spent designing the space, time spent sourcing and shopping for product, time spent receiving deliveries and pulling product from our warehouse shelves and prepping for the job, and time spent closing out the job by uploading pictures and invoicing.


We have an awesome tool we designed that helps calculate our Project Management and Design Fee for each project. We input the number of hours and size of team we think a job will take and our Estimator Tool will then calculate all our different hourly rates and fees connected to it. Our estimator tool also serves as a reference so we can easily see what the project and design management fee is. For example, we know that when a project is between $4,000 and $6,000, we charge a project and design management fee of $600. That $600 covers 3 hours for walkthrough, design time and all project management and 4 hours for all time related to shopping, and managing inventory around the specific project. This tool is now available and can be customized to fit any billing structure. If you are interested in our Project Estimator Tool, you can learn more about it here




How to make educated decisions moving forward?


One of the greatest lessons I have learned in running my business is that every year feels like an entirely new journey. Some questions to consider as you set your rates are:


  • Are the systems you are creating now scalable?

  • If you are not billing for all “off site” time now, do you have plans to hire someone to take over those responsibilities someday?

  • Do you have plans to purchase a company vehicle? 

  • Do you have plans to rent an office or warehouse space? 

  • How much should you pay/can you pay your organizers? If they become employees can you afford the additional costs associated with that? Will you be able to give raises to your organizers as they grow with your company?


I currently pay my organizers 40% of the rate I bill my clients. I know that isn’t the same standard for everyone and some organizers use the standard of billing a client 3x what your organizer hourly pay is. The 60% profit margin on labor costs is where we make all our money to support the backend costs of our businesses and is a model that has worked for us.


The rates you bill your clients will heavily impact your ability to scale and do any of the things mentioned above.


While it is difficult to predict how things will go, I have learned that when you know your numbers you can make educated projections and prioritize goals. I use a very simple profitability tool that my incredible fractional CFO created and I’m so excited that it is now available for anyone to use.


Bonus Tip: Don’t try to under sell your competitors. Help elevate the entire industry by charging a fair amount for your services. Let your value and unique style, processes, and brand differentiate you, not your pricing.


I hope you found this helpful! I know setting rates is a tricky thing, but I truly believe as we lead out with confidence in the value we are adding to our clients’ lives, we will continue to create awareness and uplevel the entire industry.



 


Jen Martin

From a young age, Jen Martin, always loved organizing. As she grew older and had a family of her own, her love and value of an organized home just continued to grow. With four kids of her own, she knows how important organizational systems are to the foundation and well-being of a family's day-to-day life.​ Jen started Reset Your Nest in 2020 to bring her organizational skills to the rest of Utah. Her team of trained organizers has carefully and lovingly transformed the homes of over 500 homes. Jen has been featured on numerous television shows, podcasts, blogs, and books including Organized Living by Shira Gill, KSL Studio 5, AG Clever, and more.


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