Because the home staging industry is completely unregulated, anybody can call him or herself a home stager. This is one of many reasons too many real estate stagers get into the industry with no business or marketing training whatsoever. Many of these home stagers have good intentions, but end up using awful marketing tactics to try to grow their businesses, and end up sabotaging their businesses instead. This is the last article in a series on the topic of terrible marketing tactics that can sink a home staging business faster than you can say, “What were they thinking?” Topics already covered include why using sex appeal, inappropriate humor and offering guaranteed sales are awful ideas. The terrible marketing tactic covered in this article is: Giving away ‘the farm’ Some home stagers are operating like non-profit organizations. Not only are some stagers advertising ridiculously low rates (no thanks to staging training companies promoting wages of $31.45 per hour as a good rate), but I continue to hear about stagers giving away free consultations and offering far too much free advice over the phone on inquiry calls. While doing market research in her area, Staging Diva® Graduate Jill Monczunski posed as a homeowner and contacted a local stager to inquire about rates and services. The stager said her fee was $45 for a consultation (regardless of how long it would take) and went on to tell Jill everything she would need to know to stage her home herself! “She was actually reading from her checklist and telling me what I needed to do and then offered to send me a copy of the checklist," said Jill. "At the end of our conversation, she told me I should look into becoming a home stager because I sounded knowledgeable and professional. I called for her expertise as a potential client and she literally talked me out of hiring her!” It’s one thing to share your expertise through blog posts and newsletters but it’s a bad idea to tell a prospect why they don’t need your services unless you want to go out of business. If you’re serious about your business, learn how to market yourself properly and professionally or you’ll quickly add to the statistic of entrepreneurs who don’t make it through their first year of business, let alone their fifth!