How To Start your Own Organizing Business
I have had several people ask me about how to start their own Organizing Business. I thought I would let you know how I did it.
When I decided that I wanted to start a business doing what I loved.. first thing I did was read every book I could find. I went to the library and found a few books there. I got several at a Half Price Book store. Looked through magazines… it was fun.
I looked online and found NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and joined the national association, and once you have joined that….then you can also join a local group. Find the nearest local chapter to you and you can visit a few times to decide if you want to spend the money to join. National is about $200 a year and local is $100 a year. (at least in Ohio) But there are many resources, classes you can take and the yearly conference.
I then found this class in MI and drove there to take it. The Organizing Specialists are 2 woman that have a class – Judy Warmington & Treva Berends that are both NAPO golden circle members. The class takes place in Judy’s home (unless they have too many people for that session) and is 12 hours long. I was a little leery myself going to someone’s home. Now here is the other part that I took a chance on – they have room to let about 6 to 7 people spend the night between their 2 houses. Coming from Ohio I took them up on it (at no extra charge for 2 nights). I got there and Judy escorted me downstairs where there were a couple bedrooms and living area. She had everything we needed downstairs. There was one other woman who spent the night too.
The session started at 8am and went to 8pm. Here was the line that I loved that they started out with, “There will be no breaks today! If you have to use the restroom, just get up and go. We will be working through lunch and dinner too. ” And they did!! But you know what… 12 hours of information that I was craving was wonderful. First thing we did was order our lunch and dinner – food was delivered. Judy might be teaching and Treva got our orders together at lunch time. We then filed in and picked up our meals….brought them back on trays and watched a video while we ate. No time was wasted. It started promptly at 8am and ended promptly at 8pm. But it was fun – it wasn’t stuffy and boring. Well worth the money!! I have seen 2 and 3 hour seminars for what they charge for 12 hours plus a big notebook full of everything you just learned.
If you do go to this class, please use me as your referral. I do get a small referring fee, but that isn’t why I tell you or try to pimp it. I would say the same thing regardless of if I got something from it or not. But since I do get a referring fee (just part of how they structor what they do) I might as well tell you to mention my name right?
The next thing you need to do is find some of your family or friends to let you practice on. Don’t charge them, getting experience is what you are gaining. But you need to make sure you realize what you are getting into. Being able to be tactful, yet sensitive. To make sure you even like it and can handle the physical part of it (bending, lifting, dust, mold etc…) and to make sure you love doing it for other people.
This is purely my opinion. You will hear different thoughts from different organizers. You will hear that you don’t want to under value yourself (which is true), you will hear that you need to price yourself to your area – but the biggest question is what do YOU charge? I can’t answer that of course, but it was frustrating to me to have NO idea on what to charge.
Keep in mind that where you live really makes a big difference. I live in a small town in Ohio – not NYC. I charged $25/hour for the first 2 years. I should have increased it after the first year, but was working with several clients who I knew couldn’t afford it and frankly was a little chicken to do it. Then I increased it (and gave my regular clients a break the first 3 months and then up to the new price). I have increased it a few more times since then, with the experience to back it up.
I would guess that the rates in Ohio range from $20-$100/hour. You go someplace like NYC and you are probably looking more like $50-$200/hour. Just my guessing from what I’ve seen.
Some organizers do hourly (which I do), some do per job (be careful doing this until you have a lot of experience under your belt because some jobs can take much longer than you expect). You can price in a package form and give some breaks. Buy 10 hour sessions up front and get an 11th hour free. (I haven’t done this)
I just want to give you some ideas – keep in mind this will be your business – so you can structure it however you like….these are just some of my observations and thoughts.