I’m naturally organized and would love to get paid to help people streamline their lives! But I’m trying to decide whether to focus on being a professional organizer in people’s homes or for offices and other commercial spaces.
What are your thoughts? Are there pros and cons of each that you’d consider when picking a niche?
Dear Simply Organized,
Sounds like you’re ready to turn your organizational superpowers into profits!
If you’re going at this alone, I recommend starting with home organization to get you in the groove of working with a mix of clients and their personalities. Plus, you’ll be able to gain much-needed experience with a variety of projects, room sizes, budgets, products and aesthetic preferences.
Taking on home organization projects will also help you determine your bandwidth–what you can tackle alone vs. what you’ll need extra hands to tackle.
Here are some of the pros with starting out as a professional home organizer:
- You can quickly start your business through word of mouth with friends and family, plus build a steady stream of referrals, which allows you to secure jobs months in advance.
- You’ll learn to source products based on a client’s budget and aesthetic preference. Think: The Container Store vs Target vs Ikea.
- You’ll be able to test out organization products and systems and learn what works and what doesn’t … before moving on to larger-scale jobs.
- You’ve got home offices, kitchens, garages, closets, bedrooms, bathrooms, playrooms, junk drawers, and more to play with. Your organizing possibilities are endless!
- Many people have a hard time decluttering, so you’ll develop counseling skills as a byproduct and get lots of experience helping people process their possessions.
All of those “pros” in mind, there are a handful of drawbacks that you should consider. Here are some of the things that I encountered early on with my organization business:
- Larger projects often require more bandwidth. Taking one on alone can be labor intensive and exhausting
- Some people are hoarders, plain and simple. It takes a lot of patience, empathy and even some counseling strategies to help them purge and let go of their crap!
- Some projects will require you to manage a handful of vendors like shelving installers and junk haulers. Don’t let the client talk you into installing shelves or hauling away their junk yourself – make it clear from the beginning that you outsource these jobs … and make sure that your pricing accounts for this.
Now as a one-person team, it’s totally possible to take on small office spaces in addition to home organization jobs (depending on the scope of the project and time requirements.) I’ve done simple projects like decluttering, designing shelving systems and organizing supply closets by myself for small businesses.
Before taking on your first commercial organization gig, define the expectations up front with the client. Then decide if you can meet those expectations on your own.
Later on, as my business grew to include a team of trusted employees, I felt confident taking on commercial clients like Dropbox. It would have been impossible for me to organize an 80,000 square foot space all by myself!
To sum things up:
- Start small and decide if professional organization is something you want to do.
- Then decide if you want to do it part-time or full-time.
- Then decide if you’d rather be a solopreneur or have a team of people working with you.
- Then decide on the scale of projects you’d like to take on.
Knowing your preferences to those considerations will make it clear whether to go domestic or commercial with your organization business.
Hope this helps!
Disclaimer: The advice given in this column is for educational, informational and entertainment purposes only. The reader is responsible for the outcomes of any actions and/or decisions made based on this advice.