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How to Start a Professional Organizing Business
People like to have nice things – a lot of things. So much so that for many people, those things get out of control, and clutter takes over their homes. Professional organizing is a service that solves that problem for consumers. If you are a meticulous person who knows how to control clutter, a professional organizing business is a great opportunity to build a profitable company.
Launching a professional organizing business will have its challenges, and will take time, preparation, and knowledge. This step-by-step guide is full of information and insight to put you on your way to organizing your new entrepreneurial home.
$2,050 - $5,500
Time to build
0 – 3 months
$78,000 - $260,000 p.a.
$70,200 - $234,000 p.a.
Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Pros and cons
Starting a professional organizing business has pros and cons you should consider before deciding if it’s right for you.
- Low Startup Costs – No equipment or office needed
- Great Profit Margin – Few ongoing expenses
- Broad Market – Both individuals and businesses could be customers
- Messy – People can be slobs and things will get dirty
- Patience Needed – People may not want to get rid of their junk
Professional Organizing Industry trends
Analyst Research and Markets values the U.S. home organization products market at $12.2 billion in 2021 and expects it to grow over 4% by 2023. … Continue reading This is reflective of the demand by consumers for home organization products and services.
Trends in professional organizing include:
- The aesthetics of organizing is becoming just as important as usability due to the social media influence. People are posting pictures of their closets and want them to be visually appealing.
- Professional organizing is becoming more of a science, considering the psychology of the customer and their needs. For example, some care more about what is most visible rather than making the most used items the easiest to reach.
Some challenges also exist in the professional organizing industry including:
- Big players are entering the industry such as The Container store, creating a more competitive environment.
- Barriers to entry into the industry are low, increasing the competitive environment even more.
How much does it cost to start a professional storage business?
Startup costs for a professional organizing business range from about $2,000 to $5,000. The largest expenses are for a website set up and an initial marketing budget. The high end also includes professional organizing classes which are not required but can add to your credibility. You can take classes through the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO).
|Start-up Costs||Ballpark Range||Average|
|Setting up a business name and corportation||$150 - $200||$175|
|Licenses and permits||$100 - $300||$200|
|Insurance||$100 - $300||$200|
|Business cards and brochures||$200 - $300||$250|
|Website setup||$1,000 - $3,000||$2,000|
|Professional organizing courses||$0 - $400||$200|
|Initial marketing budget||$500 - $1,000||$750|
|Total||$2,050 - $5,500||$3,775|
How much can you earn from a professional organizing business?
The average price that customers pay for an organizing job is about $500. The price will vary based on the size of the job and the time that it takes. Your profit margin should be around 90%.
In your first year or two, you could do 3 organizing jobs per week, bringing in $78,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $70,200 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 10 jobs per week. With expected annual revenue of $260,000, you would make about $234,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are a few barriers to entry for a professional organizing business. Your biggest challenges will be:
- You need to know good organizational methods
- It will take some marketing dollars to get a large customer base
Step 2: Hone Your Idea
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a professional organizing business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Research professional organizing businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a professional business organizer.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry such as closet organization. This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your products or services
You need to determine what types of organizing services you will do. You could specialize in something like closets, or you could organize a variety of things including:
- Kitchen cabinets and pantries
- Business establishments
- Home offices
How much should you charge for professional organizing services?
Prices for organizing jobs range from $250 to $800 and average about $500. You should determine your prices based on the time that the job takes you. Prices should work out to an average of $50 to $100 per hour. Your ongoing expenses should be limited to fuel and marketing so you should aim for a profit margin of about 90%.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price point. Remember, the price you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market will be broad, although the people that will be willing and able to pay for your services are probably more established. You can find them on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
- Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
- Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
- Including keywords, such as “professional organizing” or “home organizing”, boosts SEO
- Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Jim’s Organizing” over “Jim’s Home Organizing”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
- Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your offerings in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan yourself before, it can be an intimidating task. Consider hiring an experienced business plan writer on Fiverr to create a professional business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to professional organizing businesses.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your professional organizing business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
- Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
- Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
- Corporation – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
- S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that most new business owners form an LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can quickly and cheaply form an LLC using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service (it can take as little as 5 minutes). They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your Articles of Organization and be on hand to answer any questions you have about the company formation process.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online. It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
- Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
- SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
- Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
- Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
- Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
For a professional organizing business you probably won’t need any outside financing and can just use your personal funds since startup costs are low.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a professional organizing business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. You can become a certified professional organizer through NAPO to add credibility to your business.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health license and permit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level licenses and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties. If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
For peace of mind and to save time, we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state, and provide them to you to make sure you’re fully compliant.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account. Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your professional organizing business as a sole proprietorship.
Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
- General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
- Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
- Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
- Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
- Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
- Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
- Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You can use industry-specific software, such as SMM Ware, to manage your sales, scheduling, quotes, and billing.
Some of your business will come from the casual online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Schedule Now”. This can sharply increase purchases.
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your professional organizing business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your professional organizing business could be:
- Make your closet shine
- Can’t find stuff? Let us put your house in order
- De-clutter your office and improve your business efficiency
Take advantage of your website, social media presence and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events
- Post a video – Post a video about your services. Try using humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Email marketing/newsletter – Send regular emails to customers and prospects. Make them personal.
- Start a blog – Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and share on multiple sites.
- Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Pay–per-click marketing – Use Google AdWords to come up faster from searches. Research your keywords first.
- Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a professional organizing business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in professional organizing for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in professional organizing. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you might want to hire an assistant to help you with organizing jobs.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Start Making Money!
In a busy world, people need to stay organized to have time to do all there is to do. Professional organizers have expertise that can help to streamline people’s lives. Organizing has also risen in demand because people want their spaces to look nice, as well as be utilitarian, and they are willing to pay for a professional’s help.
By starting a professional organizing business, you can capitalize on that demand and make a healthy profit. Now that you have all the knowledge that you need, you’re ready to start organizing your entrepreneurial plan and launch a successful business!
Professional Organizing Business FAQs
You can start a professional organizing business for as little as $2,000. Your biggest expenses will be for a website setup and your initial marketing costs.
Absolutely! The average organizing job costs $500, so even if you just have 3 clients a week, you can make a healthy profit. Your ongoing expenses are very low, so most of what you make will stay in your pocket.
A professional organizing business needs licenses just like any other business. Licenses and permits may be required at the state and local levels, so check with your local governments for requirements.
Training is not required, but it can certainly add to your credibility, particularly if you are trained by a professional association. You can take classes through the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO).