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Starting a career as a professional organizer

Posted by ssnydercpa (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 17, 10 at 21:01

I would love to hear opinions of the different courses available in the professional organization field. Suggestions? Comments? All are welcome!! Thank you in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

If you are not yet a member of NAPO (national assn of professional organizers), it's a great resource both on-line and during its convention with a diverse speaker line-up focused on different areas of organizing... You can take courses throughout the year that the assn offers. Also, I loved reading Julie Morgenstern's ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Good Luck!


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

I'm glad you asked this question. I've been told I should be a professional organizer but I think I'd need more education, perhaps even some psychology classes to understand hoarders and compulsive collectors. I've been watching Hoarders and I'm not sure I'm equipped to deal with some of those people. However, I have helped friends who take the attitude I like best: "Just do whatever you think is best; I trust you."

I'll check out the NAPO too and see if any classes are offered near me. I bought a book by Dawn Noble entitled "How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business." It even has some forms in it that will be helpful for the business, like a "Client Intake Form" and "Assessment Visit/Working Agreement".


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

@thecrazyplantlady, it sounds like we are in the same boat...would love to chat with you more! My e-mail is Shelle@cableone.net...if you feel like droppin me a line, feel free to! :)


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

@ssnydercpa @thatcrazyplantlady; wanted to let each of you know that there are different niches that organizers work in - you can decide rather than take on anyone who asks you to help them organize. For example, I specialize in helping people declutter and downsize vs another organizer who specializes in home offices, or kitchens, etx. If you don't want to take on hoarders, there's no rule that says you have to... the best way to figure out your niche is to just start reading organizing books and taking on clients...


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

I thought about becoming a Professional Organizer. I decided, you have to get training first, then customers, pay for some advertising, and finally, your business will get good word of mouth and expand. Two potential kind of customers to start with: 1. People moving from one home to another and 2. people "downsizing" (i.e. retirees). Both can make good use of an organizer. Good luck.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

@thedancingant, I think that is a great point. I am excited to figure out my niche. @jannie...I really appreciate your input! Good point as well! Thank you both!


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

I don't know. I'd be wary of getting an "online" education. I am more of a bricks and mortar student.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

I would definitely take some psych courses. I think our local community college offers a course in geriatric psychology, which I think would be useful when dealing with someone having to downsize as part of retirement.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

There are two businesses that I would be willing to explore. They are necessary/useful/not "glutted" out. One is organizing and the other is pet sitter/house watcher (for when people go on vacation). I have used both. Organizer charges $150 an hour. Ouch! House sitter charges $5 to $10 a day. I cannot recommend any particular "school". Perhaps if you volunteer your services to relatives/neighbors/friends. Get word of mouth going and from there your business will take off. The house sitter I used many times now has so many "clients" she refers them to other house sitters.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

well, I have used a professional organizer (NAPO), wonderful, $40/hr. LOVED her but she moved away . Also have hired an organizer I found on craigslist who just loves to organize, $30/hr, to help an older friend downsize. Was told that she was a godsend. $150/hr sounds really high unless a second person comes as well.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

You should see what is advertised in your community. There may be a price point or niche that is not being addressed. Niche is really cool--are you keen on clothes closets or willing to consider garages, yards (come help mine!), kids rooms.

There would be different skill sets in terms of the actual organizing, the people skills, and the small business/marketing aspects. Information in all of these areas might prove useful to you. It's not uncommon for a start-up service venture to reach out to people you know--friends, church, a service organization--to practice, or give away (door prize!) a skill or service.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

That organizer who charges $150 an hour actually lives in my neighborhood. I see her occasionally grocery shopping in the same store I do. She charges so much because she can get it, we're on Long Island which is essentially a suburb of New York City, where everything is God-expensive. Her clients range from "Manhattan to Montauk" she says in her ads. I suspect more are Manhattan, many people live in cramped apartments and need help organizing/storing their belongings. She's an extremely dynamic woman, a bundle of energy. She has an in-home office and one assistant who mainly handles the phones and paperwork. She (the organizer) is a member of NAPO and has taken many classes, psychology,etc. I attended a two_hour lecture, which I considered $300 worth of "free" organizing advice. When she comes to a home to organize, she sits down with the client, surveys the situation, finds out the clients needs, then they sit down together and go through the belongings one piece at a time. She recommends various storage sstems, but says those cheapie wire rack units "are not your friend". She herself is an average Long Island housewife. She decorates her house for holidays-would you believe she keeps all decorations in a designated closet? When going through the clients items, she makes the client decide what to do with things. She'll give suggestions , guidance and support, but she'll never say "throw that out" because that's the client's decision. I have seen her before and after photos, they are inspiring! Anyhow, that's why she can charge $150 an hour. When she starts with a client, she tells them exactly how many hours the job should take. So it's not a surprise when she bills $900 for a six-hour day. Hey, I hired a lawyer and it cost me $700 for one hour of his time. And if I hire an electrician and he charges $120 to install lighting in a room, I consider it fair. They are skilled professionals with lots of training and experience. So that's why she gets $150 an hour.


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RE: Starting a career as a professional organizer

Before you spend a lot of money on joining organizations and getting training, advertising, etc., I would urge you to do a little more research. While its true somebody somewhere may be earning $700 a day, you don't know whether they only work one day a month or what the average organizer is making.

What I would suggest is finding somebody in that business in a different town from your own and buy them lunch, and ask lots of questions.
So often people who give classes on how to start some business make lots of money from their classes and books and have good reason to make it sound profitable.


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