Imagine if you could earn a living helping others declutter their homes or businesses. Does this sound like a dream come true? You should learn how to become a professional organizer.
Professional organizers help their clients get rid of clutter and create an organizational system the client can maintain. That way, clients will be able to manage their belongings and lives.
Want to learn more about how to organize your life and become a professional organizer? Keep on reading!
How to Become a Professional Organizer
Becoming a professional organizer can be a fulfilling career, but it can seem hard to start. Whether you want to work for yourself or as a subcontractor, you should know how to become a professional organizer.
Here are a few things you can do to start your career or business.
Consider Your Interests
Figure out what interests you the most when it comes to organizing. Perhaps you love working with companies, so you decide to focus on corporate organization.
Or maybe you would love working with someone to help them clear out their vanities. Some organizers like to focus on other areas of the home, such as the basement or garage. Knowing what you like to organize can help you decide on a niche to narrow your search for clients and experience.
Learn to Empathize
Depending on the clients you get, you may deal with a lot of emotions during the organization process. Your clients might need help getting rid of old belongings, and those things may have sentimental value.
Because of that, you need to be able to empathize with people. That doesn’t mean you need to keep everything they own, but you need to know when you should push clients to toss something and when to let them keep it.
It’s a good idea to come up with a method to determine what goes and what stays, such as the KonMari method.
Next, you need to make sure you’ll actually like working as a professional organizer. The easiest way to do this is with personal projects. Perhaps you need to organize your own home office or basement.
If you don’t have anything to organize, ask your friends or relatives if they need help. Then, you can see how the process works with someone else, and you can see if this work is a good fit for you.
Focus on the Results
When looking to become a professional organizer, you will need to promote yourself. As you do that, you may want to focus on why people should get rid of stuff.
However, try to focus more on the results you can get for your clients. Maybe you can clear out a big mess, or your clients can relieve their stress after working with you.
This Is a Step-by-Step Approach to Become Certified
While not necessary, becoming a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) can help you advance your career in the field. You can use your certification to stand out from the competition.
Once you obtain certification, you may be able to charge more for your expertise. And it can be a good way to get more clients and grow your business.
Meet Education Requirements
Before you can become a CPO, you need to have the right level of education. Fortunately, you only need a high school diploma or an equivalent level, such as a GED.
You may also want to go to college to learn about business so that you can learn about that side of your career. However, it’s not necessary to get a business degree or any degree.
Next, you need to get work experience as a professional organizer before you can get a certification. You will need to get at least 1,500 hours of work experience within five years before you can apply to be a CPO.
Consider finding your own clients or work as a subcontractor for another professional organizer. Log your hours as best as you can so that you make sure you obtain enough experience.
Review the Code of Ethics
You also have to review and agree to the Code of Ethics for CPOs. The Board of Certification of Professional Organizers (BCPO) has a handbook online that you can download and read to learn more about the career.
Pass an Exam
After you get enough experience in the field, it’s time to take the CPO exam. This test lasts up to two hours, and it involves 125 multiple-choice questions.
The test includes 25 questions for research purposes that won’t affect your score. But you’ll need to receive at least 70 percent out of the 100 questions that aren’t for research to pass the exam.
How to Turn This Into a Business
Many professional organizers work for themselves, so this is a great career for someone who wants to start a business. But you should know how to become a professional organizer and run a business well.
Here are some steps to follow as you build your organizing business.
Decide If You Want Certification
While you can decide if you want to become a CPO at any time, you should think about that from the start. That way, you can know if you need to work a certain amount for the next few years to qualify for certification.
If you don’t want certification, that’s okay as well. You can still build a business as a professional organizer. And you can always change your mind later.
Determine Your Service Area
As a professional organizer, you’ll almost always need to travel to the client’s location. Because of that, you should consider how far you’re willing to travel.
If you don’t like driving a lot, you may want to focus on clients in your neighborhood. On the other hand, you may need to travel farther if you live in a rural area without many clients.
You can even offer organizational services virtually. Use video chat to direct your clients and help them organize their homes and business themselves.
Write a Business Plan
Next, you should draft your business plan and include the basics of how you’ll run things. Your business plan should include:
- Your services
- Who you work with
- How much you charge
- Your financial projects
- How you’ll market the business
The business plan doesn’t have to be long or complex. But it should give you an idea of what you need to do to start and grow your business.
Get Business Insurance
Another thing you should do is get business insurance. General and professional liability insurance plans can protect you if something goes wrong with a client.
If you or a subcontractor gets hurt or if you do something wrong, you can keep from getting sued by your contractors or clients. Then, you won’t have to risk your business closing.
Stock Up on Tools
You should also stock up on tools that will help you when working with clients. Consider getting some of the following:
- Tape measure
Having a few tools on hand will help you start each new project. That way, you won’t have to go to the store to get more supplies for each client.
You can also make a list of tools to give to clients and have them buy the supplies before you start to work with them. But having your own supplies ensures you’ll have what you need to start with a client.
Create a Schedule
When looking to become a professional organizer, you also need to know when you can or want to work. That way, you can create a schedule to help book clients, either with a booking app or manually through email.
Make sure you add clients into your schedule when they book your services so that you don’t double-book yourself. Allow time to complete projects and travel between client sites, if necessary.
Build Your Portfolio
If you have trouble getting clients, you may need to do some portfolio projects. This is where you do some work for free or very cheap, but you can use the results in your portfolio.
Ask friends or family if you can assist them with organizing. Be sure to take pictures at the beginning, middle, and end. That way, potential clients can see your process and results, and they can make sure you know what you’re doing.
Another crucial step for starting any business is to market the business. As a professional organizer, you can market yourself online using local keywords and tags. You can also advertise in local publications or get referrals from people you know.
Consider starting a website as well that you can use to attract local clients. You can create a portfolio page where you display your work. And your website can have a page where clients can book your services.
When you start getting clients, remember to always be professional. Show up on time to the client’s site, ask questions before you get rid of anything, and be communicative.
Give your clients your contact information and tell them when they can expect a response from you. Then, follow through with all of this. That way, you can provide clients with a good experience, and you may even be able to get a testimonial.
What to Expect as a Pro Organizer in Terms of the Business
Knowing how to become a professional organizer is great, and so is knowing how to start a business in the field. But you should also know what you can expect as you start your professional organization business.
That way, you won’t have to deal with a ton of surprises. When things do pop up, you’ll know how to handle them efficiently so that you don’t lose clients or waste time.
Your Work Might Not Be Perfect
If you want to become a professional organizer, you’re probably a naturally organized person. You may even be a perfectionist, so you want everything to be perfect.
But you should be prepared for projects that aren’t perfect. Your clients will have individual needs and wants, and it’s your job to help them create organizational systems that they’ll want to keep using.
Those systems might not be what you consider perfect, but that’s okay. If you can get over being a perfectionist, you’ll enjoy your work much more.
Clients Can Be Emotional
As a professional organizer, you may look at your work from a very analytical point of view. You know that your client doesn’t need that bill from ten years ago or their old coffee table.
But that old bill may have special information on it. Maybe they inherited the coffee table from their parents or grandparents. You need to be able to work with emotional clients and help them see the value in organizing, even with sentimental items.
You Need to Sell Yourself
Especially if you work for yourself, you need to be good at selling yourself and your services. If you can’t do that, you’ll have a much harder time getting new clients.
While you may be able to get referrals, you still need to prove you’re the best person for the job. That means sharing your experience and talking about your process. Be sure to practice selling yourself so that you can land new clients.
It’s a Flexible Job
One of the benefits of being a professional organizer is that it’s flexible. If you have a day job or are in school, you can work in the evenings and on weekends.
And if you’re able to run your business full-time, you can organize in the daytime. As long as your clients are flexible, you can set your schedule. Then, you don’t have to worry about working when you can’t or don’t want to.
Anyone Can Start
All you need to become a professional organizer is the ability to organize and your first client. You don’t need an advanced degree or certification.
If you want to provide organizing services, you can make it happen. It may take a while for you to build your client base, but that work is worth it.
Will You Become a Professional Organizer?
If you want a fulfilling, flexible career where you can work with people, consider how to become a professional organizer. Not only can you work with people, but you can help them take control of their homes or businesses.
It can be a great way to make money and explore the area where you live. Each day will be a bit different, but you can still create your schedule to form a routine. Then, you can control your own career and life.