Unveiling the Myths and Filling In The Facts about Professional Organizers!
- What does it cost to hire a Professional Organizer?
- What do I get?
- What services do they offer?
- Why should I pay one person more than another?
- What is the best option?
- Can I negotiate?
- What results can I expect?
- Is it worth it?
If you’ve ever wondered about any of the questions above, you’ve likely found out that getting information on Professional Organizer’s pricing can be a frustrating experience. There may seem to be no consistency. One PO may charge by the hour, while others charge by the session, while others may charge different package rates depending on how many hours you purchase and pre-pay for.
What is involved in a session? What services do Professional Organizers offer? Why is this so confusing for an industry that is designed to help simplify? Well – The answer to all of these questions is:
This month, we’ll explore the field of Professional Organizers, and help to answer your most common questions over a series of blog posts!
“Why is it hard to determine professional organizer rates?”
The reason there is such disparity in rates between professional organizers is attributed to 3 main underlying causes.
- Anti-Trust laws prohibit Organizers from collaborating to set prices: Organizers cannot set pricing across their industry due to Anti-Trust laws. This is the general reason that MANY organizers prefer NOT to post their prices on their websites. Some do, some do not.
- Greater than 80% of Organizers own their own businesses: Just like Starbucks can charge $6 for a cup of coffee their way, while the diner can charge $.50/cup, each PO crafts service packages and offerings according to their expertise, client mix and desired results.
- MOST Organizers are borne of something prior: Organizers come to the field from various fields. Some have led previous lives and held major positions in corporations. Some are doctors, lawyers, and thousands of other professions. These people are not just compulsive straighteners… and their expertise and offerings vary according to all that brain power and experience.
Therefore, comparing $45/hour to $1,500/day may be like trying to compare apples to watermelons. The two may not be equal at all. So how is a person supposed to know how to compare?
Get the facts straight first
Organizing is not magic, rather it is a transformational process, not an event.
Hiring a Professional Organizer means that you’re hiring someone who is likely a LOT more experienced and knowledgeable about what might be at cause for the issues, and have excellent research, background and experience how to go about addressing those underlying causes. Hiring a pro can ensure your success because you’ll be partnering with someone to hold you accountable to accomplish your goals. BUT – It takes time and focused attention to do the work necessary to complete organizing projects. Certainly, it has taken your time, energy, and effort to get to the point of hiring someone to help. Understand that it will take time, energy, effort, action, and cost to hire someone to help you get the job done. It is completely unrealistic to think that a professional can come in and knock out in an hour or two what has taken you months and even years to amass. The bigger the goal’s destination from its current path – generally the longer it will take to complete.
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According to the Online Resource, “What It Costs”, the ballpark quotes anywhere from $30-$300/hour for a professional organizer. But believe me, if you are looking in the lower range of that estimate, you’re hiring someone brand new to the business who is willing to work to get experience, and possibly testimonial from you. Or you may be hiring someone who might be in business doing something else (cleaning or junk hauling for instance) and saying they offer professional organizing because they think it’s about getting rid of the stuff.
How can I be so bold as to say that?
Because, running a successful Professional Organizing business of this type is so specific and so client-focused, that unless you have MASSIVE numbers of new clients or a ton of repeat clients, a low hourly rate will not provide enough income for you to run a sustainable business over time. The work is exhausting and can be grueling and most people cannot physically do it every day over long periods of time. Many POs begin working for very reduced rates, but find out really quickly that they can not physically continue to work at those rates and ever hope to be profitable.
There are two (primary) professional organizations to which POs belong that in addition to a worldwide network of like professionals, offer weekly, and even daily classes. NAPO and ICD are the two major associations that support the work of Professional Organizers in the US, although there are many others that offer relevant course work and expertise. There are others such as NASSM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) and POC (Professional Organizers of Canada) that also represent this area of work. Each association requires an investment of time, money and energy for the PO’s future business… and this level of expertise comes at a cost. Also, there are some POs who become “Certified Professional Organizers”. This distinction is highly recognized within the field and represents those with at least three years of more than 1,200 client-facing hours year over year. They also have studied and sat for and passed a four-hour board exam, to qualify for this distinction. If the PO you intend to work with is also a member of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) – they may have attended more than 200 hours of training to achieve different levels of expertise in the areas of chronic disorganization, hoarding, brain trauma, and may specialize in serving certain groups such as the aging, students, and trauma survivors. This organization is also dedicated to helping those with chronic issues and hoarding behaviors.
Stay tuned for the next post – where I answer the question:
“What’s the difference between a professional organizer and a cleaning service?”
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