Questions to ask before hiring a Professional Organizer
Professional organizers are trained, skilled specialists who help people create order where it is lacking and help make long-term improvements to keep disorder at bay. Beyond helping you get organized, declutter, and create systems for long term carryover, professional organizers have a network of affiliates and partners to help with all of your organizing needs.
It is imperative to find an organizer with whom you feel comfortable. Trust your instincts when you have that initial conversation with the organizer. It may be a good idea to speak to a few professional organizers. Some questions to ask are:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you a member of NAPO?
- What is your area of expertise?
- Can you offer references from past clients?
National Association of Professional Organizers members are professionals who care about client satisfaction as well as sound business practices. All NAPO members have pledged to work within the guidelines of the NAPO Code of Ethics, which includes providing confidentiality and fair independent pricing to all clients. Members of the Arizona Chapter (NAPO-AZ) have a directory of organizing resources at their fingertips.
Absolutely! A Professional Organizer can help you with your organizational skills. Once you find an organizer that you like and enjoy working with and are serious about your commitment to get organized, you are on your way.
The art of organizing requires decision-making. By asking the right questions, Professional Organizers help you make these decisions. Organizers may offer advice and provide hands-on help. The process is done at your home or office and the task is accomplished in multi-hour work segments. Several organizers offer a written or verbal overview of the work that needs to be done (a 'needs assessment'). Some Professional Organizers offer email or phone consultations.
Whether or not a crew comes in to clear your clutter is determined by you and your organizer. Often a crew is not necessary. Most organizers work in a one-on-one setting with you. The TV reality shows highlight many hours worth of work in each episode and therefore provide a crew, which would increase the cost of a project. In reality, Professional Organizers work in partnership with you.
Generally fees are usually based on an hourly, daily or project rate, as well as the type of organizing services you need and the experience of the organizer you are hiring. Arizona Professional Organizers' fees range from approximately $50 to $150 per hour. Some Professional Organizers charge more or less than this average while some may offer discounts for routine visits or for large projects. There may be an additional cost for errand-running, supplies and travel; that fee of course is subject to each organizer's discretion.
There is no typical scenario. For example, organizing a bedroom closet can range from a two-hour project to a twelve-hour project, it all depends on numerous factors: the size of the closet, the configuration, storage capabilities, purging, donating and tossing process, etc. Therefore if the Professional Organizer charges $75 per hour, the projects may range between $150 and $900. There are many variables involved during the process. Clients usually have budgets for each project.
The National Association of Professional Organizers does offer certification. NAPO/NAPO-AZ membership is voluntary. You do not need any formal education to become a Professional Organizer; however, NAPO does offer educational programs to their members to improve their knowledge and skills.
Professional Organizers who are NAPO members have an advantage over those who are not part of the organization. NAPO members are associated with like-minded professionals who support and educate one another. Professional Organizers who belong to NAPO have agreed to be a part of a growing industry of dedicated professionals seeking to help the community and individuals conquer their clultter!
Professional Organizers have a passion for order, the ability to create it and a great desire to assist others. Professional Organizers possess qualities of patience, endurance and flexibility. They attend seminars and conferences, share experiences and learn from their peers. They network and take advantage of continuing education classes, which is a benefit of NAPO membership. Many organizers have innately been organized throughout their lives, while for others it is a learned behavior. Professional Organizers come from all walks of life and have previously had careers such as: Psychologists, Educators, Managers, Administrators, Nurses and Bookkeepers.
Being able to let go of things is often part of the solution. If you have a hard time parting with items you truly do not need, the Professional Organizer will guide you and offer you options, but know that YOU make the final decision on each and every item.
This decision is on a case-by-case basis. This is based on your budget and your needs. Most clients prefer working as a partnership and alongside with the organizer, while others simply need direction and an action plan to get them started. Most organizers are hands-on, while others are not.
NAPO members adhere to a code of ethics which include integrity, honesty and confidentiality. This high level of trust placed in them by their clients is taken quite seriously by all NAPO organizers. An organizer's ethical conduct is critical for sustaining their profession.
In Find An Organizer, NAPO members list their specialties. Select a few organizers whose specialty you are interested in and discuss your particular situation over the phone or via email. Organizers strive to be candid regarding whether or not they can help you.
The majority of people are desperate, overwhelmed and overly stressed by the time they ask for help and therefore professional organizers are well-prepared for any situation. Professional Organizers strive to be non-judgmental and they are there to help you so you no longer view your space as embarrassing.
That is not a problem. Simply find a Professional Organizer who can act as a consultant rather than conduct a hands-on project.
Professional Organizers set up individualized systems and procedures that are customized for each client. They try to make them simple and easy-to-follow once the project is completed and the client is on his own. Many times clients will need the Professional Organizer to come back for maintenance or additional instruction or simply to attack another area in the home or office. Occasionally clients simply need reassurance and support.
You can anticipate a stress-free, uncluttered, peaceful environment in which to work and live. Most clients feel relieved that they have overcome their organizational challenges. In many instances, productivity increases and tasks are less challenging. Clients feel they have established a relationship with a professional who finally understands their obstacles and challenges which is a freeing feeling. Many clients may acquire skills necessary to maintain an organized life.
Organizers may recommend or purchase products for you or may advise where to purchase items.
Consider asking for recommendations from friends or colleagues who have used the services of a Professional Organizer who is a NAPO member or use our Find An Organizer search tool on this site. It is recommended that you contact a few NAPO-AZ Professional Organizers to find the one who best suits your organizing needs, budget and personality.
Questions to ask before becoming a Professional Organizer
Attend a NAPO-AZ chapter meeting and speak to seasoned organizers. Take classes, read books and search the websites of existing NAPO organizers to see what they have to say. A good idea would be to call your local Small Business Administration and ask questions relating to starting your own business.
Test your skills on your own home or office. Contact relatives, friends and colleagues and offer your services in areas such as closets, home offices or any room that screams HELP! Request a brutally honest assessment of your work. You may also ask a seasoned organizer if you can accompany them on a large project and observe carefully. Let your availability be known to NAPO-AZ members.
If asked, you should be able to explain how and where you honed your skills. Most prospective clients are interested in your fees, how you would approach their organizing concerns, and possible references that you can provide. Being a member of NAPO is an added plus to your credentials.
The CPO designation is for NAPO's most experienced professionals. The CPO designation is earned by being a NAPO member, completing 1,500 paid hours of work which teach, transfer or demonstrate organizing skills within the last 3 years and successfully passing the CPO examination.
It is not necessary to maintain an inventory of organizing items, but that is completely up to you. You should, however, be up-to-date on products available and how they may be used in different organizing scenarios.
You need to try a variety of strategies in order to market your business. Join NAPO-AZ and brainstorm with other more experienced organizers. Many seasoned organizers can coach you for a fee. They can help you get on the right track. Know your target audience, based on your specialties, and find ways to reach them. The NAPO-AZ referral system (FIND AN ORGANIZER), is a great way to get clients.
Professional Organizers' fees can range from approximately $50 to $200 an hour nationwide. Most organizers charge by the hour, some charge by the project, and the fee is based on your geographical location, the experience of the organizer and the type of organizing services. Basically, charge what you feel you are worth.
Starting a business as a professional organizer or productivity consultant is just like starting any other business. You will want to be sure you are covered legally and financially. Determine your business structure (LLC, sole proprietor etc), obtain insurance, file the appropriate paperwork with your city/county/state, keep accurate bookkeeping records, and file your taxes properly. Treat your business in a professional manner.
Depending on what kind of work you plan to do, you might make the decision that is right for you; however, it is not required. There are corporations or other organizations that might ask you for a certificate of insurance before they hire you. If you are unsure, contact an insurance agent for advice on the matter. A liability insurance program is available to members of NAPO.
Professional Organizers can provide a variety of services and skills. Organizing specialties include residential and business organizing, space planning, time management, paper and electronic information management, memorabilia, seminars, workshops and financial organizing. Some organizers specialize in specific areas while others are generalists.
Listen to your clients and be flexible regarding your approach. Developing a trusting relationship is key. Organizers may have to customize solutions based on the clients' personality and lifestyle. Confidentiality is very important and a nonjudgmental approach is recommended. Honesty, reliability and a non-critical demeanor is so important in a setting such as this.
By joining the National Association of Professional Organizers' Arizona Chapter, it allows you to exchange ideas and information with other organizers and adds to your credibility as a professional in this field. See benefits of membership for a list of all the benefits.
Possibly! Being organized is certainly an asset; however, what works for you personally might not necessarily work for the client. A Professional Organizer must possess skills to create customized organizing solutions that work for the client.
Some Professional Organizers offer free phone consultations, while others offer free initial consultations. Some organizers make the first session a full-working session and may charge a minimum number of hours. It is an individual business decision on which approach is right for you.
Yes. You can begin your search on the NAPO website, www.napo.net. Educational teleconferences are frequently sponsored by NAPO and the ICD (Institute For Challenging Disorganization). NAPO regularly offers classes for new organizers as well as how to start your own organizing business.
Organizing offers the opportunity to run your own business and work one-on-one with all types of people. Many organizers have turned to organizing after careers in a variety of fields. If you are a people person, enjoy helping others, have a passion and vision for organization and enjoy the flexible work hours that this profession provides, then you may have found your niche.
As wtih all businesses, costs vary. You will want to consider the type and cost of your business entity, tools you will bring when working the clients, marketing, and NAPO membership, and any other professional or networking organizations. Keep a record of all these expenses for your taxes. Investing time, money, and effort in your business are important considerations of business ownership and show your comitment to your career.
Many organizing and productivity consultants are also independent business owners, and there are no specific regulations or rules in the organizing profession. What sets NAPO members apart is that they agree to uphold NAPO's Code of Ethics, which establishes guidelines for professional conduct with our clients and with other industry members. Beyond fundamental professional ethics, creating your own professional focus and methodology comes from training, experience and education.
NAPO National offers extensive education to help you. Check out the NAPO National site which offers a course on Starting An Organzing Business and blogs.
Once you join, you will have access to the Member Connect online community which is comprised of NAPO members.
Also, consider attending the NAPO National Conference and Organizing Expo. It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse yourself in the field, learn how to market, network in our industry, and grow your business.
NAPO is a group of approximately 4,000 professional organizers and productivity professionals dedicated to helping individuals and businesses attain order and efficiency. Our mission is to lead and advance the organizing and productivity profession.
NAPO members include solopreneurs, employers, subcontractors, students, academics, bloggers, and representatives from corporations who provide organizing/productivity products/services.