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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about becoming a Professional Organizer

What is a professional organizer?
NAPO defines a professional organizer as an individual who enhances the lives of clients by designing systems and processes using organizing principles and through transferring organizing skills. A professional organizer also educates the public on organizing solutions and the resulting benefits.

Where do I start?
Research launching a business. Read a book or take a class on how to operate a home-based or small business. Check the website of the Small Business Administration and local governmental agencies as well as your local college business development offices.

Read a few organizing books to help you understand the processes of other organizers. You may even find yourself instinctively knowing what the author will say next!

If you live in Delaware, Central or Southern New Jersey or Eastern Pennsylvania, attend a NAPO-GPC chapter meeting and network with our professional organizers. This will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from those who have first-hand experience.

How can I tell if I will be a good organizer?
Offer to do projects for friends or relatives. When the job is finished, ask for an appraisal of your work and if you can use them as a reference. Consider trading your services with those who can help you get started (graphic artist, web designer, CPA, etc.)

Being a good organizer may not be enough. Be sure you have a plan in place to manage the operations of your business.

What kind of education and experience do professional organizers have?
Many professional organizers have a college degree and/or prior work experience in various fields. The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers now offers a certification program.

How can I improve my organizing skills?
NAPO-GPC and NAPO offer many opportunities for professional development. NAPO’s course curriculum is a wonderful place to start. Organizing books are also great sources of information.

How can I determine what specialty areas I should consider?
Begin by reviewing the specialty and focus areas of NAPO-GPC members in the Glossary of Terms section of this website. Seeing what other organizers do is always helpful. Once you join NAPO-GPC you will have access to the membership directory where you can learn more specific information about our membership.

How do I get clients?

There are as many different marketing strategies as there are organizers. A marketing plan will help you determine your target audience and ways to reach them. Successful strategies include networking, joining lead sharing or other groups where you think your target clients are members, speaking at events, writing articles for local newspapers, advertising on your vehicle, getting involved within your community to get exposure, and creating a website.

Can I make a living as a professional organizer?
Yes. Public awareness of the organizing industry is increasing and so is the demand for organizers. However, there are many variables involved in the success of an organizing business—your marketing efforts, skill level, the amount of time you devote to it and even your geographical area.

How do I develop a pricing structure?
Many different options exist for pricing. While many organizers charge an hourly fee, others work on a project or package basis. When developing your structure, consider your areas of expertise, level of experience and geographical location. Talk to other consultants and service providers to learn about their approach to pricing.

Do I need insurance?
Carrying insurance adds to your credibility and protects you from putting yourself in financial jeopardy. As a member of NAPO you can purchase insurance from our industry partner, NAPOsure.

Beyond organizing skills and business sense, what else do I need to know?
It’s important to be able to establish good relationships with your clients. Ask questions, be a good listener, and be flexible so that you can customize your solutions to suit your client’s lifestyle, habits, and personality traits.

Maintain client confidentiality. Be honest, reliable, respectful, and responsible. Don’t be critical or judgmental. In other words, provide the service and behave in a manner that you would expect from anyone you invited into your office or home and, in many cases, into your personal life.

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