If you’re a very organized person and love to organize, you might want to learn how to become a professional organizer. As a professional organizer, you can help others and make a living at the same time. This type of career path fits well for the detail-oriented person with good organization skills.
Even those not naturally born as good organizers can work in this career. You can develop good organizational skills. Let’s look at the steps it takes to become a professional organizer.
How to Become a Professional Organizer
Finish High School
You will need to get your high school diploma or GED to become a certified professional organizer. You don’t need to be certified to work as a professional organizer, however. Without certification, you will likely work for yourself.
If you choose not to become certified, you will need to create a portfolio of your work. Clients may not trust you to do the job right if they cannot see your work. In addition, getting certified helps to establish your credibility as an organizer.
The most common way to become a professional organizer is to become certified. This is done through the BCPO (Board of Certification for Professional Organizers). The BCPO is a part of the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers).
Getting certified requires you to sign a code of ethics and provide proof of at least 1,500 hours of paid work experience in organization. You will need to complete this work experience before you can take the BCPO exam. Some of the job tasks that qualify towards your 1,500 hours include:
- Virtual organizing
- Coaching clients on organization
- On-site organizing
- Organization workshops
If you already have a college degree or earn continuing education credits, you can get 100 hours from your education. You can also get another 150 hours from writing articles and handling other preparations for a career in organization.
However, you won’t need to submit proof of your hours unless you’re selected for a post-exam audit. The exam will test your knowledge of organization and efficiency. You will have to demonstrate your organizational skills.
Once you become certified, you will need to recertify every three years. This requires a maintenance fee, signing a new code of ethics, and showing at least 45 hours of continuing education courses.
Another certification option comes from the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. This organization offers a more comprehensive four-level course.
Before you become certified, you will need to gain experience. It’s also helpful to continue to gain experience as a certified professional organizer. Reaching the highest salary level in this field requires many years of experience.
You can also gain experience working as an independent contractor. Many professional organizers start their own business once they have a portfolio they can show off.
Duties of a Professional Organizer
Of course, as a professional organizer, your biggest duty will be to organize space for your clients. Certified professional organizers will work with businesses, along with private individuals. In addition, you will act as a coach for clients giving them instruction on the proper organization methods.
When working with businesses, you may take on the responsibility of creating an efficient work environment. With the right plan, a business can save time and money when hiring a professional organizer.
This type of position puts you in charge of the entire plan. You will plan how paperwork is handled, how time is managed, and how things flow in an office or business setting. When working with private clients, you might help organize their closets, kitchen, garage, and even their entire life.
How to Find Clients as a Professional Organizer
Many certified professional organizers will start their own businesses. But, just like any other service business, you will need to find clients. This will be one of the hardest parts but also the most important part of running your business. Here are a few popular ways to find clients.
Create a Website
Everybody looks online for what they need these days. As a certified professional organizer, you should have a website. You want to make sure you can display plenty of high-quality pictures of your work. Before and after pictures can be very powerful.
Get permission from your clients to use these pictures and try to be discreet. An online portfolio (your website) is one of the most powerful tools for your business. With good content, good search engine optimization, and even a blog, you can gain organic traffic and new clients from your website.
Use Social Media Often
One of the most powerful ways to find your target audience is through social media. From setting up your own profiles or business pages to running actual ads, you can find clients with social media pretty easily.
Make sure to share your website content and new blog posts. Images of projects you’re working on, testimonials from past clients, and industry articles are also very powerful. With the right social media presence, you may not need any other advertising.
Pay-per-click ads can help you get traffic to your website for the right keyword phrases. You don’t have to learn how to use PPC ads, however. Many professional marketing companies can manage your ads for you to ensure you get plenty of clients.
There are plenty of ways to network offline, too. For example, you can become a member of your local chamber of commerce or other local groups. It can also be helpful to attend events in your community to help create a good network of people you know.
Real estate agents, home remodelers, and those working directly with small businesses can help. Meeting the right people and networking with them might lead to lots of referral business.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Professional Organizer
How much does a certified professional organizer make?
The average pay for a certified professional organizer is about $21 per hour. However, the range goes from about $15 per hour to nearly $60 per hour. It depends on where you work and the type of position you accept as a certified professional organizer.
At the very top level of this field, you can make more than $120K per year. If you reach the senior level, you can expect to make nearly $70K per year. However, most entry-level positions will pay only about $31K.
You can advance your position and salary in this field. With some experience, you can make closer to $35K per year, and a little more experience can get you to about $45K per year.
If you decide to work for yourself, your pay depends on your rates. It’s common to handle organizational projects for $200 to $800 per project for residential work. If you take on commercial projects, you will likely charge thousands per project. When working for yourself, the hourly rate is likely going to be $55 to $100 per hour.
What is the common personality of a professional organizer?
If you want to become a certified professional organizer, you will likely have a specific personality type. Most people working in this type of position are very creative, sensitive, and articulate. On the other hand, it’s common for professional organizers to be unstructured and enterprising. An ambitious, extroverted person with a high energy level and plenty of confidence fits into this career well.
What time of year is the busiest for professional organizers?
It’s common for certified professional organizers to see more business during the spring months than any other time of the year. This goes along with the spring-cleaning time. People are ready for a fresh start, and it’s a great time of the year to hire someone to help them organize.
When it comes to the commercial side of things, there isn’t a busy season. As a result, businesses looking to operate more efficiently may hire a professional organizer when they first open up. They might also hire someone to figure out why things aren’t moving as smoothly as they would like.
Who hires professional organizers?
There are many different types of clients you will likely encounter as a professional organizer. You might think only the wealthy hire professional organizers. However, people of all different income levels will pay for your services. It’s also common for businesses of all different sizes to hire professional organizers.
How many hours do professional organizers usually work?
The hours you work each week depending on your projects. It’s common for residential projects to take anywhere from two to ten hours. Commercial projects may provide full-time work for weeks or months, however. Most certified professional organizers work full-time hours each week.
Becoming a professional organizer is a great choice when you want to put your organizational skills to work. This type of career can be very rewarding for the right type of person. If you want to enter this career path, use the steps and advice in this article to learn how to become a professional organizer.