How can I get paid to shop for used furniture all day?
January 31, 2011 8:09 AM Subscribe
Is there a way I can get paid to hunt through estate sales for awesome furniture?
posted by roscopcoletrane to Work & Money (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty burnt out on my current career (web design), and I'm considering a complete change. I've been thinking that it could be awesome to make a living by finding unique secondhand housewares and reselling them for a profit. I already spend most of my weekends in secondhand shops. I'm not necessarily talking about Antiques with a capital A, although obviously the better quality the piece, the more money it brings. I'm talking about finding used furniture/housewares with good bones and character, that can be given some love if needed and then marked up and sold in a retail shop, or to interior designers' clients or something. I'm pretty sure that owning a retail storefront is not a realistic goal at this point.
Is it possible to make a real living** doing this? Is it an exceptionally stressful or unstable career? My initial internet research is only leading me to job titles like "antiques dealer" which is not really what I have in mind. I want to spend most of my time moving around, either on the hunt for pieces or refinishing something in my (currently nonexistent) workshop or trying to peddle my wares from the back of my car. I don't want to sit on a stool in a store waiting for customers to find me.
Even better, is there some way I could ease into this field, like working as an assistant or something? I've been a web designer for most of my adult life, so I don't have professional experience but I think I have a good eye and I know for a fact that I'm good at haggling. I imagine there are plenty of potential pitfalls and steep learning curves, and I know from experience that I'd do better if I wasn't completely on my own.
If anyone has any first- or second-hand experience with anything like this, I'd love to hear your input.
P.S. In case it helps, the reason I think this would be a good fit for me is because I'm energized by the thrill of the hunt. I suppose finding cool houseware bargains is a passion, in the sense that it's something I've consistently loved to do for as long as I can remember. Also, I am sick to death of staring at a computer screen all day. If you can think of any other careers in which I would travel around hunting for XYZ (I'm open to anything), please let me know!
** I live in Boston and I have my own place, so my expenses are pretty high. Living alone on less than $60k (pre-tax) is depressingly difficult for me and I'd rather not do it again, and I'm not so passionate about this that I'd be willing to significantly alter my standard of living. Just being honest.