By Andy Meredith
I’ve talked to a lot of people lately about how Candis and I got started restoring houses full time. A few of those people have been really interested in doing projects like the ones we do, but they aren’t sure they want to become full-time restorationists. So, not too surprisingly, some of them have asked me if it’s possible to do house restorations without quitting your day job.
The simple answer is yes, but—like a lot of things in life—this really isn’t a simple question, even though it might seem like one. So here are my thoughts on how you can keep your day job and enjoy restoring houses, too.
We Did It with Love House
Now, you might be wondering why I’d say that Candis and I kept our day jobs while restoring Love House when we were renovating other homes at that time. While we worked on Love House, we had more than one other project going, including Art City, an 1899 adobe and sandstone pioneer home that took a lot of work and really paid off in the end.
The thing is, Love House is our home. It’s where we want to raise not only our kids, but our grandkids. It’s where we got married, and we don’t ever want to sell it. So, while Love House is an investment for our future, it’s not so much a financial investment. On the other hand, other projects we’ve done—while they’ve been a lot of fun—have definitely been more about business.
In a way, Art City, the 1890 house, and our other projects were like our day jobs while Love House was our off-hours restoration. If we could balance those other projects with Love House, you can balance your own restoration project with work.
Make It a Weekend Hobby—Or Hire Some Help
If you aren’t on a strict deadline to get done fast, and you want to do all or most of your restoration yourself, you can do a single restoration project at a time. Then you can work in the evenings and on weekends to bring your restoration property back to life. It’s not the worst hobby, and when you’re done, you can sell it at a good profit or move your family in and live there like we did with Love House.
If want to restore multiple houses at once, you can do that, too, but it probably won’t be a weekend hobby. Instead, you’ll most likely need to hire a project manager or general contractor to do work for you during business hours. Then you can save some projects for yourself when you get off work if you want. With this option, you’re going to be able to work faster and you’ll probably have a chance to make more money. The only downside is that you don’t get to do a lot of the work yourself.
Fall In Love with It and Quit Your Job
I’ll warn you, though; restoring old houses can be addictive. I really haven’t looked back since Candis and I started working together, and I’m thankful every day that we started down this path years ago. We started as friends doing some interesting work, and we ended up falling in love and starting the best family business I can think of.
So, if you want to know if you can keep your day job and restore houses, the answer is yes, you can. But after you find out how fun and rewarding it can be, you might not want to go back to work.