I’ve been studying recession proof businesses for quite awhile. They’re harder to find than you might think. When the Great Recession hit, many people were asking, “What small business can I start that will be recession proof?”
Many people proffered their ideas about what would be recession proof. Few proved correct.
For example, many people think that practicing criminal law is recession proof, but it’s not. Sure, crime doesn’t go away. In fact, crime frequently increases during a recession. But guess what also happens? All of those lawyers who were practicing business law suddenly decide to practice criminal law, since the business clients dry up. Even the bankruptcy lawyers– after an initial spurt of business– suffer.
I remember reading an article in the L.A. Times about students in mortician school worrying about their future. Seems that when money is really tight, more people opt for cremation than burial. On the other hand, there there are articles like the one about Mexican Morticians Making A Killing As Drug War Spirals.
Benjamin Roth wrote a great book about his families experiences surviving the Great Depression called, “The Great Depression: A Diary”. It’s a fantastic book. He lived through the Great Depression and kept a diary. Both he and his father were business lawyers and that gave them a cat-bird seat to view what was happening in … I believe it was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? In any event, the big take-away from the book was: When an economy dies, almost everybody suffers. There wasn’t anybody who he came into contact with who didn’t suffer. Although that doesn’t mean there weren’t people who did alright.
If we ever see something like the Great Depression again, I’d like to have my ducks stacked in a row and already be set up with a counter-cyclical business that will help me get through it. Preps are good… but let’s face it: Even the best stocked bunker will eventually run out of stuff. Having a continual flow of income (cash, gold, barter… whatever!) is something that can be set up now and kept in place in case you ever need it.
Ryan Finlay is doing just that: He’s buying and selling used appliances on Craigslist. What’s interesting about this business model is that apparently there is a continual high demand AND supply of used washers and dryers. If the economy continues to crumble, the demand will continue to grow. What Ryan does is he buys them for pennies on the dollar (or picks up free appliances that aren’t working), fixes them if necessary, applies any cosmetic fixes and then resells on Craigslist.
And he’s doing well enough that he doesn’t need a regular job and is able to support both himself, his wife and his four kids. God bless America! The man knows how to hustle.
According to his blog, he learned how to repair used appliances by watching Youtube videos.
Part of Ryan’s success is that he offers free delivery and pickup of the old appliance that the customer is getting rid of. Ryan’s a sharp guy. To learn more about how he makes a living buying and selling used appliances, take a look at his blog: ReCraigslist.com