I recently received an email asking me where to get a chair re-upholstered at an affordable price and I instantly thought of a very unknown resource – occupational centers and technical schools. These are public schools that teach older students occupations like:
- furniture upholstery
- fashion design
- web graphics
- auto body repair
- floral design
- hair and beauty
- and much more
Most of these schools connect folks like you and me with students looking for experience at low fees. Many of these students are looking for experience and to build a portfolio and referrals. The work might not be perfect, but if you get a student who is just about finished with their studies, you could get a great product and a great deal.
I used a student to help me with my home landscaping. He was awesome. He educated me on different plants and helped me to pick out what would grow in my yard. He was very reasonably priced. As a matter of fact, I paid him more than he asked because he charged so little for all the work he did.
In California these schools are part of the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (CAROCP.) In the Los Angeles area, these schools are called Los Angeles Occupational Centers. The mission of these occupational centers is to “provide exemplary career education, career development, and workforce preparation that contribute to student academic and career success and to the economic development of California.” These schools are also a resource for you to find classes at a very reasonable price. Classes for eligible students are around $50.
In New York State, there are New York Technical and Vocational Schools. I don’t know if their tuition is as reasonable as the California schools, but the advice about hiring students remains the same. I’m sure that there are similar schools in every state in America.
And who knows, the student designer that you use to help you create a custom wedding dress might just turn out to be the next hot thing. Think how lucky you will be to have one of their early works. You’ll be able to tell people that you knew they were headed for greatness.
Have you ever hired a student to do work for you?