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Apr 19

Real Life Experience With College Pro Painters: A New Perspective

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“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.” – Allen Klein

Real life experience really does go a long way. I personally felt this when I ran a seasonal business with College Pro Painters while I was in my 3rd year of university. College Pro was a whole new environment where I really got rewarded for my results versus just working an hourly job. This really changed my perspective on life, how the world works and how you can make money as an adult.

The two main shifts in perspective were:

The value of an hour- I had grown up thinking you work and make money per hour. The only way to make more money I thought was to get a higher wage position. After my first season running my business I had profited 5 times the earnings I had made the previous year working similar hours (3 jobs vs 1 business). This really shifted my view of what I could do in an hour. The more College Pro Painters taught me and the more I grew as a leader the more I could lead teams of people (which I really enjoyed). Operating 6-10 employees I was definitely making more money than I knew to be possible. I will forever struggle to go back to viewing an hour = a specific $. The idea of leverage is so powerful.

The value of a dollar- College Pro Painters is marketed as a summer management opportunity. I knew that the flip side of opportunity of being in management was that I was going to have to work very hard. A day in the life of a College Pro manager can be hectic at best and be frustrating beyond belief at the worst. Some days I worked incredibly hard to ensure customers were happy and the jobs got completed. I literally shed blood, sweat and tears for every dollar I earned. I have a new understanding for work ethic and what it takes to be successful.

These shifts in perspective that College Pro has given me have really allowed me make informed decisions about the work I do now. Where do I want to spend my time? How do I want to make my money? The value of an hour and a dollar carry new meaning to me as I go into the future.

 

Mar 7

Set yourself up for success tomorrow

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When I was in college, I never worried about my future career.  Admittedly, I was not the most prepared or studious student, and rarely researched jobs for college students that would benefit my future career.  I did not even know what my future career was going to be, and chose my major based on a variety of factors, none of which was my future career.  I always knew I would find a job doing “something”, which is not the best planning, for sure, but I did have a great time at college!

Nowadays, competition is fierce, and jobs are scarce.  Students need an edge over their peers when they graduate, because there is no guarantee that they will even get a job.  In fact, a census report issued in September of 2011 casts a shadow over the long-term impact of the recession on today’s youth. During the last decade, the unemployment rate for young people spiked to the highest levels since World War II.  Only 55 % of Americans aged 16 to 29 have jobs, a 12 % drop from the employment rate in 2000. Faced with a grim outlook, many young people aren’t leaving home until their 30s; the number of Americans aged 25 to 34 living with their parents jumped 25 % during the recession.  Recently, The New York Times called the collective youth “Generation Limbo,” but after seeing the new census data, Harvard economist Richard Freeman takes it a stage further. “These people will be scarred, and they will be called the ‘lost generation’ in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster,” Freeman told The Associated Press.

There are three things you need to do while in college or university to ensure you set yourself up for success after graduation.  The first is to look for summer jobs for college students that will actually benefit your future.  One such job for college students that will give you an edge over your peers upon graduation is being a franchise manager with College Pro Painters or College Pro Window Cleaning.

For over 40 years, College Pro has been providing exceptional management and leadership training to young entrepreneurs through real-world business experiences. Thousands of students have successfully gone through their training programs, and they are often referred to as a “Real World MBA”. With College Pro, you’ll learn business skills you can take with you into any future career, like leadership, sales, marketing, project management, effective communication, employee and customer management, and financial management.  It’s not just another summer job.  The real life business experience you acquire with a summer of hard work will set the foundation for many future successes.

Another thing you should definitely do for your future is cultivate mentors.  You will be surrounded by smart, dedicated people, including professors, faculty, internship directors, advisors, work supervisors, etc.  Successful students graduate with one or more mentors who have taken a personal interest in them, who can give them advice, serve as references, or write letters of recommendation.  As a manager with College Pro, you are paired one-on-one with a General Manager who will train, coach and mentor you every step of the way though one-on-one weekly coaching calls, and classroom and in-field training sessions.  You will be surrounded by like-minded students who want to grow and succeed and challenge themselves.  After a summer with College Pro, you are going to come away with career training and business experience.  You also make connections, and acquire friends, mentors and stories you will have for life.

Lastly, college is the perfect time to learn to take risks.  I know…taking risks sounds very intimidating and can be scary.  Think about it this way:  You could have a “safe” college career with a “safe” major and a “safe” job that doesn’t challenge you at all.  But…would you be happy?  How would that really help your future?  A smarter thing to do is to learn to take smart risks.  The students who are willing to take risks and challenge themselves while in college are the ones who will transform during their time in college, and who inevitably get the great job upon graduation because they are smarter, more talented, more confident and better supported by smart people than those who played it safe.  A lot of people may think learning how to run a small business with College Pro while in college is a risky proposition.  Ask any recruiter and they will say it is the smartest risk you can take because the experience and skills you gain far outweigh the perceived risk.

Want to beat the stats, pave your own future, and set yourself up for success?  These three steps are easy ways to get yourself headed in the right direction, and, no matter where you want to go in life, a summer as a College Pro manager can help you get there.  You will come away with real business skills, friends, mentors, and stories you will have for life.

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Feb 12

Setting real life goals and sticking to them, how College Pro can help

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As anyone who completes a summer of student training with College Pro will tell you, the act of setting goals and following through with them are one of the most crucial elements of success.  Every part of the internship involves goal setting, from breaking down marketing goals to setting interview goals for painters.  What becomes evident after completing the student training program is that students are left with a strong sense of how to set real life goals, and how to stick with them.  These are lessons that help make College Pro alumni so successful in the real world.

The goal setting process begins at the first student training session with big picture end of year goals.  These are then broken down into two types of goals – proximal goals and weekly goals.  Proximal goals are goals that are typically in 1-2 month segments and are treated as benchmark goals for which to strive.  Weekly goals will add up to the proximal goals, and help give direction for what needs to be accomplished during the week.  Students who consistently set and achieve their weekly goals in College Pro typically go on to hit their proximal and year-end goals.

Another core element of goal setting that is stressed during the student training program in College Pro is how to set SMART goals.  SMART is an acronym for Shared, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based.  Each goal that is set fits into the above categories, which helps make sure the goals are grounded in reality and aren’t out of reach for the person setting the goals.  That being said, students in College Pro will typically also go out and set Inspirational Goals that are above and beyond the SMART goals, to give them something big to strive for.

In summary, there is a reason so many College Pro alumni go on to have such successful careers in the real world.  Having gone through the student training program with College Pro, they learned first hand how to set meaningful goals, and, just as important, how to stick to them!

Nov 4

Not your typical summer job: A day in the life of a College Pro Manger

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Below you will find my perspective on the College Pro manager role – My name is David Proulx, and I have spent the last 11 years of my life working with College Pro, so I will give one perspective from when I was a franchise manager and the other perspective from when I was a business coach.

My story started when I was a first year student at McMaster University working towards my Bachelor of Science degree. I was referred to the program by a friend who was recently hired. After 2 weeks and about 4 interviews I was given the opportunity to run the business. I was both excited and nervous – I was very involved in sports and I was hungry for this challenge, but I also questioned myself on how ready I actually was for this role as my previous work experience included McDonalds, Sobey’s and a few other random part-time jobs.

College Pro trained me in all areas of the business – marketing, operations, and financials, and gave me a personal business coach (funny enough he was in my wedding party 7 years later). The business was overwhelming at points (constant calls from customers, employees and always feeling behind) but thankfully I was very involved in the company culture and the support network from other student franchise managers helped get me through the tough times. I personally developed and grew a ton – I ran an averaged sized business my first year and really overachieved my second and third year. It was a very fast paced environment and I took a ton of pride away from knowing I was doing a great job for my customers and my employees.

After my three summers running the College Pro business I was promoted into the role of a business coach were I was lucky enough to start coaching other student entrepreneurs. Over the past eight years I have worked with a ton of student franchise managers and I have realized three key things with regards to the College Pro experience.

First, the business can be tough and lonely (even when you are interacting with a ton of people daily). Student franchisees typically really enjoy their experience when they get involved with the company culture – they associate with other students experiencing the exact same things, which can help push them to the next level in business or help when they are having a really bad day. The College Pro culture is ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ and most people love this aspect.

Second, the managers within College Pro will grow and develop. The managers will experience everything first hand, how to hire employees, how to lead employees, how to marketing and grow a business, how to operate a business and how to control the financials within the business. They typically make a lot of mistakes when experiencing this for the first time, which, in my opinion, is invaluable experience.

Third, College Pro managers typically question themselves along the way and have self doubts when they make mistakes or struggle at different aspects of the role. Managers who don’t give up and put in their best effort moving forward will have a feeling of pride that most have not experienced prior to this role.

All in all, the past 11 years of my life with College Pro have shaped who I am today. I have loved the experience, the people and the development. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Aug 16

Do-It-Yourself Green Painting Tips from College Pro Painters

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college pro paintersCompanies all over the country, and all over the world for that matter, are pushing themselves and their customers to “go green” in order to preserve our environment and conserve natural resources; College Pro Painters is no different.

College Pro is the leading student-run painting company in the United States and Canada; in business for over 40 years, College Pro has always been on the forefront of Green Painting. You know that when you hire a College Pro to paint your home’s exterior, the painters and project managers will use responsible best practices to dispose of any excess waste. However, there is always the ambitious homeowner that will go the “do-it-yourself” route and opt to perform this home improvement on their own. If that’s the case, College Pro would like to offer the following advice so the only impact your painting makes is on your home, and not the planet.

First, make sure you plan for the correct amount of paint. This is economical as well as environmental. There are a number of online tools you can use to calculate approximate paint usage, and your local hardware store should have a good idea as well. Keep in mind that you will need 2 or 3 coats of paint to properly coat an exterior, but a typical gallon of paint can cover almost 400 square feet of surface. The less you buy the less waste you have and the more you save. If you’re unsure always buy a little less (make sure you know the exact color); you can always go back for more.

Next, make sure you’re being smart about cleaning your tools. Paint brushes and scrapers do not need to be cleaned on a daily basis. Wrap your tools in plastic and keep them in a cool, dry place instead of washing. You should be able do to this for 3-4 days, and the less you wash your brushes, the less you contaminate the water.

Dry paint is better for the environment than wet paint, so whenever possible chip dry paint off your tools as opposed to washing them. If you have a small amount of paint left after your project let it dry and then properly dispose of the entire can. If you are using a scraper, let the paint dry out and then chip excess paint off it and properly dispose of the chips.

Aug 15

Simple Ideas to Boost Curb Appeal from College Pro Painters

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college pro paintersCurb appeal is a phrase that is tossed around a lot, but all it really means is “how does my home look?” At first you may question the importance improving your home’s aesthetic, but, before you discount appearance, remember that if you are looking to sell your home, the exterior is the first thing a potential buyer will see. Beyond that, some HOA’s (Home Owners Associations) and organized communities have stringent rules and regulations dictating how a home’s exterior must be kept. And let’s not forget how good it feels to pull into a driveway and see something you are really proud of.

Beyond mere appearance, many of the “curb appeal boosters” listed below actually have protective, lasting benefits to the interior and exterior of your home. Painting and sealing exteriors, doors and fences will protect the wood and interior of your home from rain, excessive sunlight, moisture and insects; potentially adding years to your home.

College Pro Painters is the premier student-run painting company in North America and Canada. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, College Pro Painters offers the following tips to improve your home’s curb appeal:

Paint!

College Pro Painters reminds you that every great book should have a great cover. Painting your home’s exterior can add thousands of dollars to a residence’s resale value, and is one of the most cost-effective improvements you can make to a home.

Front Door:

Spice up an otherwise dull color scheme of a home by painting the door. Not only will it give your home a burst of color, it sets the tone for the rest of the house. Try a fun, bold color like red or yellow for a non-traditional yet classy look.

Trim:

Highlight interesting architectural features of your home by panting trim. You can toy around with new color palettes and give your exterior a “face-lift.” College Pro Painters reminds homeowners that while painting trim can be a great improvement, there are plenty of downfalls, so be sure to consult a professional before beginning any major home painting projects.

Fences:

Give your fence a little personality with a fun color, or classic look. Fences frame your home, and are often the first thing noticed on a property, so keep yours looking great!

For more home painting tips, visit the College Pro Painters website. Happy painting!

Aug 11

Exterior House Painting Tips from College Pro Painters

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College Pro PaintersCollege Pro Painters, the largest student run painting company in North America understands the importance of sufficiently prepping exterior surfaces before painting. College Pro Painters is committed to using only the highest quality paint and materials and guarantees a beautiful exterior paint project. Here are some of the frequently asked exterior paint prepping questions our franchisees hear from their customers:

How do I eliminate exterior cracking and flaking from my home?

College Pro Painters have found this problem is most likely caused by the coating.  Common culprits are alkyd enamel or latex primer which is applied as a top coat before the undercoat is fully dried. This common problem is solved by removing the outer layer of damaged surface by scraping and sanding, then applying a high-quality oil-based primer. Once that is dry, paint can be applied.

How do I avoid exterior peeling?

Exterior paint begins to peel when it is exposed to excessive moisture or has been applied to a dirty surface. Sometimes peeling occurs when low-quality paint is used or the incorrect mixture of paint is applied (combining oil based paint over a wet surface). College Pro Painters caution the only way to avoid this issue is to remove the peeling paint, thoroughly prep the surface and apply a high quality acrylic latex exterior paint.

How do I remove and prevent mildew buildup?

Mildew buildup is often caused by prolonged exterior exposure to moisture with very little direct sunlight. Commonly, this is seen by College Pro Painters on walls with northern exposure and under eaves. Mildew can also be a result of poor priming to wood surfaces before painting. College Pro Painters will treat this with a mixture of water and bleach and leave it to sit for about 20 minutes. This process is repeated until the mildew is gone, at which point the surface will be treated with exterior latex primer followed by high-quality paint.

These are just a few of the common problems College Pro Painters sees on a daily basis, although exterior prep issues can be frustrating to homeowners, College Pro franchisees and painters are highly skilled and trained to quickly and easily diagnose your exterior home ailment and proceed with the best and most effective way to fix the problem and guarantee that it all necessary precautions are taken so the issue does not reoccur.

Aug 11

College Pro Painters offers Trim Painting Tips

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college pro paintersThink of the trim of your home as the “icing on the cake.” It stands out, showcases a homeowner’s attention to detail, and can really make or break any color scheme. Unfortunately, painting trim can be an arduous process; demanding hours of preparation and tedious detail painting. While the results are definitely worth the work, you can make the job that much easier with the right know.

College Pro Painters is the premier student-lead painting company in North America and Canada. In business since 1971, College Pro has the skills and experience to help you with any residential exterior painting project, including trim painting. Here’s a handy list of tips and tricks from College Pro regarding trim painting that can help make your newest painting project easy and painless.

College Pro Painters recommends that if you’ve recently replaced the caulking around your windows or doors to make sure the caulking is dry prior to painting over it.  And when you are painting caulk, be sure to use enough paint to create a protective seal around doors and windows. This will protect interiors from insects, rain and wind.

The best way to avoid getting unwanted paint on doors and screens is to remove them altogether. Not only will this protect them, you can use this time to make minor repairs you’ve been putting off, such as mending rips and tears in screens or repainting and refinishing wood doors. When painting doors, College Pro recommends starting with the panels first, then rails, and finally the edges.

Gutters and downspouts made of galvanized metal can pose a problem for the energetic do-it yourselfer. These tough spots are often very dirty and worn down and require additional prepping prior to adding paint. These elements should be scraped with a wire brush to remove loose paint and then primed and painted. When painting downspouts, College Pro recommends painting in the direction of the flutes, which is generally top to bottom. For an added layer of protection coat the inside of your homes gutters with asphalt based paint. This will waterproof the gutters and seal any holes or cracks you may have, this potentially adding years of use to your gutters. This is especially useful in climates with high amounts of yearly rainfall and precipitation.

Jul 18

Exterior House Painting: DIY or a Job for College Pro Painters?

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COLLEGE PROMaybe it’s about that time…your home’s exterior paint is chipping, fading, or hanging on to that color which might have been huge in the 70’s but just isn’t “groovy” anymore. And so it’s time to consider painting. A fresh coat of paint can offer many benefits to a residential exterior; it can protect and seal siding from weather and sun damage and can also boost resale value as well as curb appeal. The big question now is “who’s going to do it?”

Many homeowners opt to hire a professional licensed painting contractor, like College Pro Painters, to handle the job, while others choose the do-it-yourself route. There are definitely pros and cons to both options, and the best way to choose the path that works for your home is to be educated on your options.

One of the first considerations any homeowner should visit when evaluating a home painting project is the size of the job. Upon first glance a painting project may seem scalable, but there are more variables to consider than meet the eye. Priming an exterior for optimal painting conditions can involve many processes such as scraping old paint and thoroughly cleaning and power washing surfaces. This can be extremely labor intensive, especially when working with older homes and very damaged exteriors. Additionally, College Pro Painters warns that care must be taken when prepping residential exteriors; windows, doors, trim, lawn, porches and walkways must be carefully evaluated and protected prior to beginning any paint job to ensure that the products of your labor are the desired result.

Price is an obvious consideration in any home improvement job, and although a do-it-yourself job may seem less expensive on paper, there are hidden costs involved which must be accounted for. Paint alone may not seem like a huge expense, but when you begin to consider that you will need a primer, prepping tape, ladders, a variety of paint brushes and sprayers, and other tools, you will see your bottom line shooting up. Not to mention the most valuable asset of all; your time. Time is a precious commodity and while some may enjoy the challenging hours of outdoor labor, others see lost time as lost money.

At the end of the day, the choice to hire a professional painting contractor like College Pro Painters or do it yourself is an individual choice, and both have the potential to yield great results, but take a small piece of advice and explore all your home improvement options prior to committing to any option…happy painting!

Jun 18

The Advantages of Owning a College Pro Franchise

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map College ProFor aspiring entrepreneurs, owning a College Pro franchise is a great opportunity. Outside of starting your own business, young adults have few opportunities to run their very own business. Because it’s so difficult to secure financing without a proven track record, the chance of gathering start-up capital is difficult if not impossible, especially in today’s market. College Pro gives franchisees an opportunity to develop business and personal skills in a real-world environment. Part of the College Pro success revolves around the strong training and support network young business owners receive throughout the relationship. The skills honed create stepping stones to even higher achievements. The program has produced no shortage of franchisees who point to College Pro as the reason for their success in the business world today.

No amount of studying can prepare a student for some of today’s business challenges, but it helps. Putting theory into practice is a good way to make that transfer from the classroom to the real world. Owning a College Pro franchise helps young business owners prepare for, and manage their own business. Successful candidates go through  a rigorous training program before operating their own franchise, and through training and mentoring, College Pro franchisees learn how to measure financial results and use these to set goals. Franchisees learn best practices for hiring and training employees, managing inventory, resolving customer complaints and performing community outreach. As with any business owner, College Pro franchisees face new challenges every day―mistakes happen,  projects are delayed, employees call in sick. The advantage to owning a College Pro franchise to starting your own business is the support network ready to give you a helping hand to guide you through some of the inevitable challenges.

Beyond the concrete business experience, it’s what young entrepreneurs learn about themselves in the process that can carry them into future success. What are you good at and what are you great at? Do your time-management skills and strong work ethic enable you to successfully balance a heavy workload? Can you prioritize in a way that meets the demands of the business as well as the needs of your personal life? Do you excel at driving top-line sales and building a happy customer base? Or are you best at managing the bottom line and hiring the right employees for the job? These are questions that we can only discover through hands-on business experience. The advantage of experiencing this challenge as a College Pro franchisee is that you’re not alone in the process. Business professionals acting as mentors provide the feedback necessary to help you succeed both personally and professionally.

The College Pro system is designed to ensure the success of young entrepreneurs. The company’s core purpose, ‘together, realizing potentials’, guides young adults along their professional and personal development path.