By Kristy Neiboer – Media & Marketing Intern, College Pro
This summer, I am working as a Social Media & Marketing Intern at College Pro, in Etobicoke, ON. I applied and was offered this job having had no experience with College Pro whatsoever (but I do have an interest, talent, and skills in the marketing field). Being one of only a few people to ever bypass fieldwork, I really had no idea what actually goes on in a College Pro Window Cleaning Franchise, or a College Pro Painters Franchise. This past week, I had the opportunity to spend an entire day with each of these crews, and learn what their average days, jobs, and challenges look like. I am surprised by the number of differences that exist between what I thought a franchise manager does, and what a franchise manager actually does.
First, with regards to the painting side of the business, I was under the impression that College Pro Painters franchise managers had an army of painters who they drove around from site to site, with a truck full of supplies. When the army arrived at a job, they would move at top speed and do a flawless job in an impressive amount of time. However, when I was picked up by the franchise manager, I realized there was no crew/army in the car. I quickly learned that he had more than one crew, and that each crew was at a different job site. Instead of painting as an army, we spent the morning traveling from site to site, setting each crew up with their tasks, and ensuring they had all the supplies they needed. As it turned out, each crew needed different equipment and supplies, and we ended up driving to the paint store and the hardware store, and then delivering the items to each site (a TON of driving!). Essentially, we spent the morning running errands to ensure each crew had what they needed to get the job done properly, which is much different than the army painting scenario I had envisioned.
I have also heard that problems tend to arise for painters, but I imagined the problems would be a quick fix, and that any crew member could and would solve the problem. I also thought that the manager would be with all crews at all times (as one crew), so everyone could work together to solve problems that arise. I learned that the ultimate responsibility of every job is on the franchise manager, and that the crew often calls the manager for support solving problems. This is a lot more responsibility on the manager than I imagined.
The third major difference I encountered involved College Pro Window Cleaning. While window cleaning production is much easier to run, requires less equipment, and is easier labour than a College Pro Painters painting franchise, the challenge seems to be getting customers. I had envisioned the businesses never being out of work, and having customers just falling into their lap. However, I quickly learned that getting a window cleaning lead/job is a big deal – and that managers really have to drive their marketing campaigns. Crew members help the franchise owner by cold calling to generate leads, and then the manager does an estimate as soon as possible to ideally book the job. Selling is tough, and I was surprised by the number of tactics and procedures the manager had already developed and used consistently with potential customers.
In conclusion, managers are in charge of far more things in their business than I thought, and are given responsibility for all aspects. While this sounds rough, both of the franchise managers I met were incredible individuals, who possessed skills I never even imagined having this early on in life, and were able to push through the challenges in a calm, confident, and successful manner.