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Mar 12

Why Choose College Pro Painters?

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By: Nikki Borkhuis, College Pro alumni

 

At College Pro Painters, we’ve got what you want – high quality work, at a competitive price.  Our team is made up of energetic student painters and extensively trained young entrepreneurs. Our vision to our customers states it perfectly: “For those who have shown belief in our entrepreneurs: To deliver a service that will be recommended to others.”

Our painters are students who live and work in your community and are looking to earn money during their free time while going to school. All of our employees have been carefully screened and technically trained, and are also given the proper guidance to ensure that they complete a high quality job. The franchise owners are trained extensively throughout the winter and spring on all aspects of business management. Our management and training program has been called a “Real World MBA” with over 40 years of proven success and is now recognized as a Stage 5 Learning Organization—the highest level possible.

College Pro Painters was established in 1971 and currently operates in 32 states across the U.S. and 9 provinces in Canada; over 700 franchise owners operate businesses in North America. In 2012, we painted over 20,000 homes across North America.

A homeowner should consider College Pro Painters for numerous reasons. With our track record and years of experience, we are able to offer many benefits – you learn by doing, right?  Because of our size as an organization, College Pro Painters is able to provide accident coverage providing a liability free work site. With a mostly college-student labor force we are able to provide competitive pricing with quality products. Students are reliable, experienced and trained to do a thorough job. They are also dedicated and motivated to make money during school. With our free written estimates there is no confusion around price or details, and our two year warranty is clearly outlined.  We also have year-round customer service support. We present references and client manuals at the estimate which showcases our previous work. Our sign-on, sign-off policy requires quality workmanship obligating the students to the written proposals and guaranteeing homeowner satisfaction; the job is not complete until 100% of the proposal has been completed. College Pro Painters is also able to provide minor maintenance and customized surface preparation, extending the life of the paint job.

We hope to see the yellow and blue signs of College Pro Painters in your community this summer!

 

 

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Oct 15

Choosing Your Ideal Contractor: College Pro Painters

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By: Matt Xhignesse

Choosing Your Ideal Contractor - College Pro PaintersSpring begins to peek around the corner. The sun is warming the air, and trees are beginning to bud. You step out onto your front porch and take in the fresh air, smiling as your mind turns to the warm weather that is surely coming your way. Just then, your eyes start scanning the porch, the stairs, your front door. “Gee…there’s more chipped paint around here that I forgot about.” It’s about now that you think about sprucing up your home to refresh its look, much like spring is refreshing the world. You make the decision – I’m going to paint the house this summer!

 

However, there’s a problem: you’ve never painted your house before, and you certainly don’t have the time this summer to give it your full attention. As you look around your neighborhood, you see a few signs perched about on lawns and on telephone poles. There are painters galore who would love to paint your home. So…who do you choose? Who is the best choice?

 

It is a decision that ultimately lies with you. Choosing a contractor, like one of the hardworking students of College Pro Painters, boils down to an emotional choice. Do you trust this person? Do they appear to be responsible? One advantage that you will find with College Pro is that, unlike the stereotype of the “absent contractor” who leaves a job on a whim, College Pro’s franchisees are most often students learning about the business world. Such a contractor is really in no position to benefit from the work if they leave something unfinished, as they are hurting their learning. A College Pro student manager is already in the learning mindset, so you can be sure that they are willing to take the time to do things right.

 

How about the matter of quality? Can a young and relatively new College Pro team really deliver the job quality that you’re looking for? College Pro Painters and franchisees are given ample theoretical and on-site training, and will not finish a job until you are completely satisfied, so you can be sure that a quality paint job is guaranteed. Though they may be younger and fresher than some contractors, their drive is equally fresh, and their energy has proven time and again that they can deliver results…and have fun doing it!

 

All in all, College Pro Painters is a contractor you can trust. They are contractors who you can bank on to deliver. And in this ever-changing world, College Pro teaches the younger generation how to work, and do it right for everyone involved. This summer, choose College Pro Painters to paint your home – they won’t disappoint.

 

 

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Aug 10

What to expect when hiring a painting contractor

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Let’s face it – contractors have a bad rap. Everyone has a contractor horror story. “They left my deck half built for weeks while they finished another job” or “they took a huge deposit and never came back” or “when I tried to call in my warranty I found out the company doesn’t exist anymore”. It’s a tough world out there when you are trying to hire help. College Pro Painters tries to address these contractor bloopers by systemizing a painting experience so that not only the end product looks great but hopefully, as a homeowner you are satisfied with your contractor experience as a whole.

What to expect when hiring a painting contractor - College Pro Painters

If you put your trust in College Pro Painters you can be certain to receive service of a different kind. Some differentiating factors you can expect from College Pro Painters Franchise Managers:

1)      When they come into your home to give you an estimate they will bring you what is called a “Client Manual” that has everything from references, to before and after pictures to FAQs. This allows you to read up on any information you want to know about the company or the paint products while they are measuring your home.

2)      Once they have all the information they need, College Pro Painters will give you a detailed written quote. Not a number on the back of a business card but a full contract with the price and the details of the job.

3)      The price we quote is exact. What this means is a College Pro Painters franchise manager will not come back to you halfway through the job to ask for more money. The price is the price. We stand by that.

4)      Once the painters are working on your jobsite, they will remain on that site consecutive days until the job is complete. College Pro Painters don’t move their crew to the next job until yours is 100% complete. At that point they will complete a thorough walk around with you prior to collecting payment.

5)      Deposit – 10%. The deposit is big enough that you are secured into the schedule but not outrageous by any means. The remaining 90% won’t be collected until you are satisfied with the work.

6)      Once the work has been completed in full, our call centre will give you a follow up call to ensure your satisfaction with the job. Follow up is key with College Pro Painters. We have been in business for over 40 years and plan on servicing many more customers in the future.

So, if you are interested in getting painting work done, College Pro is a great option for you. With some service details that really separate it from other businesses, College Pro Painters is not your normal contractor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a contractor story to brag about?

 

 

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May 23

What I Thought a College Pro Franchise Manager Does, and What A College Pro Franchise Manager Actually Does

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By Kristy Neiboer – Media & Marketing Intern, College Pro

What A College Pro Franchise Manager Actually Does

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.

May 7

Why Hire College Student Painters

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Student labor is a great alternative these days when selecting someone to do general labor tasks around the home.  College students fill a variety of positions, both in the spring and the summer.  Many of these jobs fall in the customer service categories such as restaurant or retail jobs.  Other college students seek out general labor type positions such as painting, window cleaning and landscaping.  These jobs often pay well and have a variety of job sites that are worked on.

One company that specializes in employing college students is College Pro Painters.  You may ask “why should I choose college student painters from College Pro Painters?”  Many people appreciate a company that has been in business since 1971, that has a 2-year written warranty, or proven systems over four decades.  Others like the idea of helping a college student gain some experience and work their way through college.   One thing is for certain, College Pro Painters has the experience and network to make it happen whether you’re in New York or Oregon.  People can become inspired by working with college students and catching a glimpse of what will come with the next generation of business leaders.  It can also become somewhat of a nostalgic experience as homeowners can reflect back on their time as a college student, and can recall dreams and aspirations from the past.

Why Hire College Student Painters - College Pro Painters

College Pro Painters serves a niche in the residential and small commercial painting markets that no other competitor fulfills.  If you are looking for a long lasting, old fashioned brush and roll house painting job, College Pro offers unparalleled service and customer satisfaction.  College students work hard to provide you with a great product to earn great feedback and ratings from you.  Painters who work with College Pro are selected for their attention to detail, work, and academic performance.  These painters are taught to have pride in their workmanship and stay on the job until you are satisfied.  You know they will be respectful both to you and to your home.  A better question for you to ask would be, “why shouldn’t I choose college student painters from College Pro Painters?”

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.