My decision to spend one summer with Student Works Painting is easily one of my best decisions so far. To this day, I am ever thankful to myself for mustering the courage to proceed with it, and to the Student Works Team for their patience and sincerity with me as I struggled hard to learn all I could from the experience.
In the preseason, it was difficult for me to imagine what my summer was going to be like. I did as instructed with marketing and recruiting in preparation for production, but frankly was unable to manage both properly as I was easily distracted. This was one of many of my personal flaws that I learned about myself and subsequently corrected thorough working with Student Works. To the prospective franchisee, whatever you decide to do please listen to this piece of advice: a business owner is nobody without good people helping you. Be it through online ads, Facebook, talking to people in person or referrals/networking (the best source by far!), fight HARD to find good people. They will be a powerful deciding factor on how your summer will go, as you will see shortly with my personal experience.
Production. Equal parts exciting and frustrating when I first started out. I started the season with 3 painters. By week 3, I went through them and 3 other painters, most of which have quit on me on the job, leaving me hanging to deal with the understandably angry clients. What went wrong? Everything! I chose the wrong people. I was utterly unprepared and failed to plan ahead for the job. I forgot vital pieces of equipment and over-ordered paint. Worst of all, my painters were completely untrained and poorly managed. They got paint everywhere they shouldn’t have (carpets, baseboards, and dear god the stippled ceilings in every room) and painted an entire coat of latex paint over oil-painted intricate railings (please please DO NOT DO THIS). They damaged 2 pieces of furniture. To top it all off, by the end of it I was so shaken and exhausted trying as hard as I could to fix everything that I tipped over a can of primer on the client’s driveway along the way out on my last day.
Bottom line is this: find people, interview them, and judge them critically. I picked myself up, and eventually found myself 3 amazing painters that saved the rest of my summer. These people were everything the ones before them were not: responsible, honest to a fault, paid critical attention to detail, and learned very quickly. They were completely understanding of the problems on my end and open with communication. I am aware that we are likely complete strangers to each other, but with all my heart I implore you to trust me on this: you NEED people like this. Not having the right people behind you crushes even the most meticulous and diligent franchisee. Good people will make any franchisee, no matter their background, succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Do not ever take good people for granted. Unless you’re really lucky, you will likely find out for yourself what I mean by that.
But regardless of what you’ll be getting into this summer, do not give up. Never give in to the inner voices telling you that it’s too hard, or too hopeless, or that you’re too tired to go on, and goodness knows how many other excuses that they can come up with. At the very least, you will learn so much this summer that when you look back you will laugh and pity how weak you were when you first started. At best, you will make tons of money while doing it, so why the hell not fight as hard as you can knowing what’s really on the table.
Finally, if you find yourself thoroughly and absolutely crushed by everything and don’t know who you can turn to, find Thomas or Cory. They are the best 😀