BGSU runs painting business through the fallWritten by Brandi Barhite | Associate Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Garrison’s brush with entrepreneurship is going well.
He dreams of running his own business one day and is getting practice with a College Pro Painters franchise.
“I did this for the experience mostly,” said Garrison, a senior at BGSU majoring in accounting with an entrepreneurial minor.
College Pro Painters was founded by a college student in 1971. It is North America’s original and most successful student painting company. The crews paint homes in the summer months and all the managers – who are franchisees – are full-time college students.
Garrison was worried about people not wanting their houses painted because of the economy. An average trim job is $1,000 to $1,500. A full paint job is $2,500 to $4,000.
“I painted 50 houses, which I think is quite a bit for a college kid,” he said. “I think the economy is perfectly fine as far as painting.”
The Belleville, Ohio, native had three crews working for him during the summer. He was mostly busy with marketing, cold calls and accounting. His territory included Perrysburg, Waterville, Oregon and Maumee.
“I think the biggest challenge, especially with college students, is finding the right people who are dependable and willing to work,” Garrison said. “For a lot of people, this is their summer job and you need someone to show up and do the work.”
Garrison said while summer is a busy time for painters, fall is a great time to paint as well. “You can technically almost paint up to freezing,” he said.
Homeowners tend to prefer neutral tones when it comes to colors, and most homes need a paint job every five to seven years because of the temperature changes in Ohio, he said.
According to Garrison, people know College Pro and respect the company. He went through a three-step process before he was allowed to have a franchise. It’s nice because it gives him a taste of owning his own business, but without spending as much money.
“I use all their literature and their name. That is one of the advantages that I get to use the college pro brand name and they train me. It’s not just, ‘this is Matt’s painting company.’”
The 23-year-old and his wife, Melissa, live in Waterville. Melissa is a graduate of Anthony Wayne High School and graduated from BGSU recently. She works as an architectural designer.
The couple may have to eventually move for jobs, but they are enjoying the Toledo area for now, not to mention his experience with College Pro.
“Their mission is to realize potential,” Garrison said of College Pro. “Basically, it is to develop college kids and teach us how to run a business, expand and prove ourselves.”
His wife hasn’t had to paint this summer, but she has done cold calls for him.
“It is kind of cool, him owning his own business, although much of the time he would come home irritated or grumpy about something or stressed out a lot,” she said, laughing.