By: Patricia Seaton – 5 year College Pro Entrepreneur
Over the course of five summers running a College Pro franchise, I’ve hired, trained and lead my fair share of painters. Here are a few lessons I learned over the years:
Set appropriate expectations from the beginning: This can be challenging in your first year as an entrepreneur since you are hiring your own employees for the first time EVER, to do a job you’ve never actually done yourself. This was definitely a ‘trial by error’ experience for me where my skill at leading at team of painters only improved by making mistakes. Dealing with painter turnover helped me discover the important what-not-to-do-next-time’s and put these items into action.
Lead by example: Being accountable means following through on what you say you are going to do. If you are accountable to your painters, you can expect them to be accountable in return. If, for example, you say you will meet your painters at the job site at 8:00am, be there at 7:55am to drop off paint and equipment. They will appreciate that you respect their time and will reciprocate this respect in return.
Be wary of hiring your friends: The first summer I ran a franchise I thought it would be a ton of fun to have my friends paint for me. Turns out it didn’t end up being all that fun. I learned it can be really hard to draw the line between friend and boss in order to get your painters to do what you need them to do. I’m not saying it can’t be done because in my third summer of running a franchise, I hired one of my best friends to be a ‘super job site manager’ as I called her. She was my right hand lady who had additional responsibilities on top of painting. We wrote out a contract prior to agreeing to work together that outlined what each of us expected from the other, as well as a plan of action if working together started to jeopardize our relationship. It worked out fantastically! We both had a ton of fun, she was a huge asset to my business and she made great money; it was win-win all around.
Commit to being a good boss and improving your leadership skills. Good painters are an invaluable part of your business. There is no way College Pro entrepreneurs would be able to produce the number of jobs they do in a summer without some great help!