LEGAL NOTE: All reviews are based entirely on student opinion and do not represent or claim to represent any facts.
College Works Painting (TX), Intern
Reviewed: 5/24/2013 at 1:27:12 am
|Location: Austin, TX||Compensation: Average Pay||Hours Weekly: 45+|
I’m sick and tired of hearing people bash this internship or the paint jobs done by College Works painters. I’m sorry if you had a bad experience in this internship, but that was probably your fault. Nine times out of ten, if you failed in this internship, it is YOUR FAULT and no one else’s, so don’t you blame CollegeWorks or the hardworking individuals behind this unique program.
I feel like with most businesses, people neglect to comment when they are pleased or satisfied, but when something goes wrong and people get mad, they instantly search for a means to vent their frustration. Rating sites such as this I feel are often the most common medium for angry customers to vent. It’s high time someone who had a damn good experience wrote a review.
This is that review.
I’m sorry… if as a customer, you are displeased with your paint job and paint service from College Works Painting. I don’t hold the opinion that that is a common occurrence. It wasn’t an occurrence at all in my painting business. I had 100% satisfaction, all 27 of my clients were pleased with my performance, minus a few hiccups which I diligently worked to overcome.
I began this internship in January of 2011 during my freshman year of college and finished in August of 2011, days before I had to return to my college town for the fall semester. Below I will summarize my experience as a College Works Painting intern. First I would like to give a little bit of background information.
College Works Painting is a business-oriented internship that by design is intended to be challenging, enlightening, and fun. I know of no other program that will better cultivate hardworking individuals into leaders ready to take on the difficult challenges of our time. If you want to be an entrepreneur, if you want to own and operate your own business one day, there is no better program you could enroll in. Students who enroll will be given the chance to take on more personal responsibility than they have ever been required to before in their lives (It's almost a certainty if you're under 21 years of age). College Works Painting is the real deal. It’s real world experience in starting up your own business and taking control of your life, your time, and your finances. If this program doesn’t teach you to appreciate free markets, competition, and the hard work and effort that goes into starting and operating a small for-profit entity, I don’t know what will. I love free markets. I love capitalism. I love freedom, and dammit you should too. If you don’t, you’re an idiot. (Or simply uneducated/naďve.) Small business owners are the heroes of American society and they deserve to be respected, admired, and looked up to. I wish all Americans wanted to live the American Dream like so many hardworking small business owners strive to. With that being said, I will summarize my experience.
I first learned about the internship at an information session held near my college, Texas A&M University. In a nutshell, I was told that it would be an entrepreneurial type experience and that I would be given the chance to run my own painting company for a summer. It sounded neat, so I signed up to go to the first round of interviews. During what I considered to be a somewhat strenuous interview process I learned more and more about the program and in time I decided it was something I wanted to do. By the time an intern position was offered me, I thought “thank God.”
So I was going to get to run my own painting company. I thought it rather exciting. Early in the Spring semester my training began. But before I get into that I need to describe the CollegeWorks hierarchy and position of “district manager.”
After being hired, I and the other interns from my home town were assigned to a “district manager,” which is basically a fancy term for “Someone who has completed this internship in the past and now wants to help other young people run their own business too.” To further summarize, the “district manager” is like a mentor, a friend, who is assigned to you (based on your geographic location within the state of Texas) and whose advice should be treated as if it were an order. (If you want to do well in the internship and make money.) My mentor was kind and supportive from the getgo, and he literally walked me through my entrepreneurial experience every step of the way.
Now let me be very clear… I did all of the work to make my business succeed. If you do this internship, YOU will have to do all of the work and your success or failure will be a reflection of the time, effort, and dedication that you put in. Your district manager doesn’t want to create and run your painting business for you and trust me they won’t- because they can’t. They don’t have the time. They’re EVEN MORE busy than you are, helping several individuals (interns) like you to run their own painting businesses at the same time. However, the district manager will try to teach you everything you need to know to succeed. The district manager will be there to answer any questions you may have. The district manager will be supportive and will try to encourage you when you are feeling discouraged. Your district manager will advise you on a course of action when you freak out because you’ve made some rookie mistake and you think it’s the end of the world (it’s gonna happen.) Ultimately, the intern will make the decisions using the input from the district manager. The district managers will coach the interns with the help of the “Vice President” who could be considered the mentor of the multiple district managers across the state of Texas. At one point the “Vice President” of College Works Painting was really the “district manager” of a few interns who decided to return to College Works Painting a second year for the much more difficult, second level internship that is being a “district manager” under the Vice President of CWP Texas. Second level interns don’t run their own painting business, they manage and mentor several other individuals running their own painting businesses. Personally I think it’s incredible. It is truly a neat experience to see so many young people leading other young people to success. I hope this has helped to explain the “hierarchy” of College Works Painting.
The district manager exists to enable YOU, the intern, so YOU, the intern must enable the district manager by
1) Maintaining a positive attitude. ALWAYS. No one likes an unappreciative whiney little shit.
2) Being coachable. Keep an open mind- be open to suggestions. All the good advice in the world means nothing if you choose to ignore it or tune out your district manager. Sometimes they will advise something that you reeeeeallly don’t feel like doing at that particular moment. Well, those are the moments that will define whether you succeed or fail. Listen to your district manager.
3) Not giving up. Do. Not. Quit. Ever. Seriously.
The training for College Works painting is extensive. My fellow interns and I underwent hours of powerpoints and lectures by the Vice President and District Managers of CWP Texas on numerous topics, the simplest of which being the ins and outs of the painting industry. We learned how to paint. (Obviously…. But I still felt the need to say it.) We learned the necessary steps to prepare for painting. We learned to powerwash surfaces to be painted to remove dust, we learned to sand peeling paint, to caulk cracks, to move and transport ladders safely. We learned roof safety and the proper use of a safety harness. We learned an efficient order to paint a house, doing prep work and other tasks in a manner that would not require moving the ladder more than necessary or having to retrace steps. We learned how to use brushes, rollers, sanders, wood putty, paint sprayers, pressure washers and more. We learned what not to do. “Don’t throw the caulk gun.” “Don’t move a ladder with a bucket of paint on top.” “Don’t paint a surface without a drop cloth underneath it.” “Don’t paint a wall when it’s wet.” “Don’t get on the roof without attaching a safety harness.” “Place the ladder at a safe angle and dig the ladder feet into the ground before climbing up it” From common sense, to the most tiny detail even professional painters never think of, CWP leadership attempted to instruct us on what was and what was not a good idea to do when painting a home.
We learned an estimating process, with formula sheets to help us determine the price of painting a potential customer’s home. We learned to measure the surface area to be painted, we learned to bid in more paint and material costs if the wall was particularly thick, perhaps stucco, and would soak up the paint. We learned that when a spot to paint is high up off the ground- it takes longer to paint- more ladder moving, more updownupdown- which costs more $ in labor. That had to be factored in to our estimates. We learned to bid in time for prep in the morning and cleanup at the end of each day. We learned how long it would take to set up a safety harness, we learned how much paint is needed for a smooth 500 sq. feet section of wall. We learned how to calculate how much paint we would need for a job and learned to calculate the cost of that paint. I could go on and on and on with details. We learned an estimation process, and what’s more we learned how to write up our estimation into a formal, neat-looking contract that would be presented to our potential clients. We were taught to forecast, manage and control costs so that we would be profitable and wouldn’t lose money.
Spring break rolled around and we interns were given an opportunity to show off our knowledge. In a volunteer project set up by the College Works VP, we painted a home for the sake of getting to practice what we’d learned. We the interns got to try out all the equipment and iron out the kinks in our understanding of how to paint a home. Awesomeness.
It’s great to know how to paint, but that alone is not enough to run a painting business.
We learned marketing techniques to find clients who wanted/needed painting, we learned sales techniques, we learned the need-satisfacton selling cycle, which is a sales technique based on pointing out to potential clients when they have a need for painting and then telling them how we can help and what a new paint job can do for their home. Through College Works Painting we the interns were provided our own business cards, lawn signs, car magnets, fliers, and a million other resources to help us get our marketing endeavors underway.
My district manager drove out to meet and help me when I tried marketing for the first time. My district manager performed my first 3 estimates with me to help me get a better feel how it was done. ( He did the first two and observed/critiqued me on the third.) My district manager was always a phone call away when I needed advice on how to make a sale or advice on what I could do to reach an agreement with an on-the-fence homeowner so they’d let me paint their home.
We were taught how to make a Summer schedule, planning the paint jobs in an order that fit both my and my client’s schedules.
We were taught to go marketing for employees. We were taught to utilize social media, Facebook, word of mouth, Craigslist, signs in public places. We were taught to write up clever ads that would attract attention and interest people. We were taught to start collecting a list of names and phone numbers whom we could call and sift through to find hirees to do the house painting on the jobs we set up. We were taught what questions would be beneficial to ask potential hirees. “Can you work full time?” “Have you ever painted before?” “Do you have any painting equipment of your own?” “Why should I choose you over someone else for this painting position?” etc. We were taught to conduct phone interviews in a formal sincere manner. We were taught to set up in-person interviews- I did mine at Starbucks and had two people come by every half hour. We were taught to over-hire and have replacements ready if need be. (People get sick, people go on vacation, people quit, people decide they don’t feel like working on a given day, whatever.) We were taught to find quality trustworthy individuals of character and admirable work ethic to hire as our painters.
We were taught to train our employees. We were taught to manage, to lead, to be respectful and to work with our painters in a manner that made the job enjoyable. I tried to be flexible with my painters’ schedules and give them off-days when requested. I brought in donuts sometimes or bought my employees lunch. I always had jugs of water available on-site and sometimes mixed up a big batch of Gatorade for the day. I was taught to take care of my employees as best I could so they would take care of me. I once had a painter who failed to stop at a stop sign completely on the way home from work one day, got pulled over, and had outstanding tickets he’d forgotten about. He was arrested and thrown in jail. The next day I phoned his brother (who had no money at the time) to find out where he was, and when I learned where he was I went and bailed him out of jail, and then drove him to the jobsite so he could work. He repaid me the money later that week and was thankful.
Over the course of the Summer after college let out, I utilized near a total of 13 painters, about 9 of which were employed at any given moment, 2-5 of which would be working on any given workday(Typically 1-3 workers on one home. Sometimes we worked on 2 houses at once.) I’m proud to say that I created jobs… that is incredibly exciting to me. Together, my employees and I completed 27 separate painting projects for a total of just over $59,000 in sales. Compared to my other interns who stuck through the program to Summer, I was about average. My smallest job was about $1,000 and my largest was $8,000.
Words cannot describe the impact this internship has had on my life. I learned how to use my brain, how to think critically, how to solve problems. That’s all running a business is. Problems both self inflicted and external are thrown at you and you must find a way to solve them as quickly as possible. This internship can certainly be stressful at times. You have a lot of people that are depending on you. Homeowners expecting a paint job, employees expecting a daily schedule and a pay check, some of them using it just to put food on the table. Not to mention the district manager and VP, who willingly invest so much time, money, and effort into a bunch of college kids with little to no promise of any returns on the investment. These people don’t do it for the money, I think. If I had chosen to get involved in upper level College Works, it certainly wouldn’t have been for the money.
This was really the first experience in my life that I’m proud of. This was something that I did and something I did willingly and worked hard at. It wasn’t just another one of societies hoops that I was forced to stumble through like High School or College. I was and am legitimately proud of my experience and achievement and I have good reason to be. I worked 60+ hours a week for two months without seeing a dime. I created jobs and provided people a means to living. I created wealth for myself and gained invaluable experience and confidence in myself I’d never known. I provided a valuable service to my community, I raised the values of homes in my hometown. I managed completion of 27 projects and had no complaints, 100% satisfaction. I made lifelong friends who care about me and have molded my life and will likely continue to mold it for years to come. I am grateful for the opportunity I received and thankful to those who believed in me before I did. All I did was bullshit and fake it until I made it. But that’s just what you have to do. Take a chance, step out of our comfort zone. This whole internship was outside of mine. Please do yourself a favor and do the hardworking people at CollegeWorks a favor and don’t sign up for this internship until you’ve made the decision 100% in your mind that you will not ever quit or give up. Quitting is the only way to fail. If you try hard, be coachable, and have a good attitude, success is not a matter of if, but rather … when?
So go on. Tell me CollegeWorks is a scam and isn’t a good program to be in. I’ll notice you for half a second, chuckle, and then cease to give a shit about your opinion on much of anything.
|Real World Experience:||Importance of work:|
Tips for getting accepted to internship: Don't apply unless you've made a mental decision to give it everything you've got and never quit.
Employee Hotness: NA / 5
Potential for a date : NA / 5