We'll be honest: most summer jobs suck. Whether you're bussing tables at a restaurant or folding clothes at the mall, you're in it for one reason—getting that cold, hard cash. I mean, when you're mopping floors at 1 a.m. at your local fast-food chain, waiting to punch out, are you ever thinking, "What kind of skills am I learning here?" Heck no.
But summer jobs don't need to suck. Getting involved with College Pro, for example, will get you the money you need—to pay off bills, school, or just have fun—while developing skills that'll last a lifetime. Like what, you ask? Leadership skills. Communications skills. And the tools you'll need to run your own business. If it sounds rad, it's because it is.
To add, it's been around since the Bee Gees were the biggest band in the world—in other words, it's been operating since 1971. We paint over 25,000 houses yearly, and we have franchises all across North America. But painting isn't the point: They develop leaders and entrepreneurs, who apply the lessons learned with College Pro to all aspects of their careers. It isn't only about getting your hands dirty—it teaches real-world skills that its former franchisees and painters carry for a lifetime. It's the skills they don't teach in school.
Don't believe us, though. We asked Lesley-Anne Strachan, a College Pro franchise manager based in Aurora, Ont., to give us the dirt on spending your summer with College Pro. Read on.
You started out as a painter. Can you tell us more about the role?
For sure. I started working as a painter four years ago, and I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to come back and work as a franchise manager. As a painter, you're doing residential work—you're painting houses and you're responsible for your job site. You ensure that things run smoothly and on time.
So, what's it actually like being a painter for the summer?
Well, we usually start work at 8:30 a.m. We get to a job site, determine what needs to be done, assemble supplies, and get to work. The starting pay for painters is minimum wage—$10.50 an hour, for us—but the best part about working here is the piecework pay system. We charge our customers per project, so if you're really good, you can get a 30-hour job done in 25 hours and get paid the same amount. I like to work hard, and it rewards you if you're highly motivated and have a great work ethic.
So, hard workers are who we look for. Doing exterior work can also be a laborious job—you're working outdoors, and in the heat—so people who are athletic usually do well. Some personalities don't fit in as well—like, you can't be lazy. [Laughs.]
The best part about being a painter is in the [workplace] attitude. Most of the time, you’re working with students and for students. .Everyone wants to work hard, and everyone does, but it's a really fun environment.
You mentioned that College Pro teaches real-world skills. Can you explain those to us?
I definitely learned punctuality, and I hardened my work ethic. And as the summer goes on, you get more leadership experience—as you get more responsibility, you become in charge of whole job sites. Eventually, you're doing managerial work, where you become in charge of other painters, the quality of the work being done, and you're talking directly to the customer about their needs.
Where can you go with your College Pro experience—beyond being a painter or a franchise manager?
The skills you learn apply to so many different areas—working hard and becoming a leader is good for whichever job you choose. As a franchise manager, you gain knowledge of running your own business, and College Pro is a real business. All the money you earn runs through your bank account, but you pay expenses, buy supplies, and deal with payroll. What's left over is profit.
As a painter, you also learn sales and marketing skills, too. You cold-call when you're looking for work, so you learn strategies to make yourself more effective, you target certain areas, certain clientele, and actively learn about the market. Those skills go far.