So what is a Scam? [Scam \’skam\ A fraudulent or deceptive act or operation]… that’s what Webster’s has to say about it, and that is certainly not my experience with College Pro. In my opinion, the word scam has been popularized by individuals looking for some retribution after having had a bad experience; whatever the nature or root issue of that experience is.
I have seen College Pro from a number of angles over the years, and I understand why some would claim there is a College Pro Painters scam; however, I don’t subscribe to it. Scam and failure are not synonymous, and the College Pro experience is one of entrepreneurship, hard work and problem solving to achieve success – it is not a guarantee.
The College Pro world is a ‘choose your own adventure’ type of deal. There are plenty of safe-holds in place (systems, training, coaching, feedback, previous customers…) to help you through, but it depends on your determination to hit your goals. Nobody in business would ever tell you there is a guarantee of success; they might tell you that if you do your homework, make tough/smart decisions and work hard that you’ve got a really good shot at it. If there were a College Pro Painters Scam, I don’t believe the program would be operational in its 41st year, and continuing to grow. There are too many stakeholders intimately involved: students, parents, educators, home owners, suppliers, for a College Pro Painters Scam to be viable and long standing.
383,000…That is the number of results that load when you type “College Pro Painters” into a google search. It is incredible! From a consumer or student perspective, sorting through all these results to see if College Pro Painters is right for you can be challenging and overwhelming, to say the least. When you consider College Pro’s history, I guess the thousands of search results make more sense.
A college student founded College Pro Painters in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1971, giving other college students a chance to pay for their schooling and to secure post-graduation careers. That makes College Pro the original student-run painting and window-cleaning company. More than four decades later, College Pro treats nearly 25,000 homes annually with interior and exterior house painting and window cleaning services. Over 41 years, thousands of students have been franchise managers who employed hundreds of thousands of painters or window cleaning technicians. Wow. That is impressive. College Pro has literally touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people through its 41 year history!
It is shocking to see this question posted online for a number of reasons. As someone who has spent 16 years working his way up the company ladder at College Pro, it is especially disturbing to me.
In 1996 – as a 1st-year student at St. Thomas in Minnesota – I went searching for a job or internship that could give me real-world experiences, challenge me, and help me make money to pay for school and life costs. Thanks to a hard working College Pro representative who placed a flyer under my dorm-room door (and after a grueling interview process), I was given the chance to run a College Pro painting franchise. During my 4 years in College Pro’s program, I saw varying degrees of success within the franchises around me. Some of the franchisees were wildly successful. Some did OK. And some did not do well at all. Some of my friends became franchisees and each had a different degree of success.
When you run against conventional wisdom, there’re always naysayers. According to the Kauffman Foundation over the last decade, the average rate of entrepreneurial activity was 0.29 percent in the US. This means that only 290 for every 100,000 individuals were involved in starting a new business – obviously not the majority! At College Pro, we run into a similar challenge since we work with young entrepreneurs to help them run successful businesses. Often when people hear of the idea of young people starting their own businesses they think “Oh that must be that College Pro Painters scam” because they can’t see how someone so young could possibly run a successful venture.
Each year though we teach young entrepreneurs a systematic way of operating a business, and that’s ultimately why so many franchisees are successful. Each franchisee has a coach that is assigned to them to help them figure out how to run a successful venture, and every coach has themselves run a successful business with College Pro. It’s this use of real life experience and systematic processes that allows us to teach young entrepreneurs how to consistently run successful businesses.