Business

Painters come straight from college

The Mirror

Christina Kim and Colin Price, two freshmen at the University of Washington with Federal Way roots, are having a brush with the real world of business.

The business majors are taking on a College Works Painting internship this summer. They are essentially running their own small, exterior house-painting company.

They’ll do their own marketing and paperwork, hire and (if necessary) fire workers, manage supplies, work with customers and become well-informed on paint technology, they explained. They’ll learn about every aspect of running a business, they noted.

Kim graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 2005, and Price graduated from Decatur High School the same year. They had mutual friends but didn’t meet until college.

Kim talked recently about her joint endeavor with Price during an on-line interview with the Mirror:

Tell us about the internship.

Colin and I got hired around December. About 1 in 60 applicants get hired. The internship ends at the end of summer.

Colin and I dedicate a large amount of hours into this internship. For several hours every night, we make phone calls. Every weekend we come back to Federal Way to market and do estimates all day long.

Any previous work or business management experience for either of you?

Colin worked for a market research company last summer. I’ve worked for a screening company since my sophomore year in high school. None of us have real business experience, but we have district managers that mentor us.

How many employees?

The number varies. We both hire marketers to help us market, and the more the merrier. We also hire painters. The number of houses we paint over the summer will tell us how many painters we need. Either way, we’ll need large amounts of both.

How should a prospective employee reach you?

They can call us on our cell phones. My number is (253) 653-6965. Colin’s is (253) 334-2971.

What’s the background on College Works Painting?

It is one of the largest residential house-painting companies in the U.S. College Works interns design and implement a marketing program, conduct sales, estimate projects, work with customers and recruit, hire and train their own employees. Essentially, they learn all aspects of running a small business. What makes us different from a lot of other painting companies is that because we’re college students we’re using this as a stepping stone to learn business skills. Customer satisfaction and quality is key. The company has been around for 22 years and has a 97 percent satisfaction rating. We also pay a lot of attention to prep work. 60 percent of the painting for us is based on just prep work. We’re not taught how to cut corners. Each branch manager has a district manager (who acts as a mentor) who has been through the internship and strongly succeeded.

Where does the paint and other materials come from?

College Works Painting works closely with Parker Paint. Parker Paint stores give the branch managers (Colin and I) the materials we need, send the bill to accounting and then the company takes it out of our profits. We use top-of-the-line Parker Paint because we get a discount and it’s quality paint made specifically for the northwest.

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