College Pro Painters - The unheard grumbles of an (ex)employee at CollegePro
To begin with, I would just like to put a disclaimer out there and say that your experience with College Pro Painters may have been different, however, in my findings, I see it happening almost everywhere and all the time.
In late June, early July, I started working for College Pro Painters as a painter. Almost no one around me was hiring, and I heard about this job from a friend, so I figured why not? To start off with, the franchisee was 15 minutes late to my interview. I found this surprising since he told me to be at the interview at 7 pm sharp, or he wouldn't even interview me. This should've put up red flags immediately for me, but I ignored them and proceeded into one of the worst jobs/scams I've encountered.
A few days after the interview, on a Saturday, I was told I was 'hired.' After I was hired I had to watch training videos. Pretty standard for any company, however, even CollegePro managed to mess this up. The training videos were around three hours long. They showed you everything you and a good painter would need to know how to do. I realized a problem with this though, there was no way I would be able to learn how to do everything within a three hour long video. You then have to take some *** test that even if you fail, they pretty much tell you the answers to the questions and let you pass. You say it's ok, do ya? It's ok because they'll give you real time training on a house? Wrong, but that's for later...
I was excited to start the job, albeit a little nervous. I've never painted before in my life. Monday rolls around, no work. Tuesday rolls around, no work. Wednesday, Thursday... no work. Friday, I was finally told there was 'work' to be done. I was excited to start training. However, that Friday there was no actual work, only 'marketing.' Marketing is something special.
"Marketing" is when the CollegePro painters go from house to house ringing door bells and asking people if they would like to get a free estimate on an exterior painting or something similar to that tune. Now, I understand this is essential for business to boom, but I have problem with two things: 1. The painters don't get paid to do this at all. You're supposed to get a 'bonus' of anywhere between 10-50 dollars if you get a person to sign up for a free estimate and then they actually hire CollegePro. However, there's a couple of problems with this. I've never heard of anyone getting a bonus for that, even though we're supposed to. Second, there's no accountability. So even if you did get a house to hire you guys, no one would know since (at least in my case) the manager never kept track. I'm assuming this was purposeful since that means more money out of his pocket. 2. I was never trained to do this at all. I was dropped in the middle of some suburb with two other painters, with this being my first day. We had to get 6 leads before we could go home. To put it in perspective, we got 2 leads and that was almost three hours in. The manager gave up and picked up after three hours in the very hot (95+) degree heat weather with no water.
After wasting gas getting to the suburb and back, I was disappointed since I made absolutely no money that day. No "real" training either, just free work for my manager. Next Monday comes around and no work. Tuesday I finally am sent to my first house to 'train'... for two hours. Whatever, I didn't care, I was working.
During the interview process I was told I was supposed to be in training for two weeks. Now, if he meant two weeks worth of work or just plain two weeks (whether or not there was work) is beyond me, but it doesn't matter. The first day I actually trained, more than a week after I was hired mind you, I trained for about a total of 30 minutes. I was told and trained in ladder safety, probably because they didn't want to get sued, and then showed how to caulk, scrape, and prime in a matter of minutes and then they put me to work right after. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself a fast learner of sorts, but there is NO WAY IN *** that after being shown how to do stuff for 5 minutes that I was able to do a professional (or anywhere near that) job. However, when the manager came over to me he said "That's a great job!" I'm sorry, but it just can't be true. After doing more caulking, scraping, and priming I am told what a good job I do and am told to leave for the day.
A few days pass and no work. I am finally given a job on Friday that is a supposed "10 hour job" with 2 other people. While we are at it, let's get into CollegePro's job estimate system.
When you hire CollegePro, the manager comes out to your house and gives you a "free estimate." In this estimate it tells him how many hours the house should take to get done (if you're Superman on crack, but whatever...) and also how much he should charge the homeowner. A 30 hour job should take a 3 man team (which is what it usually is, a 3 man crew for each house) 10 hours to get done. Pretty simple, right? Nope. Managers always, ALWAYS underestimate the amount of time that the house takes to get done. I've only completed about 1 house under the time because one of our "workers" didn't really count as a worker because he wasn't on payroll, officially. He was related to the manager some way or another, so his hours didn't count towards ours otherwise we would've been over our hours. Anyway, I should explain the pay system CollegePro has too while we're at it. CollegePro pays $9.50 an hour (at least in my case) if you are on time with the house, which means finished in the exact amount of time. Now, the pay differs if you go under or over the amount of time. Let's say you finish 5 hours over your time. You get minimum wage for the hours you worked. However, if you finish 5 hours under the time (which, as I explained before, almost never happens by the way) your pay per hour increases. In theory this means if you finish a 2 day house in 1 day, you could move on to a house the next day and get TONS of money!!! Now, as you may have guessed, that never happens. The most I've gotten in a single week is about 2 days worth of work, which is about 1 house. So even if I did finish it fast, I would just sit at home the next day with no work. There was hardly any benefit for the workers.
Back to the 10 hour job, we did scraping, caulking, and priming. All things I've been 'trained' in, but now comes painting, Actual painting about almost 2 weeks into my job. At CollegePro they use rollers and brushes. Neither have I really been trained in (besides the video). They literally handed me a brush and said "get to it." I feel bad for the mans house that we painted because I know I probably did a horrible job, left drip marks, etc. Oh, and that 10 hour job? It took us approximately 15 hours to do. What a surprise.
For the next 2-3 weeks I would get about 15-20 hours worth of work each week. Maybe a little less than what you would get at a normal part time job, however, this job was advertised as a 30-40 hours per week job. I also question whether or not I did a good job on the houses I did. After my training, I was constantly yelled at to go faster. The little quality I had in my work vanished because everyone was under so much pressure for time.The painters we're NEVER mindful of the area surrounding of the house. Even though the manager stressed it, no one followed it, including the manager. Everywhere we are supposed to scrape, prime, and paint we have to put drop cloths under so no paint gets on the floor below and no chipped paint gets on the floor either. This was never followed because of time constraints. We trashed many plants and flowers just to get to one spot and paint. We also never took roof safety into consideration. Although this was supposed to be "strictly followed," it hardly ever was. If we ever have to go on a roof higher than 6 ft. above the ground, we are supposed to wear a harness that catches us if we fall. No one ever sets up the harness so no one ever uses the harness. Although I didn't go on the roof much, the times I did, I felt very unsafe. I would've complained, but I didn't want to get fired.
Another thing, I usually didn't know I was working until the night before or even the morning of the day I was working. It was horrible, horrible management. Before I go on, do you see anything missing from my little rant? Did you notice I have not talked about getting a single cent? That's right folks, 4-5 weeks in, I still have not been given a paycheck. It gets better, though.
CollegePro's payroll system is utter ***, and I think it's on purpose, honestly. To understand why I have not gotten paid, you must understand the system. It's simple on the surface, but with so many steps, it makes it easy to not pay their employees. When you are hired by CollegePro, you are given an account on their website. This account has the training videos, all the tax forms you needs, and your payroll entry. In the payroll entry section you must enter all of your hours. Then you must approve that these are the right hours. Then your manager must approve those hours. However, before any of that happens, your manager must activate your account so you can enter your hours. My manager never activated my account. About 5 weeks in I asked him to activate it. It took him about 5 days for him to activate my account. It's so *** and definitely an unnecessary step. So then I enter my hours and approve them. This is late July by now, pretty recent, actually. However, he still hasn't approved my hours yet. I call him, text him, when am I going to get my paycheck, if he approved my hours for about 2-3 weeks. Yesterday, August 11th, is when he FINALLY approved my hours. I will probably have to wait a couple of weeks before I get my actual paycheck. I think what's worse is that he kept saying to me "Oh, you'll paycheck will come tomorrow" or "Your paycheck will come later this week." He lied to me. Just straight out lied to me. My family, to say the least, is very unhappy with him. 7-8 weeks of worth with no pay. I honestly can't believe it.
To be fair, I don't know if everything is entirely his fault. I've heard and read of managers getting completely screwed over by CollegePro, even some being out thousands of dollars by the end of summer because of all the fees they make the managers pay. Maybe he just doesn't have the money to pay me, I don't know. I can't really say since I don't know first hand. I also have heard of people getting bad paint jobs (what a surprise, again) and then getting no where when they complain to the company headquarters, which is horrible. I feel bad for these people.
I do know this, however, STAY AWAY FROM COLLEGEPRO AT ALL COSTS. Under trained employees that aren't paid well enough, mismanagement all over the place, shoddy business practices. I honestly don't know how this company got an A+ from the BBB. To put it bluntly, CollegePro exploits college students that are broke (like myself) by promising them "Painting. Summer. Fun. Money." It should be more like "Crappy paint job. Waste of a Summer. No fun. Never get paid or get paid like ***."
Review about: College Pro Painters Painting.