Is College Works Painting A Scam?
Is This A Pyramid Scheme?
A lot of times, people think that this is some sort of "pyramid scheme". Well what is a "pyramid scheme"? A "pyramid scheme" in the business world is often referring to a multi-level marketing company which gets particpants to recruit other people to buy stuff, but also places a heavy emphasis on getting particpants to recruit people to themselves become particpants of the organization. You make money in multi-level marketing when someone you signed up buys the product the company offers. You make even more money when the people you signed up go out and get people to sign up under them. You are given a small percentage of each purchase of those "below" you.
Multi-level marketing companies usually have dues and can also cost you money in order to get started (for example, the cost of buying sales kits or product inventory). Companies like Quixtar or Amway charge $500.00 plus just to get involved. Usually things are structured so that you must heavily recruit other people in order to make any money.
CWP does not charge any starting fee, nor do we charge students any kind of dues. We do not ask our interns to recruit other people to intern for us. Interns do not sign up their own interns. They do hire their painters, but painters are paid employees managed by the intern. They are not people "brought on" under interns to make interns money for doing nothing. Painters are workers who paint and they make an hourly wage! We do give interns the opportunity to refer individuals whom they are acquainted with, and if the acquaintaince is a quality applicant, then that person can also become an intern!
Is This A Scam?
What is a scam? A scam by definition is "obtaining money by means of deception including fake personalities, fake photos, fake template letters, non-existent addresses and phone numbers, forged documents". Scams typically involve a situation where one party somehow gets money or other valuable items from another, and gives nothing in return.
To scam someone would first and ALWAYS involve the "scammed" to have to invest or put money forward. Not only does CWP not require any kind of monetary investment, they also do not ask for any of their employees to secure debt.
Students are only responsible for their gas money and cell phone bill as with any typical college student job. For example, McDonalds does not pay for your gas to get to and from work, nor do they cover your cell phone bill. CWP provides EVERYTHING else essential in order for interns to start their own businesses.
Does It Cost Money To Join Or Are There Dues To Pay?
CWP does not require students to EVER pay money out of pocket to get started. Students are trained at the beginning of the program, and the training is free for them to attend. At the conclusion of their training trainees are asked to start working. As soon as they complete their training and start doing estimates interns are paid bi-weekly just like any other job.
Durning booking, intern pay is based on the number of estimates being completed on a weekly basis, and during production pay is based on the results of booked jobs. If interns do not work, they do not get paid, again, just like any job.
CWP does not charge interns any kind of "dues". The way we operate is actually pretty simple: as soon as a client pays the intern for completion of a paint project, the intern is to send the payment to the corporate office in California, where all monetary transactions are completed and documented.
CWP accounts for approximately 40% overhead on every job. This 40% is allocated to cover numerous business necessities including, but not limited to, all of the costs of training, marketing materials, District Manager support, office support, phone services, insurance, etc. These costs also pasy for fun events, contests, etc. As a company we also profit from doing business.
Can Student Interns Lose Money?
Since there is no investment required from interns, no they cannot. It is possible, for example, that a student could purchase $20.00 in gas to get to training and purchase another $50.00 driving around performing advertising and and creating estimates during the first few weeks. One might think that the the intern would be out $70.00. However, there is a draw system in place to assist with these startup expenses.
For each estimate that an intern completes they are paid an advance of $10.00, therefore over the first three weeks (using the above example) he or she would have to complete seven estimates in order to cover any out of pocket costs. In the worse case scenario, an intern spends three to four weeks "trying" and does not produce any intern. That intern would be paid for anything completed and would either quit on us or we would pull the plug due to lack of work. Either way, the student is not losing any money, even if the intern used the draw system to cover expenses.
If at any time an intern quits and they have a negative account balance, CWP assumes responsibility and eats the loss as a cost of taking the risk on that particular student.
What If They Don't Teach Me Or Support Me And I Fail!
What if someone is not "getting it"? We keep a very close eye on each intern, monitoring his or her weekly activity and results. In addition to the in-depth classroom training we also teach each intern who puts the initial effort into getting potential buyers in person with the District Manager (DM). Each intern has a DM and that person is there the first time the intern does ANYTHING new for the first time.
Bottom line: If you are not getting it, we will help. If you do not get results we risk our reputation and lose money. We are very motivated to make sure that each student brought on figures it out and makes it through the program.
Why Do So Many Students Fail Then?
In order to "fail" one must first attempt something. If you analyze attrition across typical collegiate level jobs you will find that there is drop-off everywhere! Would you consider someone a "failure" if they were hired but never even attended training? Probably not. Now how about someone who attended training but never put a single hour of effort in? Again, probably not.
Now, what if a student hired to intern for us was trained, attended a flyer drop session with their DM for an hour or two and then drove around in their area for a few hours and put in five hours of work total. If that intern gets frustrated and misses their meeting with their DM the next week, and thinks "this is not for me" and ends up quitting, is that attrition?
The point is that of those interns who actually get the ball rolling and get trained on estimates, we have seen a very small drop out. Like any job, people come and go, for example, because their schedule doesn't work or they try it and then decide that they are not a good fit for the work. Through selectivity, training and support, we are able to keep that number down.
Can I Really Learn To Paint Houses And Do It Well?
Our training gives students more than ample training to be safe, efficient and neat with respect to the physical aspect of painting. Although interns are not to paint themselves, each of them attends a one-week hands-on training. Now we are talking about painting. Most parents would let their 13 year old paint his or her room. Painting is not all that difficult.
During that one-week training, our interns are given instruction from not only their DM and Vice President, but also several different industry professionals. They are exposed to representatives from companies that manufacture painting equipment, they meet paint store representatives, and hear directly from others who have made successful careers in the painting industry.
As with every other aspect of the intern's role, the DM is at the very first job each intern produces for most (if not all) of the time it is being produced! We make sure that our interns have good employees and that they "get it". No one is allowed to expand until they are profitable and can prove that their clients are overly satisfied with the job done.
Painters Are Not Trained And Do Sub Par Work...
Each of our interns is trained both in the classroom and in their one-week on-site training. In addition to the direct training that the interns receives, the painters are also approved by the DM through meetings and interviews. The painters are allowed to attend the training put on by the DM as well.
Once a painter is hired they usually attend a certification and safety training hosted by one of the major paint suppliers as well as the division's Vice President. Painters receive training on ladder usage, sprayer set up and clean up, painting basics, safety, crew kit composition and tool usage.
Even though the above mentioned training seems ample, that is only the beginning. Once an intern decides that the painters are "ready to go", the DM meets them on the job and spends their first day supervising them and fine tuning their skills. DMs make sure painters are safe, efficient and can do the work right!
I Worked Too Hard And Got Paid Too Little...
Why do students participate in CWP? Is it the money? Is it the experience maybe? Do they want to meet people? Most of our interns would tell you that they learned more through their experience with CWP than they did attending their first few years of college! They will also attest to the invaluable network of associates that they were introduced to.
This program is designed to give students transferable skills that can be used to help them in their future careers. Some interns work twice as hard for the same results as the next. Just as some students have to study twice as much to achieve the same grade point average. The difference is that we do not charge them for this education. In fact, we pay them to participate.
Is college unfair for the person who must study twice as much? We don't think so.
With everything we do, results are achieved based on a different level of exertion. Some students do have to work a lot to have success and get the results necessary to make money and be considered a success. What is the pay? Is it just the money? No! Students receive unmatched experience and see more job offers as a result. Through CWP, students find it much easier to secure a job, gain acceptance to graduate school or move up quickly from their first after-college entry-level position.
The Company Gets Their 40% And Everyone Else Gets Screwed...
CWP does take about 40% off the top of every dollar received. If an intern does not make money on a job the DM will be fully aware. The DM will work one-on-one with said intern and identify the causes of the job not yielding profit. If the problem is in any way our fault we ALWAYS make sure that the intern does not suffer a loss and moves on to the next job.
Painters are also paid regardless of payments coming in. CWP assumes an enormous amount of responsibility for interns' actions, therefore we monitor them closely. Our 40% is largely used to provide students with what they need to look and be professional out there. We give them:
- Lawn signs
- Business cards
- Carbon-copied contract agreements
- Car magnets
- Shirts and shirts for employees
- Training aids
- Sales aids (past client testimonials)
Like any for-profit business, we are in the business of making money. The more money an intern makes, the more money we make. Make no mistake, without profit we would not do what we do. CWP takes all the risk and provides not only the above mentioned items, but also training, events and support from an experienced hand.
How Am I Sure That I Will Not Under-Bid Jobs?
Painting estimates are relatively simple to complete. Classroom training is given, we assign homework that interns must complete and understand / review and the DM does the first few estimates with / for each of their interns. There is literally NO EXCUSE for one not understanding how to price properly.
More often, what happens is that an intern adjusts a price and then experiences doubt that a client will hire them if they are quoting too high of a price. To alleviate this anxciety, we train our interns to clearly understand that "our prices are what they are and are not negotiable".
DMs reinforce the pricing and stress the fact that our prices are correct and people will hire you if you do a good job at the estimate. Still, some interns drop their prices to secure jobs. We do everything we can to make sure that this does not happen frequently; however, we cannot supervise each estimate that is done.
Are People Really Painting Their Houses That Often?
Painting is preventative maintenance. CWP's target market is upper-middle class and upper class homeowners. In order to understand the industry you must understand who we provide painting services to. Our clients understand the importance of keeping their property looking and functioning good!
Our clients also understand that by painting every few years they will avoid costly repairs and replacement of boards, windows and other things around the home that may decay if not protected by paint. Regradless of whether the economy is good or bad, people invest in home improvement, and moreover home perseverance.
Lucky for us, painting is affordable and an important aesthetic and functional aspect of home maintenance. Our target market plans for things. If they need a new air conditioning unit this summer they will get one. If they need a few of their windows replaced they will do so and if they need to paint they will paint!
Will I Be Able To Find Enough Jobs For My Crews?
Jobs are not easy to find. It does require a lot of work and a lot of time. Interns run a relatively small business. Our average intern usually completes between 15 or 20 jobs. That is it!
Each intern is given ample neighborhoods and opportunity to find these jobs. We know how to market and we help our interns target the right homes. Each DM works with their interns directly as well to hire the right amount of staff for the work that is procured. If there is a surplus of jobs we hire more and if there is a shortage we will drop crews.
Either way, interns can find jobs. It requires patience, learning, trust, practice, practice and practice! If an intern sticks with it they will prevail. We make sure of it. They must be out there working. In sports, you cannot make a weak player a strong one if they never show up for practice! If an athlete is there every day, working as hard or harder than the rest, then he or she can become the best. The same thing applies here.