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Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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Franchisee Painting by Numbers

Had you told John Villar earlier this year he would be running a painting company, he would have laughed in disbelief. After all, he admits having little skill. But that’s precisely what happened. Villar, 44, opened a CertaPro Painters franchise in Granada Hills in October, despite having zero industry experience. In fact, the Granada Hills resident had worked as a financial analyst at an insurance company and as an IT consultant after getting his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business in 1997. So what exactly prompted Villar to trade in his white-collar duds for the blue-collar profession of painting walls and ceilings? Call it a mid-life crisis, after working years for others. “I started looking for a franchise that shared concepts of how I wanted a business to be run,” Villar explained. “Though I would have never believed I would have opened a painting company.” CertaPro trained him to estimate job prices, what types of paints to use, operating procedures and more. In total, he spent an estimated 80 hours in front of his computer and also did some hands-on work to get accredited in actual painting. Edward Kushell, president of the Franchise Consulting Group in Los Angeles, said it is not uncommon for a franchise to sell to a person who is unfamiliar with the industry. “Fast food companies will only sell a franchise to someone who is experienced in that area, but other franchises will train someone in that field or take someone who at least has business experience,” he said. CertaPro, headquartered in Oaks, Pa., is the largest residential and commercial painting company in North America with more than 450 locations. It is owned by First Service Corp., a publicly traded company in Toronto. Nearly two months in, the Granada Hills resident employs four experienced painters, while his wife, Tami, handles administrative responsibilities. Villar said the company, which has a territory of 32 ZIP codes within the greater Valley, has grossed $55,000 in sales and has an estimated $70,000 worth of work through December. Villar paid $52,500 to join CertaPro and signed a 10-year contract requiring him to pay the company 5 percent of gross income, in addition to a 3 percent fee for a general advertising fund. Villar acknowledged his franchise is not yet profitable, but he expects to be cash flow positive by January. He also plans to hire two more painters within the next year. “You wouldn’t want me painting your house,” he said, laughing. – Champaign Williams

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