The idea of starting our own painting academy began as a way to formalize our own in-house training. We are constantly training our employees in the latest products and techniques that will improve the experience and outcome for our customers.
However, Sheldon Stewart noticed while reviewing W-2’s at tax time that some of his Crew Leaders were making some pretty good money, like $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year! In many cases these were people who had not gone to college, and had started out as a painter’s apprentice and worked their way up in the company. Our highest paid crew leader was working six days a week and made more in overtime than a lot of people working full-time in food service or retail.
So the Academy became something more. It was an opportunity to start training people in the best way to paint. It became a way to seek out the best and offer them an opportunity to work at Stewart Painting and began a career path. And for those that didn’t end up with a job offer, they had still learned painting techniques and best practices and could go to work for another company or themselves. We saw it as a way to bring up the level of service within our industry as a whole.
But why limit these classes? We decided to offer three to four Do-It-Yourself classes a year, usually in the fall and winter. Everyone watches the HGTV or DIY channels and then wants to change the color of a room, or maybe the color of their bath vanity or kitchen cabinets. We thought, let’s teach them the best way to get the results they want. After all, not everyone can afford to hire a painting company to come in and take care of these jobs.