• Report: #320322
Complaint Review:

Student Works Painting

  • Submitted: Sun, March 23, 2008
  • Updated: Wed, February 06, 2013

  • Reported By:Anonymous Ontario
Student Works Painting
http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.studentworks.com%2F&ei=UknmR9aTEIuWgg , Ontario U.S.A.

Student Works Painting Poor Hiring Process - one sided and baised - high fines for quitting employees Canada Wide Ontario

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Former Owner/Operator: Good Experience

*UPDATE Employee: some personal experience

*General Comment: Great Experience

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: three months and out

*Consumer Comment: READ THE FINE PRINT!

*Consumer Comment: I would report them to your local law enforcement

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I am a current Manager working for Student Works Painting. The problem is that they hire many enthusiastic university students, make them sign an job agreement and pay $250 upfront , before any training and detailed knowledge is gained on the job. Even worst the job agreement sets up many fines that are in place for those students who were not suitable for the job and was hired anyway. If someone can replace you within 10 days you get fined $1000 and if no one can replace you they fine you $3500. This is tremendously unfair, because after learning the "system" some people realize that they are not suitable for this job.

Even worst, some people may realize that the "system" is not as good as they said and even some things they teach you to do are not true at all. They tell you, that no one else will get as good prices of paint as they do and that they get the best prices, but that is really bs, because we purchase 1 gallon paints for the same price as contractors get it for, some contractors get it for even less.

Furthermore, they take up to 34% in royalties, 250 in materials, and 1200 in administration fees right off the bat. About 4 of my friends I have met there have quit already account for 3500 for some and 1000 for others. This ridiculous amount.

I thought the job meant flexibility, that you are in control and can manage your own business. But in reality, they are a management company that merely outsource everything to you as a franchisee. I have to have 45 minute calls/ in person meetings on Mondays and Thursdays to account to my General Manager and face fines if i do not go, starting at 10 for the first 3 and then doubling and so on. I also need to input into their database every week or else suffer from the same fines. Really whats with this company and fines?

They also make a load of money off you, which is too large and unjustified. I do agree that as a manager you can make a lot of money, but however, a lot of money goes to them also.

Right now I really want to quit, but this job has already expensed me for around $600 bucks and I am pretty screwed. They expect university students to pay 3500 for quitting a job because that is how much it "damages" their company, but however i believe 3500 is far more greater of an expense for university students than for them (if it is really that BS amount).

Last summer I worked for two months and made less than 3500, now basically that needs to go to drain, because someone from Student Works Painting decided to hire me. As a student, my university tuition, text books, rent, and living expenses already account for more than 15 grand a year, and now I must pay another 3500.

It is in poor practice to regulate so many fines. Especially since so many are hired and so many quit. They create such a high demand for their job and hiring process, that students are more focused on being able to attain this job, rather than learning more about the job.

I am not saying this job is bad, but they know a lot of people they hire quit every year and instead of teaching people or letting people be aware of this information, they place fines and regulations to make money off of people who they hire which are not suitable for the job.

I would love to hear comments from other managers and GMs DMs and Owners.

Anonymous, Ontario

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/23/2008 05:49 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/student-works-painting/ontario/student-works-painting-poor-hiring-process-one-sided-and-baised-high-fines-for-quittin-320322. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Former Owner/Operator: Good Experience

AUTHOR: Dan - ()

I am a former SWP Owner/Operator for two summers  had a great experience. I did rather well both summers and helped with the recruitment process of new Operators for my last year. I would 100% sign up again in first year if i had the chance at that point in my life. 

I'll try and touch on the topics the original poster brought up:

- Employee/Job Vs. Owner-Operator/ Business: First things first, those who take on these roles for SWP are Owner/Operators and not employees. There are both pros and cons to this method but mostly it protects the company from being sued and gives the Owner/Operator freedom to run the business however they please within the constructs of the original agreement. I have personally told the VP to go screw himself my second summer because i was happy with the levels of my success. 

- Original Fee:My year it was $300, and i didnt see it as a big deal. This pays for the original training weekend in a nice venue w/ meals. The business registration costs and all original materials given out (manuals, client books, marketing materials, shirts etc).

- Hiring Process: the SWP hiring process is extremely long and in-depth. Usually putting the student through 3-4 interviews before being offered a contract. They spell it out for you every step of the way, especially about the fines for quitting. They do this for a very simple reason. They dont want to invest a bunch of money in someone and then they just quit. It is difficult to predict who wil be successful because of the contributing factors (commitment, skillset, work ethic, focus and sometimes a little bit of luck) and they do their best to make sure people are not going to flake out on them at the first sign of trouble.

-Termination Fee: the $1000-$3500 fee operates on a sliding scale depending on when the operator quits. This is to compensate the time the a DM/company will put in with the Operator and tries to compensate them for lost revenue they wouldve gained if the operator stuck the course. It is spelled out in the interview pretty clearly, "this is going to be really hard, harder then anything you've ever done". Yet i watched many people crumble under the first few weeks, or simple think they are the exemption because of some arbitrary reason.

- The District Manager: the role of the DM is simple, help the operator succeed. They are hired by SWP as consultants to you, the Operator and help as much as possible. They are a useful resource of past knowledge and only make money if you do.

- Systems: SWP is a systems-based company, and use them because of one reason: generally, they work extremely well in the vast majority of their businesses. It would be impossible for every single part of their operators manual to work in every different market, for completely different operators but for the most part are quite good. The mention of fines for not showing up to a business meeting seems ludicris to me, this person was angry that people whose job is to aid them in his business venture set up two weekly meetings every week and that he would have to actually attend said meetings. THOSE MONSTERS!!

- Royalty:The royalty is high (i thought it was only 30% in my years) and worked on a decreasing sliding scale, in exchange you get everything (Trainings, systems, access to DM, Paint Store Line of Credit, Website, Branding, insurance and Materials). The administration fee $1200 (i paid in 4 installments) is a bargain, to not worry about the entire backend of the business. It may be a few percent high (wouldve loved it to start at 27ish%) but it well justified for the company to actually make money. SWP invests so much time and effort that they only make money when an operators does over $25,000-$30,000 in gross revenue. It is a well-known fact that the person who invests the most money gets paid the most and gets paid last. This is the definition of the Company, who using that 34% royalty pays for alot (recruitment, training, consulting, marketing and company improvement) all while turning a profit. It kinda blows my mind that the Poster is angry that they can run a small business at 20%+ Profit Margin but the Owner of the Company cannot want the same thing.

-Success Rate: SWP expects a small portion of their Operators to fail, because it would be insane to think that 100% would. If i can remember correctly, approximately 15-20% of operators who actually start (meaning they put in some sort of effort) are let go or quit. Which means 80-85% of them stick it out for the entire year. Which seems pretty impressive to me, personally. 

Personal Take: I saw quite a few people go through the SWP program, many were succesful and many had verying levels of failure. It seems like the Original Poster had a rough start and blamed all his problems on the company and not with themself. Unfortunately, it is the nature of business (easier to blame others than ones self) and i dont think the Original Poster gives a fair representation of what being an Owner/Operator is.

For prospective students, working with SWP is very difficult, do not think that you are some anamoly who will become a crazy success. There will be a few each year who will be incredibly successful and they are by far the hardest workers. If you are not willing to be 100% committed to your business, it will fail. Pretty simple. However, if you committ yourself and have the right skillset with a little luck, than you can get a great experience that will put you way above your peers. I know it sure has for me

Best of Luck 

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#2 UPDATE Employee

some personal experience

AUTHOR: nick - (Canada)

In general, I am quite agree with anassrat on student works painting. (SWP)

I am currently a student works painting franchisee and is beginning my preseason marketing, preparing for the summer painting work. So I cannot say for sure SWP is a good business, but my experience until now is satisfactory. 

1. The 30% royalty is quite a lot for any franchisee, but many student managers have earned 25-30% profit of their sales in their business and on average they have $60,000 sales in whole summer and at least $20,000 is supposed to be booked in preseason. The author of this report has only booked $10,000 in preseason, way less than the minimum amount. This year, a student manager is only allowed to use the deposit from sales until he books $15,000. So it is reasonable the author did not get his sales money for leverage. 

2. Just like most things we meet in life, we should learn more about what we gain from them instead of what we have given. In student works painting, you devote time, energy, and money in preseason to promote your business, and get experience in sales, time management, human resourses, and networking along with good money in the end of a successful season. The regulations may be uncomfortable for the author in his business, but I believe his lack of devotion into HIS OWN business is the major reason that he failed and had to quit. Every successful businessman should know the importance of keeping record about your business and help from a senior manager. So why whining about SWP forces you to put weekly marketing and sales stats into a well organised online system which can conveniently keep record of everything about your business? Why complaining about the weekly phone calls with your district manager who is willing to help you and answer all your questions in these calls? These are the questions author should ask himself.

I agree that 30% is a huge amount of loyalty indeed and it may seem unfair, but how are you supposed to manage your own painting franchise without all the training and help from SWP, especially when you are just a college student with no painting/management/marketing experience before? Just as I have said, focus more on what you can gain and complain less about what is "unfair". THE WORLD IS UNFAIR, but successful people always find/gain their own advantage. I welcome any reply, no matter they agree or disagree with me. 
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#3 General Comment

Great Experience

AUTHOR: anassrat - (Canada)

I am not sure why all the comments are coming from the US when this is a Canadian company and don't understand how the first comment relates. Also the person who said they worked for Student Works could not have worked for the company because this company is not present in the US.

I worked for Student Works for 4 years and had a great experience. I learnt a lot and made good money which helped me pay for school. I built some incredible sales, marketing and HR skills. Now I am moving into a new job where I will be managing a business which generates revenue of over $400,000 a week. I could not have achieve this without the experience I gained with Student Works.

Coming to the main point of this report. Yes the company has a penalty for terminating the agreement which you would not find in employee agreement because this is not an employment agreement. It is a franchise agreement and this is a standard practice for franchises. Why does the company have such a clause? Because this student was selected from a pool of over 20 candidates (and these numbers are documented) to own a franchise for the company based on a commitment to run this franchise for a year. By breaking this commitment this student has cost the company over $15,000 in costs of training and lost revenues. When you take this into consideration you will realize that the $3500 penalty does not come close to compensating the company for its loses. Furthermore, the termination fee is always mentioned to the student during the interview process prior to even being offered the position to insure that he/she is fully aware of it so that there are no arguments over it later on. 

Hope this helps to clarify!
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

three months and out

AUTHOR: PontiousPilate - (USA)

I worked for this company for three months while putting myself through college. I can tell you that this is typical activity from them and somehow they get away with it! I have talked to people who have had to take out a loan to pay the "fee" for quitting that they were duped into signing up for.

Can you show me the laws that apply to this situation? I would really like to take this further to protect my peers who are still with them. Thanks!
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#5 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Phoebe87 - (USA)

This will certainly push new hires to read the fine print in the job agreement before signing up to work. If a company is so pressed for money that it has to try and make money from its own workers, they must not have much business and probably wont survive much longer. This certainly sounds like someone I would not want to work for. Maybe other people like it, but I'm sure that most don't!
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#6 Consumer Comment

I would report them to your local law enforcement

AUTHOR: Amber G - (USA)

What they are doing is a textbook violation of a couple DOZEN labor laws. It is illegal, unethical and even unconstitutional for them to pick and choose based off who they can find. They are required to hire the person or persons who are the best fit, not who will take a paycut or who has blonde hair and blue eyes. Definitely contact your local labor division and let them know what is going on, they will investigate it and get back to you very promptly.
Let us know how it turns out!
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