Tim is starting his own business this summer and here’s the article that showed up in the business section of this morning’s paper. One proud mama – no need to say more.
Robert Layman / Staff Photo Tim Heffernan poses outside his home in East Wallingford Thursday morning.Program gives local student a start in business
By Gareth Henderson
Staff Writer | March 14,2016
While many students were busy vacationing, local college student Tim Heffernan spent his recent spring break planning his first business.
Heffernan, 18, lives in East Wallingford and is a Mill River High School graduate in his freshman year at the University of Vermont. Already, he is well on his way to starting a residential painting business, thanks to the company Collegiate Entrepreneurs Painting Services.
The company, which operates throughout New England, hires students as branch managers and gives them a chance to create their own painting business.
Shortly after arriving at UVM last fall, Heffernan went for an interview with the company and was accepted as a branch manager. The intensive training process started in November.
Officials with the company warn that it’s not for the faint of heart — students quickly dive into the challenging process of starting a business. The point is to immerse them into the startup process and have them grow a strong set of entrepreneurial skills they can use throughout their careers.
The program trains the students on business planning, hiring employees, marketing, sales and other key aspects of starting a business. Collegiate Entrepreneurs handles the accounting tasks for the students, but other than that, it’s up to the student to build the business, gain customers and grow income.
Heffernan is studying history and economics at UVM, and he said the Collegiate Entrepreneurs experience is helping him put business concepts into practice quickly.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in how these things work, as applied to real markets and real business,” he said.
Also, it’s a true hands-on approach. The branch managers are out in the field training with their regional managers in the program, as they learn the ins and outs of starting and running their own business.
Heffernan enjoys the idea of building it from the ground up.
“My success is dictated by what I do,” he said.
Currently, he is learning about the marketing and sales aspect of starting a business, including booking a full summer of house-painting jobs — which will happen this year.
This goes along with learning the craft of interior and exterior house painting, along with power washing and deck staining.
“We will be going into production training and a more detailed look at painting a house,” Heffernan said. He will also learn how to train and hire a team of painters.
He added that Collegiate Entrepreneurs works in full compliance with federal environmental regulations and is lead-certified. Branch managers are trained on lead renovation and will learn all about the related rules.
Heffernan will hire and train a team of painters during the spring, and he’ll continue to oversee various painting jobs in the area until the fall semester starts.
“I’ll be at least on site, if not painting with my team, most days of the summer,” Heffernan said.
His business will be primarily based in the Rutland area, but he is able to give bids for any painting jobs within an hour of the area.
Heffernan has already begun the process of dropping off fliers in different locations, going door-to-door to speak with potential customers and booking estimates for painting jobs.
“I’ve also put a great deal of time and effort into developing goals and a specific business plan so that I stay on track throughout the remainder of the semester and the summer,” he said, describing his spring break routine last week.
In the training program, Heffernan said one of the key things he’s learning about his how to find and train reliable employees.
“That sort of sets the tone for the work you’re providing and the quality of work you’re providing,” Heffernan said.
He added that a big part of this is making sure there are clear lines of communication between the business owner, the employees and the customer — to ensure the customer’s needs are met and the employees are having a positive experience as well.
Heffernan said Collegiate Entrepreneurs puts a strong emphasis on being professional and having that drive the company’s public image.
“We’re not going to be the people who are cursing and swearing and leaving cigarette butts all over the yard,” he said. “We’re going to be a team of respectful and professional painters.”
Alex Arrick, a 20-year-old business major at UVM, is Heffernan’s regional manager and has already gone through the startup portion of the program that Heffernan is now experiencing. Arrick ran his own branch last summer in Burlington.
He described Collegiate Entrepreneurs as “an entrepreneurial development company.”
“We take college students and we teach them, mentor them and provide them with the resources and training on how to run their own business,” Arrick said.
He said the company focuses on residential house painting because it’s a fairly simple trade to teach and is not as training-intensive as some manufacturing jobs and other fields. Therefore, the company is able to put more time into focusing on giving students the skills they need to run a business.
Another reason is, that house painting is “high-volume,” Arrick said.
“Our average branch manager runs a $50,000 business in revenue,” he said.
Collegiate Entrepreneurs officials spread the word through career services offices at colleges and universities, distributing fliers and having face-to-face meetings with interested students and classes. They emphasize that the program will be very challenging.
“I would not say it’s an easy program,” Arrick said. “Running a business obviously takes a lot of work and involves a lot of different stages.”
The recruiting lasts for about a week, and “very in-depth, we go over what’s involved,” he added.
The program gets students out into the field fairly quickly, and provides them with business know-how that many entrepreneurs don’t have until later in life.
“He’s out there getting skills that most people don’t get until they’re 28,” Arrick said of Heffernan. “We put people way ahead of their peers. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Collegiate Entrepreneurs is a for-profit company and does business throughout the Northeast.
More information is available at http://www.collegiateentrepreneurs.com.