Why NOT to Hire Students to Paint Your House

The sun is out and signs are popping up everywhere to hire one of the many “college paint” companies to paint the exterior of your house. You can tell it is a student painting company because the names contain some version of student, college, university reference in them. Your neighbourhood is likely blanketed with cheap lawn signs on every corner.

It’s a simple idea.Put up signs. Hire students. Give them paint and a brush. Send students to paint the house.

It sounds like a win for everyone. The customer gets their house painted cheap. Students have summer jobs.

After all, it’s just house painting?

What could possibly go wrong?

Cheap and Dirty

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Student-led painting companies succeed for two key reasons. They have cheap labour and they charge less.  These companies are notoriously the cheapest way next to get your house painted. Unfortunately, cheap labour equates to a lack of experience. For most of the student type companies when it comes to training, their workers are run through a two-hour training program that often happens on the job (which could mean on your house). This business model is based on using a workforce that is only available for a limited amount of months in the summer. Spending time training cuts into these companies ability to produce revenue.

A bad paint job means you are repainting sooner. In the end, it could end up costing you more.

Safety That Puts You at Risk

One of the biggest risks in hiring these companies is their lack of safety compliance. Using scaffolding or booms by these companies is almost unheard of. Improper use, or more often no use of safety equipment such as tie-offs, personal protection and safety plans put their crew at risk for injury and it puts you at risk for liability.

WorkSafeBC has ruled that owners have a responsibility for ensuring that work is conducted safely on their property. That means if something happens, WorkSafeBC can hold you responsible and fine you as well as the painting company. But regardless of the risk, are you really okay with someone’s kid climbing around on your roof and possibly getting hurt for around $13 an hour?

Are you willing to expose yourself to this potential liability?
These two guys were painting on a steep tile roof with nothing but a can of paint and their balance. When they were finally forced to use some fall protection, they still didn’t make themselves any safer. In fact, it was probably more dangerous.

Motivated to Cut Corners

The carrot these companies use to motivate the kids they hire is to offer them a set price to do the job. It’s called piecemeal work. The logic being that the faster the crew works, the more money per hour they make. That is a great motivator to get the job done fast but it is also a great motivator to cut corners. Are you really going to know if they painted one coat or two coats? Was every wood knot spot primed? Did they sand those rough fascias two stories up? Unless you are sitting in your lawn chair watching them all day, you have no idea.

The Mess

Ever seen the kitchen after a kid has learned to bake their first cake? And what did the cake look like? Now imagine that being your house. Paint spills, overspray, drips, damaged gardens, dented gutters and a sloppy job are all issues you can find yourself facing when you don’t hire a professional to paint your home.

The reason you paint your house is to maintain and increase its value. Paint protects your investment. A good paint job increases the value of your home. A bad one can mean you are repainting sooner and dealing with additional prep and repairs to fix the bad paint job. Professional painters know how to properly address paint issues, what products to use and proper application techniques. Knowledge that comes from experience and professional training.

Your home is likely one of your most valuable assets. Are you really comfortable trusting it to kids?

The Better Way

College and university students are an important part of the summer workforce for all seasonal businesses and they can be a valuable addition to a company. We hire students every year and many of them come back each summer between school years. They earn good money (better than College Painters pay) and they gain valuable experience in a trade they can always fall back on.

But here is the difference. Our students are not painters. They are painter’s helpers working along side trained professionals. We teach them safety, monitor them and supervise them and never put them in situations where they are working out of their level of experience or training.

If you want to make sure your home is in good hands, call Warline for a free in-house estimate. We’ll make sure you don’t get a lesson in how not to paint your house. Leave the house painting to the pros and hire kids to paint your fence.

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