He's 18 years old, attending college at Farmingdale State College, working part time at Shortstop Pizzeria, and Alex Cassata still has the time to run his own painting business.
Alex is a very motivated and hardworking individual, and is managing his own painting business which is on pace for $100,000 in revenue. When asked how he has the time, he replied “I rarely sleep”.
Alex, or as his friends call him AJ, heard about the opportunity through a past manager who came to his marketing class and recruited. The company he works for is College Works Painting, which has a very unique business model where they select college students, see if they are fit to manage a business, and if they make it past the interviews they are trained on all aspects of interior and exterior painting and staining. Then the students are given managerial training, for example sales, marketing, customer service, and basically create a business from nothing.
The hiring process is very rigorous, College Works Painting only hires the best of the best, and 3% of applicants are hired. So how did AJ gain this opportunity? The Vice President saw a lot of potential in AJ, due to his leadership experience and community involvement. AJ described the hiring process as very extensive.
“I went through 4 interviews, and they were really looking past experience and more for aspects of my personality as well as my morals and goals for the future to see if I can handle running a business and managing marketers and multiple paint crews”. College Works Painting is a very unique program, they refer to the managers as “interns”, although they are working 60+ hours a week, and college credit is not received.3
AJ handles every aspect of the business, from the intial marketing to overseeing the production of the job. AJ handles every aspect of his business, except doing the actual painting, as he hires a crew of professional and liscensed/insured painters. He puts his painters through 2 interviews. When I heard this I was confused….interviews for a hard labor position? His response was “I need my painters to be a direct representation of me, I could hire any painter off the street, but I am looking for quality individuals who can contribute to a postive business environment.
He is making quite the name for himself, over the first couple weeks since the program has started, AJ has done 20+ estimates and is one of the top ranking interns in sales, with 8k booked in just the first 2 weeks. AJ says “Estimates are my favorite part, as well as the most important part. I get to meet new people and make new friends, talk to them for an hour, and show them why I am the best person for the job”.
College Works Painting does pay its interns by commision on each sale, and depending on how you budget your labor and materials determines your profitablity. AJ claims he is not motivated by profit, and is limiting his job range to 20-30 jobs this summer because he is really just doing this to get hands on business experience, and learn every aspect of running a business, because this has always been a long term goal of his. I feel this story can serve as inspiration to other college students looking for an extracurricular experience which can have a very positive effect on their career path and their life overall.If anybody reading wants to contact AJ and receive a free estimate from him and give him the opportunity to work with you, he would be more than happy for you to call him at 631-987-0822. If any other college students are reading this and are interested in applying for the program, as it could greatly benefit you whether you are a business student or not, AJ will be happy to answer any questions and recommend applying for next season.