When Corrine Zennou of Northport heard about College Works Painting she was intrigued. As a freshman psych major at Stony Brook University she wasn't your typical candidate for the job, which sees mostly business majors, but saw an opportunity to take a step toward her dream of one day opening a medical research center by developing entrepreneurial skills.
"There are a lot of responsibilities that come with it that most people aren't too aware of," she said. "Right now I get to learn a lot of that stuff ahead of time."
College Works Painting, a nationwide company that hires college students to manage teams of professional house painters, describes itself as a "one-of-a-kind opportunity for college-aged students...providing extraordinary training in leadership and management to college-aged entrepreneurs by way of real-world work experiences" on its website. Though the company bills itself as an internship, Zennou said she will not receive college credit.
Zennou was selected for the job after rigorous interviewing, one of roughly 35 successful applicants in her school. She has already begun training with College Works and hired a marketing team to assist her in sourcing clients and is happy with the support received so far in her first entrepeneurial venture.
"They give us a lot of coaching, a lot of training. We meet the CEOs of the company every other week or two and we get a lot of training in sales," she said. "They give us a lot of support and structure, telling us where we should be and how we've been doing."
Though Zennou will be giving estimates, creating supply lists, dealing directly with clients, and carving out her own market when her business hits the ground in May, she won't be doing much painting. College Works painting is done largely by licensed and insured professionals, she said, with the student-manager's primary focus being customer service and management.
"You determine the size of the house, the amount of prep work it's going to need, the hours that go into it, then with that the amount what it's going to cost to buy the materials-- so with each job we basically tailor the price exactly to what we need to complete it," she explained.
College Works claims that earning potential is based entirely on "how profitably you run your College Works Painting business, not the number of hours you work," and provides a flow chart showing $5,000 net profit out of $35,000 total sales in the lowest bracket.
Though Zennou recognizes that a large chunk of earnings will go toward covering labor costs, she said she's not doing it for money, but experience. "I'm learning the importance of these skills ahead of time," she said.