After finishing his last year at Virginia Tech, Andy Lockard wasnt sure what he wanted to do, but sitting in an office, towing the corporate line was not one of his preferences. This spring, he launched his own 360 Painting franchise and likes the outcome. Lockard has a crew of painters, does everything from purchasing supplies to personnel, and doesnt sit behind a desk all day.
The lifestyle had a lot to do with it, [now] I get to choose, he said. Its a little of all the aspects of running a business, he said, and he collects a decent paycheck as well.
Lockard got paint experience managing a paint store in McLean, but realized the corporate lifestyle wasnt for me, he said.
At the paint store, he gained a lot of paint knowledge and was recruited by Chad Benson, the director of franchising at 360 Painting to run their Alexandria franchise, which is among 12 franchises in the company. The purpose of 360 Painting is to work with college graduates, helping them get the real world experience of running a business. Benson is also involved with Tuition Painters, a seasonal painting company that hires college students for summer work. 360 Painting began operations 11 years ago, and has now grown to the level that they operate in 12 states.
Benson picked Lockard because of his paint store experience and his knowledge of Alexandria. Although Lockard grew up in Burke, he went to Bishop Ireton in Alexandria, becoming familiar with the city. The company looks for an individual looking for the lifestyle and freedom that running a business provides. Lockard admits that the harder he works, the more money he can earn.
To start a new franchise, each manager is given a manual and business management software to speed the learning process. The company material covers a marketing plan that includes mailings, door hangings, card distribution and ways to jump start a word-of-mouth campaign. I had pretty amazing training, Lockard said.
Since buying the franchise in April, hes had four painting jobs and one in the works. Most of them are interior paint jobs, but his crew can do exterior painting, wallpaper removal, and 14 types of decorative painting techniques.