QU student getting chance to operate his own business through College Works Painting program

Cole Schnettgoecke

Cole Schnettgoecke poses for a photo with a Quincy University students when he organized last fall's haunted house sponsored by the Quincy University Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. | Photo courtesy of Cole Schnettgoecke

QUINCY — A successful run as the head of last fall’s haunted house sponsored by the Quincy University Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO Club) led to a unique opportunity for junior Cole Schnettgoecke.

Schnettgoecke, 22, is operating his own business through the College Works Painting program, which paints more than 3,000 homes a year in 11 states. The organization teaches university-level students how to build and manage their own professional house painting business. 

“I want to own my own business one day,” he said. “And then I found this opportunity through one of my friends. I basically got the internship because I ran the haunted house for the CEO Club.”

College Works provides mentoring to help Schnettgoecke run his painting operation. It provides training in hiring, project management, customer relations, bookkeeping and other areas. 

Schnettgoecke, who also is a member of the QU football team, kicked things off last weekend. 

“I was solely focused on direct marketing — door to door, trying to offer free customer estimates on interior and exterior painting,” he said.

He’s pretty sure what his toughest challenge will be.

“Everyone’s having a hard time finding employees, but I feel like I can offer them a good wage,” Schnettgoecke said. “If I can set a good wage for them and maybe give them some benefits on the side, that might just make it more enticing to work with me.”  

Developing relationships will be key. He learned that from the CEO Club. 

“Managing different types of people, learning how to be a leader,” Schnettgoecke said. “Learning the different ways to communicate with certain people. Understanding your customer.”

The QU CEO Club, created in 2013, meets weekly and promotes friendly relationships between students, faculty, staff, alumni and businesspeople to widen students’ visions of entrepreneurial opportunities. 

Focusing on his home territory of Webster Groves, Mo., Schnettgoecke hopes to bring the business to the Quincy area next summer. 

He’s an intern, and College Works warranties all the work, but the success or failure of the business is on Schnettgoecke, a business finance major.

“I am running my own business,” he said. “The only thing that (College Works does) is teach me the skills. But yeah, it is my company. I handle everything. I’ve never run a company before. My only worry is just how fast it’s all kind of happening.”

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