Zane Patten has to break the mold.
Unlike many College Pro Painters franchise owners in North America, he isn’t allowed to solicit his company’s services door-to-door in Parksville.
“I do understand and I do empathize,” said Patten, who started his business earlier this year. “At the same time, it’s a hinderance to start-up companies.”
The ban of direct, door-to-door sales was made in an amendment to the Parksville’s business and licensing bylaw (Bylaw 1483) that was passed in Nov., 2012. In a 2013 interview with the CBC, former mayor Chris Burger said the change was made in an effort to help the high proportion of seniors in the city feel safe and secure.
There are exceptions to the rule, however, for “appeals made by churches, similar religious organizations and other not-for-profit organizations,” so events like charity bottle drives, cancer society canvassers, Girl Guides and political campaigners have the green light.
So, Patten has had to think of a few different ways to let locals know his house painting business is looking for customers.
“It’s definitely a situation where I have to use my wits instead,” the VIU student said.
At the moment, Patten is leaving flyer-like door hangers that give information about College Pro Painters at residences. Closer to painting season, which doesn’t start until the rains stop around May, he said he plans to put a College Pro Painters kite in Kite Fest, start Facebook campaigns, hang posters, put up yard signs on private property (as approved by the homeowners), take ads out in local papers and on Kijiji and Craigslist, and offer weekly deals.
Patten also said he expects word of mouth to play a big role in his company’s success. As such, he plans to personally ensure his employees’ work is professional looking and done on-time and on-budget as specified in each project’s initial quote.
“I’m not going to leave until it’s 10 out of 10,” he said, adding he will himself “drop everything and paint” if he has too.
As Patten’s business is part of the College Pro brand, which has trained young entrepreneurs to run painting businesses since 1971, he is also able to offer the company’s two-year written warranty. Despite all the challenges, Patten said he is looking forward to doing business in Parksville.
“I was really looking for something to challenge myself with,” he said. “I see this as a good opportunity.”
In particular, Patten said he is eager to work on polishing business skills such as communications, prioritization and taking control of a situation, which he hopes could benefit him in his chosen field of hydrology.
While he is focusing on working in Parksville at the moment, Patten’s territory also includes Qualicum and Nanoose. As he expands into those areas in the summer, the young entrepreneur said he will be sure to research and comply with local bylaws regarding door-to-door sales.
To learn more about Patten’s business, call him at 250-927-1612 or facebook.com/zanepattenspainters. You can also receive an estimate through College Pro Painters headquarters at 1-800-327-2468.