In early 2016, Fresh Coat brought renowned painting expert Brian Santos on board as the company’s first-ever director of education.
When Tara Riley took the reins of Fresh Coat Painters back in 2014 as president, her goal was clear — create an industry-defining brand. Although the company had a strong 12-year reputation of providing top-notch tools and franchisee support, they wanted to do more at the corporate level—starting with professional development. That’s why, earlier this year, Fresh Coat brought renowned painting expert Brian Santos on board as the company’s first-ever director of education.
Take one look at his resume, and it’s clear he’s a guy who knows what he’s talking about. Santos is a fourth-generation painting contractor and author of eight best-selling home improvement books. Over a touring career of more than 25 years, he has developed a series of workshops that educate audiences with simple tips, tricks and techniques that help tackle projects around the house with confidence. In addition to sharing his expertise on national TV, including “Good Morning America,” “Today” and HGTV’s “Smart Solutions,” some of his past clients include Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Montana, Oscar-nominated actress Doris Day and Star Wars creator George Lucas. Santos has also provided guidance to industry giants like Sherwin-Williams® (one of Fresh Coat’s key partners), Blue Mountain Wallcoverings, Home Depot and Lowes.
Now, as he joins Fresh Coat, his new mission is to bring that same knowledge to the brand’s growing franchise system. Fresh Coat uses bonded, insured and background-checked painters who are employees of the franchisee and not subcontractors like other companies use. To ensure that each Fresh Coat location is backed by the strongest team possible, Santos’ goal is to strengthen the entire system from within through education. By building on—and enhancing—each franchisee’s basic painting industry competencies, both Riley and Santos believe they’ll be able to improve their franchisees’ abilities in quoting and selling, as well as recruiting and evaluating painters.
“As our franchise businesses mature, the education focuses on scaling the business while maintaining profitability and quality control. Eventually, we look to have internal programs for developing apprentice painters to allow us to better control the supply of high-quality labor and improve the expertise of our best and brightest employees,” Riley said.
Santos first met Riley at a Home and Garden Show in Austin, Texas, where he was presenting a seminar for attendees. Impressed by Santos’ depth of knowledge in the painting industry, she approached him, explaining that Fresh Coat was looking to enhance their franchisee professional development. After learning more about Santos’ own successful painting business, she knew that this was a guy that walks the walk and will be able to establish a connection early on with franchisees that are out there in the field building their business.
“As the director of education, I’m able to help franchisees grow by giving them a higher level of proficiency so they can really be application experts in their field. Because a lot of Fresh Coat franchisees don’t come from a painting background, this allows them to know what to look for when working with a client or hiring the right painter to do the job,” Santos said. “Franchisees are brought into the system because of their drive and aptitude in sales and marketing because this business is heavily focused on networking and building relationships. We don’t want them to paint. But, it’s important that they understand how to raise and maintain the standards of service and create efficiencies for their local business.”
The Fresh Coat team has long been setting themselves apart from their competition. Each franchisee offers professional residential and commercial painting services including interior and exterior painting, wood staining and refinishing, wallpaper removal and more. Riley believes that by bringing Santos on board the company will be able to elevate their services further than ever before by working directly with franchisees who are in the field every day alongside their painters.
“Ultimately, you don’t need to know how to paint to be a successful Fresh Coat Painter franchisee — our system helps you hire and retain professional painters. But, you do need a certain level of technical knowledge to build a company and maintain success,” Santos said. “I’m excited to be working with Fresh Coat not just because it’s a great opportunity to help a company grow and help small businesses be successful, but because it’s also a chance for me to leave a legacy of knowledge. I am looking forward to taking all the practical knowledge I’ve learned over the last 30 years and downloading it in a way that can impact the future of each franchisee as well as the company as a whole.”