More than two years ago, Rob and Andrea Blanton were primed for a change. Rob’s work in the corporate world was spattered with undertones of stress and fatigue. Andrea worked in the school system but knew this arena lacked the luster she sought to brighten their future. With a design to venture into the entrepreneurial scene, they left their jobs and relocated from Christiansburg, Virginia, to Hampton Roads.
Recalls Andrea, “Once we decided that we were going to take the leap and make the move, Rob said, ‘I’m going to buy a truck today because I’m quitting my job tomorrow and then I won’t be able to qualify.’ He bought a white truck and quit his job the next day. When he bought the truck, he sent me a picture. He was parked at a friend’s house and there was a rainbow over the truck. We knew that was our sign. We knew that opening our own business was the right thing to do.”
Rob and Andrea are the owners of CertaPro Painters, an independently owned and operated franchise serving the Virginia Peninsula. It is a full service residential and commercial painting company that provides interior and exterior painting.
Their residential territory extends from the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to New Kent. With their commercial painting, there is not an assigned territory so they can explore a greater geographical area for opportunities. According to their website, “CertaPro Painters is North America’s most referred painting contractor.”
Says Rob, “I wasn’t really looking for a franchise but the more I looked at CertaPro, the more I liked the values that it had. I also liked the position of the company and where I thought it could go in the future. I had my Class A contractor’s license so it was a good fit for coming into a painting company.”
Rob and Andrea smile as they recite the company’s core values, “Deliver what you promise, respect the individual, have pride in what you do and practice continual improvement.”
Rob continues, “One of the reasons I got into this business is that I had talked with a lot of folks who had had different contractors in their house and they were disappointed. We are looking for a way to put the professionalism in painting and with us, as owners running the business, our painters can just focus on the job and our customers.”
Rob and Andrea appreciate that customers trust them to come into their personal space. Their teams work around clients’ schedules, communicating with them throughout the process, providing daily updates and at the end of the job, taking a “pride walk” so that the customers and the job site supervisor can review the completed work together. This process is part of their Certainty Service System, which is a program that sets them apart from their competitors. Another difference is that they provide a two-year warranty on their work. To further position themselves as the premiere option for residential and commercial painting, they look for ways to provide a “wow factor” for their customers.
“It’s not unusual for one of our painters to change a customer’s light bulb when he’s up on a ladder where the customer may not be able to reach or clean a ceiling fan or even power wash the customer’s front porch—something to let the customer know that we go the extra mile,” says Andrea. Their attention to detail and response to their customers’ needs continue to receive high accolades.
The Blantons recognize and honor the quality and work ethic their team brings to each assignment. They currently have 20 painters; an office manager, Cyndi Rideout; and a sales representative, Carl Miller. They are planning to hire more professionals for their team. In addition to the time spent working, they try to do a social activity at least once a quarter. Their adventures have included a Tides baseball game and deep-sea fishing.
As the two look back over the past two years, Rob and Andrea acknowledge the difficulty of transitioning from their former corporate arrangement, but quickly sum up their experience in one word: “liberating.”
Says Andrea, “It has been liberating because no one else is responsible for how things turn out other than you. When you have the freedom to be the one to decide, it’s what you want from it and how hard are you willing to work for it.”
“It’s a little scary leaving a job to open your own business, but if every day you wake up and you don’t want to go to work, you need to make a change,” says Rob. This was the catalyst for their own change. This was the right move for them as they enjoy the work they do, the professionals they employ and the customers they serve. And, from that first white truck, now wrapped with the CertaPro Painters logo, alongside two other trucks similarly branded, Rob and Andrea continue to mix depth, texture and tone to enhance the canvas of their lives and the environments of their customers with continuous strokes of quality painting, professionalism and courtesy.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 11838 Canon Blvd., Ste. 600, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Cyndi Rideout