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Log In / Register | Jul 18, 2018

CertaPro Painters: VERY High Franchisee Failure rate

I have reason to believe the CertaPro Painters franchisee failure rate may be as high as 80% or 90%.

Failed franchisees may be silenced by having them sign a gag order (non-disclosure agreement), and it may even require them to say only positive things to prospective franchise buyers.

There appears to be a great deal of churn with CertaPro Painters franchises. Sell-fail-resell. Repeat as necessary.

The painting business requires more knowledge and experience than one might think, yet CertaPro actively recruits people with no painting experience. New franchisees may find themselves trapped in a business where the workforce is abysmal -- and a business where about 50% of the cost (or more) is the workforce.  Some/many CertaPro franchisees have turned to using subcontractors as a way of controlling costs but that very practice may undermine CertaPro's touted "Quality" slogan.  A subcontractor's goal is to get the job done as quickly as possible, not to do it as well as possible.

New franchisees must spend a bundle on marketing to acquire customers, and most depend heavily on expensive direct mail.  CertaPro's estimated startup costs do not reflect the tens of thousands a franchisee may have to spend for several years to establsh a customer base.

Failing franchisees find themselves in a severe financial dilemma: Out of money yet required to pay minimum franchise fees (perhaps $20,000 to $22,500 per year) for each year remaining in the franchise agreement.  I believe CertaPro may be willing to accept less provided the failed franchisee signs a gag agreement--agreeing to never publicly say anything negative about CertaPro Painters.  Some failed franchisees have found themselves sued by CertaPro. 

The end result for far too many franchisees (I suspect the vast majority) is a tremendous loss (perhaps $150,000 or more), possibly large debt remaining to be paid off, and maybe even the prospect of losing one's house and moving in with family.

Very slick marketing but franchisee support is, in my experience and opinion, abysmal. 


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CertaPro Painters system has never worked..Stay Away!!!

I purchase a franchise about 20 years ago. I was told very similar ideas, but it does not work. Painting business is not a cookie cutter business. The fact that you are going to different locations and have to solve issues that can not be anticipated. Painting is just not that simple. Do not fall for their lies. I had to give up my franchises and ended up going to court to defend myself. I have started several businesses in construction and other businesses since my Certa franchise experience. The overhead cost and limitation by the franchise system just don't work in a construction/painting setting. DON'T FALL FOR THEIR LIES. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON A FRANCHISE. YOU WILL BE COMPETING WITH SMALL BUCKET PAINTERS. THEY CAN WORK FOR NEXT TO NOTHING AND WIN THE JOB EVERY TIME, WHILE YOU HAVE TO PAY FRANCHISE FEES AND MARKETING COST THAT WILL TOP 20%. NO WAY TO MAKE MONEY.

I settled my lawsuit and had to pay them some money to go away. I am certain even their coaches could not make money running a franchise. During my 2 year as a franchise owner they had many failures which they blamed on the franchise owners. Which was not true. It has been a long time for me, but I just don't want anyone to fall for their lies and lose money. Go out on your own and save the money. Ask a local painters to help you. Call your local Sherwin Williams and ask them to recommend a local painting company that can help you. It will significantly increase your chance of success. You do not need their training It was not worth the money. Just buy that painters a few lunches and dinner and spend one month working with him. That will work much better.

Absolute Nonsense

It's unfortunate that anyone can post anything online. For those considering Certa Pro - look in the FDD, do your due diligence and don't take the words of one person with an agenda.

New Labor Laws in Illinois January 1st 2015

You must post subcontractors on residential and commercial jobs. I personally know from experience. Inform your clients.

CertaPro requires former franchisees to lie

You can not believe what you are told if speaking to a current or former CertaPro franchisee.

In CertaPro v Rossi (E.D. Pa 2004), the franchisor required the franchisee to agree to a Settlement Agreement providing that the former franchisee would "say favorable things" to CertaPro franchise prospects.

that's pretty weak

Going after a comment in a 10 yr old lawsuit from a franchisee who was permitted to continue painting? You don't know what you are talking about.

Failed Franchises

I had a franchise in PA and I had to get out as I was over $100,000 in debt. While I am sure that in some areas the Certa-Pro system works. But it is a one shoe fits all mentality. My territory was in an area of PA which has a large population of Pennsylvania Dutch and German. While there were areas of higher income homes the people in general were frugal and very conservative. I had customers haggle over $50 on a $5,000 job. We were told at CertaPro "U" that we weren't competing against the bucket painters but against places like Pottery Barn for the customer's decorating dollars. The only problem was the customer did not understand this and for $50 less would go with the bucket painter. When I discussed this with the GM, Mark, I got the canned response that I wasn't following the system. I did everything by their book and never did make their sales goal for my franchise. While I made a lot of mistakes, their lack of support and help in running the franchise helped in my demise. All in all it was the worst experience in my life.

I've seen more negative experiences.

To those looking at the Certapro opportunity, please look carefully at a couple of things.
1. The overall failure rate in the Southern California area is huge. There are at least 12 franchises that have failed in the last 8 years. Look at the Detroit and Florida regions and the failure rates there. Certapro will tell you "didn't follow the system". Most of the failures have occurred during the last 4- years and are related to the economy going into the tank. 3 challenges which Certapro does not really address and cannot solve: The cost of leads, especially through Certapro approved vendors, the level of competition that know what they are doing and the depressed pricing structure due to the competition and economy.
2. The complete lack of corporate level advertising and marketing. Certapro has turned the normal franchisee/franchisor marketing relationship on its ear. Certapro has done almost nothing in the last 2 years to promote the brand. The economy started to hibernate and Certapro cut back on both personnel and advertising. They have pushed branding to the local level. Who is providing the needed number of exposures to the public? The local franchisee. If you were hoping to ride on the coattails of the Certapro marketing train, realize that you are train and Certapro is riding on your efforts. So the big question is if you are doing all the marketing, what does Certapro do for you? That is besides taking up to 20% of your gross sales (read the FDD and what you are required to pay in fees, royalties, marketing fees.

So if you really want a painting company, buy one that currently exists and is making money or do a little research and build it up yourself. Unless you in one of the 2 or so places that Certapro is strong, you will make more money doing it yourself. Certapro offers you almost no advantage and will cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

milwaukee subcontractor

I was one of 8 subcontractor working for certa pro painter in the city(*),
i work for more than 2 years and working for certa pro painters you know was my worst experience in my life. i was near to lost my home and all wath i have, in july 2008 i was one weeks no gas, electricity in my house and with kids, !ho god that was terrible,i was working like craizy day but day, they just pay 50 % of the contract in wich the subcontractor has to buy all materials and utility tools is obvious that with a badget 50% any subcontractor can do performace a quality work, so thats 100% tru ((A subcontractor's goal is to get the job done as quickly as possible, not to do it as well as possible)).


Gypsy In=Gypsy Out

Subcontractors don't care about quality -- way WRONG

This comment simply shows that you aren't qualified to discuss any service business. Exactly why do you think subcontractors are in business? They want to earn a living. Do you think they can earn a living by performing 1 job for every painting contractor in town? Obviously not. Subcontractors need repeat business to stay in business.

There is nothing even remotely wrong with using subs - using well-qualified subs or a mix of subs and employees can ensure that there are people with expertise in particular specialties needed for particular jobs. Subs are licensed, insured businesses who survive by providing service.

Are there bad subs out there - sure. There are bad employees, too. There are also good ones in both catagories.

And guess what else -- I can't think of a major industry that doesn't use subs in some capacity or another. Janitorial, facility maintenance, electrical, administrative help, technical help, etc. The idea that every company is able to maintain a work force for every possible situation shows inexperience and a blindness to reality.

You and your website are way off base.

Your claims and comments are outrageous. I saw your site and read your diatribe. It is weak and alarmist.

I did my research and bought a franchise anyway. Where ever you are getting your data is flawed. Before you go wasting your time and trying to ruin the income and livelihood of people like me, why don't you at least do the rest of the world a favor and read the Franchise Disclosure Document. Everything anyone needs to know is in there BY LAW.

I encourage anyone who comes across this persons outrageous claims to look a little farther and do your own research.

This Franchisee Failed and Is Using Negative SEO

I am doing the same due diligence for a CertaPro Franchise and I'm also very internet savvy. I have discovered that this article is written by a failed franchisee in Alabama, who is also doing negative SEO tactics in an attempt to hurt the CertaPro good name. As I've done a lot of research on franchise opportunities, I find that using these Blog and Forums, you get way to many negative black-hat tacticians and would recommend visiting or to the source at

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