Hometown Franchisee Reflects on One Year in Business Amidst Pandemic
In March 2020, no one expected what would happen with the coronavirus pandemic or how long it would last. But that didn’t stop Jeff Chin from opening his CertaPro Painters® franchise in Newton, MA.
Jeff knows what it’s like to face challenges head-on and adapt to new situations. He emigrated from Hong Kong at age 7 and grew up in the heart of Boston, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he worked for ten years in GE’s Aerospace Division. During this experience, Jeff developed an appreciation for business and went on to receive his MBA from Suffolk Technology and transitioned into finance technology.
“I worked at Bank of America implementing eCommerce products for small businesses,” says Jeff. “Then, I was recruited away by a small startup that eBay eventually acquired.”
Always open to new opportunities, Jeff started looking into Real Estate and Mortgage Lending after his stint with eBay. He owned and operated a small brokerage for almost nine years, where he scaled with market demand for residential and commercial loan products.
When the economy took a hit after the financial crisis of 2008, Jeff decided to buy a website business. He also consulted in digital marketing for a few years before choosing to look into a new venture that offered key attributes to fit his lifestyle, career, and interests.
“I wanted a local business that had a challenge of growth but not a startup,” says Jeff. “It was important for me to have existing clients and an established brand presence.”
CertaPro® was the perfect fit. Like Jeff, CertaPro® has an inherent desire to deliver excellence and provide superior customer service. Jeff saw how successful other franchisees have been following the CertaPro® blueprint and was glad there was a technical and managerial infrastructure already put in place.
When deciding where he would start his own business, it was important that he remained in Newton, where he and his wife have raised their kids since 1997.
“I think of myself as a friendly face in the community I love,” says Jeff. “People are not going to raise their hands for a paint project if they are not comfortable with painters being around — especially with the concerns of coronavirus. You need to be able to trust the people you do business with.”
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the work hasn’t stopped. Most of the projects have been outside due to the guidelines put forth by the CDC and to ensure clients were comfortable and safe. All of this exterior work gave Jeff a newfound appreciation for exterior restorations.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on a few local residential projects where the property was fraught with layers of decade-old paint,” says Jeff. “I love technology and applying it to help my customers get the best results. Using newer tools, i.e., a paint shaver, my crews were able to restore the siding to its original condition! Take a look at the paint shaver in action.”
Opening a business comes with many challenges when there’s not a pandemic. Throw in all the uncertainty that comes with a global health crisis, and you need to have a strong support system. Joining the CertaPro® franchise made Jeff feel like he wasn’t isolated in the challenges in operating and growing a small business. He knows he has the guidance needed to get him through any tough times and can share his journey with others in the same situation.