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Cali Owings, Published June 09 2013

Entrepreneurial Fargo teen to spend season managing his own painting business

FARGO – Ryan Siewert, a 2012 Davies High School graduate, won’t be spending his first summer back from college lying around his parents’ house.

The 19-year-old is managing his own exterior painting business full time and earning money to pay his way through school.

Siewert was recruited for the College Works Painting program through one of his classes at the University of Minnesota. The program – currently operating in 19 states – trains students to run their own painting service. Siewert hired and now manages two painting crews servicing the Fargo-Moorhead area.

How do you like running your own business so far?

It’s a challenge. It’s really time-consuming. It’s also very fun, and I think it’s a good experience to have – a good learning experience.

What was one of the biggest challenges in starting your business?

Finding people to paint their houses. The biggest challenge is going around and going door-to-door talking to people and trying to sell them a paint job.

How do your parents feel about your job?

They’re part of all the effort I’ve been putting in so far. I guess they think it’s pretty cool to be going around and managing your business at 19 years old.

Do you surprise people when you’re going door-to-door?

People don’t really expect you to be managing your own business. Some of them think you’re going to be selling raffle tickets.

Do you talk with other people in this program?

There (are) four different district managers, and they oversee 10-15 of us. … The district managers were in my position last year, so they guide us through it and teach us a lot of stuff that’s helpful with sales and production. They basically teach us everything, but let us do it on our own.

How many hours are you putting into your summer job?

Before there wasn’t a whole lot to do, setting up estimates and following up on other estimates. At night, I’d do some door-to-door marketing. Now with production starting, we’ll be painting between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the day. Afterward at night, I fill out forms for payroll and expenses.

What do you want to accomplish by the end of the summer?

The goal everyone set out to do was run an $80,000 business by the end of the summer.

All of the people that earn $80,000 or more get to go to Cancun.

I also want to provide a good service for my customers and satisfy them.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599

To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” email businessnews@forumcomm.com.