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Meet the U-M student who's planning to paint houses to pay for school

Ashley Hayes will be running her own Student Painters business this summer

University of Michigan freshman Ashley Hayes (Photo: Ashley Hayes)
University of Michigan freshman Ashley Hayes (Photo: Ashley Hayes)

ANN ARBOR – Looking to get your house painted? 

Since 1987, Michigan college students have been painting houses during the summer to gain experience running a business and earn some extra money for school.

The program is called Student Painters, an entrepreneurship internship program by Young Entrepreneurs Across America that began in Michigan but has now expanded to 13 states nationwide.

During the internship, students become branch managers of Student Painters to gain the skills and know-how of what it's really like to run a business.


(Photo: Ashley Hayes)

Ashley Hayes, a freshman at University of Michigan from Southfield, is one of the newest branch managers. She says her business' edge is quality service at a better price.

"Since we’re college students, our rates won’t be as high as a professional painting company. We are certified by Sherwin Williams to paint, so we’re backed by thousands of dollars of insurance." 

Although she won't be doing much painting, Hayes will also undergo certification training by Sherwin Williams.

"I think it’s a great chance for students to get money (and) to learn different skills that are not available to everyone," she said.


Students paint the exterior of a home (Courtesy: Michael Zlonkevicz)

In order to get the word out and build a roster of employees, she's reached out to friends, family and her high school, but it's important for her to set the right tone from the beginning.

"I really want to be seen as a leader, as a business owner, not just their friend. So I’m trying to start off (that way)," Hayes said.

Hayes plans to major in organizational studies and minor in either business entrepreneurship or community action and social change. Her dream job? An events planner.

She will be running her business out of Southfield, Michigan, this summer, and when asked how many houses she hopes to paint, she smiled and said, "As many as we can!"

Learn more about Student Painters here.


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