Frank Weaver, President and CEO of U.S. Pro Painters, took his first painting job when he was 12 years old for his dad
“Dad was a firefighter, and a painter and a carpet cleaner,” Frank said. “He called himself a jack of all trades and master of none. He was a hard worker and had high standards. I think that is why I have such high standards with our work today.”
While Frank’s dad had hoped he would take over the family business, Frank wanted to take a different path and chose a career in manufacturing. In the early 1990s, however, he started to lose interest in his work, and he was looking for a change.
“I had gone as far as I could in that particular segment of my life,” Frank said. “I knew I wasn’t going to advance and I needed to make a career choice.”
A New Challenge
Coincidentally, Frank’s brother-in-law had started a new business power washing decks and asked Frank to join his team.
“I went on a couple of jobs to watch him and I was amazed at how it looked. It went from grey and old to looking brand new,” Frank said. “He offered me a job and that was a big step for me because I had been at my other job for 14 years. I was 33 with a family. I thought ‘I have to do this now if I’m going to do it.’”
In 1993, Frank went to work for his brother-in-law with one stipulation:
“I told him up front that I would work for him for one year and then I was going to go out on my own after that,” Frank said. “It was grueling, physical labor, but all I had to do was get a taste for working outside and I knew that is what I wanted to do.”
In 1994, Frank started his own business, cleaning and sealing decks.
One of his favorite memories is from one of his first projects.
“I had taken my son to work on a deck when he was about 13,” Frank said. “We had started staining it but couldn’t finish because I had to coach him in Little League that night. We went to the game and came back and finished the project in the dark.”
In the beginning, the work was hard, but because it was seasonal, Frank enjoyed winters off.
“It was great, but it was becoming harder and harder to find people because people didn’t want to just work seasonal jobs,” Frank said. “Every spring it would be like starting a new business because I had to find all new employees.”
To make the work more consistent and to encourage employees to stick around, Frank added painting to his list of services. In 2005, he changed the name of his business to U.S. Pro Painters to make it more obvious that he offered painting.
“I wanted to help skilled laborers. There were a lot of guys out there that just wanted to go to work for somebody,” he said. “This way it could be year round. We could keep employees around because we were able to keep them busy.”
His new list of services included residential and commercial interior and exterior painting, which included painting and staining of all surfaces such as wood, metal, aluminum, brick, concrete, composite and vinyl.
Learning the painting industry was an entirely new set of challenges.
“There’s a lot more to painting. You have to learn all of the different types of paint, the different types of surfaces and what types of paint to use on them. There is just a lot more involved,” Frank said. “We have painted just about every indoor and outdoor surface imaginable.”
There was plenty to learn on the business side of things too.
“When we took on painting, business boomed. I got hammered with calls and I didn’t have the manpower to fill the requests. It was a big learning curve and I had to learn how to grow and become more strategic.”
Since taking on the painting business, U.S. Pro Painters has grown to serve customers in the Dayton, Columbus and Springfield areas. Large projects have included the Fairfield Commons Mall and Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Frank sets high standards for employees and in return paints a future for them and a way to advance their career.
“I don’t think my guys know how to do an average job,” Frank said. “You treat every job like it’s a piece of your own property. We promise to be clean, to be efficient and to communicate with confidence. We want to leave customers with a feeling of awe.”