Where it all began...
Al Arey & Sons Painting in rainbow colors displayed on a Green 1979 Ford Van is where it all started. My dad employed me in the summers and taught me how to work hard for an honest day's pay. I learned how to paint, but more importantly, I learned how to help. You see, I was the youngest son of 3, so I was mostly the "go get this" or "help me move this" guy. I got to do my share of painting and powerwashing, but let's face it, I was the helper.
Helping was one of the most important things I learned during those summers. You learn to look for the needs of someone before they ask you, you learn to serve.
A break in service
Prior to starting a painting business, I served 4 years in the U.S. Navy. 15 months of which were in Great Lakes, IL attending Boot Camp......Gunner's Mate "A" School.....and Mk 13 Mod 4 Guided Missile Launcher "C" School. I also served the local community in Great Lakes by volunteering for Helping Hands where we would do things from cleaning up the neighborhoods to caring for the needs of the elderly. My remaining 33 months was spent onboard the USS Wadsworth (FFG-9) in San Diego, CA as a Guided Missile Launcher System Technician.
...Where it continues
In 2000 I returned home from the Navy, but home was no longer on Long Island where I grew up, instead, it was in Salisbury, MD where my parents decided to move. My first job in Salisbury was working for Harvard Custom Manufacturing while I attended school at Wor-Wic Community College studying Business.
The idea to start a painting business actually came from my angel of a mother. My brother Andrew was still in Long Island at the time so I asked him if he wanted to do it and he was all in. It took a little less than a year to put the plan into action, in January of 2001 American Decorators (our company name then) was born.
There was high and low periods but all in all we stayed pretty busy year round for 8 years with the way new homes were being put up so fast. We worked mostly for home builders & general contractors with a fair share of residential & commercial repaints.
If you've already done the math, you realize the story is entering the 2008 timeframe.
The Great Recession
A good portion of our work was invested in new construction so as the home building slowed down so did our paint work. We managed to keep our heads above water for a couple years through our referral's and quality work, but the overhead was too much to maintain and eventually I was just trying to keep myself busy.
It was a time when it seemed that people were being very frugal with their spending. Jobs were becoming fewer and far between and I already cashed out a mutual fund I started when I was in the Navy. With a family to support, I decided to give up the painting business and seek a steady paycheck.
First, I tried working as a paint supervisor for Perdue Farms, but the transition wasn't smooth and ultimately lead to me being unhappy there. Next, I got a job at PRMC Hospital cleaning floors at night while looking for paint work during the day. Then, finally, I found a job where I was happy and the pay was enough to pay the bills....The US Postal Service.
Life is good.......Until.......
I was hired on as a non-career letter carrier employee with very litle benefits, but the pay was good so it was enough for me to stay and put in my time until a career position was available. The work was not easy but I enjoyed being outdoors and you basically managed your own day with the workload you received....and I liked that.
The bills were being paid, we even started saving a little again. I remember not having to stress about Christmas presents for my 3 girls for the first time in a few years. What a relief, right? Until.........
On April 10, 2013 a life changing experience took place. The U.S. Postal Service reduced all non-career letter carriers pay by 27% ($6 an hr). For me, it was basically a monthly mortgage payment that I needed to produce from somewhere else. That somewhere else just happened to be.......you guessed it.....PAINTING!!
Painting Business....Take 2 🎬
My family and I went through some pretty rough times leading up to this point but luckily I never sold any of my painting equipment or work trailer. I still had everything I needed to give the best possible painting experience to those who needed it.
It started off slow, but with the good Lord's guidance I encountered a great business coach (DYB Coach) who specializes in painting contractors. I read his book, joined the group of other contractors across the country who want to be and do better, and I began to implement the steps needed to connect my service to the people who need it.
I still work at the Post Office and work on my Painting business part time. My available time allows me to paint 2-3 days a week, so flexibility in scheduling is usually a must. Book your estimate below and I can tell you more about it when we meet. 🙂
I can't wait to help you with your project!