One of the most unique aspects of being a College Pro franchisee was getting to manage a significant amount of money over the course of the season. I was a fourth year student at Western University and the most money that I had to manage was my student loans, and they were always in the red.

In my first year with College Pro I ran a $140,000 business. That means that $140,000 came into my account and I had to use that to pay my payroll, my paint store, my cell phone bill, College Pro, WSIB, and the government.  I also had to use that money to buy ladders, equipment, gas for my car, and the list goes on. Through this all I was hoping to bring home enough money to pay off that pesky red student loan.

I, thankfully, wasn’t alone in the daunting task of managing the money, as I was a biology major who had never taken an accounting class. In our second training session, the General Managers of College Pro sat us franchisees down and helped us develop a financial plan based on our goals. College Pro also gave us the tools necessary to track our spending and our sales to ensure we were on track.

There is more to managing all of this money than a good plan and tracking to make sure you have an appropriate amount left over. Here are the top three things I learnt through managing my money with College Pro that I’ve kept at the forefront of my mind.

  1. 1.       You cannot manage what you can’t measure

It’s impossible to make smart buying decisions, whether it’s a new 40’ ladder or new flooring for your condo, unless you know where your financials are. As a franchisee I went through my financials once every week or two and I haven’t stopped.

  1. 2.       Don’t spend your money until you have it

There’s a difference between ‘I’ll make $40,000 this year’ and ‘I made $40,000 this year’. As a College Pro franchisee it is very easy to assume everything is going to go as planned, and to spend your money before you’ve broken-even…Don’t.

  1. 3.       You can follow your budget to a tee but if you’re not hitting your top line goals it doesn’t matter

If you’ve made a financial plan for a $100,000 business volume with $20,000 profit and you followed that financial budget to a tee but only ran a $80,000 business, guess what happens? This is a very important thing to keep an eye on and ensure you’re hitting your goals.

As stressful as managing financials can be, I am very grateful for my time as a College Pro franchisee. I am currently a homeowner, without student or credit card debt, who has had way too much fun travelling and buying shiny things. I do not make a six figure salary; I’ve just learned the best financial lessons out there when I was a franchisee.

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