In 2007, Thadius Hawkins and Benjamin Blanchard were both engineering students at LSU. That Summer, they met while both working for one of the biggest property management companies in Baton Rouge, LA. Thadius’ job was to contract and manage different subcontractors on the property. These subcontractors were to make the apartments look new after the old tenants moved out. He found it incredibly difficult to find a good painting company, so a light bulb went off in his head. Thadius contacted his friend Ben, who was a very successful leasing agent at the property, and asked him if he would like to sell for the painting company. They quickly found out that they worked very well together and decided to become partners and start Prestigious Painting. Since then, Thadius and Ben have never looked back.
They quickly became one of the premier multifamily/commercial painting companies in the greater Baton Rouge area and have retained the majority of the market share in that industry. As they grew to know the trade, they noticed many clients and acquaintances complaining that they just could not find a good residential painting company. Once analyzing the market, they decided to jump right in and start another Prestigious brand, and this one would focus on residential painting. Residential and commercial painting are completely different in every way, so they decided they would bring in somebody to focus all of their attention on providing the best quality service to the residential market. One of the managers they were doing work for at the time, Nathan Rust, was growing tired of his middle management job. Because of his experience running subcontractors and employees, his understanding of always having to keep tenants happy on a daily basis, and his vast experience of management itself, Thadius and Ben felt he was the perfect fit to take on the challenge. Prestigious Residential was born!
Nathan Rust started working for a local property management firm after returning to Baton Rouge after college. Hoping to learn more about Real Estate Development, he applied for the best entry level leasing job he could find and worked his way up to Management within two years. His goal since leaving college was to learn as much as he could, and take that knowledge to build a business of his own. Along the way, he learned about sales, construction, management, maintenance, financing, and more. He forged relationships with vendors and partners that helped him learn and succeed. However, three and a half years after starting that career path, he realized he was miserable. Long hours, low pay, and unnecessary stress had left him unhappy and empty of the spark that once kept him going. Luckily, he met two men that had taken a different path after leaving the same company when they were seniors in college at LSU, and had started a local painting company. Ben, Thadius, and Nathan became fast friends, bonding over conversation about building businesses and how to be great entrepreneurs. When the time came, they offered Nathan a chance to build something new with them.
A seed is planted.
The Residential Painting division of Prestigious Painting was born. With a few months of savings in hand, Nathan quit his job and found something to be excited for again. They started to research and plan for how they could best find new customers and determine what they wanted out of a painter for their home. Things were off to a great start, but then something truly unexpected happened…
Nathan and his wife, Amanda, found out they were pregnant!
The timing couldn’t have been worse, but they were overjoyed to have their first child on the way. The problem was, they had just started a new growing business that had little spare income to provide for a family of three. They had to do something, and fast! Nathan worked long hours creating marketing, doing estimates for new customers, overseeing jobs, and recruiting new painters.
The crops were planted, but we needed some serious Miracle Grow.
In February 2013, they decided to invest into a trip to the National PDCA conference in St. Louis, MO, hoping to find a fast-track to growth. It was there during a roundtable discussion, that Nathan happened to sit at a table with Steve and April Burnett. He heard all about their successful Residential Painting Business in Florida and saw how polished, and frankly how happy they seemed to be. He returned back to Louisiana inspired to bring something different to painting. With a new zeal and vision for his leg of the business, Nathan and the team worked and grew the business in time for the arrival of his new little boy, Elijah.
Four years later, Nathan is a partner in the business, and has learned more and more every year about how to create a Painting Business that is a head above the rest. Not only has the business grown, but his family has too! A little girl joined the Rust family in May 2017.