In 2007, Thadius Hawkins and Benjamin Blanchard were both engineering students at LSU. That Summer, they met each other while both working for one of the biggest property management companies in Baton Rouge. Thadius’ job was to manage different subcontractors on the property tasked with making 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 help him find clients. They quickly decided to become partners and start a painting company, Prestigious Painting. Since then, Thadius and Ben have never looked back.
Soon Prestigious Painting became one of the busiest multifamily & commercial painting contractors in Baton Rouge. As they grew to know the trade better, they noticed many clients and acquaintances complaining that they just could not find a good residential painting company! After doing some research, they decided to jump right in and start another Division of their company, and this one would focus on residential painting. Residential and Commercial painting is different in a lot of ways, so they decided they would bring someone else in that could focus all their attention on providing the best service to homeowners. One of the managers they were working for at the time, Nathan Rust, was growing weary of his middle-management job. Because of his experience overseeing contractors and employees, his understanding of how to serve clients well, and his knowledge of business management, Thadius and Ben felt he was the perfect fit to take on the challenge. Prestigious Residential Painting was born!
Nathan Rust started working for a local property management firm when he returned 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 after leaving college was to learn as much as he could about Real Estate and Business, with plans to that knowledge and build a business of his own. Along the way, he learned about sales, construction, management, maintenance, finance, 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 left him unhappy and empty of the spark that once kept him excited. Luckily, he formed a friendship with two men that had taken a different path after leaving the same company when they were seniors in college at LSU, and had started their own painting company! Ben, Thadius, and Nathan bonded over their passion to build businesses and become successful 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 how a painting company could best serve homeowners. 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 marketing, giving estimates to 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 way to bootstrap their fledging company. It was there, during a roundtable discussion, that Nathan happened to sit at a table with Steve and April Burnett of Burnett Painting. 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 to Louisiana planning to bring something different to painting, inspired by an example of success within their industry. By focusing on the customer’s experience before anything else, Nathan and the team worked and grew their painting company in time for the arrival of his new little boy, Elijah.
The Harvest came in.. and kept on coming!
Nathan is now a Co-Owner, and he learns more and more each year about how to create a Painting Business that is ahead of the rest. Not only has the business grown, but his family has too! The Rust Family was blessed to add Grace Rust to their family in May 2017.