Tara Aldrich, Founder
Late 1970’s – Tara Aldrich begins to paint rental properties owned by her mother after school and during summer vacations.
Early to Mid 1980’s – Tara accepts work painting for a contractor in the Farmington Hills, Michigan area. This is where she learns a great deal about the painting field. Tara also began to notice how manageable running a painting company of her own could be. She began soliciting “side work” for herself by passing out flyers. When she felt enough jobs were coming in, Tara gave notice to the contractor that she would be moving on and began working full time for herself.
May 1986 – Achilles Painting Company, a sole proprietorship, was formed. Tara kept overhead low by working from a home office. She painted apartments by herself and handled all the marketing, estimating, scheduling, and bookkeeping for the business.
1986-1996 – Business soon began to thrive, Tara hired a few employees to help her paint while she continued to handle the administrative end of the business. Achilles Painting worked successfully for many apartment property managers. They painted occupied and vacant units for the elderly and many other apartment communities. Tara began taking evening classes in Small Business Management.
1996 – Tara and Achilles relocated from Wayne/Westland to Royal Oak, Michigan which was a more central location. This year, Tara ventured out of apartment repaints and began to work for homeowners more and more often.
May 1996 – Residential customers had a hard time pronouncing “Achilles,” so Tara decided to change the name of the company. A suggestion by one of her long-time employees was accepted and Speed Pro Painting was born.
1997 – Speed Pro’s residential business began to take off and Tara realized she needed assistance with marketing and general office work. Janet Hunko began working part-time as a business consultant in marketing and advertising. Her contributions included: designing the logo, letterhead, marketing flyers and brochures, drafting letters, and setting up IT for the office. Janet eventually began estimating jobs and worked with customers so Tara could concentrate on her crew and maintain quality paint jobs.
June 9, 1998 – As the company grew it became clear that changing the legal structure would be wise. Speed Pro Painting Company filed the appropriate paperwork to become an S Corporation. Because Janet played an integral part of the day to day operations and income of the company, Tara invited her to become part owner in the newly formed corporation. Janet accepted 25% ownership and worked part-time at Speed Pro while still working for other employers. Speed Pro continues to work in the residential arena for the next several years.
June 2000 – Tara receives a degree in Small Business Management; Speed Pro continues a successful run painting residential homes with an occasional business or new construction home thrown into the mix.
April 2003 – A major building contractor from Cleveland was looking for a painting contractor who could handle the hundreds of single family homes they were about to build within the City of Detroit. Speed Pro was contacted, interviewed and initially awarded two 50 house contracts from the builder. The volume of work, on site and in the office required Speed Pro to hire more painters and Janet’s need to work full time in the office began to become apparent. Her title became Systems Manager and she is responsible for day to day operations involving employees, customers and general office affairs, including preparing Certified Payroll Reports and other Davis-Bacon paperwork.
June 2004 – Speed Pro Painting is proud to be known as one of SE Michigan’s top contractors. Additional contracts are awarded to Speed Pro. GC Evaluation states: “excellent contractor – able to take on more.” With this feather in our cap, Tara begins to aggressively market to other builders in the State.
November 2004 – Tara spends her time marketing to new builders and recruiting employees. Speed Pro is working 100% on residential new construction.
Summer 2006 – Speed Pro Painting is granted certification as a Women Business Enterprise for the State of Michigan. They continue to work on new construction projects.
Summer 2007 – Speed Pro completes an incredible amount of new construction projects. Riding high on prosperity and unaware of what was coming!
2008- Speed Pro does a fraction of the new construction work load and realizes the economy and housing crises is beginning and having a great effect on the new construction industry. Bid requests dry up and our last project ends in December 2008.
2009- Present-Early in 2009 Speed Pro once again markets to and works full time for homeowners. Work is slow at first but begins to pick up and the company is soon thriving again! Tara realizes she would much rather work for homeowners than builders anyway!