‘No excuses’: Livonia business owner doesn’t let early-life hurdles stop him from succeeding
Fatherless since he was 1-year-old and a father himself at 18, Alejandro Hernandez developed a “no excuses, keep moving forward” mantra at an early age.
Born and raised in southwest Detroit, Hernandez became a championship-caliber boxer beginning at age 10 and an admirer of his two older brothers, both of whom joined the painting industry shortly after high school.
“Once I learned I was going to be a father, I knew I had to move on from the boxing and get a job,” Hernandez recounted. “I needed to start making money and I was still an amateur boxer.
Following brother’s footsteps
“I had always admired how hard my brothers worked. Painting is often a dirty job, but they never complained and they did great work. I wanted to be like them.”
Now 29, Hernandez is the one making his siblings proud. Five years ago, he started his own company – Expertise Painting – that has grown from a solo gig to a three-man crew that includes Hernandez, who is the epitome of a hands-on owner.
“The business has been going great,” Hernandez said. “I made sure to grow gradually, not rush into hiring too many people and then having to potentially be put in a position where I may have to lay someone off.
“I’ve been fortunate in that my former employer gave me a lot of advice on the business side of things. He wasn’t greedy or selfish. And I’ve learned so much from my brothers’ work ethic.”
Fatherhood and boxing
Hernandez’s daughter is now 11 and the older sister to a brother, named Alejandro like his dad.
“Being a father of two children has given me a lot of motivation to work hard,” said Hernandez, who works six days a week with his crew – seven days a week if a deadline to get a job done is fast approaching. “Growing up, I saw too many young girls forced to raise their kids by themselves. Losing my father in a car accident when I was 1, I wanted to make sure my kids had a father figure raising them with their mother.”
Hernandez admitted he periodically thinks about his teenaged boxing success, “but I don’t like to think about it too much.
“I’ve learned not to focus on the past and to keep looking forward. I don’t want to be one of those guys saying, ‘Oh, I could have been this.’ I keep moving forward.” Hernandez has been so dedicated to his profession that he was able to move his family out of Detroit and into Livonia.
“I wanted my children to be educated in better schools than what I had,” he said. “I just learned from one of my now-11-year-old daughter’s teachers that she is two levels ahead of where she should be in reading, so I’m extremely proud.”
And Hernandez’s son is already talking about making painting a generational profession.
“He told me just the other day that he wants to be a painter when he gets older and work for me,” Hernandez said, smiling. “I told him, ‘That’s great, but you have to aspire to be your own boss’.”
Building a business
Hernandez and his crew paint the interiors and exteriors of homes throughout southeast Michigan. He said the length of time he spends at each job depends on the size of the home.
“We painted a new-build in Canton recently that was about 4,700 square feet,” he said. “That took us about three weeks. When you finish a job like that – any job, really – there’s such a sense of pride, a lot of emotions.”
If you’re looking for a company to paint your house, Hernandez can be contacted through his company’s Facebook page.
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