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Two teens saving for college with Two Hunks carwash business

LAND O'LAKES

Tyler White smiled as he dunked a carwash mitt into a bucket of soap and water.

Beside the bucket, White had arranged his arsenal: shampoo, conditioner and wax for cars, chrome polish and tire shine, cleaners for glass, plastic, carpet, leather and vinyl.

White, who owns a mobile carwash business service called Two Hunks and a Hose, is meticulous. He is determined. He is also a sophomore at Land O'Lakes High School.

"I never thought I'd have my own business at 16 (years old)," he said. "I didn't think I could."

He was wrong.

A few months ago, he and his friend, Josh Columbo, 15, also a Land O'Lakes sophomore, washed White's mother's car and talked about the future.

Columbo wants to go to culinary school. White wants to study business and management. He already had discussed his college plans with his parents.

"I said that we would help as much as we could," said White's mother, Shelly White, 41.

But she can't promise to cover all of her son's college costs, and "you can't bank on a scholarship these days. He had to have a Plan B," she said.

Tyler had an idea.

"It's kind of fun washing cars," he recalled telling Columbo. "Maybe we can do this to save money for college."

And thus Two Hunks was born.

White is the owner, and Columbo works as a contractor. They use Facebook and fliers to promote the business. Word of mouth also has helped.

"When we first opened, we never thought we'd get past the neighborhood," White said.

But the market for the business turned out to be bigger. They wash cars by appointment after school and on the weekends, throughout and sometimes beyond Pasco County.

They use a hose and a water jet hose nozzle, a foam gun and a 5-horsepower shop vac, scrub brushes and sheepskin mitts.

White buys new cleaning products and tries them on his own car before he will use them on a customer's vehicle.

And he enjoys the job.

"They say if you get the job you love, you never work a day in your life," he said. "We love what we do."

Doing it has taught the teens to be prepared.

"I always have extra supplies," White said. "Two to three bottles of everything I have, in case a bottle locks up or breaks. I have extra hoses, two or three extension cords, multiple calendars."

White, who swims and runs track, has had to learn to prioritize and manage his time.

"School is our first priority," he said. "We keep our grades up. We don't take a job if we can't handle it."

They also have their honed customer service skills.

"Our customers are happy with the job that we do," White said.

His neighbor, Dona Sherard, who was Two Hunks' first customer, can vouch for it — she hires them once a month to wash her car.

"I wish them all the success in the world," said Sherard, 69.

She has known White since he was in elementary school. That he started a business in high school doesn't surprise her.

"He's always been ambitious," she said. "He's a go-getter and an achiever."

But to achieve, he and Columbo have had to give up some of what their peers prize.

"Our weekends," Columbo said.

White says the sacrifice is worth it.

"I'll be able to enjoy free time in the long run," he said. "If I work now, I'll be able to have and support my own family."

His mom is fully confident in her son.

"He's always had dreams and goals," she said. "I have no doubt that he'll be successful in them."

Contact Arleen Spenceley at (727) 869-6235 or aspenceley@tampabay.com. Follow @ArleenSpenceley.

>>FAST FACTS

Rolling out the dazzle

For information about Two Hunks and a Hose, call (813) 520-6014 or search for Two Hunks and a Hose on Facebook. The cost for a full service, inside and out, detail and wash is $25 for sedans, $30 for SUVs and $35 for trucks and vans. The cost for boats varies.

Two teens saving for college with Two Hunks carwash business 03/10/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2016 10:37am]
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