West Virginia teenager started his own car detailing business | West Virginia News

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By MICHELLE JAMES, The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Tyler Hicks was just looking to splash some cash when he and a friend started detailing classmates’ cars at Shady Spring High School.

“We both had part-time jobs, but we wanted a little extra money,” he explained.

They even came up with a name for their side business, detailing cars as Broke Guys.

“Most high school kids are broke,” Hicks said with a laugh.

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One year from graduation, Hicks is still just a teenager.

And at 19, he is also a business manager.

Broke Guys Detailing celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting on October 29, 2021 in downtown Beckley.

Technically, he’s just a guy these days, because Hicks’ friend took a different route.

Hicks always thought he would go in another direction as well.

“Throughout my studies, I wanted to do computer science,” he said, adding that he had received certification to work in computers. “That’s all I wanted to do.”

Something about the satisfaction of a well-cleaned car, however, shifted his focus.

“At first we were just doing our own vehicles, but our friends were so happy when we cleaned their cars and it kind of sparked a spark,” he said.

Even in the beginning, Hicks did more than just “wash” cars.

“We just kept learning,” he said. “We researched the best things to use and I would buy tools and products.

“I discovered that you can take a vehicle from dirtiest to cleanest with the right tools and the right products.”

And when he made the decision to make it his profession, he learned even more by training at the King Automotive Detailing Institute in Pittsburgh.

“I learned everything from how to wash a proper exterior and clean an interior to how to polish and remove scratches from vehicles,” he said.

Broke Guys customers can choose from three packages when detailing their automobiles.

Package 1, Hicks said, offers “good hand washing,” wheel and tire cleaning, interior vacuuming, and window cleaning and towel drying.

“It kind of goes up from there,” Hicks said, explaining that Packages 2 and 3 offer everything from the previous package and a bit more.

“Package 2 offers a 3-month wax and clay bar service,” he said, explaining the process of removing micro-contaminants from paint.

“Like when you wash a vehicle and run your hand over the paint, it still looks like sand,” he said. “We’re taking that back.”

The intermediate package also includes an interior shampoo.

Customers who choose Package 3 receive a 6-month wax and iron decontamination wash plus a headliner scrub and scent bomb that leaves the interior smelling fresh for two weeks.

Although most people wash their cars regularly or at least once in a while, Hicks said proper cleanings are recommended to increase a car’s lifespan and even its trade-in value.

“The details really help extend the life of your car,” he said. “And if you wash it (regularly) and avoid salt, you can keep your vehicle in good shape and have it longer.”

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Although it has been open for just over 5 months, Hicks said he was encouraged by the response.

“It’s going well,” he said, noting December as a “great” month. “It was kind of a blessing for us and we’re picking up now since we have a better time.”

He said he expects this trend to continue through the summer months as more and more people come.

“I’ve had a lot of people who just want a good wash and want to keep their cars protected in the summer months,” he said.

And while he does well, he credits much of his success to his parents, Matt Hicks, who owns his own gas station, and Melanie, who looks after the Broke Guys books.

“Without my parents and (building owner) Rob Dunlap, I couldn’t be here now,” he said.

Broke Guys Detailing is located at 345 Prince St. in Beckley. Call 681-222-4499 or visit Broke Guys Detailing on Facebook to schedule an appointment.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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