By MICHELLE JAMES, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Tyler Hicks was just looking for some spending money when he and a friend started detailing their classmates’ cars at Shady Spring High School.
“We both had part-time jobs but we wanted some extra money,” he explained.
They even came up with a name for their sideline, detailing cars under the name Broke Guys.
“Most high school students are broke,” Hicks said with a smile.
Now, a year from graduation, Hicks is still just a teenager.
And at 19, he also owns a business.
Broke Guys Detailing held their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on October 29, 2021 at the Beckley Center.
Technically, he’s just a guy these days, since Hicks’ friend took a different route.
Hicks always thought that it would also go in another direction.
“All through school I wanted to do IT,” he said, adding that he was certified to work on computers. “That’s all I wanted to do.”
However, something about the satisfaction of a well-cleaned car changed his focus.
“At first we were just building our own vehicles, but then our friends were so happy when we cleaned their cars and it just lit up,” he said.
Even early on, Hicks did more than just “wash” the cars.
“We just keep 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 the dirtiest to the cleanest with the right tools and the right products.”
And when he made the decision to pursue it as a career, he learned even more by attending training at the King Automotive Detailing Institute in Pittsburgh.
“I learned everything from how to wash a proper exterior and how to 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 cars.
Package 1, Hicks said, offers “good hand washing,” wheel and tire cleaning, interior vacuuming and window cleaning, and towel drying.
“It just goes up from there,” Hicks said, explaining that packages 2 and 3 offer everything from the previous package and a little more.
“Package 2 offers a 3-month wax and clay bar service,” he said, explaining the process of removing micro-contaminants from the paint.
“Like when you wash a car and you run your hand through the paint and it still feels like sand,” he said. “We got it out of there.”
The medium package also includes an interior shampoo.
Customers who choose Package 3 receive a 6-month wax wash and iron decontamination, as well as a roof scrub and scent bomb that leaves the interior smelling fresh for two weeks.
While 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.
“Detailing really helps extend the life of your car,” he said. “And if you wash it (regularly) and don’t put salt in it, you can keep your vehicle in good shape and have it for longer.”
Although it opened just over 5 months ago, Hicks said he’s encouraged by the response.
“It’s been going well,” he said, highlighting December as a “great” month. “It was kind of a blessing for us and now we are recovering because we have better weather.”
He said he expects that trend to continue through the summer months, as people get out and move around more.
“I’ve had a lot of people who just want a good wash and who want to keep their cars protected during the summer months,” he said.
And while he’s doing well, he attributes much of his success to his parents, Matt Hicks, who owns his own gas station, and Melanie, who runs the Broke Guys books.
“Without my parents and (building owner) Rob Dunlap, I wouldn’t be able to be here right 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.
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