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It’s in the details: Sophomore starts car cleaning company

Nishka Avunoori

By Hiba Samdani, Co-T/E Life Editor

Inspecting scratches on a vehicle, cleaning and rinsing the tires, applying protection to leather seats, and topping it all off with an air freshener. Instead of performing these steps in a car workshop, sophomore Kole Wintersteen performs them in his customer’s garage. 

Wintersteen recently started a car detailing business, in which he thoroughly cleans cars to give them a brand new appearance. Calling it “Mr. Detail,” Wintersteen began his business due to the fascination he has had for cars from an early age. After COVID-19 restrictions became more lenient, he spread the word through door-to-door advertising, distributing pamphlets and cards. 

“I have a bunch of neighborhoods near my house, so — this might sound bad — I go to the house that has the most cars in the driveway, knock on the door and be like ‘hey, I have a business,’” Wintersteen said.

Typically, someone in his neighborhood will respond within one to two days. Wintersteen brings his own materials to his customers’ garages and only requires them to supply him with a water hose and electricity. He performs both interior and exterior cleaning, charging $50 for each. 

Wintersteen’s skillset lies in paying attention to detail as he cleans cars. From the multiple layers of soap foam he applies to the exterior to thoroughly vacuuming the interior, he meticulously cleans every corner to ensure the car is properly detailed for the customer.

“My favorite part to detail on a car has to be interior surfaces,” Wintersteen said. “The way the solution foams up is satisfying to say the least and leaves everything looking brand new.”

By pursuing his passion, he has been able to develop a closer bond with his father, who also shares an avid interest in cars.

“When I was younger, I used to love watching these cool cars just pass (by) the street and be like, ‘Wow.’ I just knew I liked cars and wanted to do something with them,” Wintersteen said. “My father at a young age was a truck fanatic. He knows all different types of cars like me, and we always watch racing shows together.”

Mr. Detail has helped foster a closer relationship with his mother as well. Initially, Wintersteen’s mom, Jennifer Schranz, helped market his business and design the business cards. Developing the company with Wintersteen has helped her feel more fulfilled as a mother.

“As you get older, working on things with your kids is kind of creating memories,” Schranz said. “I knew nothing about car cleaning, but (working) with him offered closure because I think I understood him more.”

Running a business also enables him to connect with his customers. He still maintains a close relationship with his first client, who was instrumental in helping him advertise.

“I remember his first client was an older woman (who) said, ‘I’m gonna be your first client, and I’m going to make sure that I call you back to clean my cars enough so I can keep your business going,’” Schranz said. “She would come and chat with him while he was cleaning his car. He now once in a while follows up to make sure she’s okay. It just shows that (running a business) is a win-win situation.”

Wintersteen hopes he can keep running his business and expand it to more people. To run a successful company, Schranz believes his hardworking nature will allow him to accomplish his goal.

“To run a business, you have to be focused and motivated and it’s hard work,” Schranz said. “One day, hopefully, he’ll be able to go back and say ‘I remember my mom and I working together on this, and I learned a lot from it.’”

Hiba Samdani can be reached at [email protected].

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Hiba Samdani
Hiba Samdani, Co-Editor-in-Chief