Sophomore launches local vehicle detailing business

Avary Hutzelman | Staff Writer

Nolan Hartsock cleaning cars for his new business

When it comes to making money, Sophomore Nolan Hartsock has realized it is all about the details. 

Sophomore Nolan Hartsock has created a successful car detailing business from the ground up. After much trial and error, All Star Student Detailing is finally thriving. Hartsock always had a passion and was told he was naturally gifted in sales. Starting a business in high school is not the most common, but Hartsock said that he knew he could take his drive to a higher level. 

All Star Student Detailing features multiple different detailing packages along with the convenience of doing it all at the customer’s house. Hartsock performs mainly cosmetic procedures such as cleaning, waxing, polishing, and drying, that keep the vehicle in the best condition possible. 

The car detailing business wasn’t always in the plan for Hartsock, and getting his business to a successful place was not easy. Wanting some extra money while being unable to drive himself to a part-time job, Hartsock decided to try out some odd jobs over the summer of 2019 such as starting a lemonade stand. Hoping he could earn more money, he moved on from selling lemonade and attempted to mulch yards, but said he quickly realized it was not his strong suit. 

In December of 2019, Hartsock went back to the drawing board and realized the constant need for car detailing created a unique business opportunity. 

“There’s always gonna be a demand for it,” Hartsock said. “People always have cars and don’t know how to clean [them] properly or don’t have the time.” 

With his parents’ support he started his research and watched YouTube videos to teach himself everything he would need to learn before offering this service to others. Right before launching the business, COVID hit and pushed everything back. It wasn’t until June 2020 when All Star Student Detailing officially launched.

Hartsock’s very first customer came from a social media post his mom had made, within days of his first advertisement. 

“It was a great learning experience,” Hartsock said. While creating flyers and social media posts, he had to learn how to storytell in an attempt to let his potential customers know he wants to empower other high schoolers to get after their aspirations.

“We make sure to tell people we want to have [their] help,” Hartsock said. “But we also want to help others by doing what we do.”

Hartsock tries to stand out from other companies by not only going to the customer’s house, but also by leaving “personal touches like writing a thank you note and leaving a towel to help keep their car clean.” These deeds push customers to help spread the word about All Star Student Detailing. Word of mouth lets future customers know exactly what Hartsock has to offer, along with advertisements on platforms such as NextDoor and Facebook.

“We try to ask if [our customers] would tell their friends and family as a way of advertising for us,” Hartsock said. “From that we received a lot of work, a lot of feedback. Showing them before and after pictures of what we can do helps a lot.”

Shortly after launching and building up his new business, Hartsock had gained enough revenue to consider hiring another employee, leading him to offer a job to a friend. Sophomore Jared Stegman enjoys working alongside his best friend and being a part of this new journey. 

“I enjoy having this business that I get to grow with a friend,” Stegman said. “It’s not like I’m going into a business that’s already well-developed. It’s fun to learn things as you go.”

Both have learned that with any business, there will be challenges. Hartsock said that one of those challenges has been building up a good reputation, as some customers are reluctant to trust something as important and expensive as their cars to high schoolers. Hartsock said that he wants to try and dissolve that stigma with this company, regardless of any adversity he and Stegman face.

“Every day probably isn’t going to be a wonderful day for your company,” Stegman said. “You see that too with big businesses. You have to know that in order to be successful you have to go through the ups and downs.” 

Working alongside a friend could potentially alter a dynamic, but Hartsock and Stegman make it work. They have a “mutual trust” and whether they are tackling a messy car or deal

ing with a canceling customer, they figure it out together.

“I know [Stegman] is going to do good so I have trust in him,” Hartsock said. “He knows that I’m going to do my part so he has that trust in me and collectively we can get [our job] done fast and efficiently.”

Balancing high school, homework, extracurriculars, sports, and running your own business is not the easiest, but regardless, Hartsock perseveres. He said that he takes pride in not only how far he’s come, but also how far he plans to keep going. 

“Our customers have enough trust in us that they know we’re going to get the job done,” Hartsock said. 

This year holds a lot in store for All Star Student Detailing including more workers, paid advertising, a new website and even a new detailing package. 

All Star Student Detailing will continue to grow and while he plans to keep to spreading the word about his business, Hartsock hopes that others will do the same. 

Growth is not his only goal, however. Hartsock said that aside from his own successes, he hopes that his business ventures inspire others his age to get out there and try for themselves.

“It’s uncertain to say what the future holds,” Hartsock said. “I’m looking to increase the size of the company and continue building a premium detailing company at an affordable price that employs and empowers high school students.”