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“I have a couple of potential locations picked out, and I’ve already done my demographics and traffic count. I’ve met with the Florida Mark VII representative and have all the pricing for my first location figured out. I want to have five self-serve bays, a ChoiceWash XT® and an 80-foot SoftLine1® tunnel. And, I have four potential investors who are interested in investing in my company.”
Steele Logan is serious about operating his own carwash, and he’s done his homework. An outstanding example of the coming wave of young entrepreneurs, his game plan is what you’d expect from a 28-year-old business school graduate.
The thing is, Steele is 14.
You’d never guess his age in speaking with him about his plans. That could be because Steele has been fascinated by carwashes since a very young age.
“It’s very weird because my family is not in the carwash business,” Steele states. “They’re both in the medical field. But I’ve always been mechanically oriented, and ever since I can remember carwashes have had a pull on my brain. When I was 7, I actually worked at a carwash in Georgia. It’s always been a big interest to me.
“I had never thought I could own a carwash, but a couple of years ago I started looking into it and learning more about the business,” he continues. “I learned that it can be very profitable if you do it right. That’s also about the time I learned about Mark VII. They installed a SoftWash XT® at my local Circle K®. Recently, they installed a newer model and it outperformed all the other washes in the area, even the tunnels. That blew me away, so I started researching their equipment.”
Steele is firmly convinced that his choice of Mark VII equipment and chemicals for his future wash is the right one.
“My plan is to go all Mark VII. I’ve done my research on competitors, and I feel like Mark VII is the right choice for me because of the innovation coming from WashTec,” he explains. “And Mark VII chemicals are incomparable.”
His long-range plan has him launching his first carwash at the age of 20 or 21. “I want to line everything up by the time I’m 19, but if I can do what I want to do at 18, that would be fine,” he adds.
Steele is planning to dual enroll to earn college credits as he continues his education. He notes that he spends a lot of his free time visiting carwashes and talking with the operators.
“I like to see their business models and how the owners and their management teams run things,” he says.
His family is very supportive of Steele’s plan, and he notes that his father has provided helpful guidance in the areas of real estate and financing strategy. Wisely, Steele lined up a job at a local carwash and started the day he turned 14.
“I hope to work my way into a management role,” he states. “I’ll be able to put more money into savings to invest in my wash and learn more about managing the business. I’m always asking questions. For instance, the other day I asked my manager, ‘How do you establish a great team and improve your customer service.”
It’s probably not surprising that Steele won the Entrepreneur Award in his career class this year. There seems little doubt that Sarasota-area residents will be hearing about Steele’s carwash brand sooner rather than later. And Mark VII will be there from day one.
“When I speak with Mark VII, they’re very supportive of the customer,” Steele states. “I decided to go with them because I feel that they will have my back.”