Down to the last detail: Teens start auto cleaning business before they're old enough to drive

MOORHEAD -- As summer wears on, sand, dust and life can take a pretty big toll on the inside of cars. Fortunately, there's a new option for high-quality automobile cleaning right in town.
Evan Hagen (left) and Neko Moran are the Detail Bros. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Evan Hagen (left) and Neko Moran are the Detail Bros. Chris Flynn / The Forum

MOORHEAD - As summer wears on, sand, dust and life can take a pretty big toll on the inside of cars. Fortunately, there's a new option for high-quality automobile cleaning right in town.

Paying attention to detail and finishing the job with a smile, business owners Evan Hagen and Neko Moran have made it their mission to clean up Moorhead, one interior at a time.

It doesn't matter if they aren't old enough to drive yet.

Focus on detail

With entrepreneurial spirit running in the stepbrothers' veins thanks to Mom and Dad - both of whom own and manage businesses - and a little push from Minnesota State University Moorhead's College for Kids & Teens' weeklong business class, the Detail Bros. was born.

Hagen, 12, says detailing the interior of cars was their business alternative to mowing lawns.

"We cleaned my mom's car for practice," Hagen says. "We thought it was pretty fun and cool, so we wanted to do it."

After watching a few videos online and practicing on their parents' cars, the brothers knew they had something big on their plates - or at least in their driveway.

"At first, our mom helped us," Hagen says. "Then we cleaned up my dad's car as well. We just saw a few videos on YouTube and then (Neko's) grandpa taught him how to do some stuff, too."

Their thorough cleaning process starts in the trunk.

"We vacuum through (the trunk)," Hagen says. "Then we vacuum to the front and then go back to the trunk to start on smaller details and go through to the front again and do a lot more detailing and look for spots that we missed."

Making their way through each vehicle three times to vacuum, spot clean, wash, wipe and protect almost every surface takes about three hours, but they say the good, thorough cleaning leaves the car looking and smelling new.

Jingle in their pockets

Many kids and young adults will taking up mowing in the summer to make a few bucks.

The Detail Bros. are not like those peers A full detailing for a car starts around $35 for a car and runs up to $45 for a pickup or SUV. Customers can also pay $15 more to get vehicle rugs shampooed, which takes about a half hour.

While they do keep some of their earnings for their own bank accounts, they've figured out a system that they (and their parents) think works well: splitting everything down the middle.

"Unless we are gone," Moran, 13, says. "This week Evan was at a camp, so whatever I earned I got because he wasn't working. But when I am gone in a couple of weeks, he will get all the money that he worked for."

The boys have even donated a portion of their profits to the United Way of Cass-Clay. Moran also donated toward a chapel project at a local camp.

"My aunt is the president of the United Way," Moran says. "I just wanted to help her out, and we wanted to not just spend (the money) on us."

"We are really trying to teach them how important it is to give back," says the boys' father, Scot Hagen. "You know, 10 percent to tithes, 10 percent back to the business, things like that. It's part of the learning experience."

The boys have even thought ahead about their clients' wait times, offering Wi-Fi access and a table to work on while waiting for the job to get done.

But they don't intend to do this work forever.

"I like it," Moran says. "I want to keep doing it. It's not something I want to carry out my whole life. I'd like to try something different, but this is something good to start off with."

And when it comes to the age-old question - What do you want to be when you grow up? - it's not car detailing.

"I really like science, so I'd like to something in science," Hagen says.

"I want to be an audio person who helps with music videos and stuff for people," Moran says.

Find out more about Detail Bros. at www.facebook.com/nekoevandetailbros/.