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APRIL NIBJ: Young entrepreneur has a passion for business

by EMILY BONSANT/NIBJ Staff Writer
| March 26, 2024 1:00 AM

Entrepreneur Tyler Lucas, 20, discovered a passion for business in middle school when selling paracord bracelets with his friend Brady Hinthorn. From there the pair started a small lawn mowing empire, with Hinthorn continuing the business to this day.

“Brady continued in that direction of landscaping, but I phased out,” Lucas said. “I always wanted to be my own boss and start my own business, but didn’t know what I was passionate enough about to start a business.”

When school was canceled in 2020, due to COVID-19, Lucas left Bonners Ferry High School and went to work at Taylor & Sons Chevrolet dealership in Sandpoint. As a lot attendant, he was tasked with washing the new car inventory. 

However, since vehicle production lagged during the pandemic, resulting in a lack of new inventory, Lucas was put on detailing used trade-ins. 

“I’ve always enjoyed cars, and my dad is a mechanic, so I’ve been around cars my whole life,” he said.

Lucas became passionate about detailing and customer service. That summer he realized there was no auto detailing business in Bonners Ferry, but there was an opportunity to start one. He decided that once he graduated high school and turned 18, he’d start his own business, Lucas Detailing. In 2021, he did just that. 

While at BFHS, he pursued an associate degree in business design at North Idaho College, getting a jump start on his business career. Additional NIC classes were online due to COVID, allowing him to take more classes than he would have been able to and cutting any commute to the Coeur d’Alene campus. 

“As I was working on the business I was also taking business classes, at the same time, which was more than helpful,” he said. 

When it comes to managing the business and problem solving, he has found networking with other business owners brings additional insight. Lucas has continued his friendship with Hinthorn, and the two regularly bounce ideas and solutions off each other. 

“To this day we still help each other with ideas. Brady is very intelligent when it comes to operations and maintenance, while I'm better at marketing,” he said.

He said it’s encouraging to have someone at his same stage in life and business to connect with. 

Reputation is everything for businesses, but how do you establish a reputation? This was a difficulty Lucas first faced starting out. 

“I had to get my name out there, but capital for advertising was an issue,” he said. 

So he first started out by providing before and after photos of his early work and detailing vehicles for family members and community members he knew. For marketing, he put up fliers around town. 

‘Word-of-mouth marketing and relationships are huge, especially in a small community like Bonners,” he said. “The most important thing is your quality of service, but if you can provide added value to your service experience, people respect and remember you.”

To provide added value, Lucas has learned to keep clients updated on the process of detailing and being upfront with any issues. 

“In business, be upfront and honest and transparent. If something goes wrong, have a plan to fix it,” he said.  

Lucas admits he’s made mistakes in the past, by scratching a piece of hardware when detailing. 

“I talked to the client and we found a remedy,” he said, noting that even though he had made a mistake, the client was still happy with his work and gave him a positive review. 

Advice Lucas gives to up-and-coming serviced-based entrepreneurs is to find something you are good at, or know more about than the average person. 

Lucas Detailing did not take off overnight, but by slowly building a reputation and clientele, it is now a growing business with repeat clients and commercial vehicle detailing.