As college undergrad debt soars to over $30,000, finance and accounting major, Wesley Bloeme ‘17 will be graduating debt free.
Bloeme, a tennis player and former football player has set sports aside to aim at a higher goal. He has taken his future into his own hands by starting his own business, College Student Pressure Washing, LLC.
Bloeme started his business two summers ago with a friend of his back home in the Buckhead District of Atlanta. He saw an untapped market he and his friend could work seasonally, and one he could take with him to college. For his friend, the business was about making some extra money on the side over the summer. For Bloeme, the business was his livelihood and his ticket to higher education.
Bloeme comes from a middle class family in need of extra support in order to make payments for his education. As situations at home have changed, it has become imperative that he hold himself accountable for his education.
In College Student Pressure Washing’s humble beginnings, he and his partner decided they would split the profits evenly among themselves.
Their first piece of equipment? A semi-professional pressure washer he borrowed from his aunt. The two tackled the jobs together for the first three weeks, after which they began to work independently.
It soon became apparent that he would need better equipment, so Bloeme and his father set out to build a rig of his own. It took two full weeks to build the new pressure washer and cost $10,000. The plans for the rig Bloeme drew up himself, the design inspired from a series of YouTube videos. He ordered all of the parts himself, his dad partnering in the rig’s construction. The pressure washer paid for itself in its first summer.
As business slowed, Bloeme would travel door-to-door offering his services, first to his neighborhood, then surrounding areas. He said it helped him learn interpersonal skills.
“At first it was pretty terrifying,” said Bloeme, but business began to pick up and things became more promising for him.
“What sets my business apart from my competitors is the fact that it’s top quality,” said Bloeme. “There isn’t anyone that can clean better than I can residentially. Clean is clean. If I can provide the same service at a lower cost and my customers can feel good about knowing they are helping someone in college who is trying to better themselves. That’s kind of the pitch.”
Bloeme worked all day long this past summer and made a dent in his student loans. Before he knew it, however, it was time to go back to school.
In his spring semester of his sophomore year, he decided he would get his equipment ensured and his business licensed, officially becoming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The licensed business gave his clients a sense of legitimacy when referring him to their friends.
As another step forward, Bloeme improved the advertisement for his company by adding signs to his car and trailer.
“The back of my trailer is a billboard,” said Bloeme, “If you are behind me in traffic, you have no choice but to see exactly what I am doing. It has actually paid off pretty well.”
Bloeme also started his own website, created pages on Facebook and Twitter, and printed business cards.
Bloeme’s choice to become a legitimized business brought in more clients, and he is finally getting the referrals he has sought. When he got back to Atlanta last summer, he hit the ground running with 70-80 hour work weeks.
“Maybe I won’t have to go out and find all of the customers, maybe they will come to me,” said Bloeme.
At his current pace, Bloeme will have his debts paid off by the upcoming summer. That being said, his work has been daunting. Over the summer, Bloeme lost fifteen pounds on the job.
“There is no off day, there is no fun. There is fun, but it’s really serious,” said Bloeme. “This [college] is a break. That really makes me appreciate being in school. It stinks having to go to class and do homework, but it’s not as scary as when you can’t find clients.”
Bloeme said that starting a business has helped him to learn a lot about himself. One of which is how to take rejection. He has also learned that he is much happier when he is being productive.
“I don’t have a lot of time, but I feel much better,” said Bloeme. “I would rather work hard the next four years and have the best forty years after this.”
Bloeme is still moving forward. He is looking now at furthering his education in graduate school. He wants either to get his CPA or to further his pursuits as an entrepreneur. He sees no reason why the business will not help him moving forward into his secondary degree. What’s more, Bloeme has a younger sister that will be starting college soon and wants to help her finance her education as well.
Bloeme has brought his business with him to Maryville this semester. He admitted that his lack of personal ties here make him unsure of the Maryville and surrounding areas’ clientele He is hoping another round of innovations will improve his business.
He is expanding the functions of his website, www.collegestudentpressurewashing.com, by adding a mobile site. Additionally, he will be adding two databases: a mileage record for tax write-offs and a pricing database that will measure the dimensions of the lot to be pressure washed, calculate a price and send it to the client.
As demand continues to rise here and in Atlanta, Bloeme has entertained the idea of hiring a part-time associate as his first step in expansion.
If business takes off in Maryville, Bloeme would like to work alongside other students of Maryville College, and he urges anyone interested in his pressure washing services to contact him.