Detailing cars has been a nice side hustle for Spencer Maeschen over the past year.

But now, that side hustle has bloomed into a full-fledged business.

After detailing out of his family’s garage for the past few months, where he built a clientele and furthered his skills, Maeschen, 22, felt the time was right to open one of his own. In late August, Maeschen opened his detailing business called Maeschen Auto Detailing (MAD) Garage, located at 505 S. Burr St. in Mitchell.

“Before I opened, I started having more and more interior jobs lined up. I was cranking out four to five interior jobs a day by myself, so the business was there to open my own,” Maeschen said. “I was just trying to get my name out there and form a base, because there are some great detailing shops in town. It’s nice that we all get along.”

Having saved enough money from detailing at his home, Maeschen found the right location and made his first monthly rent payment, followed by purchasing a $1,300 pressure washer. Since then, he’s been gradually adding more equipment to do the type of thorough detailing work he prefers.

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Although Maeschen is about three months into running his detailing business, it wasn’t exactly part of the plan at this stage of his life. After Maeschen’s plan to complete an internship this summer at an agriculture equipment implement in Sioux Falls fell through, he went back to the drawing board. Little did he know the change of plans would lead him to pursue something he's been dreaming about doing for the past year: opening a detailing business.

“Because one opportunity didn’t happen, I see it as I am blessed to have had another one open up,” he said.

Before making the decision to open his business, Maeschen knew he was taking on a big risk. Opening the shop in the midst of a pandemic added even more risk. However, Maeschen said it presented him with a unique opportunity.

After the stimulus checks that were distributed across the country for citizens below an income threshold, Maeschen said it equated to more customers getting their vehicles detailed.

“It is definitely a challenge opening a business, but I love the challenge,” Maeschen said. "It was interesting to see how people used some of their extra money from the stimulus check to get their cars detailed. I think it showed more people want to take care of what they already own instead of buying new."

Spencer Maeschen, owner of MAD Garage, mixes the solution he used to detail vehicles on Monday at his 505 S. Burr St. shop. (Sam Fosness / Republic)
Spencer Maeschen, owner of MAD Garage, mixes the solution he used to detail vehicles on Monday at his 505 S. Burr St. shop. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

Raised around cars

Throughout much of his life, Maeschen was raised around the automobile. After all, his father, Rob Maeschen, was the owner of Tri M Tunes in Mitchell for several decades until he sold it a few years ago.

Seeing his father build a successful car stereo and window tinting business over the years inspired Maeschen to pursue his dream of opening a specialized shop of his own.

“I always remember being a little kid hanging out in the shop, and having my own shop now brings back some great memories,” Maeschen said. “My dad was a big reason why I made the decision to go after this.”

When he wasn't hanging out at his dad's shop, Maeschen was working on the family farm. His farming background led Maeschen to pursue a degree in precision agriculture technology at Mitchell Technical College, which he's a year away from finishing.

Although he plans on putting his degree to good use on his family's farm, Maeschen said he's switched more of his focus to his detailing business. With the early on success he's experienced, the entrepreneur has big aspirations for his detailing shop, hoping to one day expand to locations in Brookings and Sioux Falls.

While he’s been enjoying learning the ropes of running a small business, Maeschen said his passion for detailing is what motivates him everyday. The tedious process of detailing a vehicle is one that Maeschen finds "very rewarding."

“It isn’t fun having to pull melted crayons out of the carpet and being full of dog hair, but the end result is so worth every bit of the challenges,” he said. “My passion for detailing is more important than the money, and I believe that will drive me to grow the business to its full potential.”