Towards the end of last school year, Tualatin High students Kate Intile and Adam Klein were starting to think about summer jobs. Rather than scooping ice cream, tearing movie tickets or working a cash register like many of their peers, Intile and Klein decided to start their own pressure washing business.
"Neither of us really wanted to work at Coldstone, or that kind of thing," Intile said. "With the pressure washing, it's just us. We get to make our own hours and set up jobs as it works for our schedule."
Intile, a senior, and Klein, a junior, have both taken business classes at Tualatin High — Intile is enrolled in Advanced Business Procedures right now, and Klein plans to take it next year. The pressure washing business started as a class project, and transitioning it to a full-blown operation has taught the young entrepreneurs a lot about real-world business.
"I think we get a better experience running the whole thing ourselves," Intile said. "We get to experiment with organizing and payment methods, and figure out how to not only do the work, but communicate with customers, and making sure we're putting out the right quality and timing it right."
Intile and Klein build up much of their business through word of mouth, but they're also experimenting with different incentives and advertising strategies. And the freedom of owning their own business and getting to work outside suits the students, who both run cross-country.
"It's something we don't mind doing — it's kind of fun, a good way to be outside and play around with big tools," Klein said. "And it's something that actually helps people."
Klein and Intile donate 15 percent of their proceeds to the Tualatin High School cross country teams. Their funds have provided for better snacks and beach and camping trips for the team.
"We really wanted to do something to make the seasons better," Klein said about the decision to donate profits.
In the fall, Intile will join the student body and cross country team at the University of Colorado Boulder. The pair plan to continue the business this summer, and for as long as they continue to spend summers at home in Tualatin.
"What's fun about having our own business, is we can try really anything," Intile said. "You don't have to clear it with someone else."