clean freaks lv

Wyatt Geckler shows how some of the cleaning equipment works at his new business, Clean Freaks Detailing in Lakeville.

Lakeville graduate starts Clean Freaks Detailing

An example of the desire Generation Z has to forge their own path in the business world is near the corner of Cedar Avenue and County Road 70 in Lakeville.

That’s where one will find Wyatt Geckler keeping the south metro beautiful one vehicle at a time with his new business, Clean Freaks Detailing.

Geckler, a 2021 Lakeville South High School graduate, is among the 62% of Americans 24 years old and younger who have started or intend to start their own business, according to one survey.

“I’ve never been one to follow someone else’s lead,” Geckler said from inside the shop in a space he’s renting from JC Cabinets.

Entrepreneurship runs in his family. His father, Andy Geckler, owns a homebuilding company, and six of the eight siblings of his mother, Cathy Dunham, own a business.

“I saw that it takes lot of work, but it also provides a lot of flexibility,” he said. “I never thought I would go to college. I thought about going to a trade school to be a plumber, but whatever route I took, I knew I would start my own business.”

The question was what kind of business.

Geckler has always liked cars and trucks, and keeping them looking sharp came right along with it.

He said he started by detailing his own, a 2009 black Hummer H3, then doing the same for his family members. Each time he would finish one, the reactions were of surprise, excitement and gratitude.

“I am a perfectionist,” Geckler said. “I always wanted to take it up a notch. I would see a couple of spots, and it would irritate me to the point I couldn’t drive it. I would try whatever I could to make it look better. I would experiment with different chemicals, soaps, and window cleaners.”

Those projects planted the seed for an idea to own his own detailing business.

He said he’s very frugal and saved a lot of money over the years, which he planned to put into his entrepreneurial dream.

After talking about the prospects of it with his father, they found a three-day Detail King certification program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which they attended in September.

He said the program spent the first day on the logistics of starting and maintaining a business, in areas such as tax filing, marketing, and goal setting. The rest of the training was in the work of keeping cars and trucks looking like new.

“They showed us the most effective and best techniques,” Geckler said.

After graduating from the program, he said he looked around the south metro area for a location in places like Farmington and Burnsville, but landed on the Lakeville location due to its high traffic and visibility.

Getting the space ready for business included cleaning the former storage area, painting an epoxy floor, creating a reception space, purchasing equipment and supplies, and creating a ceiling-mounted, hose-rigging system.

Clean Freaks Detailing opened this winter and is developing its website to include a menu of services and pricing. To date, it has been attracting clients through networking and encouraging people to fill out a Google review when a job is done.

For those unfamiliar with detailing work, it involves much more than running a vacuum on the floor and wiping down the interior.

Clean Freaks uses air compression hoses to root out dirt and grime, special cleaners for all kinds of tires, rims, seats and dashboards, and ceramic coatings and paint correction for the exterior.

The goal is to make the vehicle look as close to new as possible.

He said for people who love their car, detailing can extend the life of it. For example, he said ceramic coatings protect a paint job from UV rays and prevents rust. It also gives a vehicle a shine that’s more resilient and attractive than wax.

“It’s a big job, but it is very rewarding for the people when they see it for the first time,” Geckler said. “People are kind of expecting to see a minimal difference, but they are very surprised when they see how much better it can be.”

He said the biggest reaction he received from a client was when he detailed a 2012 Ford F150, topping it off with ceramic coating.

“He couldn’t stop talking about it and smiling,” Geckler said. “There’s a different factor to detailing. It’s kind of like bringing out the perfectionist in me wanting it to be as close to perfect as possible.”

Clean Freaks Detailing is located at 21537 Cedar Ave. S. It can be reached at 612-615-7857.

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@apgecm.com.

Tad Johnson is a managing editor of Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune 

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