LAKE CITY, S.C. – Since the age of 14, Marquese Butler of Lake City said he knew he did not want to work for anyone other than himself. He wanted to be an entrepreneur. Now 17, Butler owns and operates Clean & Shine Mobile Wash. The company provides mobile car wash and pressure washing services to clients in the Lake City area.

He said he started his business in 2016 but did not add the mobile aspect until earlier this year.

Butler said he started by washing cars for family members and then expanded. He would often wash cars on weekends at a building owned by his grandfather on U.S. 52 in Lake City. Through advice from his mentor, Dr. Tyrone Wallace, a chiropractor in Lake City, Butler visited the Lake City City Hall in search for information on obtaining a business license.

“So that same day, I went to speak with Mr. William Hall (at City Hall), and he told me everything that actually comes with running a business at a building,” Butler said. “So when he was telling me those things, I realized the building wasn’t up-to-date for that yet. That’s when I thought of the mobile car wash, and I went from there.”

Butler said he got lucky with his mobile car wash idea. One of his mother’s friends owned half of the equipment and supplies he needed to get started, including a trailer, water tank and generator.

He now takes his equipment from location to location to offer his services. The Clean & Shine Mobile Wash offers interior and exterior cleaning options for two-door and four-door cars, trucks, SUVs and buses.

“The farthest I’ve ever gone was Hemingway,” Butler said. “I’m looking forward to getting surrounding cities such as Florence, Johnsonville, Hemingway and Pamplico. I’m growing a lot.”

Butler’s aunt Shaquality Singletary, said she realized Butler was serious about his business when he started investing his own money into it. Butler said that after every car he cleans, he puts some of the money he earns into savings and uses some to purchase more products to grow his company.

According to Singletary, Butler is not afraid to introduce himself to strangers to promote his company.

“He was going door to door, like back-in-the-day salesmen, advertising his business, handing out flyers,” Singletary said. “It’s 90-degree weather. I’m like, he’s serious, because most teenagers would be scared to even step out that far.”

Singletary said she thinks Butler really started investing himself in his business after he attended Business Week in 2016, a summer camp held in Clinton. She signed him up for the camp, which focused on entrepreneurship, and he learned a lot.

“He’s so determined now. His goals are not like your average teenager’s,” Singletary said. “He’s well-mannered. He’s a go-getter. He doesn’t wait for anyone to tell him what to do next. He prioritizes his life.”

Ultimately, Butler said, he wants to have a local car wash while continuing his mobile business.

“I plan to have a car wash where my clients can come whenever they want to and a car wash where we can go to them,” Butler said. “And I plan to get as big as I can get.”

Butler serves several clients a week. He said it feels good to know his hard work is paying off and to know he has a support system behind him including family, teachers, coaches and other business owners.

Now that he has a business license, Butler said he is working to get Clean & Shine Mobile Wash classified as a limited liability company (LLC).

Butler can be contacted on Facebook by searching Clean & Shine Mobile Wash, by email at marquesebutler@gmail.com or by phone at 843-598-0504.

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