By: Tori Metzger
Six months shy of his college graduation and with no student loan debt to his name, Alex Bajzatt acquired his first company—Smart Wash LLC—at age 22.
Bajzatt, then a senior finance major at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, did not plan to own and operate his own company so soon, but when opportunity knocks, he answers.
Smart Wash is a start-up company based in Carmel, Indiana, that is putting a twist on the traditional car cleaning service.
“We are tackling a new segment of the car washing industry—mobile washes—where we bring the service to you with an eco-friendly solution that conserves fresh water while delivering a superior clean to your automobile,” Bajzatt said.
When he started as the finance intern in March 2017, Bajzatt was washing cars, researching prices, hiring employees, reviewing finances, and more.
“We’re hearing about startup companies all the time, but usually they’re tech companies or large and fast growing,” Bajzatt says. “I joined Smart Wash as an intern, and after I saw the company’s early-stage financials, I realized it was a great opportunity to learn more and gain experience.”
He quickly transitioned to owner and CEO in October 2017.
Bajzatt was hoping to join the Smart Wash team full-time after graduation when the founder, a full-time engineer at Rolls-Royce, offered him the option to purchase Smart Wash. Bajzatt was surprised, but he couldn’t walk away from his months of effort and dedication to the company.
“Four years ago I thought choosing IUPUI over IU was the hardest decision of my life, and now, four years later, I’m deciding whether or not I should buy a company,” Bajzatt said. “It’s crazy. It’s a scary decision to make as a 22-year-old, two semesters away from graduation with no student debt.”
Bajzatt is thankful to have found and connected with genuine and successful business mentors in his professors, advisors and classmates at the Kelley School. His experiences at IUPUI—both in and out of the classroom—have prepared him for the many nuances of the business world.
“I always believe in doing things your own way, and I think that’s what being an entrepreneur is about,” Bajzatt said. “What can I do my way that’s better than what is already being done?”
Smart Wash is innovating the way people clean their vehicles, making it more efficient for both the customer and the environment. Customers schedule the car cleaning package, time and location online, and Smart Wash delivers waterless washes on location.
Compared to regular car washes, Smart Wash saves roughly 40 gallons of water per wash.
His advice for young business owners: “Find something you love to do and find people who believe in you to stand behind you.”
Bajzatt has found that passion and those people at Kelley, and now it has all come full circle. Because Bajzatt chose IUPUI, a Kelley student introduced him to the Smart Wash founder, and now as CEO, he’s hiring other Kelley students as Smart Wash employees.
“I feel regret every now and then, because it’s so much to handle while being a student, but I know that whether I do it for 6 months or 5 years, I’m going to learn so many lessons from this experience.”