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Young entrepreneur takes shine to being his own boss

Ranaan Dasilva, the Barrie teen behind Refined Appearance Auto Care, says he thought his business would initially be a 'side hustle,' but now he's looking to expand

Whether it is playing basketball or starting his own business, Ranaan Dasilva approaches it with a winning mindset.

The 19-year-old Barrie man grew up playing competitive basketball and had dreams of earning a college scholarship to play, but when COVID hit in March 2020, those plans were put on hold indefinitely.

Rather than sitting at home doing nothing, Dasilva decided to ease the boredom of the pandemic by launching Refined Appearance Auto Care, offering auto detailing from paint correction, interior shampooing and steam cleaning to ceramic coating.

“Originally, I just started asking my neighbours ‘can I clean your car for like $20 or $40?’ … nothing too crazy, so that I could build my portfolio and have something to show to clients,” he tells BarrieToday, adding he quickly began getting new clients once word of mouth got out about his work.

As business began to pick up, Dasilva started researching the best ways to grow a small business and created a Google profile, as well as Instagram and Facebook accounts for his budding business. 

“I was in Grade 11 when I started it. At first, when I was in high school, my plan was to go to university. I started this, I just thought it was going to be a little side hustle to make some money (and) it was better than working minimum wage at Tim Hortons or something like that,” he says. 

Dasilva says his first year in business was “decent” and things continued to improve in his second year. Now into his third year, the young entrepreneur says business is booming. 

“It got a lot better when I got the van, because I do mobile service now,” he says. “It’s more convenient for clients so I started getting more calls. When I first started, I was just doing it outside my garage.”

His goal is to make the services he offers as convenient as possible for his clients.

“(With) COVID, people were working from home, so the convenience of getting their car detailed in their driveway while they’re inside working, that’s what’s valuable to them," he says. 

The St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School grad says he’s always had an interest in cars, so creating a business where he worked on vehicles wasn’t that much of a stretch for him.

“When I was really young I wanted to be a mechanic, but as I got older I (realized) I didn’t want to do the dirty job,” he says. “I didn’t really think this is what I would be doing honestly.

Being his own boss at such a young age has been a definite plus, he says.

“I am proud of myself, but I am more surprised that it’s been working,” Dasilva says. “If I want to take a day off, I don’t have to ask anyone. I just won’t book anything that day.”

Dasilva has no intention of resting on his laurels, however, and has plans to expand his business by purchasing a second van to offer additional mobile appointments.

“The hardest part for me is finding someone to do the same quality of work that I do,” he says. “If I can find that… that would be the main goal. I work 10- to 12-hour days sometimes, so obviously it gets tiring, but at the start of the business that’s what it’s got to be.”

He also has no plans on settling for anything less than the success he’s created for himself.

“Now that I have this, I can’t go back to working for (somebody) else. Whatever it takes, I am going to continue to do it so that I know it’s going to be successful," Dasilva says. 

Anyone looking to start their own business has to be willing to consistently put in the work, he says, adding while opportunities may present themselves, you have to be ready, and willing, to take advantage of them. 

“That’s what I did,” says Dasilva, adding he’s also watched several videos on entrepreneurs and success in business, and is striving to create the same “million-dollar mindset” in himself.

“All of these millionaires have similar mindsets… you can’t give up and you need to push forward regardless of the situation. There are going to be hard times. If it was easy, everyone would have a million dollars.”