Sam Chirhart has always been fascinated with fixing vehicles.
“I started on (fixing) go-carts, three-wheelers and snowmobiles when I was 14,” Chirhart said. “I love taking something apart and putting it back together. It’s rewarding, fixing something that’s broken. I want to make my passion into my career.”
Chirhart, 21, of Cadott, is graduating Friday from Chippewa Valley Technical College. He first went through the school’s auto tech class, finishing that course in May 2018, but he decided he didn’t want to go to work in a garage for someone else. Instead, Chirhart has developed the idea of creating a mobile shop, where he would make service calls, bringing the right tools needed for any particular job, from topping off fluids and changing oil to replacing alternators.
“I felt there was a need for mobile auto care in the community,” Chirhart said.
So, Chirhart decided to enroll in a relatively new entrepreneurship class at CVTC to develop his idea and turn it into a business.
Ben Zugay, CVTC program director of entrepreneurship, said this is the second year of the class, and he had nine students who will earn a technical program degree for the one-year class. The program helps students develop a plan to launch their businesses, he said.
“I think Sam is an ideal student for this entrepreneur program,” Zugay said. “He has the technical skills and the idea. We went through evaluating if it was a viable idea, and we built a program around it. It fills a need and is something people will pay for.”
Chirhart said the class was invaluable.
“I had all the technical skills, but I didn’t know how to start my own business,” he said. “So, we went through everything under the sun to start my own business. This entrepreneur class gave me the rest of the tools in my toolbox, in the things I didn’t think about. There is a lot more than people think to starting your own business.”
Chirhart said he likes working on older cars but also on newer vehicles. Chirhart is proud of his work rebuilding a 1967 Mustang.
“I got it when I was 15½ and finished it at 18, right as I graduated,” Chirhart said. “I sold it so I could pay for school.”
Now that Chirhart is graduating, he is hoping to have his business up and running within the next two months. While he grew up in Cadott, graduating high school in 2016, he anticipates offering his on-site auto repair service throughout the Chippewa Valley.
“People have said, ‘I didn’t know I could have it done at home,’” Chirhart said. “They say, ‘it saves me the hassle.’ If you need to get it towed, that takes money.”