Huntington Woods 12-year-old starts own trash collection business
Posted February 5, 2014
HUNTINGTON WOODS — It all started with a Nerf gun for 12-year-old Tytus Sewell.
Every kid has a favorite toy, and for Tytus, it was Nerf guns. And while he would usually contribute some money when his parents would buy him a new one, his $5 allowance didn’t let him save up much.
So when Tytus finally asked for a new Nerf gun last year, his parents, Karenbae and Luke Sewell, told their son that if he wanted to continue buying the guns, he needed to find his own way of paying for them.
“I made an allowance, but that was only $5, and I wanted to make more money, but everybody does, right?” Tytus joked. “I was brainstorming with my mom, and I didn’t want to do a lawn-mowing business because everybody does one of those. So I came up with a trash business, and it started as a small idea and it is starting to expand.”
Trash In-Trash Out is what Tytus named his business, and on a weekly basis, he takes trash and recycling to the curb and brings the receptacles back for neighbors in Huntington Woods, plus a few in Oak Park and Ferndale.
Tytus charges $4 for his services, and only $3 for senior citizens, but with about five or six weekly customers, he has noticed that he is able to earn more money than just his allowance. And with more money has come a greater sense of responsibility.
“I think not only do I gain a lot of money, and I have got a lot of money lately as it all adds up, but I think it gives me a lot of responsibility because I have a lot of money for a kid,” Tytus said. “It kind of shows now that I am buying stuff on my own because I have this money; it shows what is necessary and what is not. I go to the store and I want things and stuff, but now everything is in perspective and I see certain things I may want, but you really have to think critically about it now that I am using my own money.
“I am realizing it is good to save money for the future, whether that is for a car or so many other things.”
Karenbea started her own business dealing with home and office organizing, and her father, Tytus’ grandfather, was also an entrepreneur. So Tytus starting his own business was something that ran in the family.
Tytus also took part in an entrepreneur class for kids in Northville to help him learn how he could expand his business and what it could lead to later in life.
Every Monday through Thursday, Tytus takes out trash for at least one client with either his mom or dad driving him around the neighborhood. For Karenbea, seeing her son start his own business at 12 is a great feeling.
“My husband and I are very proud of Tytus and what he has accomplished so far, and we give him a lot of credit for putting himself out there and trying it,” she said. “The fact that his business is doing well is just a blessing, and we get to watch him grow through this. We just have a lot of pride watching him go through this process.”
Besides the Nerf gun he originally wanted, and several others that Tytus was able to purchase because of his business, he also bought his own Christmas gifts for family members this year.
“Tytus purchased all the gifts for Christmas with his own money, and I can tell that made him feel really good about himself, because when he gave the gifts, he knew it came completely from him,” she said. “The money that Tytus has earned has given him a sense of pride of what he has accomplished. He has a bank account, and the first thing he asked the lady at the bank was when he could get a debit card. This experience has made him aware of what having a checking account and balancing a check book means, and being more conscious of money.”
Some of the clients Tytus has helped out have included people on vacations, people who have had surgery and elderly residents who need help in the winter. He has also taken on side jobs because of his business, including watching a neighbor’s bird, taking in someone’s mail and even babysitting.
And whether it is paying for lunch with friends out of his own pocket or buying the newest Nerf gun, Tytus feels good about what he has been able to accomplish in the past year.
“I feel this is really good, and I have accomplished something that not only helps me, but it helps others,” he said. “It gives me a lot of confidence and proves I can accomplish stuff. I think it is good to start early if you are going to do it.”
About the author
Josh Gordon covered Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge along with the Berkely Schools and Ferndale Schools districts for the Woodward Talk. Josh worked for C & G Newspapers beginning in 2013 and attended Central Michigan University. Josh won a Society of Professional Journalism awards in 2015 and 2016 and is an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers. During his free time, Josh likes to read, try new foods and snowboard. In 2016, Josh began working for the Baltimore Business Journal.
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