Student balances education and running a business


Alexander Salazar

Alexander Salazar preparing to start his work day.

Hector Leyva, Staff Reporter

College of the Desert student Alexander Salazar has learned to be his boss, all while attending college as a full-time student.

Salazar has been attending College of the Desert for the past three and a half years. He is a Spanish major and plans to have a career as a Spanish teacher. The decision came after years of studying Spanish throughout high school.

“I may not speak it as well as I’d like, but it will be a beneficial job to have considering Spanish is one of the fastest-growing languages in the country,” said Salazar.

Along with all these educational aspirations, Salazar also works in his own cleaning business, J.P Window Cleaning, House and Office Cleaning & Mobile Car Wash.

Working predominantly in the Palm Desert and La Quinta areas, but still willing to drive all around the valley to complete a job.  The business operates Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, while Salazar attends college on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

During his time at COD, Salazar has had to do online classes, general Ed classes, and automotive classes. One of the biggest reasons he wanted to start his own business was to better manage his time, “I used to work at this auto repair shop in Cathedral City and I found that it got in the way of my studies, so with this new business, I wanted to work on my own schedule and be my own boss.”

Now he has been working on his business for the last year and found that working around his schedule lowered his stress. He has been managing school and works very easily, but explained that owning your own business also has its downsides.

“I have to wake up very early to make sure my tools are in order, make sure the pressure washer, the water tank, and my car are good on gas. One of the most striking things is that his job tends to get lonely sometimes,” said Salazar.

He said that his business started when his dad tried to sell a truck and liked the vehicle and convinced his dad not to sell it because he wanted to put it to work.

With a generator that was useful for the job, Salazar then bought other materials, which included, a water tank, a pressure washer, gas tank and a ladder. Along with the usual washing supplies, he made business cards and would take them to different businesses to get the word out.

He also took advantage of the opportunities when people would also see him washing cars on the street and would ask him for business cards.

Salazar charges $25 to $30 depending on vehicle size and it takes him around 45 minutes to an hour to complete most jobs.

He likes working better than going to school, but he also sees the value in his education. He said that online classes helped him learn on his terms. Diesel Mechanics taught him to properly maintain his vehicles himself, without breaking the bank going to get it fixed somewhere else, and he met a lot of great people in the general ed classes he took on campus.

He credits his dad for his great work ethic and helping him learn to work for himself. “My dad does the same thing I do, and when I was starting off, he gave me all the jobs that he didn’t have room for on his schedule.”

When they can, Salazar and his dad work together on jobs.

He admitted that when he first started he was nervous that people would not like the work he did, but he does not think about that anymore.

Salazar likes to take his time and does his best. His work ethic seems to have paid off since he is set to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona in the fall.

For more information on Alex Salazar’s cleaning business please call him at 760-895-0134.