Teen Entrepreneur Launches Mobile Shower Biz for Dakota Oil Workers, Isn't Shut Down

Evan Jensen, 18, and his brother Justin were looking for work in the oil fields of western North Dakota after high school graduation. 

The boom of temporary workers had attracted food carts and other mobile businesses, but the closest shower was a truck stop 60 miles away. The boys were sleeping in a pickup truck and getting pretty rank, by their own account. They didn't find employment in the oil fields, but Evan Jensen headed home with a big idea: mobile showers for filthy oil workers.

He pitched the idea to his parents back at their farm near Lake Preston in eastern South Dakota. His father and other relatives helped him convert a 53-foot semitrailer into a five-stall shower center with an office and laundry facilities.

A 6,000-gallon semi tanker alongside the trailer provides fresh water and collects the greywater.

Jensen paid for the renovation with $15,000 he earned in the past two years trapping muskrats, whose fur is sent to China to be fashioned into coats, slippers and earmuffs. Each pelt fetches about $10.

"That's a pile of muskrats," Jenson said after the construction was done.

Evan headed back to the oil fields in June and started hawking $10 showers to the grimy workers. Soap is included, washcloths are extra. Jensen says he made "several thousand dollars" this summer and recently put up a Craigslist ad offering to sell the business. This fall, he begins school at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota, and he's hoping the $95,000 asking price will cover his tuition.

But the guitar player may not be done with entrepreneurship:

"I brainstorm and think of what's in demand here," Jensen said. "I've got a bunch of ideas. All it takes is guts, really."

Evan Jensen's success story is pretty much the opposite of the sad story of 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski, who wanted to open a hot dog stand to help out his disabled parents. Nathan saved up to buy his hot dog cart—$1,200 in mowed lawns and shoveled snow funded his venture. His parents tried to help him get started, too, taking him to City Hall in Holland, Michigan, to check on the need for permits and licenses.

But 10 minutes after he started setting up on opening day, the city shut him down. Food carts were forbidden in the downtown business district, the mayor explained, because eight nearby restaurants paid extra taxes and were "reluctant to allow mobile vendors into the downtown area."  

While the squabble with the city dragged on, Nathan and his mother moved into a shelter. Nathan sold his business, but it was merely an effort to limit his losses, not the opening of an exciting new chapter in his life. Finally, he got a special exception to re-open—the person who bought his cart loaned it back to him for free—but his story ends on a much less optimistic note.

"For then to tell me what to do with my food, my hot dog cart, and my business—I don't think it's right."

The difference between these two boys' stories is government (or the lack thereof): the benign neglect of the authorities in western North Dakota and the lack of existing bricks-and-mortar businesses to gum up the works helped Evan Jensen's entrepreneurial shower venture become an exciting success, while the opposite doomed Nathan Duszynski's hot dog stand to failure.

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  • Sevo||

    "Isn't Shut Down"
    Give 'em time; the government will find a way.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I understand Episiarch is looking into buying the business and changing the price structure. He would still charge $10 for a shower, but he would charge $20 for a shower where he doesn't get in with them.

  • ||

    How did you get a copy of my business plan?!? I guess you skipped the $15 product, where I only get to watch.

    "This isn't a business plan! It's an escape plan!"

  • Brett L||

    You want STEVE SMITH ending? $20 off!

  • JW||

    I think we all know that Epi would open a Turkish bathhouse.

  • sarcasmic||

    This guy better start greasing the political wheels before a competitor does and gets him regulated out of business.

  • SIV||

    Jensen paid for the renovation with $15,000 he earned in the past two years trapping muskrats, whose fur is sent to China to be fashioned into coats, slippers and earmuffs. Each pelt fetches about $10.

    You didn't trap that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm surprised a complementary business hasn't arisen, with "masseuses" who, in the interest of efficiency, perform "massages" during the shower.

  • Brett L||

    Give the kid a break. He just graduated high school in North Dakota, not Tampa. He probably didn't have 500 girls in is HS class, 10% of whom could be convinced to join in the business and half of those appealing enough for someone to pay for.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fair point. I had five part-time whores working for me in junior high. Beats mowing yards. To be fair, I was way behind my friends, who had many more in their stables, but we didn't have mandatory Pimping classes in the town we lived in before Tampa.

  • Brett L||

    I spent my 20s running into girls from my HS working at strip clubs in Houston. And we were from the good 'burbs. I can only imagine what it was like if you went to Spring or Cy-Fair HS.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have a friend from high school who made a lot of money as an international stripper. Another was in Playboy and was naked in some movies.

    Yes, Tampa is different.

  • Brett L||

    You wrote Centerfold for the J Giles Band? You should promote that more.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I didn't, but my high school friends and I understand the song in ways that many do not.

  • John||

    I went to law school with a guy who went to high school and college in rural Oklahoma. I swear to God he went to high school or college with half the strippers in the state.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Actually you'll find a number of entiprises of that sort out in the oil fields. Usually a RV with a couple of girls.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Entitprises? What?

  • JW||

    Teen Entrepreneur Launches Mobile Shower Biz for Dakota Oil Workers, Isn't Shut Down

    Agents are being dispatched as we speak. Good work alerting us to this, citizen.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Agents of the EPA, OSHA and NLRB are on the way! SWAT SUPPORT available from the Dept of Interior.

  • Pip||

    ND is a fairly libertarian state.

  • Sevo||

    Not enough for the fed to pillage yet.

  • Carston||

    Economically, yes. You still have to sit a night in jail of they find flecks of weed in an empty baggy in your car.

  • Christina||

    I'm surprised no one has latched onto the point KMW alluded to. In the place where government services were nearly non-existant Evan Jensen built a thriving business. In the place where taxes had been levied to create a nice environment for businesses, Nathan Duszynski was not allowed to build a business at all. If I were a Romney strategist I would be all about publicizing these two stories.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "In the place where government services were nearly non-existant Evan Jensen built a thriving business."

    Yeah, it would be similar of Jensen was operating a mobile oil rig. It's not similar.

  • DaveSs||

    If this somehow made it on the radar of a big Dem Pol I think the comments would be something like this.
    ---
    Clearly he is using his monopoly status to take advantage of those poor miners.
    $10 a shower!!! Why that's highway robbery.
    His vile price gouging must be stopped.

    ---

    From my own experience, after three or four days w/o a shower while backpacking a $10 shower is a little slice of heaven.

    I can only imagine how the Oilmen must feel. I just had to deal with sweat and dirt. Those guys are dealing with filth on a whole new level.

  • mr lizard||

    I'm already recruiting Tampa hookers for a WhoreV service. Btw thanks Issac for the near mis you probably saved my front windows. And screw the west burrow baptists....go shout mean things in your own town

  • loving||

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