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Managing a Mobile Business on an iPhone: All in a Day’s Work for this Gen-Z Entrepreneur



Managing a Mobile Business on an iPhone: All in a Day’s Work for this Gen-Z Entrepreneur

Starting your own business is a daunting undertaking for anyone, but arguably more so when you’re doing it solo, in a foreign country, at just 24 years of age. But Sebastian Fernández Mackenzie has done just that, launching a mobile car washing venture after noticing a gap in the market. Turning to Instagram, Airtasker and Zeller to market his business, find customers, take payments and manage his finances, this digital native is setting the tone for a new generation of app-wielding entrepreneurs.

Where others may have seen red tape, prohibitive overheads and an unknown market, Sebastian Fernández Mackenzie saw an opportunity. The young car enthusiast moved to Melbourne from his native Chile in 2021, following his partner who was relocating there to study. “I wanted the time that I have here in Australia to be spent doing something I really like,” he explains. “I love cars. When I was younger, my dad was always restoring cars, I used to help him clean them and polish all the parts,” he explains. Having learnt how to detail his own car from YouTube videos, he began offering the service to his family. It wasn’t until he arrived in Australia, that the hobby evolved into a business idea: “I realised that there were a lot of mobile car detailing businesses, but very few that also provide water and power. That's where I saw there was an opportunity. So I thought, “I’ll just go for it.”

Shoulder to the wheel.

And go for it he did, at full throttle. He worked for two years as a food delivery driver and a labourer on construction sites and unloading shipping containers to finance the business, then bought a car and sourced all the materials, “I had to buy the hoses, the air compressor, the generator, the water tanks, the cleaning products… all that came to about $3000.” Eventually he registered his ABN under the new name, Seb’s Mobile Car Wash. Then he started building his network, through word of mouth and by applying for jobs on Airtasker – an online platform that connects people who need tasks done with skilled workers. But he wasn’t in a hurry to recoup his costs just yet, he was prepared to work for free simply to help him build up his content, “I just wanted the opportunity to take photos that I could post to Instagram,” he explains. Rather than a website, he plans to use Instagram to build his following and drive new business to his online booking system. “I want there to be a lot of communication with clients through social media,” he explains, “Eventually I’d like to start sharing car detailing tutorials as well”.

Premium service down to the last detail.

While Seb is still growing his social media presence, his dedication to premium quality service is what has already gained him a steady stream of loyal clients, including a team of Albert Park real estate agents. When they entrusted him with a 2023 Porsche Cayenne GTS, Seb couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give it the full detailing service, for the price of a regular wash. “They were stoked with the service,” he says, “They knew I’d given it the attention it deserves and cleaned it the proper way.” For those less automotively informed, the “proper way” to wash a car is to use cleaning products specifically fit for purpose. “You have to use a pre-wash to remove the dirt, then a soap, a special cleaner for the wheels, for the glass, for the seats,” says Seb, “When you go to bigger commercial hand car washes, they buy their products in bulk, and most of the time, they’re made with strong chemicals that can be really harmful for the paint,” he explains. For Seb, attention to detail also extends beyond just the car; he leaves his customers small gifts such as bottles of water, mints and lollies, and ensures his clients never receive the same gift twice.

Driving positive cash flow.

To complement the seamless customer service, Seb adopted Tap to Pay with Zeller App as soon as it was released in Australia. He knew that this technology – that lets you use your smartphone like an EFTPOS machine – had been available in the US for a while, so when Zeller announced its launch in October, 2023, Seb signed up immediately. “I’d already spent thousands of dollars on setting up my business, I didn’t want to have to pay for an EFTPOS terminal. I’d rather spend that money on cleaning products, plus it’s not convenient for a mobile business” he explains. Before using Tap to Pay, Seb was receiving payments in cash, via bank transfer and via invoice, but none of them gave him the security or the convenience he was looking for, “Back then I didn’t have my regular clients, I was sending invoices to people I’d just met. I’d have to send reminders, and one person took three days to pay me,” he explains. “I don’t like to carry cash, and I don’t want to have to send people to an ATM.” Now his clients simply tap their card or mobile wallet to his phone, and the payment is processed instantly.


Meticulous money management.

Having signed up for Zeller on his phone while on a lunch break, he knew that managing his finances through the platform was going to be simple: “I just followed the link and started signing up. It was really easy. It wasn’t a headache with lots of details and IDs and stuff, it was really quick.” Now he manages all his business finances from his phone using the Zeller App. “I settle funds into the Zeller Transaction Account, it means I don’t have to wait for them to be transferred to another account. It’s really convenient,” he says. Being a foreigner, he’s extra cautious about declaring his income, and ensuring his finances are in order: “I don’t want to have any issues with taxes. I want to keep a clear record of all my transactions,” he says. As such, his Zeller Debit Card is loaded into his mobile wallet, which he uses for all business-related expenses and to which he can upload notes and receipts to help his monthly reconciliation.


For sole traders and entrepreneurs like Seb, modern apps are removing the barrier to entry to launching a business. Where once it would have been near impossible to open a business bank account without extensive paperwork and branch visits, Zeller now lets you do it from your phone in a matter of minutes. And while it would have once been inconceivable not to have a website, online platforms like Instagram and Airtasker are proving more than sufficient at driving awareness and finding new clients. As is the case with Tap to Pay, more tech tools are still emerging that are changing the way we approach doing business, paving a new frontier for entrepreneurs and business owners of the future.