EAST COUNTY — Dominic Lentini and Tyler Wilkerson have spent most of their lives side by side.
The 17-year-olds, who have been close friends since third grade, can’t remember a significant life event that doesn’t include the other.
So when they couldn’t find their ideal jobs in January, they took their friendship a step further — as business partners.
“We knew we didn’t want jobs that bored us to death,” Lentini said. “We wanted to do something we enjoyed.”
Now, the Lakewood Ranch High School seniors are promoting their business, RelentlessPC LLC, a computer building and repair company, through the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.
They officially joined the organization July 7 as the newest members of the more than 500-member networking group. They’re also the youngest in its history, Alliance Member Services Manager Sherie Becker said.
“Joining the Alliance seemed like a good investment,” Lentini said, adding they hope to gain insight on best practices.
Alliance Executive Director Heather Kasten met the students for the first time at the July 10 networking social.
“What smart and ambitious guys,” Kasten said. “They came right up to me and shook my hand and told me about their business. They handed out business cards and seemed like they were really prepared. Throughout the night, there was a line of members wanting to meet them and hear about their business.”
As Lentini and Wilkerson gather insight from fellow Alliance members, they are working to create a better website that includes a 360-degree views of their products. They also plan to open a store and hire employees in the future.
For now, the work is divvied between Lentini and Wilkerson, along with the free help of a few friends who have experience creating brochures for marketing.
“You have to spend a lot of money to make money,” Wilkerson said. “It takes a lot of time to get a profit. All the money we make this first year is going right back into the business — to our website and advertising.”
Building a business
The company sells equipment geared toward individuals who use their computers for gaming activities or their livelihood — individuals who need more powerful and faster technology than standard computers, Wilkerson said.
The computers he and Wilkerson sell offer the high performance necessary for such activities, the teens agreed.
They offer gaming and office computers, adapting specific features for how the computer will be used. The duo also offers repairs, but prefers to focus on customizing machines.
Prices for the PCs range from $540 to $8,560, depending on the accessories chosen and labor.
Parts typically take two days to arrive from New Egg — an online retailer of computer hardware and software.
From there, things move more quickly.
“Customers receive their computers within seven to 10 days from when they placed the order,” Wilkerson said.
RelentlessPC also offers a range of Razer headphones, which can be purchased in standard or neon colors. Prices range from $65 to $321.
Back to high school
As they focus on gaining customers, Lentini and Wilkerson still must find time for finishing high school.
They are taking online summer physics classes and will participate in the On-the-job Training program (OJT) this school year.
While they can’t predict how homework will restrict the hours they spend on their business each day, they will find a balance, they said.
They share a similar view for when they start college.
They both plan to attend a Florida college, so they can meet for meetings when necessary.
Lentini plans to triple major in electronics, mechanical engineering and neuroscience — a full plate he promises won’t make him leave the business.
Wilkerson will major in business.
The friends plan to continue RelentlessPC until they receive their degrees and land full-time career jobs, or maybe even longer than that, they said.
Lentini thinks he and Wilkerson will always have a connection with the company, even if they sell it and only own a portion.
“We plan to continue the business, definitely,” Lentini said. “I see this as long term, and even if someday we’re able to sell it, we both want to stay a part of it somehow.”
Contact Amanda Sebastiano at firstname.lastname@example.org.