Thornhill teens get a side of entrepreneurship with their summer jobs

These teens are approaching their simple neighbourhood tasks with the mindset of startup founders


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R-L: Student garage cleaners Josh Levin, Yoni Hermannoff, Daniel Torch, Jarod Rosen, Josh Forberg

A number of Thornhill teenagers have found unique ways to make money on their own time, set their own summer work schedule and flex their entrepreneurial skills –– in fact, this option has gotten so popular, even the adults have capitalized on it, through a new startup. 

Student Garage Cleaning was founded in June by Thornhill teens Daniel Torch, Yoni Hermannoff, Jarod Rosen, Josh Levin and Josh Forberg. They all have part-time jobs but wanted to pool their skills and make more money to cover tuition for when they all head off to university in September. 

“We formed a team because any task that one person can perform is not as good as when you have other people contributing to the idea,” said Torch. “People bring opposing views, which helps you see other perspectives on how to market, how to finance and other day-to-day operations.” 

After they settled on garage cleaning, they tackled this new business with the mindset befitting a tech entrepreneur: delegating accounting responsibilities to the soon-to-be finance student at York University’s Schulich School of Business and social media to two of their savviest Instagrammers. 

“A lot of people feel that in [regular] part-time jobs they have very little say on day-to-day operations,” said Torch. “What separates our business is we’re five friends, but we’re also five executives in the business.” 

Zachary Leyderman, an 18-year-old Richmond Hill student, has also found executive freedom after he started teaching kids how to cycle last August once his contract for a previous job at a bike camp ran out. 

“Working for myself is the most fun kind of work I’ve done so far,” said Leyderman. “It’s given me a lot of opportunities to understand finance better. I used to have organizational problems. I think this is helping me practise that.” 

Paolo Spiluttini, a father in Thornhill Woods, was inspired by his teenage son’s enthusiasm for mowing his neighbour’s lawn and started TaskYourNeighbour.com, a website that allows people to post their services online, ranging from lawn mowing to French tutoring, on a platform that connects them with potential clients. In its first two weeks, the site garnered 30 posts by individual “taskers,” mostly students between the ages of 16 and 18, and a few from local full-time parents.

“It’s to engage teens and students in the community to perform tasks at a low rate, [while] giving the opportunity for teens and students to get some responsibilities and occupy their time in a better, more efficient and productive way,” said Spiluttini.

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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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