SCH Academy pair launch business to help local residents hire teens for chores

by Allison Hackman
Posted 2/11/21

Meet TJ Spirito and Peter Humphreys. Both have attended Springside Chestnut Hill Academy since sixth grade and are now seniors. Together as part of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, they have built a business.

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SCH Academy pair launch business to help local residents hire teens for chores

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Meet TJ Spirito and Peter Humphreys. Both have attended Springside Chestnut Hill Academy since sixth grade and are now seniors. Together as part of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), now called the Priscilla G. Sands Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, they have built a business.

Through project-based challenges, students in the CEL program practice using these traits and developing entrepreneurial skills. Spirito and Humphreys completed capstone projects through the program tath year and decided to pursue a new venture together as juniors.

During the brainstorming process, Spirito and Humphreys landed on the dual challenge of community members seeking help with chores and young people interested in earning money. Without the ability to work full-time due to school and extracurricular activities, ChestnutChores provides a flexible avenue for students in the community to make extra cash.

“It is an amazing experience to bring a group of high school students together with all the same goals in mind,” the pair said in an email to the Local.

In addition to learning the importance of hard work, both Peter and TJ have expressed a profound sense of fulfillment.

One of their favorite parts of this experience so far has been the community building created by their business.

“Many workers and clients have told us that they really enjoyed meeting the person they have been connected with, through ChestnutChores,” they said. “People are glad to meet other members of the community that they haven’t met before.”

The pair initially launched their business not long before the COVID-19 pandemic locked the country down through the spring.

Spirito said he and Humphreys remained busy with school and sports (all SCH students are required to participate in at least two sports. The chores business had to wait, but the duo used the time to strengthen their position.

“First when we were in lockdown, we completely shut down. Had school, but not jobs,” Spirito said. “So we created a new website. And when we came back out, we got a fully online invoice system. No one was handling cash or checks, which was good for no contact during the pandemic.

The jobs requests picked up again in September and the business was matching almost 25 SCH students looking to do everything from yard work to cleaning and babysitting, with jobs in Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities. Spirito said most of the work they do is in Chestnut Hill, but they get requests for jobs all around Northwest Philadelphia and in suburban communities.

“At first when we were back up it was slow,” Spirito said. “But now we’re marketing more efficiently, explaining COVID 19 protocols. We wear masks and keep socially distance. It definitely picked up.”

A nice side benefit to the business, Spirito said, was how Chestnut Chores was connecting people in communities who might not know each other when homeowners hire students who are their neighbors for work.”

“It’s a real community builder,” he said. “I hear a lot from our customers how much they enjoy meeting our workers.”

At present, most of the student workers earn an average of $17.50 an hour plus tips. Customers generally pay for services through Venmo and the updated, fully automated system The 20% service fee is invested back into the company to put towards marketing and to purchase things like uniforms.

This dynamic duo is determined to continue pursuing their dreams through a “divide and conquer” strategy. Spirito serves as the Customer Relations Manager, while Humphreys focuses on managing the website and handling legal related matters. Eventually, the partners would like their future app and website to work for homeowners and ambitious teenagers across the country.

“To be an entrepreneur, we’ve learned that we have to be resilient,” Spirito said. “We have to work really hard to bring this idea to life.”

Spirito and Humphreys intend to apply for an LLC and their ultimate vision is to develop a business model and app that operates like an “Uber for chores.” Spirito said he’s currently working with two SCH students who are working on code for a mobile app.

As they prepare for graduation in the spring, Spirito said he and Humphrey are taking steps to put the business into other SCH students’ hands when they head off to college.

“We’re interviewing other students to find people to take over running the business through SCH’s Capstone program,” he said. “We’ll always be there to help. But we’ll need the help while we get our feet on the ground at college.”

For more information or to hire Chestnut Chores visit chestnutchores.com.

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