Cleaning barbeques door to door earns Ontario teen tens of thousands for tuition


Two years ago Jacob Shaidle wasn’t thinking about expanding client bases and hiring help for his Hamilton, Ont. detailing business.

He was just wondering whether anyone would take him up on his offer to clean a barbeque when knocking on doors in his Ancaster neighbourhood.

“I was a little scared, to be honest. It’s always nerve-racking, even now, to go door-knocking,” Shaidle said.

“We had just moved here, I didn’t really know anyone up and down the street … but once you kind of get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier.”

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The 18-year-old’s perseverance has paid off since undertaking his low-overhead and high-profit venture in the spring of 2021 raking in some $12,000 in his first year and another $16,000 the next.

“It was actually surprising, I started out at the back of the street and my first person was a ‘yes,’” he recalls. “Then I think I went about another 50 houses before getting another.”

In the summer before entering grade ten, Shaidle had aspirations of attending a post-secondary school while labouring on a farm.

Figuring out what kind of tuition he would have to put down for his university education, he soon realized he’d have to step up his earnings.

Praise from mom for a spotless cleaning of the family barbecue, the 16-year-old figure he’d take that skill home-to-home see if anyone else needed the thankless job done.

Despite hundreds of rejections, the then-high schooler would find enough takers to keep him busy some 70 hours a week.

“Even now, I’ll have up to … 200 people in a row say ‘no,’” said Shaidle. “It’s just all about like persevering and kind of looking at the light at the end of the tunnel”

Armed with a website taking online bookings and a few hours of YouTube training, the would-be engineer is now earning enough to cover tuition, residence and a meal plan for the University of British Columbia.

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Pressure washing patios, sidewalks and driveways have now been added to Shaidle’s repertoire, as is car detailing starting at some $150 a session.

Since May, he estimates he’s made some $26,000 over this spring and summer.

With the business growing, he says he’s in the process of taking on hired help in a vision to keep it going for the next few years.

“I’m looking to hire some people kind of closer to Hamilton. I have some people that are working for me in Oakville and I plan on getting a truck, (and) some better equipment,” said Shaidle.

“I fit everything into my little Volkswagen Golf … and it just fits (in).”


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