As Christian Sowers sees it, that dirty grill in your backyard is a business opportunity.
Sowers recently launched River City Grill Cleaning, a mobile outdoor grill cleaning company.
He landed on the idea in the course of researching a career change from a family-owned real estate company in Chesterfield.
“It was so out of left field, but I found myself thinking about it more and more. It’s an underserved and niche market,” he said.
Sowers likens the concept to a lawn care company or house cleaning service. Customers make appointments for him to come to their homes, where he cleans their grills over the course of two to three hours with cleaning equipment he tows behind his truck. He cleans two to three grills per day.
Sowers takes out removable parts of the grill, such as heat deflectors, flavorizer bars, drip pans and the pull-out tray. He then sets the pieces inside a heated degreasing device on his trailer, which cleans them of built up and baked on materials. He also uses a vacuum to clean up the unit, and then reassembles and polishes the grill. Sowers uses non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.
“We all love to grill, whatever it may be. But after repeated use, a grill becomes dirty and that can affect the flavor of our food, can create a carcinogenic build up, and the grease and deposits can become a fire safety issue,” he said.
Sowers is the only employee for now, but he plans to hire more people and invest in more mobile cleaning units to expand the business in the future. He declined to disclose his investment in the company. It launched in March, but due to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t start active operations until May.
River City Grill Cleaning services Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, Chesterfield and Goochland.