How I Started A $75K/Month BBQ Cleaning Service And Grew It To 240 Locations

Published: March 23rd, 2021
Jeffrey Krentzman
Founder, The BBQ Cleaner
The BBQ Cleaner
from Hackensack, NJ, USA
started March 2009
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Hello! Tell us about yourself and the business you started?

My name is Jeffrey Krentzman and The BBQ Cleaner was born in 2009. After cleaning BBQ grills in Northern New Jersey for the previous four years with our unique system, we felt fully confident we could show people in other markets how to replicate the same success we had. We were right! Now with over 240 locations across the United States, we are the largest and only successful grill cleaning business opportunity on the market.

We use the Ovenu system which has been used around the world successfully in 11 countries over 3 continents. We fill a large demand for people looking to get their grills cleaned and this system makes it easy to do, delivering a staggering 99% and higher customer satisfaction rate. So many locations are either making over 6 figures or have expanded into multi-unit locations just to keep up with the customer demand!


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I graduated from Boston University in 2002 and really wanted to start my own business. After working my first (and only!) corporate job, I realized this had to be the case.

I had read about a company in the United Kingdom that was doing a similar concept there and I realized that no one was doing it yet in the United States and I could easily envision the high potential of it.

Get a firm understanding of what benefits your potential customers would get by using your business and then find the best way to communicate that in a way that your client feels a sense of trust.

Fifteen years ago it wasn’t as easy to get information online about companies as it is today. Coincidentally, my girlfriend at the time (now my wife), had just invited me to go away with her family which required me to get a passport. So I decided to add another passport stamp and go to the United Kingdom to speak with the company.

They made it very clear that they felt this would be successful in the United States but they didn’t have the resources or the knowledge to try this in the United States.

We decided to embark on a 6-month pilot test to test the concept here. The rest is history. It took off right away and hasn’t stopped. It just keeps growing and growing every year.

We are lucky to have thousands and thousands of satisfied repeating customers across the country. This video does a good job detailing how our customers feel about us.

Describe the process of launching the business and how it compares now when you launch a new location

Looking back at it, the way we started it is very different than how we start up our locations today. We started with a real grassroots effect in our area. We targeted 50,000 households with incomes of $75,000 and higher to try to have some control in the beginning and we were somewhat blown away by just how quickly people were asking us to get them in our schedule.

Being that it was 2006, there was a heavy reliance on print media such as newspaper inserts, advertorials, etc. to get the message out which of course came with print media costs.

A lot has changed with how we did our launch in 2006 and how we get our locations started today and it’s changed for the better. Back then, we really had no choice but to be reliant on print to get the message out there. With print dying out, it has made it easier and so much more cost-effective. We arm our new start-ups with an arsenal of various marketing tools that get plenty of business flowing in at minimal costs. These valuable options weren’t available when we started.

It was interesting how we started. People started contacting us from other markets around the country to say they noticed what we were doing and if they could have a chance to replicate the success in their specific market. Since then, we’ve grown to over 240 locations across the country. People knew from reading about us that they could also find similar success. And they were right!

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We’ve been so incredibly fortunate in this area that we have such a high number of repeat clients who just fall in love with our service. Most locations after a short period actually run solely on repeats and referrals.

Our location in NJ is no exception to this. We haven’t spent a single penny on advertising since 2008. That’s how lucky we are with this model. We stay busy every year with no marketing costs at all.

When locations get started now, we give them an incredibly detailed operations manual blueprint to follow so they can be assured they are doing the best possible things to get rolling. We walk through step-by-step everything to do in the start-up phase to even when they are up and running. By giving them an arsenal of various marketing materials, they can start getting their first clients very quickly.

People who contact us always seem to have the urge to set their own schedule, work from home, be their own boss and take charge of their financial destiny.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like? Would you ever entertain offers to sell the business?

I think it’s rare to find anyone who genuinely loves what they do daily as I do. I’m a rare breed that when Monday morning comes around, I can’t wait for everything to get rolling across the country. And since I love what I do, I certainly plan to continue doing so for a long time and keep growing our nationwide reach. I don’t think my kids would be thrilled if I was sitting around all day to bother them, especially with their homeschooling because of COVID-19 which is definitely not suited for me.

I’m blessed I get to run the Friday Ice Cream program in my children’s cafeteria and be around all the time for things like that. It’s something I don’t take for granted whatsoever that I get to do things like that. Granted after an hour, I usually have a headache and take Tylenol, but it’s all worth it. This business has given me the gift to set my schedule around my family, and not vice-versa.

For many of our operators, one of the reasons they get started with this is that they are tired of missing out on the family’s activities due to work. With this opportunity, you create your own schedule so you can be around for your family whenever you’d like.

How had COVID-19 impacted your business in the past year?

It’s been a constantly changing adjustment. Our locations have done an exceptional job adjusting to what they need to do in regards to the area they are in.

For us, the challenge is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every location approach. What we may do and recommend for a location in California might be the polar opposite of what we do for an Illinois location based on what their local area is recommending. But many locations, including our headquarters in NJ, had record years in 2020 because people used their grills in 2020 at a feverish pace. We are already seeing the handwriting on the wall that this will continue in 2021.

We’ve gotten 2021 off to a fast start. In the first two months, we’ve had 4 new locations sign up to open up in the spring. Other potential locations are very close to signing as well. So, the outlook for 2021 is a lot of continued success. Our local markets are busier than normal for this time of the year due to people being home and using their grills more than ever which will also continue throughout this year. Based on all that, we certainly are expecting another excellent year.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

You’ve got to believe in what you are doing. If you don’t, potential customers pick up on this and won’t buy what you are selling.

Being able to know how to communicate with people is so incredibly important. Get a firm understanding of what benefits your potential customers would get by using your business and then find the best way to communicate that in a way that your client feels a sense of trust. Once you do this, there’s no looking back.

Where can we go to learn more?

There are many different ways to reach out to us. You can visit our website or contact us at 1-888-296-8368. Our team monitors our social media channels so that’s another way to get in touch with us.

We offer a free 15-minute consultation where we discuss someone’s background and demographic indicators to determine if this is a good fit for them. If we both mutually feel it would be a good fit, we can then explore the next steps from there together as a team.

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!