North Texas teen starts summer business cleaning grills

Some amazing young people are showing grown-ups a thing or two about being a self-starter. They are running their own businesses – including one 14-year-old who is cashing in by doing something most of his adult neighbors hate.

Preparing for a typical summer day means packing a bucket full of cleaning supplies if you’re 14-year-old Cole Johnson.

He’s a rising freshman at Highland Park High School who loves math and hopes to play football. He also loves being his own boss.

"My dad came up with the idea and I followed up with it," he said.

His summer business is cleaning people’s barbecue grills.

"I have about 10 to 15 customers, and it’s still going strong," he said.

While other kids are sleeping away their summer, Cole starts his morning commute by foot or by bike. He likes to work early to avoid the heat of the day.

And for $75 he’ll wash, scrub and spray all the grime off a grill. He also cleans out all the ashes.

"My dad gave me two options – either work at his retirement home or do grill cleaning. So, I quickly decided to do grill cleaning because $75, that’s a lot of money," he said.

To maximize his earnings which he plans to invest, Cole keeps his costs down.

"It’s about $5 in supplies," he said. "Every now and again I’ll have my friend help me and it will go a lot faster."

And while he accepts cash or Venmo, his tip for getting a big tip is cash.

"Because I mean, they usually give me a bigger tip in cash," he said.

He’s a smart kid with a smart father too. Cole said his dad let him practice for his business by cleaning his grill.

To support a local kid-run business this summer, visit Consumer reporter Steve Noviello has a pinned post with more than 100 young entrepreneurs in North Texas and you are free to add your own.