Thursday, August 20, 2015

Starting a BBQ Grill Cleaning Business
Part Three

THE TRAILER

This morning I received a phone call from Ceva Logistics in Orlando. My trailer had arrived and it was ready to be picked up.

Since the terminal is about an hour away from my home, I thought it would allow for good real-world driving practice, and it certainly did.

Jeff (of The BBQ Cleaner™) had suggested I bring a crowbar and a hammer in case I needed to uncrate the trailer. I brought one of my toolboxes with me just in case, along with a 3 lb. sledgehammer. That was a smart decision.


UNCRATING THE TRAILER

The guys at the terminal were very helpful allowing me to uncrate the trailer right in their back parking lot.

They even carried the crate with a forklift to a shaded corner. That was greatly appreciated since it was another hot and humid Central Florida day.

I had a friend with me (another smart move on my part) and we spent the next 45 minutes taking the crate apart. This involved—mainly—the crowbar and sledgehammer.


The trailer is quite small, so once it was out of the crate, I moved it by hand and positioned it near my truck. The only assembly required was inserting the tongue into the trailer and installing the license plate.

I also installed the ball mount with the 2" ball into my truck's receiver hitch and pushed the coupler into the ball.

When that was secured, I installed the safety chains (they are included with the trailer) and plugged the 4-pin flat plug to the connector under my truck.


THE HITCH SYSTEM

Most new trucks that come with a towing or trailer hitch installed at the factory, will have a 4-pin flat connector as part of the hitch wiring. Look and trace the path of the wiring harness under the trailer hitch for it. If one is not available, you can have one installed at most trailer shops. Instructions are also available online for do-it-yourselfers.

One note worth mentioning: When I purchased the ball mount at my local auto parts store, I made sure they knew what kind of truck I have, especially since mine had the SLT package installed at the factory which included 20-inch rims. This makes the truck pretty tall, so they recommended a hitch ball mount with a 5-1/4" drop, which works perfectly with the Wells Cargo MPT461. So make sure to purchase the right ball mount for your particular application.


TOWING THE TRAILER

The Wells Cargo MPT461 is a small trailer, and that poses a couple of challenges that are mastered over time.

First of all, I can barely see the trailer when driving down the road. I may have to install something in order to have visual reference that it is back there, as it is a bit unsettling to be towing something and not be able to see it.

The second issue reveals itself when backing up the trailer. Again, I can only start to see it once I turn the wheels all the way to either side and am in the process of backing up. No big deal, but because of the lack of visibility it is hard not to jackknife it. I guess in time this won't be an issue any more, but speaking from experience, it is harder to maneuver a small trailer in reverse than it is to maneuver a large one.

As far as driving forward, there are no issues whatsoever. Again, because of its small size, wide turns are overkill, for example. For the most part you don't even feel like you're towing a trailer. This of course is great news for anyone who wants to use a small vehicle for towing duties. I am pretty sure a Toyota Prius would have no problems handling that job.


GRILL CLEANING EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES

The trailer arrived packed with some of the items needed for cleaning grills.

Of course the biggest items include the dip and rinsing tanks, a shop vacuum cleaner, a toolbox and a large bucket. Other items include a fire extinguisher, a tarp and a bunch of cleaning products.


On my way home, I stopped by AlphaGraphics in Lake Mary since they will be doing the wrap for the trailer as well as magnetic signs for the truck, and they wanted to measure the trailer to make sure the wrap would fit properly.

They did notice a few stickers on one side of the trailer which would interfere with the vinyl wrap, but I told them that I would try to remove them and relocate them on the front side of the trailer, since that area will not be wrapped.

Once I got the trailer in my garage, I used my heat gun to soften the adhesive and I carefully removed the stickers and repositioned them to an area that will not be covered with vinyl.

I am quite happy with the fact that the trailer is small and light enough for me to move it by hand in order to get it in my garage, especially since it now shares the space with my '76 Corvette. And because of its small footprint, I still have plenty of access to everything around it.


Stay tuned for Part Four.