Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
What are the model and serial numbers of the genset?
When it starts, does it start fairly quickly, or does it have to go through several cranking attempts before it starts?
I'm guessing that it goes through a couple of start cycles before ti actually starts?
If so, the fuel mixture may be a bit rich, the plugs could be weak, to valves may need to be adjusted, or it may just be a finicky genset.
If it is not starting right away, the gas you are smelling is gas that is simply going through the engine without being burned. Once started, it will go away.