By Clifford Pierce
When buying a used piece of equipment you need to be careful. Just because it is cheap does not mean it’s a good value. In the long run it can end up costing you a lot more money, so your need to be careful.
First and foremost, just like when buying new equipment, will the output of this machine match your current needs and planned growth? I see this often when ice machines are purchased for existing needs (or based on a cheap price), only to fall seriously short of ice needed when business increases.
Where did the machine come from and how old is it? If you are buying an old mixer, and it came from a pizza shop, there is probably a good reason that they getting rid of it (such as the motor is worn out)! If the unit is within a couple of years old, and possibly came from a bankruptcy, you are probably pretty safe. Just know what the prices are new before you go buy used so you can negotiate the best deal.
Before you buy a used piece of equipment, have an idea if it is a popular brand name.You don’t want to be buying an old unit that you can’t get parts for as the manufacturer no longer exists or does not have any Canadian representation (for faster service on parts). If you aren’t a handyman, then don’t buy an old piece of equipment either, because whatever you might have saved on buying used can quickly end up costing you more by having constant repairs from a professional technician.
A lot of time and effort should go into purchasing a piece of restaurant equipment. The decision you make will be a big commitment and will help you to determine the success or failure of your operation. Build good relationships with your suppliers and ask a lot of questions, and they will help guide you into the right fit for your present and future needs.
As a general rule, new is better, particularly in the area of refrigeration. You don’t want to take any chances with equipment failure scenarios. New equipment has no history behind it of overuse or neglect. New equipment generally holds up very well and the warranties alone can often make the difference in the decision making of buying new vs. used.
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