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Deciding Between New, Used, or Leased Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Turning Up the Heat: Deciding Between New, Used, or Leased Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Commercial Kitchen EquipmentStarting up a commercial catering kitchen is a huge decision to make, and while buying equipment can be a fun and exciting introduction to the business that you will have, it can also be a very difficult and stressful time. Beyond sorting through a staggering variety of appliances, there are decisions to be made on different designs and tradeoffs to consider with different price points. Trying to balance the budget while making sure that your kitchen will have everything that it needs can sometimes feel like a circus act.

We know that it can be a lot to take in all at once, so take a deep breath, and we’ll go through a few things to try and help make it a little easier on you.

Consider What Kits Important

While it might be tempting to install a custom built wood fired pizza oven in the back corner, if your kitchen is not going to be a speciality pizza place, it may not be worth the expense. Even if it is, there is nothing wrong with choosing a more affordable conventional oven for your baking needs. In the same vein, tools to whip your own cream or expensive confectionery kits may be fun, but not necessary for a chip shop. As you look around you are going to see quite a few things that would be nice or convenient to have but are not strictly necessary. Take the time to write out what your kitchen will be producing, and exactly what you will need to store and produce everything for that. Don’t worry about different sets matching or making sure there is a pleasant aesthetic. Figure out the general appliances you will need, and the space that you have to fit them into. For things you want but don’t need, put them on a wishlist and see how the budget shakes out.

New or Used?

This is a common question and one that can be difficult to answer. Buying brand new equipment is always an attractive proposition as you only need to worry about manufacturer defects and new hardware almost always come covered with warranties. On the other hand, used equipment can be dramatically cheaper and save thousands of dollars from the opening costs. Unfortunately, there is no single guide that can tell you what to do in all cases. But, what you can do is go through the list of items that you need, and star the most important or most heavily used items. In any business reliability is key, and making sure that the cornerstone of your business works as intended is important.

Keep in mind that buying used does not mean you are guaranteed to have problems. Whether you buy new or used, there will be problems eventually, and only proper cleaning and maintenance will help prevent failures. Used devices are more likely to encounter problems sooner and you should always thoroughly test used appliances to make sure they work as intended. You can save a hefty sum of money by smartly buying used items, but be prepared to pay for repairs sooner than you might otherwise expect.

Leasing Appliances?

An alternative worth keeping in mind is the option of lease-to-own contracts. That way you can get the reassurance of brand new hardware, while dramatically reducing the upfront cost of purchasing everything. Leasing can be considered an investment to start off with a set of otherwise difficult to afford equipment, and sometimes the contracts even cover the cost of repairs during the payment period. That said, don’t sign onto leases that require a hefty bet on future profits, as not every business will start off fast. Leases are a bit more expensive in the long run, but they can provide a great way to spread out the cost of getting started while you still get to use the best hardware available.

Discounts and Sales

Even in the world of commercial kitchen supply, sales and discounts continue to exist. Shipping can be a hazardous time for large appliances, and it isn’t unusual for retailers to receive items with cosmetic damage every now and then. While there are no guarantees that you will find aesthetically challenged, but functionally perfect items, it never hurts to call and check. Saving money without sacrificing performance is always a good outcome.

Do Your Research

There are a huge amount of variables to keep track of when starting a business, and it’s important to make sure that everything receives an appropriate amount of attention. When it comes to financial decisions, each choice you make affects future possibilities. Buying new will deplete your current reserves, but potentially reduce upcoming future expenses. Buying used will save money immediately, but will require service expenses sooner. Leasing will also save money initially but will be more expensive in total than outright buying new items. Another thing to consider before leasing is the interest rates associated with your contract, as you may get better rates on a small business loan instead.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It’s a popular misconception that business owners need to do everything on their own. Nothing happens in a vacuum and asking around can shed light on items that slipped your mind as well as provide helpful information. Friends and family may not have experience in commercial grade hardware, but having an extra perspective to bounce ideas off of can reduce the pressure on you and add some assurance to your decisions. In the event that you are feeling completely swamped by the possibilities and requirements, it may be worth stepping away for a moment and consulting with someone in the industry. Paying for a few hours of their time may save days or weeks of stress, and getting a solid plan together is sometimes all it takes to really start moving forward.

Keep Calm, Stay Critical

Starting your own business is a huge decision, and while there is a lot to keep track of, try not to let it overwhelm you. When it feels like there are too many options to make sense of, take a few minutes to write out everything you have and everything you need. Keeping things organised can be a pain but having everything broken down in one place makes it easier to recognise what your options are. Drafting a few different combinations of new, used, and leased options can help provide some perspective as to what each choice will personally entail. Unfortunately, there are no general solutions that will work perfectly for everyone’s situation. But, with some time and research, you will be able to find something that works perfectly for you.



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