There are some common rules for buying used bakery equipment in today's marketplace. By following these rules, bakers ensure a seamless transaction. The rules include:
- Always consult a specialist. There are no effective "jack of all trades" in the equipment world. Most used equipment dealers know the real specialist: the engineers that build machines from scratch and have been rebuilding and modifying machines for years. Do not get caught in the trap of buying something just because the used equipment company or bakery said it will work. Always get a professional involved, because there are too many hidden costs to take a chance.
- The Internet reduces compunction and increases the comfort level of a buyer. The Internet is a strong business tool if used correctly. However, the Internet makes it look as if there are dozens of the same item when in reality there are few pieces of good equipment.
- Know exactly what you really need. It is worth the expense to have an equipment specialist come to your company and see what needs have to be filled. Most bakeries operate with 40% to 60% more labor then they need.
- Try not to buy a line that is older than 10 years old.
- When buying used equipment, do not take anyone's word without thoroughly researching the equipment and seller. Bakers should always spend the extra money to see the used equipment they are buying. Make sure that you consult an engineer who knows the ins and outs of the equipment. What may seem like a minor flaw may turn out to be a big expense.
- Meet your used equipment seller in person. Bakers need to ensure that they are comfortable with their vendor. It is always a large investment to buy equipment, so bakers should know who they are buying from.
- Get a money back guarantee. Despite their expertise, engineers still miss blown out heat exchangers.
- Size up what you want. Compare used equipment with new equipment. If you cannot find what you need on the used equipment market, at least you will know your options.
- Before buying used equipment, inspect it and have the seller visit your plant.
- Pay a deposit, with the balance paid when your trucking company says the equipment has been loaded on the truck.
- Auctions are a good source for buying equipment, but make sure that you take your engineer with you. Bakers also should research what the item costs new, and put a limit on what you will pay for it used. You will pay a little more at an auction because the item is in front of you, and can be taken back to your plant that same day. Also, keep in mind that there is no warranty, and loading and shipping costs apply.
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