FEA offers advice on purchasing second hand equipment

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has issued guidance to operators regarding the purchase of second hand equipment.

FEA recommends any business looking to buy second hand equipment to only do so if the vendor provides a warranty, or extended warranty, to avoid the problems of buying a dud and the further expenses faulty equipment can cause. As a rule, the absolute minimum this warranty should be is three months.

The logic here is simple; if the seller won’t support the equipment, then you will have to. Any savings made by purchasing cheaper equipment could be negated by the repair costs required to keep it going. Vital spare parts might be in short supply and difficult to source, and may not even be available at all.

If you are considering buying second hand equipment, you should check to confirm that there is a ready supply of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts still available. Without this, keeping the equipment operating to its original specification will be more difficult. Indeed, it could be a safety issue for some pieces of equipment, for example thermostats on fryers.

It’s also important to factor in the increased running costs older equipment will cause when calculating the savings on second hand equipment. You can’t expect old equipment to be as efficient as new: the 'state of the art' is always improving, and what was cutting edge even five years ago will have been outclassed by now.

From ovens to fridges to warewashers, manufacturers have made huge strides in reducing consumption and increasing productivity. Also, the overall efficiency of the machine will decrease in the course of its standard working life.

While the lure of a bargain can be tough to ignore, you should always look at the material problems that could occur once you’ve made the purchase, with running costs and ease of repair being the two major ones. Not being offered a warranty is a great early warning that the bargain you’re being presented with might not be the great deal you want it to be.

The FEA is the authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing over 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.