The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 70% of all businesses fail by their 10th year. One of the most common reasons a business fails is that it runs out of money. Controlling capital expenditures is important in ensuring your business health.

Startup equipment costs can exceed your ability to generate sales in the early days. How do you limit your exposure and risk?

Make smart choices from the very start of your enterprise. Many businesses begin with state-of-the-art equipment and crushing debt. Explore universal designs and consider used food processing equipment for cost savings.

Read on to learn more.

1. Used Food Processing Equipment Saves Money

The obvious reason is cost savings. Used equipment is often half or less the cost of brand new equipment. Commercial equipment is made for a long life under heavy use. Replaceable parts and software updates are the norm.

Contrast this with equipment like vacuum sealers and sous vide machines for home use. You might expect two years or so of service. Commercial equipment can last 10-20 years with proper maintenance.

2. Used Equipment Is a Green Choice

Divert materials from scrap and landfill by repurposing. It's good environmental practice. Refurbish or rebuild otherwise obsolete machinery.

Although used equipment might not be cosmetically perfect, it can be a bargain. Worker safety and food hygiene are major concerns. As long as the equipment meets the current standard, used food processing equipment is worth investigation.

3. Reputation and History

One of the advantages of purchasing used equipment is that the make and model has a history. You can research the reliability and flaws of a particular model and brand. New equipment may need extensive testing at your expense to make it work as intended.

It is true that used equipment is a risk for breakdown and repair. Some used equipment dealers offer a limited warranty. So do some manufacturers.

Reduce your exposure to higher costs by inspecting pieces before you buy. All industrial plant equipment fails eventually. It breaks down or deteriorates in performance due to wear and tear. Over time it approaches obsolescence due to improvements in technology.

The key to a successful used equipment purchase is to pay a price that can overcome these hurdles. Remember, this equipment is about half what you would otherwise pay. There is plenty of room for repair costs if necessary.

4. Documented Procedures

Increased scrutiny of food processing means increased vigilance for food safety. Each piece of new or used food handling equipment can introduce dangers.

In general, avoid using equipment previously used for non-food purposes.  Most non-food equipment can harbor harmful chemicals or contamination. Look for equipment made from food-safe materials instead.

For food processing equipment, make sure it can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Look for stainless steel, PVC and plastic surfaces instead of mild steel, aluminum and other bacteria trapping metals. Look for raised surfaces to allow for inspection, disassembly, and cleaning.

You want to inspect food contact surfaces from above and below the equipment. Contamination of foods with foreign bodies is a major health concern. Inspect for broken parts or lubricant seal failures. Microorganisms in cracks, crevices, or pockets, are some recently reported cases.

Research and inspect used equipment in advance to learn about known cautions. Proper planning avoids food safety problems, inferior product quality, and product recalls.

Older equipment means that there is a known procedure for dismantling and decontamination. Additionally, there are people skilled in preventative maintenance and operations. Brand new equipment often depends on user trial and error to find flaws.

5. Special Caution Awareness for Raw Products

Used equipment with known procedures for dismantling and sanitation are as good or better than brand new machinery.

For example, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are difficult to eliminate. It can survive for long periods. It grows while refrigerated. It survives freezer temperatures. It can get airborne and contaminate other surfaces.

It can only be killed with heat or bleach. The bacteria can hide in rollers or air filters for example.   A biofilm develops on oily or fatty surfaces if not properly cleaned. This film harbors bacteria.

Complete periodic disassembly and cleaning with bleach or heat is a must before purchase and regularly during use. Other organisms like E.coli or Clostridium perfringens can also hide in machinery.

Equipment to process foods that will be consumed raw needs special attention. Care and attention in cleaning and sanitation ensure safety. Complete cleaning, disinfection, and inspection before use help prevent cross-contamination.

This applies to all items, but especially equipment meant for raw food products.

6. Safety Concerns Addressed

Equipment flaws are usually well documented. Don't ignore modern worker safety standards. Some older equipment lacks shields or fail-safe switches. Others are noisier than current regulations allow.

Be aware of your responsibilities to workers before purchasing equipment. Look out for environmental concerns as well. Change your work process or equipment installation to meet current standards.

Always provide adequate training, personal protective equipment and rest periods for workers. New or used, commercial food processing equipment can be dangerous if improperly used. Used equipment may not come with manuals.

Order or download manufacturer instructions whenever available. Meet or exceed the manufacturer's recommendations for preventative maintenance. Your equipment can last many years beyond its first life.

7. An Experienced Used Equipment Dealer Can Guide You

A used equipment dealer is a convenient way to find the equipment you need. You could also go directly to the source. Look for equipment from other industries in your niche. Machinery and Equipment is one of the top used equipment dealers on the internet for all types of used equipment specializing in Used Food Processing Equipment including a large inventory of Used Ribbon Mixers and Stainless Steel Tanks and much more. It is always wise to look for replacement equipment where the inventory is broad and the broker is knowledgeable.

Businesses outgrow their equipment, discontinue lines or go out of business. Auctions and online sources can also be helpful. If you decide to use a broker, select one with experience in the types of equipment you want. Many brokers also offer appraisal services, refurbishment, and inspection services.

Brand new processing equipment can eat deeply into your budget. You can take control of your costs before you make your first sale. Reduce your startup risks through research. Purchase used equipment wherever possible to avoid expenses.

Are you ready to purchase used food processing equipment? Or maybe you want an honest value for equipment you are ready to sell. Contact our experts today.