When you buy an ice machine, the upfront price is only the beginning of the expenses. After you purchase an ice machine, you must be prepared to pay for the service, maintenance, and cleaning that it requires. Neglecting routine service will drastically lower the lifespan of the machine and increase the cost of the unit in pricey ice machine repairs.
The Additional Costs When You Buy an Ice Machine
It’s easy to own an ice machine – just pay the retail price, but owning an efficient ice machine is far more expensive. Without proper maintenance, a whole host of problems can occur from your ice machine producing less ice to a damaging health violation.
Here are some of the most significant costs you can expect to pay when owning an ice machine:
Preventive maintenance involves cleaning your ice machine to ensure the longest life span and checking/replacing your ice machine’s components.
Just like owning a car, ice machines require regular checkups. Most people know when taking your car in for an oil change, they’ll often check your transmission fluid, tire pressure, filters, etc., as well.
Just as you need a qualified mechanic to check your car for problems, you’ll need to hire an experienced ice machine technician to do the same for your ice machine.
Depending on the conditions of your environment, you should contact a qualified ice machine technician at least twice a year if you want the ice maker to run properly.
Cleaning is also important. A dirty ice machine will run much slower than a clean one because dirt and particles stick to vital machine components that force the machine to work harder. Over time, all that extra work will catch up, causing those components to break down, leaving you without ice and a large ice machine repair bill.
Worse yet, when you don’t clean your ice maker, your ice supply can become contaminated with all kinds of nasties that can make a customer sick or land you in hot water with a health inspector.
If you own an ice machine, having the proper ice maker water filter on your ice machine will extend its lifespan.
Water filters help reduce sediment, particles, and mineral deposits from collecting in your ice machine. If a water filter goes without replacing, all those particles will build up and reduce water flow to your ice machine.
Low water flow is the number one cause of small or malformed ice cubes – not to mention a lower ice production rate.
If you live in a hard water environment, phosphate water filters help prevent scale from building up in your machine. Just like sediment filters, phosphate filters need replacing.
When you neglect to replace a phosphate filter, minerals will bind together and create scale, which can damage machine components – eventually leading to a costly ice machine repair.
Ice machine repairs are probably the biggest costs associated with ownership.
Even a well-cared for ice machine will have problems from time-to-time. Consequently, if you don’t care for your ice machine, you’ll be looking at more frequent and more expensive repairs.
If you choose to buy an ice machine for your business, it’s crucial you have a qualified service technician and trust that they are charging you fairly.
Costs for labor and parts add up quickly. For instance, repairing a compressor can run anywhere between $1,500-$2,000. Evaporator replacements can run as high as $2,500-$3,000, which is about half the retail price of most mid-sized ice machines.
If your ice machine goes down for repairs, you’ll still need to serve ice to your guests and staff.
A refrigeration repair company won’t likely provide you with ice to serve while they finish the repair – which means you’ll have to purchase the ice and depending on your ice usage and the time of year, bagged ice can cost a lot day to day.
The average 10 lb bag of ice costs between $1-$3.
Let’s say you need 600 lbs of ice a day; at that rate, you could be looking at a total of $180 a day to run your business until the machine is fixed.
Why It’s Better to Rent than Buy an Ice Machine
In addition to spending money on maintenance, repairs, and replacement ice, you’re also spending your valuable time. Smart business owners focus on what makes them money, not on maintaining ice machines. Ice is a necessity, but it’s not a commodity.
Before you buy a commercial ice machine, consider all the additional expenses. Is it worth spending your precious capital on a piece of equipment that requires constant supervision?
With an ice machine rental, you significantly reduce the amount of responsibility an ice machine requires. Service, cleaning, and repairs are often included in an ice machine rental.
At Easy Ice, we even cover your replacement ice during ice machine repairs. If the machine is unfixable, we replace the unit at no additional fee.
Smart business owners know, not only is a penny saved a penny earned, by time saved is more time you can spend on improving your business. When you buy an ice machine, you take on the responsibility of caring for it – or choose to spend extra money on repairs.
The choice is yours.
As the Co-Founder and COO of Easy Ice, John Mahlmeister has been working in the commercial ice machine industry since 2009. Co-headquartered in Phoenix, AZ and Marquette, MI, Easy Ice is the only national provider of full-service ice machine subscriptions in the industry. Since Easy Ice was founded, the number of ice machines under its management has grown to over 30,000 units across 47 states, with no signs of slowing down.
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