To save money, many business owners opt to buy a cheap ice maker that is low maintenance and easily replaceable. While this may seem like a cost-effective option, trying to save money up-front can lead to a lot of headaches down the line.
There are three common ways business owners try to save money on an inexpensive ice machine:
- Buying a cheap, used ice machine
- Sizing the ice maker too small
- Skipping maintenance and cleaning
Buying a Cheap Ice Machine Used
Buying commercial ice equipment used is the same as buying any used equipment – it comes with risks.
When you buy an inexpensive ice machine that’s seen a few years of service, you inherit any of the issues the previous owner failed to address. If the owner didn’t keep up with their ice machine service, you could be looking at a number of potential issues like:
- Internal corrosion
- Evaporator damage
- Scale adhesion
- Dirty condensers
- And more
If you plan to buy a used ice machine, make sure you inspect it thoroughly before you purchase it. Ask the owner to open the machine up so you can take a look inside. If you see any corrosion or if the machine is full of scale or dust, it might be better to move on to the next unit. Feel free to ask the owner how often he got professional cleaning and maintenance done on the ice machine.
Manufacturers recommend ice machines receive two professional preventive maintenance and cleaning visits per year from a qualified ice machine technician.
Sizing the Ice Machine Too Small
To save on the cost of an ice machine, many owners will try and get away with the very bare minimum amount of ice they need in a day.
It’s better to have more than enough ice than not enough. Running out of ice takes time – and money – away from your business. When you run out of ice during a busy lunch hour, weekend, or holiday you’ll need to find more ice fast.
The only way you’ll be able to get ice quick enough is to send an employee to get ice or have it delivered to you. Buying an inexpensive ice machine may seem like a good idea, but it can really add up over the long run.
The average cost of a 10-lb bag of ice is $3. If you routinely need an additional 100 lbs. of ice a day on the weekends, $30 might not seem a lot for one day. However, over the course of a year, you can spend well over $1,500.
Skipping Maintenance and Cleaning
A commercial ice machine needs regular maintenance and cleaning to continue running. Go too long without these, and your ice machine is bound to run into a major issue.
Another way people save costs on a cheap ice maker is by skipping maintenance and repairs. This may be due to neglect or simply assuming service costs are too expensive. However, when an ice machine breaks down, it can end up costing you far more than you realize.
A broken ice maker doesn’t produce ice, so you’ll have to buy ice while you wait for repairs to finish or until you get a new ice machine.
Keep in mind, ice machine repairs are not cheap. Small repairs like valve replacements can cost close to $600. Repairs to major refrigeration components, like an evaporator or condenser, can cost close to $2000.
Manufacturers of commercial ice machines recommend getting at least two preventive maintenance and cleaning visits per year. This allows ice machine technicians to optimize your ice machine system and identify any issues that can lead to huge repairs.
Cutting Corners with a Cheap Ice Maker Can Cost You
What can seem like a cost-saving option at face value can end up becoming an expensive mistake. When it comes to your ice cube production, purchasing a cheap ice maker can cost you in the long run.
There are other ways to save money upfront when it comes to an ice machine. For instance, when you lease an ice machine, you can get a machine along with maintenance and cleaning for a monthly price that is less than the cheapest ice machine. At Easy Ice, our ice machine subscriptions come with a top-quality ice machine along with cleaning, maintenance, and repairs for a low, monthly cost.