Ice cream machines are a big investment. If you're just starting your ice cream shop, you know how expensive it is to get everything you need to start your business. A good way to lower some of those big costs is to go for a used ice cream machine.
Here's a simple guide to buying a used ice cream machine.
Why Buy a Used Machine
Picture via Stoelting.
New frozen dessert machines cost from anywhere of $12,000 to an upwards of $26,000. That's a lot of capital, especially if you are just trying to get your business started. This may also become a bigger hurdle to jump over if you want to have more than just one machine.
It's best to start with one or two machines, then upgrade to models that suit higher volumes as your business grows. Used machines are just a few years old and priced at 40-70% less than new machines on the market. The money you save by buying a used machine can be invested into any other area of your business.
Single or Three Phase Machine
Depending on your building, choosing a single or three phase machine is imperative. Single phase electrical outlets are found in every building and can be used by anyone. In contrast, only some buildings are equipped to handle a three phase outlet. They're more efficient.
Make sure that when buying a used ice cream machine, you buy one with power compatible to your shop.
Air-Cooled or Water-Cooled
Ice cream machines come with either air cooling or water cooling. Water-cooled machines run smoother, freeze quicker, and are more efficient than their air-cooled counterparts. In contrast, air-cooled machines are ideal in locations with drought or a limited water supply. Water-cooled machines need access to water in your shop.
Avoid Suspiciously Discounted Machines
When in doubt, avoid discount machines. On a budget, they may be tempting. They exaggerate the quality and warranties on their machines. Investing in a brand name you recognize will save you time, hassle, and money in the future.
Buying a used ice cream machine from a brand you recognize allows you to save money without buying a disreputable machine.
Gravity-Fed or Pump-Fed Ice Cream Machines
Gravity-fed soft serve machines use gravity to feed the product mix into the cylinder. Pump-fed machines use pressurized pumps to push mix inside the freezing cylinders. Gravity-fed machines are more economical than machines equipped with pumps. However, pump-fed machines tend to be more durable than gravity-fed machines.
What All to Consider for Your Ice Cream Machine
You should consider machine capacity, features/technology, and maintenance. Machine capacity is the volume of frozen yogurt or ice cream you want to serve. Machine features include your cooling system (water or air), cylinder filling (gravity or pump), and electrical phase (single or three).
Find a Reputable Seller
Buying used ice cream machines is a great way to save money. However, you need to make sure you trust the seller. We recommend buying from Slices Concession. They sell machines for soft serve/frozen yogurt, margaritas, gelato, hard ice cream, milkshakes, and Italian ice.
For a machine to be sold at Slices Concession, each machine goes through a 22 point inspection procedure. This process ensures all their machines are in good, working order.
Buying a used ice cream machine is a great way to save money while still using good equipment.