Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
Equipment for brewing


You operate a well-established food manufacturing operation. Yours is still considered a fairly small business, employing fewer than a hundred workers, but now you are ready to think about expansion. One of your first capital expenditures will be a couple of stainless steel food-grade tanks. Do you buy new or go used?

Your scenario is not unique. Used food-grade stainless steel tanks are sold in nearly every state because people want them. Buying used obviously represents a significant cost savings over purchasing brand new tanks. But money isn’t everything. It is but one thing on a long list of considerations.

Buying New Tanks

Buying your tanks new means dealing directly with a manufacturer or authorized distributor. This is likely going to be your most expensive option. If you can go right to the manufacturer, you can cut out the distributor middleman. This may save you a few dollars on each tank.

Cedar Stone Industry is one such manufacturer. The Houston company makes a variety of food-grade stainless steel tanks along with a good selection of equipment typical to food service. Your company would order and buy directly from them. You would deal directly with them in making sure you get exactly what you need.

Here are the advantages of buying new:

  • You get the manufacturer’s warranty
  • You might be able to customize dimensions and capacity
  • You can ask for certain specifications.

Here are the disadvantages:

  • You will pay more in general
  • You will pay an even higher price for custom work
  • You may have to wait longer to get your tanks.

Having to wait longer really depends on whether the manufacturer needs extra lead time. You may not have to wait six months or longer, but do not expect delivery within a week.

Buying Used Tanks

Should you choose to consider used tanks, be sure to understand the difference between reconditioned and non-reconditioned. A reconditioned tank has been given the once over by the seller. Damage has been identified and repaired. Essentially, the tank has been restored to like-new condition.

A non-reconditioned tank is being sold as-is. At the most, it has been cleaned and sanitized. This sort of used tank should be thoroughly inspected for any damage or potential weaknesses. The last thing you want to do is put down good money on a used tank only to have it fail shortly after arrival.

Here are the advantages of used tanks:

  • Little to no wait time
  • Lower price
  • Decent quality (if reconditioned).

Here are the disadvantages:

  • No original manufacturer’s warranty
  • Potential quality issues
  • No ability to customize
  • Limited availability in terms of brands and sizes

Your investment in food-grade stainless steel tanks should not be a crapshoot whether you go with new or used tanks. This is one area in which it pays to do your homework.

Understand Your Needs and Budget

Assuming that the biggest factor in your choice between new and used is budget, knowledge is power. Understand your organization’s needs in relation to whatever budget has been established for expansion. Your needs may dictate that you either go over budget or adjust a few priorities to make spending more on tanks a possibility.

It is a mistake to make a decision based solely on bottom line price. You might save good money on a used tank now, only to find that it does not meet your needs 12 months down the road. Therefore, it pays to assess your organization’s needs and establish short-, medium-, and long-range targets. Then you will have a more realistic idea of how much you can reasonably allocate for ta

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