Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Should You Consider Purchasing Used Laundry Equipment?

In my first blog post, I shared how my obsession with mechanics began. That life-long passion has translated into this philosophy for me -- If is it mechanical and parts are available, it can be repaired. That translates into good news for you. There is an opportunity in our industry to buy both good used commercial laundry equipment and used dry cleaning equipment, but you need to know what you’re getting.

Here's a huge tip to help you make a wise purchase on good used dry cleaning equipment - get the serial number and do some research. Here's why - on some used commercial dry cleaning equipment, such as a used Unipress laundry legger, parts are no longer available. If it's a machine where the parts are no longer available, I would recommend stopping the process right then. It doesn't matter how good the deal or how good of an electronics whiz you are, it's not worth it.

If the parts are still available, the seller has knowledge of the operation of the machine, and you believe the machine to be in good condition, then the next step is to determine if the price is fair. Once you settle on a price, then ask for a 30 day parts warranty. If they refuse to do that and it's not but a few years old, take a pass. There's a red flag there.

Used commercial washers are a little different. You'll still need to get the serial number to check for parts availability. Most parts increase in price with the age of the washer because they cost more to stock and are difficult to obtain due to low sales volume. Here are two huge tips on used commercial washers. First, you also need to consider removal and reinstallation costs. Second, be sure to check out the bearings and seals. If they aren't good, you'll have no platform to work from. At best it will turn into a big, expensive job from a labor and parts standpoint. To check for bearing wear, lift up on the drum at the door. If there is any play, then take a pass. Again, ask for a 30 day parts warranty if you decide to purchase the machine.

The bottom line is this - I would not hesitate to purchase a used piece of equipment as long as parts are still available, the operator shares first-hand experience and pictures, and there is no sign of excessive wear. Now go out, do your homework, and get a great deal!