Online vs Local: Buying Foodservice Equipment & Supplies - Hawaii Edition | 2019
When starting any new business venture, every penny has to count because let's face it. We don't have a lot of them so we have to make each of them stretch. In any industry, most new businesses fail within the first 5 years which is why many operators grab the cheapest thing just to get started. At the time it just makes sense and we don't blame them! Typically after an operator passes that five year growth period is when they are more comfortable buying a more quality item. At that point they have learned that the cheapest thing at that moment can cost you more in the long run when it comes to premature replacement or service issues. But what do we do in the mean time? Who can we trust & what are our options?
The Myth of a Sweet Deal:
E-commerce has been a blessing & a curse to the foodservice industry. Everything from supplies to commercial Refrigeration is made available right at our fingertips. This can be great for consumers and manufacturers because customers get a competitive price & manufacturers do very well moving their products in large quantities. But on the local level, this causes prices for goods across all sectors to be driven up which makes product hard to move. At this rate, it's inevitable that Alexa will take over the world which is obviously bad for the brick & mortar businesses. Yes it's true businesses need to adapt to this new business climate because Alexa is not going anywhere anytime soon but why should it matter to you? Is buying local really a better solution for you? Isn't the Online dealer the same as a local dealer? For people in Hawaii, there are a few things Alexa can't do for us. Pay attention as it can cost everyone more in the end.
Shipping to Hawaii:
Being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, shipping can be a challenge. It takes products longer to get to us and at times can be quite expensive depending on the level of service provided. If buying restaurant equipment online, you will have to use a freight forwarder to bring your goods in to Hawaii. Typically online stores will only ship as far as the west coast for 'free'. You will have to take care of arranging it the rest of the way. Sometimes the online company can provide you with an ocean freight quote but it can sometimes be pricy if they don't get good ocean rates. Also note that fork lift or lift gate delivery services costs extra! On top of the hassle of researching the most economic ocean or air carrier rates, there is the risk of freight damage. If not insured most carriers will not replace a damaged unit or even offer to fix it especially if you're not a known customer. If you do have insurance and they do agree to take care of it, you will most likely get pennies on the dollar. Really! So you will still be paying for part of the repair or replacement before you even start using it. On top of that, it can take months to process an insurance claim which still puts the customer in the position of not having the product to use. Buyer beware, get insurance but even then that's not a guarantee! One way to avoid all this headache is to purchase equipment from your local dealer. Let them do all the worrying so you don't have to. They most likely get better rates too, will have product on hand for immediate pick up and will know what to do when issues arise.
Service & Parts:
With the onslaught of made in China equipment flooding the US Market, there is a chance you might pick up one of these as a 'private-label' unit. Most times, service companies want to help but if they cannot get parts or if there is no local service support, they will not be able to fix it let alone get reimbursed for their labor. A warranty is only a warranty if a service company knows how to process it. Also note that depending on the application such as a food truck installation or if a unit is installed in a residential location, warranty can be void or shortened (read the fine print!). That is why it's best to buy from a reputable brand with local support. Let your local dealer guide & educate you to make the best decision for your situation.
Online vs Local dealers:
Hawai'i is an expensive place to live. It's the price of paradise. When items are purchased from the mainland, it doesn't support our local economy which in turn makes it difficult for locals to support other local companies.There are some local companies that will not help a customer because the item wasn't purchased through them directly or locally. Most online dealers will not want to or be able to assist you either. Typically an online dealer will tell you to call the manufacturer which isn't very helpful if they don't have a local Hawaii factory representative like us at Pac Rim Reps. Don't get caught in that trap! Buy local & support your local vendors & they will in return support you when you need it most. When it comes to the circle of the sale, remember that not all value comes in the form of the dollar. Relationships, Friendships & Trust is golden!
We at Pac Rim Reps only represent the best brands so when you buy one of our brands, not only are you getting the best quality product on the market, you get our guarantee that you'll always have someone to help you. We strive to do our best to take care of any after-sale issue and that is a service you cannot get online. Your best bet even if a little more expensive is to support your local dealer network. We are all here to help - Mahalo!