Smokehouse quotes can be tricky to compare, especially when investing in an industrial oven for the first time.
Most food processors look at one number on a quote — the total cost. It makes sense. You have a budget to keep, finances to gather, and ultimately want to know how much you need to spend in order to get the smokehouse you need.
Total cost on a quote, however, can be deceptive.
What actually is included in the total cost? Does each quote you’re comparing include the same options and services in their total cost? Are there any hidden costs you’ll have to pay above and beyond what’s quoted?
Each manufacturer offers different options and services on their smokehouse quotes. It’s imperative to know what to look for when trying to compare quotes, to ensure you are making the best decision for your company.
What’s Included in the Smokehouse Quotes
When comparing smokehouse quotes, the best place to start is by reviewing what’s actually included in the total cost.
The following options and services are costs you will incur when purchasing an industrial oven. Some manufacturers don’t include these on the initial quote and consider them add-ons once the contract is signed.
Do the smokehouse quotes you’re comparing include installation costs?
Installing an industrial oven can be costly, depending on the size of the oven, features involved, and the preparedness of your facility.
These are costs you will have to pay — either to the manufacturer where you purchased the oven, a third party who will come and install the oven for you, or your own staff.
Some manufacturers decide not to include installation costs in their initial quote, making their quote look better initially, until you are required to shell out even more money to install the oven you just purchased.
When comparing smokehouse quotes, make sure to check if the quotes include installation costs.
Start Up Costs
Another cost you’ll need to pay is for the initial start up.
Most manufacturers will require a certified technician on site for the initial start up of an oven. This ensures that the oven was installed correctly, any issues can be troubleshooted, and the manufacturer’s warranty wasn’t voided.
Installing or setting up the oven incorrectly can cause serious damage, something the manufacturer wants to avoid.
Some manufacturers only include the cost of the physical oven in their quote, and tack on set up costs once the purchase order is received.
When comparing smokehouse quotes, make sure to check if the quotes include initial start up.
You’ll likely want to train your operators on how to correctly use the new industrial oven, especially if this is the first oven from that specific manufacturer you’ve purchased.
Training costs can be tricky to compare.
Some manufacturers don’t offer training, 0thers just hand you a user manual and leave it up to you to train operators, while still others provide a technician who will come out for a few days and train your entire staff.
Every food processing plant is different. Determine the level of training your staff needs and make sure each smokehouse quote includes that cost — or at least ask what that cost is so you can tack it onto the total cost of the quote.
Our recommendation — always go with the training.
It’s much easier to learn how to properly use a new industrial smokehouse when your staff is able to see it and do it themselves. Trying to get it from a user manual will take much longer.
Accessories & Options
Every oven requires accessories.
Things like a smoke generator, smoke piping (getting smoke from the generator to your oven), trucks and screens, CIP system, and exterior drains are just a few of the accessories needed to operate a smokehouse.
You’ll also have to think about the options you need, like a handrail on top of the oven, access ladder, stack lighting and alarms, interior drain, remote operator interface (i.e. placing the oven’s control panel somewhere other than on the side of the oven), UL or CUL certified high voltage panel, power supply converters, just to name a few.
Some manufacturers include accessories and options in their smokehouse quotes — giving you a true upfront cost.
Others provide separate quotes for accessories, making their initial quote seem smaller and more appealing.
Comparing Apples to Apples
Don’t be fooled — all smokehouse quotes are not the same.
When shopping for a new smokehouse, dehydrator, or steam oven, make sure the total cost displayed on your quotes include the same options and services.
Some manufacturers, in an effort to win your business, leave necessary expenses off a smokehouse quote in order to give you a smaller total cost. It isn’t until you’ve submitted a purchase order that costs like installation, training, and accessories are brought into the mix.
Comparing apples to apples is the best way to ensure you are getting the best value for your buck. Review smokehouse quotes to make sure they include all the same options and services to save you money.