There are many factors to ponder when choosing a walk-in refrigeration or freezer unit. With any significant business investment, including cold storage, the purchase price is just one piece of the economic puzzle.
By: Dan Parsenow, Polar King, Inc. Regional Sales Manager
In my decades of experience in the cold storage space, I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of customers through the buying process, and I always remind them to look beyond the price tag to see the bigger picture in terms of overall cost savings and return on investment. Keep in mind that this is a long-term purchase. In fact, we have customers in the field who have operational Polar King units manufactured in the 1980s!
10 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Walk-In Cold Storage Unit
Here are the top 10 considerations that I encourage customers to think about when weighing their cold storage walk-in options to ensure maximum savings and reliability over time.
- Application: How do you plan to use the unit? The specificity matters, as a business that needs a walk-in freezer for its restaurant, will have different requirements than a pharmaceutical company storing life-saving vaccines. Walk-in coolers vary in temperature between 34F to 38F degrees, while freezers maintain temperatures between 0F to -50F degrees.
- Geographic location: A unit that sits in 10 hours of direct sunlight every day outside an Arizona restaurant will need a lot more horsepower than a unit positioned in a shady location in New Hampshire. Just like in your home, energy costs fluctuate with the weather. Depending on the location of your business, you might need to modify your walk-in for energy efficiency and cost reduction. But regardless of your spot on the map, you can feel confident knowing Polar King units are Miami-Dade County approved, meaning they can withstand the harshest weather environment, from a hurricane to a blizzard, and everything in between.
- Placement: Location at a site is equally as important as where the walk-in is stationed in the country. Many companies are landlocked and therefore rely on walk-in units to serve as an extension of their business. It is a lot easier to have a walk-in unit fit inside the drive-through than it is to tear walls down and remodel a cookie-cutter fast-food chain. It’s also important to think about where you want your walk-in unit in relation to your kitchen or delivery area. Because every business is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
- Size: Units come in all shapes and sizes and can be tailored to meet your business’s current and future storage needs. In addition to the sizes of the overall unit, the interior of the walk-in can be customized to maximize usage. In some cases, adding an additional shelf could mean increasing your storage space by up to 25%. For other businesses, less shelving in the unit is preferable to organize larger items.
- Special Features: Polar King units are fully customizable – both internally and externally. Polar King offers one paint color at no charge, giving operators the ability to request an exact match for their building. Customization may also include added doors, brick siding, or faux stonewall on the side. With so many choices, a cold storage unit can be designed to blend in seamlessly and go virtually unnoticed. Enhanced safety features can be included to safeguard against theft and accidental lock-ins.
- Delivery: Polar King delivers every unit fully assembled and ready for hookup. A company truck with a crane will drop the unit exactly where a business owner needs the equipment. When space is at an absolute premium, forklifts are utilized to ensure optimal placement. As soon as the one-piece fiberglass unit is stabilized, it is ready for hook up to an electrical system. Customers can typically expect their unit to reach the desired cooling temperature within a few hours.
- Warranty: Polar King’s warranty is the best in the business. We stand behind our units with a 12-year warranty for the structure, which includes the floor, roof, and door. We also provide a five-year warranty on the compressor as well as one-year warranties for refrigeration systems and components, and one year for miscellaneous parts and accessories. No competitor comes close to our value promise.
- Parts and service: While Polar King’s exterior is one-of-a-kind, the interior includes standard cooling systems to limit downtime and the need for individualized customer training. When a unit is within the warranty, we work with your local cooling company to troubleshoot and repair any issues when they arise. Even if the unit is out of warranty, we are here to help make certain any required fixes are made quickly using industry-standard equipment.
- Customer service: Second to last on this list but always No.1 to Polar King, top-notch customer service is probably the important benefit you receive with your Polar King walk-in unit. When a customer buys or leases a unit, they want a piece of equipment they can count on. Our priority is creating a superior walk-in that’s energy efficient, dependable, and can withstand the toughest elements. We work with customers every step of the way – 24/7 – to ensure customer satisfaction. Business owners have plenty of things to worry about; their walk-in unit should not be one of them.
- Sales support: There is a lot to contemplate when choosing a walk-in for purchase. Call a representative, talk through different options, and make sure all your questions are answered. A Polar King rep can provide additional insights, including walk-in cold storage unit rental options. Polar King focuses on selling units, while Polar Leasing handles unit rentals. Polar King Mobile, which offers cold storage on a trailer, may just be the perfect fit to satisfy your needs. Let’s discuss and figure it out together.
Purchasing a cold storage solution should be seen as an investment in your business’s future. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, it is important to speak with a specialist who can walk you through different options and customized features that guarantee you are getting the right walk-in unit for your company. The last thing you need is something that is not going to give you the best bang for your buck – or worse – a business decision you will later regret.