There have been many changes in SPF suppliers and equipment in the last few years; many manufacturers are surfacing with different options, colors, functionalities, services, and more. As IDI’s Spray Foam Equipment Manager, I’ve helped several people find the right rig and equipment for their businesses.
As business owners and purchasers, I understand it’s in our nature to look for the best pricing possible for any business expense. But what happens when something goes wrong? As strange as it may sound, foam equipment breaks, and this never seems to happen when business is slow or we are in between jobs. We don’t need a study to prove that breakdowns occur on reputable jobs, the first job with a new client, or while finishing the last 800 square feet of a roofing job before a thunderstorm. At this point, the original equipment cost is in the rearview mirror and the problem at hand is looming.
Now you’re faced with throwing vast sums of money at a problem just to make it go away. So much money in fact, that the cheaper upfront cost is now the more expensive option. I’ve seen this scenario play out all too often in this industry. And while these formidable events can’t totally be avoided, they can be minimized by choosing the right system and equipment source. Making a smart investment in the initial machine purchase will always save you money in the long run.
Here are some considerations for your next equipment purchase and my advice on how to pick a spray foam equipment supplier:
- Buy American. I believe that we have more influence to make positive advances when dealing with American companies over foreign entities. Plus, American companies tend to have more parts available locally with much less lead time. Which leads me to my next point…
- Location. When there is an issue, be sure to note where you can go for service, support, and parts. There are many vendors that do a good job of serving their customers nationally. Try to form good relationships locally and know who to call for warranty, parts inventory, and technical expertise. At IDI, this type of excellent service and tech support is our specialty.
- Reputation. Work with a company that is known for reliability, who know our industry, attend events, sit on boards, etc. A company who supports our industry, in turn, will reflect how they support their customers. It tends to be a red flag if the supplier can’t name the brands of the equipment in their quote…and believe me, it’s happened!
- Warranty. I’ve seen equipment suppliers claiming outrageous warranties… including lifetime! Understanding the extent of the warranty for your equipment is important. And most importantly – do not ignore the details!
My other trick: when in doubt simply go back to the old school method of asking for references. Also be sure to review IDI’s Foam Rig Standards Guide, which details a list of important safety, functional, and legal items that should be addressed in any foam rig.
The bottom line is that when you are making any large purchase, you should always consider the long-term outcome. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had customers choose equipment based solely on price, but ended up paying for it in the long run through repairs and lost jobs caused by broken equipment. Hopefully, this quick guide provides some useful insight on how purchasing quality equipment will help with productivity and ultimately continue to grow your business.
By Aaron Franzen