Are you in the process of starting a catering business from home? Are you running on limited capital and you are considering whether to rent or buy your catering equipment? Well, I advice you read on as this article will address these questions in detail.

To succeed as a professional caterer, you would need several things but you would need two important things the most:

  • Excellent cooking skills
  • The right equipment

Most of the time, the quality of your food is just as good as the equipment used in preparing it. Let’s take baking as an example. Yes, it’s possible to mix your cake ingredients manually with your hand while it’s also possible to use an automatic cake mixer but I bet you will prefer using a mixer because it’s faster, less stressful and makes the cake turn out better. Same thing goes for frying. Imagine having to fry chicken for 2,000 guests with your traditional frying pan, wouldn’t that be a waste of time?

As a caterer, time is not your friend. You want to prepare fresh, delicious meals and deliver it on time. There are limited dishes you can cook and preserve to be served at a later date, so most of the time, you have to prepare the meals on the same day and have it delivered to the venue as quick as possible; so you need the right equipment that would help you cook faster and better.

N.B-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Catering Business.”

Your ability to get catering jobs may also depend on the types of equipment you have. Potential clients would want to make sure you have all the necessary tools to perform the job before they sign any contract agreement with you in order to avoid any disappointments. You would need a variety of equipment as a caterer, some of which include:

  • Industrial gas cookers
  • Ovens, grills
  • Chaffing dishes
  • Food warmers
  • Buffet ware
  • Slow cook ovens
  • Flatware
  • Bake ware
  • Dinnerware
  • Transporting equipment
  • Holding cabinets and disposables

This is just a few of many equipment needed for catering. So should you opt for outright purchase of your catering equipment or just settle for renting equipment whenever you have assignments?

Renting Vs Buying Catering Equipment: Which is better?

Well, I can examine some factors and tell you to rent or buy but the decision is totally up to you; as there are a number of things that would determine if you should buy or rent your equipment such as your capital or funding available, size and status of your business and your customer base. So rather than make a decision for you, i have decided to provide you with detailed information to be able to help you make a choice.

3 Advantages of Renting Catering Equipment

  • Affordability

Quality and long lasting catering equipment don’t come cheap and that’s aside the fact that they are numerous and it’s difficult to have all the equipment you need; so you will find yourself having to borrow equipment some times even if you opt for buying your own equipment. Renting allows you access to equipment that you do not have or can’t afford.

  • Cash flow management

When you start your catering business, you are still new in the business and might not have enough patronage to keep the cash you need coming in but if you rent equipment only when you need them, you will be able to manage your cash flow better.

  • Variety

In the catering industry, there are trends every now and then. You can’t keep running off to order every new catering equipment and at the same time; you don’t want to be left behind by the others, so this is something renting does for you. You only have to rent that new equipment. You are also able to experiment with different equipment and choose what works for you.

4 Disadvantages of Renting Catering Equipment

  • Expensive

Over time, renting of catering equipment becomes more expensive than outright purchase. Think of a situation where you have to handle several catering jobs in a month and you have to rent equipment all of the time, at the end of the day, it all adds up and becomes even more expensive than if you owned the equipment yourself.

  • Disappointments-: The equipment is not in your control and anything can happen. Vendors could disappoint at a time when it won’t be too easy to get an alternative and that would directly affect your reputation and cost you financial losses.
  • Discomfort-: Renting of catering equipment means extra work. You would have to go and pick the equipment and then return them when you are done. This might be very stressful for you and your workers.
  • Risk-: Renting catering equipment is also risky because you may be asked to replace or pay costly penalty whenever you damage something.
6 Advantages of Buying Catering Equipment
  • Cheap-: Yea, buying your catering equipment is cheap in the long run especially when you have lots of clients and heavy workload.
  • You would also be able to convince your clients that you have what it takes to offer an excellent catering service.
  • Convenience-: You won’t have to worry about returning equipment to the owners when you are done using them. All you have to do is to use, clean and store.
  • Boost business profile-: When you have your equipment, you boost the image of your catering business in the eyes of everyone out there including your clients, financial institutions (for loan assessments), friends and family.
  • Control-: When you own your equipment, you have control over everything about your business especially when it comes to equipment. You need not worry about someone else messing things up for you.
  • Savings-: When you buy your catering equipment in bulk, you would be able to negotiate and eventually save money compared to renting or buying in bits.
  • Tax savings-: You also get to save up in taxes when you buy your catering equipment.
Disadvantage of Buying Catering Equipment
  • Funding

In spite of its many advantages, buying catering equipment also has its downside which has to do with the costs. You would need a lot of money to buy all the equipment you will need, sometimes up to $25,000 or more. This is the major reason why people are left with no other choice but to rent equipment whenever they need it, instead of buying.

So which would you rather go for? The decision is totally up to you. However, even if you buy equipment, you might not be able to eliminate renting of equipment totally except you want to keep buying every new catering equipment you find out that you would need. So, most caterers usually have a taste of both worlds.

If you are opting for option B, which is buying of equipment; you can recoup some of the costs incurred on purchasing the equipment by renting out the equipment to other caterers when you are not using them.