So, here's the thing. You need a way to transport refrigerated product to customers without breaking the bank. You also probably do not want the added expense of going through the trial and error process.
Luckily, we have already gone through this process ourselves and are looking to help you out as well. Below we will go through the timeline of what we found worked, what kind of worked, and what wound up not being the best option for us.
Let’s start at the beginning:
1. Chest Freezer in the Back of a Pickup
Try not to overthink it. We originally just used coolers actually and this was our upgrade. This stage was all about getting our product out there, and it worked!
This does come with a space limit though so as you grow, like we eventually did you will need to upgrade.
2. Cargo Trailer With Multiple Chest Freezers
This was a great next option for us, and what Nourished by Nature uses. Cargo trailers are relatively inexpensive and do not really depreciate (hooray good resale value!). You do need to be wary of the limited storage again as well as the maneuverability in residential areas.
3. Ryder Rental
This option was very fitting under certain circumstances. It is a blessing not to not to need any upfront capital but it was $200 per day.
Unfortunately it also falls under DOT regulations, meaning you have to stop t weigh stations and drivers are not as readily available. Maneuverability is going to be a factor again in residential areas, so keep an eye out for where you need to go. reservations.ryder.com/en
4. Used Reefer Truck
There is merit to every option we went through. This one had a low upfront investment and allowed us a considerable amount of more space.
However, with every good thing with this one there were also negatives. We still had to follow DOT compliance and had a hard time unloading orders without more staff. The maintenance needed also seemed to counteract the low upfront investment, and the resale value was quite poor.
5. Freezer Trailer
This was a win in our book. It had a higher upfront investment but it came with plenty of space, skipped over the DOT requirements and also acted onsite cold storage-- think of it as a transportable walk in freezer.
It did unfortunately get terrible gas mileage at only an average 10 MPG due to the weight and generator. Again, maneuverability is quite limited. polarking.com
6. Used Sprinter Van
This again had a middle of the road upfront investment but it solved a lot of our previous problems. This had plenty of space in a compact setup while finally solving our maneuverability problem. It is extremely easy to find drivers for this and practically doubled the gas mileage from the freezer trailer.
It did come with its drawbacks though, with it being used the maintenance and upkeep wound up being a large expense. We also now needed to be cautious of weight and not overloading the vehicles capacity.
7. New Sprinter Van
Victory! This is where we have now landed. This solved all of the problems we had before the sprinter vans giving us the maneuverability and space that we needed. It also had the added benefit of being extremely reliable and we were able to brand it! That is something that had not been available in the previous options but this made it worth the investment of getting the van wrapped. Our only con was the overloading we have to be cautious of.
We hope this can help ease the stress and headache of figuring out what works best for you. Remember to just get your product out there to your customer, and choose which of these work best for you and your team!