A little over a year ago, Steve Prior founded Cold Store Rentals. Here he looks back on the last 12 months and gives his market predictions
Twelve months on in the cold store industry, we’re pleased to have ended our first trading year on such a positive note, with help from our customers and suppliers.
During what has been an exciting and eventful period, there has been a similar pattern to client requirements despite the company serving a very varied customer base.
The industries we’ve worked with have included small start-up food companies, pubs and restaurants, pet food providers, food wholesalers, pharmaceutical companies, and freight forwarders – a real varied mix with their own specific demands.
When it comes to the similarity in cold storage rental requirements, we have seen a huge increase in demand for flexibility, both in terms of locating cold stores to make the most of customer sites, and in how the units can be customised to suit a customer’s individual need.
The customers that we have helped have all needed quick expansion to growing business needs and sometimes don’t know for how long they need a solution.
For this reason we have partnered with Kool Trailers and Ice House Hire to offer solutions from a one-day rental, to five-plus years. Having this degree of flexibility really helps in being able to offer as broad a service as possible
While it is important to cater to the immediate needs of customers for short-term rentals when requested, we advise clients also to consider their medium and longer term requirements, and keep in mind how their sites or business requirements might change in the future.
With modular cold rooms, it’s easy to add space if there is a sudden increase in production or a change in legislation, for example. The design of modular cold rooms is also attractive for those businesses that need a temporary solution while the rest of the business is being relocated.
We have found it important to offer solutions that can be extended – both in terms of contractual extensions and extensions to a physical footprint – and we discuss these options with the client before installation work begins.
If a company already has a solution in place, we urge the decision-makers to ask themselves if the current equipment can be extended, or to find out if the system is suitably sized to cope with current and future product load.
It is important to understand where the business is going before launching into a cold store that will only satisfy short-term needs.
There is a huge misconception by customers that a cold room is just a white box and therefore it doesn’t matter what you spend on it, as essentially they are all the same.
Because of this, many people aren’t spending enough on units.
While it is true that a cold room is a white box, it features other elements which should not be overlooked. This equipment is protecting valuable stock, so it should be high quality.
A good cold store has a cam lock, anti-bacterial powder coating for hygienic reasons and a 25-year longevity.
Quality is hugely important so we advise companies to not overlook this, as ultimately you get what you pay for.
A lot of the products that we supply are reputable German-manufactured solutions, which typically last 25 years, whereas other cheaper options will only last around five to 10 years and be more expensive in the longer term because they need replacing at regular intervals.
It is vital that your supplier is giving you a high level of service support so that if anything should go wrong, you know that you’re in good hands with a team that can be there to help at any time of day or night.
Operators need absolute trust not only in the engineers who install their unit, but also in the team that will look after it for years to come.
We have built our brand on the premise that looking after our customers’ best interests is our number one priority. To that end, we design and engineer dual systems/twin refrigeration solutions to that we are sure all equipment and processes are protected no matter what happens.
We expect the market to continue developing, with a call for even more flexibility in design for those companies that are expecting to grow.
We are now looking to expand our sales force to support our customers and expect to double our revenue in year two after such a fantastic first year.
Steve Prior is co-director of Cold Store Rentals – www.coldstorerentals.co.uk