You have the buying customer base to warrant the extra inventory, so you don’t want to limit potential sales because your shop can only hold so much. What to do? It’s time to consider temporary coolers.
Temporary coolers can range from stand-alone models to refrigerated trucks and trailers—and all of these types are available for rent. But it’s not as simple as calling up a supplier, the supplier delivering the cooler, and you filling up that cooler. It would be nice if it were that easy, and if everything goes smoothly, that could happen.
However, what if something goes wrong with the cooler itself? Here are three questions you should ask up front before renting a temporary cooler:
- Who maintains the rental unit?
- When was the last time it was serviced?
- Who is responsible if the unit malfunctions and all product is lost?
Precautions to take
If you were installing a new refrigeration unit in your shop, you wouldn’t pick any old unit, correct? The same philosophy should be taken with temporary coolers. Ask for referrals or recommendations from others in the industry to find a reputable leasing company. Price and quality should be two overriding factors to consider.
Once the temporary cooler is in hand, check the thermostat and interior temperature before putting filling with flowers to make sure it’s operating properly and cooling at the correct temperature.
If operating properly, do not overstock! If you put too much product inside, the cooling unit cannot keep up and may either break down or get too warm, with either scenario damaging the product within.
Can you imagine finding 100 arrangements frozen on Valentine’s Day morning? One of the questions above was: If the cooling unit malfunctions, who covers the loss of product? You need to know this up front regarding your policy. Your commercial business package policy may not cover lost product in a temporary cooler.
Business Personal Property insurance covers your contents inside your building for certain perils (Causes of Loss). Some policies also extend Business Personal Property coverage to property in the open within a certain number of feet from the building. Flowers in a refrigerated trailer are not considered in the open.
A temporary storage/cooling unit is also not considered part of the building. Since it’s not a permanently installed fixture, it would essentially be a separate structure that does not have insurance unless you specifically endorse your policy to include it. Ask your agent how to insure the contents in a temporary storage unit and what the potential costs might be.
If your policy offers an optional endorsement that will cover contents in a temporary storage unit, make sure you know what perils are covered. Damage caused by mechanical breakdown is normally excluded under a commercial business policy. Would damage caused by the failure of the cooler compressor be covered? Would theft be covered? Again, ask these questions up front.
Don’t let a temporary solution become a long-term problem
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when securing a temporary cooler for your business. In the end, you want your product inventory safe and secure. To help make that happen, remember the following points:
- Confirm the thermostat of the temporary cooler is operating at the correct temperature.
- Don’t overstock
- Review your insurance policy with your agent to find out if coverage would apply to a temporary storage unit. If not, ask how you can add the unit to your policy.
- Understand the risk you’re taking if you choose not to insure the contents of a temporary storage unit.
Never assume your insurance policy covers lost product in a temporary cooler, because usually that is not the case. Take precautions by renting from a reputable company, making sure the equipment works prior to stocking, and knowing who (if anyone) is liable if there is a loss.
If you have any questions, a Hortica agent is ready to help.