When is the Best Time to Buy a Grill?

We have been getting a ton of questions recently surrounding timing. People want to how long will it take to get grills in the current conditions. 

In some areas, grilling is seasonal and is picking up considering that it’s summer and people are spending more time outside. Of course, BBQ Depot is based in Florida, so our local clientele is grilling year-round. We’re not as limited by the cold weather as some of our clients up north.

Regardless of geographic location, everyone loves the summer — if not for the (perhaps unbearable) heat and humidity, then for the freedom and fun it provides. Kids are out of school, people are taking vacations, and Saturday night parties are centered around the grill. It’s not an exaggeration to say that summer has a hint of magic in it.

The demand for grills typically increases in the spring, leading into the summer. But this year is demonstrating an even higher demand than usual — and coming on the heels of a global supply chain crisis, this summer is creating some extra challenges for us, as well as our clients. As a result, answering that question that seems so simple really isn’t simple anymore.

So, when is the best time to buy a grill? Let’s get into why that’s not a simple question anymore, and offer some recommendations to get you the grill you want as soon as possible.

Grill Production Delays

At this point — especially this far into a global crisis — it seems as though every industry is affected by some sort of supply and demand issue. Frankly, the supply chain is undergoing an intense stress test right now, and it’s pointing out the weaknesses in the system. It’s important to remember that these are unprecedented times that have resulted in extraordinary complications.

Every aspect of the supply chain has been impacted in some way, shape or form by this crisis, all the way from the very beginning to the end, no matter where products are made or the market they serve. Factories have had to slow down production, some industries have seen booms, while others have experienced big busts, and the act of physically shipping goods has been a major problem.

And of course, that’s not even getting into the issue of some goods being completely sold out and manufacturers trying to play catch up.

Knowing how long it will take to get your grill is difficult to answer as manufacturers are trying to catch up with increased demand coupled with a shortage of raw materials. Some manufacturers are faster than other but it can be up to 3 to 4 months. So the best time to buy your grill is now. Getting on the production list is huge as it is building daily. Predicting timing is a huge obstacle as the manufacturers are working tirelessly to get product out and estimate how long that will be. The issue comes when there may be a delay in raw materials. Grill manufacturers do not manufacture hardware for the grill, ignition components, ceramic briquettes (if the grill has it), lights, knobs, etc. Imagine one of those third party suppliers falls behind or gets backordered. This pushes back the entire process. Many people get frustrated with the delays. I can assure you that these manufacturers want you to have their products and are working overtime to get products manufactured.

The point is, this is a complex problem to solve and for the lifestyle and home improvement industries, it’s been a particular challenge.

Home Improvement Boom

For any kind of home improvement or lifestyle company (like BBQ Depot), a global crisis where people are forced to stay home has actually been rather lucrative. People are at home, staring at the same walls all day long. They’re looking at all the projects they’ve been meaning to get to, but haven’t.

Of course, the most important factor here is that — not only did people notice the projects they’d been kicking down the line — but that they actually had the time to deal with them. When people were suddenly faced with the prospect of canceled vacations, no movie nights at the theatre, the inability to go out for a date night, and even local parks being closed, people suddenly had a lot more free time.

While there were certainly plenty of nights for binge watching Netflix, many homeowners felt a more immediate desire to work on their homes. And for the first time in a long time, they had the flexibility to hit pause on the busy-ness of their lives and focus on fixing up the homestead.

All of a sudden — quite literally overnight in some cases — people were cooking more meals at home and realizing that their kitchens aren’t as functional as they thought. They were spending time and money trying to improve their living space. They figure if they’re going to be staring at it, it should be more beautiful, functional, and enjoyable.

They were using any opportunity to get out of their houses, even if that meant just hanging out in the backyard, which meant that they found new areas of their property to potentially improve. If people were coming over, they were probably hanging out outside, which undoubtedly led to grilling.

And with all that time spent working with their grills, they were seeing that their old models had seen better days, and it might be time for a new one.

It makes sense when you think about it, and we’ve enjoyed helping people improve their homes. For some, it was as simple as getting a new grill. For others, it was about maintenance — finding grill parts that needed to be replaced. And for others (especially those in moderate, consistent climates), it was a matter of building the outdoor kitchen of their dreams.

Getting Through the Backlog

One of the main issues at hand is the restrictions placed by local governments, and the varying degrees of restrictions across the country. This is not a commentary on whether said local governments are doing the right or wrong thing — it’s simply a fact.

By restricting the number of people who can be in a room together at any given time, or by telling businesses that they need to take extra precautions, production is almost certainly going to suffer. Some facilities were shuttered at the height of this global crisis, and in the meantime, orders didn’t necessarily pause.

Those who still had the means to work on their homes were placing orders, but no one could get into the building to actually manufacture the products being ordered. Over time, workers were allowed back in, but in smaller numbers than usual.

Getting back on track from a total production stoppage — and doing so in a step-up kind of process — takes a while. There are still companies that are running months behind schedule, and that is at least partially due to local restrictions and how badly each area has been affected by illness.

For example, FireMagic’s main manufacturing plant is located in Los Angeles County, California — one of the most badly affected areas even still after all this time. Their plant has suffered severe setbacks, and they’re having trouble catching up because the demand has greatly increased and there was only so much they can do about the number of people they’re allowed to have in the building at one time.

By contrast, Solaire’s main manufacturing facility is located in Orange County, Florida. Their production wasn’t shut down to the extent that some companies were, so they’re not as far behind as others. But with that, the demand has still pushed back their production to a few weeks. Similarly, TEC is based in South Carolina and hasn’t seen much of a shutdown either.

Rising costs, limited and delayed component parts and materials, reduced labor force and freight difficulties have made business as usual nearly impossible.

Every company is working tirelessly to catch up on their backlog of orders, but it does take time. It may legitimately take months to catch up on everyone’s orders. As restrictions are safely lifted, the factories can add workers, as well as shifts. We’ll get there, even if it takes a while.

So… When Is the Best Time to Buy a Grill?

The short answer is now or as soon as possible.

As businesses find a new sense of normalcy, manufacturers are able to keep adding shifts to fulfill orders and shipping products. The best thing you can do is get on the list.

The longer you wait, the longer it will take for companies dealing with backlog to get to your order. If you live in the south or California, your grilling days aren’t nearly as numbered as they would be if you live up north.

If you do live up north and are concerned about getting a grill before the end of the grilling season, we have some tips for you to ensure you get your grill as quickly as possible. Even if you get it later in the summer than you’d like, you’ll have it ready for the very first moment of next season — and maybe even for the random nice days in between.

Tips for Getting Your New Grill Sooner

Because of the supply chain issues across the globe, production slow-downs and shipping delays, the best way to cut down on the amount of time it takes for you to receive your new grill is to order one as soon as possible. Grill manufacturers have experienced a huge in crease in demand that they are finding it hard to keep up. Many manufacturers have such a large amount of orders to fulfill, that it will take months to fulfill these orders.

We always recommend choosing an American-made grill. American-made products are notoriously of higher quality than some products made overseas. Obviously, this isn’t the case in every single situation, but when it comes to manufacturing and attention to detail, American workers the best job.

Poor quality products are often cheaper because — well, they’re terrible quality, but also because the people making them are paid very low wages. On the other hand, American-made products are higher quality and often cost more. After all, you get what you pay for. "Nothing good is cheap and nothing cheap is good!"

These days, American-made products are either the same price or cheaper than products made overseas because of the shipping costs and backlog.

Furthermore, you’re more likely to get the grill faster because of simple geographics. Shipping across the state — or even the country — will be much easier than trying to ship across oceans. This goes for grill parts, as well. Grill companies that manufacture in the United States will also be able to get you replacement parts much faster.

Some companies have changed their operations over the years as well, and it’s not always apparent. For example, Weber grills used to be made in America, but are now made overseas. This is something we can help you figure out if you’d like to purchase from an American company.

We’re not suggesting that purchasing grills made overseas is not a good idea — we just know that the consistency in quality is better here in the US. Also, right now, physically imports in the United States is a larger struggle.

And really, who doesn’t feel good about supporting their local economy? By purchasing an American-made grill, you’re supporting an American company that employs sales staff and factory workers. You’re helping people pay their bills, put food on their tables, and buy clothes for their kids that are growing like weeds.

Ready to Order Your New Grill?

No matter what you’re looking for in a new grill, BBQ Depot is uniquely qualified to help you. We’ve been in this business for over 60 years. We started out as a propane company and then naturally expanded into gas grills. Since then, we’ve added to our selection of grills to include charcoal, electric, pellet, and Kamado.

However, we didn’t want to dilute our knowledge base by expanding our offerings to products we didn’t know as much about. We wanted to maintain our status as grilling experts, and in order to do that, we have kept to grills and everything necessary to properly maintain them.

Something we love about this business is that we get to keep working with our clients even after they order their grills. Thanks to our extensive expertise in outdoor kitchen design, grills, maintenance, and troubleshooting, our clients typically reach back out to us when they need help.

So whether you’re looking to design a new outdoor kitchen, add new accessories to your grilling experience, replace your old grill, or fix up your existing one, we’d love to help you find the best solution for you.

In Florida, we’ve helped a lot of people design outdoor kitchens because the weather allows it. It’s the perfect solution for built-in grills, along with rotisseries, smokers, and griddles. Of course, not everyone wants or needs all of that. Some homeowners are perfectly happy with a standalone grill that they can cover when it’s not in use, or move to a covered location when it rains.

It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for — no job is too big or too small. And if you’re not sure exactly what you want, but you have some ideas (i.e. you know you want a gas grill, but aren’t sure if you really need the top of the line), we can help you narrow down your options to meet your budget and expectations.

When you’re ready to talk about your grilling, smoking, or outdoor kitchen needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

by Tracy Hollander on 24th Jul 2021
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