Q: How are these smokers financed? Or would we have to have all the cash for them up front?
A: We now offer our customers the ability to apply for financing for their purchases online or by downloading an application and mailing it to our office, or you can contact your own bank or another financing source if you require financing for your purchase.
We begin construction of your unit upon receiving your contract and payment in the form of cash, cashier's check, wire transfer, or bank loan.
Q: Do you ever have any used or repossessed units?
A: We occasionally have used smokers that have been traded in for newer models but we try to use them for our rental business. You would have to check with our sales staff for the availability of these units. We do provide a listing service on our web site for people that want to sell their current unit and purchase a new one. This is something you would just have to keep checking to see if we list one under our "Products" menu.
Q: How long does it take to make a trailer?
A: Approximately 2-6 weeks. Construction time may vary due to demand variables. You will be given a tentative completion date when we receive your order or you can call before you send it and we can give you an approximate date of completion. In most cases, it is ready before that date. Your delivery time is based on the time of your order on a first-come, first-served basis. We aim to meet your deadlines if at all possible. We have never missed a deadline yet!
Q: Is there something wrong if meat is falling off shelves?
A: During normal operation of the smoker this should not happen.
The first thing to check is to make sure the smoker unit is setting level by adjusting the front jack. If the unit is not level, this can put a bind on the racks and make them jerk as they rotate, which could jar the meat.
The second thing to check is the alignment of the top and bottom sprockets behind the chain guard. To re-align, loosen the set screw on the bottom sprocket and adjust the location on the shaft and then tighten the set screw. An allen wrench is required to perform this adjustment.
Q: What is the daily cooking capacity of the standard Log Cabin smoker? What time do you start and what time do you stop?
A: To give you some idea, you can cook chicken in 45 minutes at 225-250 degrees. You can fit about 180 lbs of chicken breasts on at one time. Figure 180 lbs of chicken an hour with taking off and putting on. Sausage takes 30 minutes; you can fit about the same amount of pounds, beef depending on the cut 4-6 hours and about 28 10-12 pound Briskets. (Same for pork). You can do a smoked baked potato in about 40 minutes and cook over 100 at a time.
Q: Is purchasing the meats the most expensive cost? And are there many different choices of places to choose from to purchase meats that are priced affordably? What is shelf life of the meats you use?
A: I would say that your meats are the most expensive item. However, it is not the most expensive when you base it on your return in sales. The meats are affordable. For example, a box of ribs we used to purchase each rack cost us $4 and we sold the racks cooked for $14. That is a $10 dollar return on your product. The shelf life uncooked is about 3 weeks if they are semi frozen when you buy them. The beef and the pork are not frozen but the shelf life is about the same. Cooked meats depending on what items you sell has a shelf life of about 3 days. If you over cook for your event you can freeze the cooked beef and pork and reheat them and they are just as good as the day you cooked it.
Q: Do you offer instructions on the use of the smoker and recipes for rubs, sauces, etc., how to select, cut prepare and serve meat, etc?
A: We offer instructions on the use of the smoker and recipes for rubs, sauces, etc., how to select, cut prepare and serve meat, etc.
Q: How does the copyright work if I choose to use my own original name in my business? Would I not pay for it then?
A: We copyrighted our name so that we would be the only one with it. Like Coke or McDonalds, so you can use your own name with no problem.
Q: Do your trailers have to be hard wired, or can power be supplied by batteries or a generator, etc.?
A: All our trailers can be run direct or from a generator. We have had a temporary light pole installed for our electric at various locations. At fairs they provide the electrical hookup as part of your rental — this is normal. You can contact us for the required generator specs.
Q: Do you know of any information sources that might have any revenue and expense statistics for this particular type of business? A basic guide for a business plan.
A: Here are some sample business plans from Business Plan Pro. once you get there poke around and give their plan wizard a try if you don't find the sample that suits you. Remember, these are just intended to be a sample plans not actual. If you are seriously considering purchasing a trailer, Business Plan Pro is one of the friendlier programs to use to create your business plan. It is worth mentioning here that you will want to contact your local health department for their requirements, including floor plan specs.
Q: I could not download your business plan and cash flow documents. Could you send them to me. I do not have excel.
A: Unfortunately the only way to use the business plan online is to have MS Excel. You need that program to manipulate the information in the forms if you will. It would be of no use to you for me to print it and send it to you. I think you can buy Excel at Best Buy or some comparable store — or go to the house of a friend who has it and play with the form there.
Q: I saw some pictures with propane bottles next to the smoker. Do the smokers come with propane attachments?
A: The pictures you saw were of our company trailer. We installed log lighters that use propane to ignite the fire. You still need to actually do the cooking with wood or charcoal, not propane. We do not offer the log lighters with our smokers for liability reasons. Some customers have installed their own log lighters on our trailers after purchasing from us.
Q: As far as the trailers and setup go, what kind of health codes and permits are required in operating one your mobile units? I know it must be different from state to state, but just an idea would help. The investment cost seems phenomenal and very affordable. I would love to invest in such a unique service. Please respond as soon as possible.
A: In Indiana the only permit that is required is a $25 per year health permit and a $25 a year retail merchant tax certificate for collecting state tax. Call your health department in your area to verify.
Q: When you work from your trailer, what do you keep the meat in? How do you comply with the health department regulations for food storage?
A: Before cooking the meat, you can keep it in coolers or in your refrigerator. After cooking, when the food is ready to serve, you can keep it in one of the three hot wells in the concession trailer, which keep the meat up to temperature required by the health department—a minimum of 140 degrees.
Q: I have inquired about concessions at some events in my area and have been told that the vendors who are there have been there for years, and that there are no spots opening up. Do you have any pointers as to how and where to find fairs, festivals or events that are open to new concessions?
A: We had the same problem when we started out. The only thing that set us apart from everyone else was our unique design. No other concession looked like ours and that's what got us in. We asked to be put on the list for calling in case of a cancellation. This happens more frequently than you think.
Sometimes you just have to change your menu a bit to get in. If one vendor has port you serve beef instead. Things like that. A lot of our customers have set up like we did on the side of the road or in front of some place and weathered quite nicely. Places like Walmart will sometimes let you set up in their parking lot if you donate a part of your profits to a local charity. That is another way to get started. Other places will let you set up for their grand opening like a car dealership or Office Max or Lowe's. These are not guarantees from me—just suggestions.
My last advice to you is not to give up. If you want in badly enough, keep calling and showing your interest. There should be a listing of all the fairs in your state. Try your local visitor bureaus or chamber of commerce and ask if they have any listings they can provide you with phone numbers. You can also try your state's web site and see if you find any information. They have lists—you just have to find them.
Q: What is the lead-time on ordering the trailer?
A: It is based on when the order is received to begin construction. Due to the customizing options available we don't start building the trailers until you place your order and all paperwork is finalized. The longest lead time has been approximately 8 weeks and it varies from month to month.
Q: What about barbecue recipes? Do you supply these?
A: We give you our recipes if you want them. They have worked well for us as you can tell from the crowds around our BBQ smokers wherever we set it up.
Q: Can you explain the protocol for handling of the contract and funds? Notary? Are the funds put in escrow until the trailer is ready for pickup?
A: You send in your funds with your contract and 2-6 weeks later you pick up your trailer. The funds are put into American Pit Smokers business account and used to build your trailer. The remaining balance is only used after your trailer is picked up. You may come for a visit at any time before you decide to buy and see first-hand our manufacturing facility and our operation.
You can fax us the contract at 765-622-9007 if you would like us to sign the contract first, and that is not a problem. We usually send the contract back to you after we receive your payment, so we can add the warranty dates, non-compete dates and the start of building dates in the contract, after we receive the payment. However, we can leave those dates blank until we receive the signed contract back with the payment.
We are also a member of the Central Indiana BBB, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Chamber of Commerce, National BBQ Association, and you can verify any article on our web site with the Herald Bulletin newspaper by contacting Jerri Fite at the Herald at 765-640-2316. We try to give our customers as much authenticity about our company as possible.
The practices we use are directed by attorneys to protect us from contracts being altered after we have signed them. However, we do understand that every bank and bank officer has a different set of rules to go by and this is not a problem. We can sign the contract first if that is the concern of your banker.
Note: When you send your payment in, you can wire transfer it to us or send it via Federal Express. We do not recommend first class mail as a cashier's check cannot easily be replaced. If it is a loans proceed check directly from the bank or a bank check, that is also satisfactory.
Q: Do you have a catalog?
A: We have brochures on our Rotisserie Pit Smokers and Log Cabin Concession Trailers. The information is similar to what you find on the web site.
Small PDF files, which includes basic information, that are downloaded from our web site ( PDF Brochure ).
Pictures can be printed from brochures to take with you when you visit your local health department.
Q: How does the copyright work if I choose to use my own original name in my business? Would I not pay for it then? Also, the brakes, they are electric (on the trailer I assume) so I would get the electric brake control put on my van right?
A: We copyrighted our name so that we would be the only one with it. Like Coke or McDonalds, so you can use your own name with no problem.
Q: What kind of a ball do I need on my van or pickup to haul the trailer?
A: The rotisserie pit smoker trailers require a 2 inch ball. It also requires a 6-way round female receptacle with a brake assist installed so your electric brakes can work.
Q: The brakes on the trailer are electric, so would I have to get an electric brake control put on my van or pickup?
A: Yes, you will need an electric brake control installed in your van or pickup. Mine cost about $135 installed. We do not do this for you — you can get this done at any auto repair shop or RV specialty shop.
Q: What is the shipping weight and dimensions for a 2 ft. Home Back Yard Smoker?
A: A complete 2 ft unit weighs approximately 620 lbs. The size is 51 3/4" W, 68 1/2" L, 57 1/2" H. This height is with the stacks removed for shipping.
Q: What is the weight of a wood box, 2' x 4' grill and a warmer for a smoker?
A: A wood box weighs approximately 57 lbs.
A 2' x 4' grill weighs approximately 348 lbs.
A warmer weighs approximately 222 lbs.
Q: What sizes of the Log Cabins are available?
A: We offer two different size units which are both built on a 8' x 24' trailer.
1 - An 8' x 12' log cabin with a 3' step up service area.
2 - An 8' x 15' log cabin without the step up service area.
Q: Are there different smoker sizes available for the concession trailers?
A: Yes, we offer two standard smoker configurations.
1 - A 6-ft. rotisserie pit smoker
2 - A combination of a 4-ft. rotisserie pit smoker and a 4-ft. charcoal grill.
Q: What are the standard features that are included with a concession trailer?
A: The following is a list of the standard items that are included with the purchase:
NSF approved 3 compartment sink
21 gallon fresh water holding tank
35 gallon waste water holding tank
2.5 gallon hot water heater
Through-the-wall air conditioner
3 hot wells NSF approved
2 pan capacity cold well NSF approved
2 door 12 cubic ft stainless steel refrigerator
Q: How much do the concession trailers weigh?
A: Concession trailers vary in weight according to the cabin size and smoker configuration.
A finished concession trailer with 8' x 12' cabin and no smoker - 7580 lbs.
A finished concession trailer with 8' x 12' cabin and 6-ft. smoker - 8680 lbs.