Starting Your Vending Machine Business
Hopefully we haven’t scared you off from starting a vending machine business, but we do believe that it is important to go into this endeavor with the correct knowledge of what you can expect. There are plenty of different scammers and untrustworthy resources that will claim vending machines are all riches and no work, which is entirely untrue. What is true is that vending machines require work, investment, and they will not generate a large amount of revenue at first, but a vending machine business can eventually lead to an amazing passive income that will completely change your life for the better. First, you will need to obtain all of the different licenses and documents that are required to run vending machines in your area, but then you are all set to go! Here is a look at how you can purchase, place, and maintain a vending machine and launch your new business!
Finding a Machine
Now that you are set on starting your vending business and you know that you are going to be getting into it is time to find your first vending machine. You are going to need to decide whether you want to get into bulk vending or snack/drink vending, but finding a machine for either route is pretty similar.
When you are just starting out, you do not want to buy a new machine. While new machines can be great investments that will help you to increase sales, they are also extremely expensive. Instead, stick with used vending machines, which will give you all of the functionality that you need for a fraction of the price. A used vending machine is only going to help you become profitable sooner, which will allow for you to buy more vending machines and expand your business. Once you have greatly expanded your business and you are ready to begin competing for the top vending spots, then you will want to look at purchasing a new vending machine, but not before.
So how do you find the best used vending machine for your own needs? You first need to decide on what you are going to want to vend, since these machines very in complexity and price. For example, a simple bulk candy machine can be extremely cheap and simple to use, even though it won’t earn a great deal of profit, while a coffee machine might also be a cheaper option, but it more than likely will be complex and require a greater amount of maintenance work. There are a lot of different factors that go into choosing the right vending machine and it is best to do your own research online. The National Automatic Merchandising Association has an enormous amount of resources that can help you make an informed decision about the first vending machine that you will want to purchase.
Finding a Location
Before you go off and purchase a vending machine, you are going to want to find a great location where you will be able to sell your products. You might hear that the market is already saturated with vending machines and that there aren’t any good locations anymore, but this simply is not true. There are new companies, business parks, apartments, and all sorts of things being built every day. There are also plenty of locations with run down and ill kept machines where you might be able to offer a better service. Regardless, there are locations out there that will be great for your vending machines; you just need to get out there and start looking.
Gumballs.com provides some great information for choosing a location for your vending machine:
In our experience, certain businesses have consistently proven to be successful locations. These include restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, shopping malls, Boys and Girls Clubs, laundromats, movie theaters, academic institutions (high schools, colleges), supermarkets, coffee shops, banks, automotive centers, taverns, and apartment complexes. Always be on the look out for more obscure locations that could prove to be really favorable. Some surprisingly successful locations that we have come across include auction facilities, casinos, bingo halls, horseback riding facilities, and airports. Remember, any place with steady foot traffic is a good location for a vending machine.
The main thing you are going to want to look for in a location is that there is a lot of nearby people for most of the day. While you might be thinking of shopping centers and large businesses right away, it is going to be difficult to place a machine in these highly competitive areas. Instead, think about small businesses and areas that have a good amount of people in a small space. A hair salon is a good example of this idea, since it is a business that constantly has people going in and out, along with customers that are waiting to be served. There are constantly people at this location throughout the day, making it a great spot for a vending machine.
You also will want to consider the conditions that will be surrounding your machine. A salon is a great place to put a vending machine since there are a lot of people, but these people are also sitting around for longer periods of time and employees are constantly working, rarely getting the chance to sit down and take a break. These are perfect conditions for a vending machine! On the other hand, if customers don’t stay at a location for at least a small amount of time, it is very unlikely that they are going to feel inclined to use your machine. You will also want to think about the weather, typical customer profiles, and the location of other businesses that sell similar products to what can be found in your vending machine.
Well, that’s a whole lot of different factors that need to be considered when choosing a location for your vending machine, but taking all of these things into account will help you to reap a much larger profit. The last thing that you will need to consider is if you will need to pay a certain fee for a location. Some locations will want a share of the profits while others might be content to have a percentage of your sales be donated to charity. Either way, make sure that you can still make a profit after these costs and never turn away a deal if you can make money, even if the fees are higher than normal.
Getting Your Supplies
You have a vending machine and a location, now you just need some products to sell. You can find vending products in a variety of different locations, from your local grocery store to online suppliers. There is no best location for everyone to purchase their vending supplies. In order to determine where you should be buying your products you will need to take a look at what you want to sell and how much business you are going to receive.
Deciding what to put in your vending machine can be an extremely difficult process. First, try to figure out what people at your location might like. If you are serving a bunch of teenagers, chips, candy, and cookies might all be great products. If you have a more mature group of customers, you might want to look at healthier options and fresher food. Choosing the right product will all come down to what your customers want, so make sure that you are constantly getting rid of items that are not selling and fill these rows with what people actually want.
How much business your machine is actually going to receive is also an important consideration when choosing products to sell. If you do not sell a lot of items every day, you more than likely are going to want to purchase products in smaller quantities and you are going to want to purchase items that have a long expiration date. On the other hand, if your products are flying off the racks you can consider buying your items in massive bulk shipments and you might even want to consider adding some fresher food to the mix.
Suppliers will also offer a range of different benefits. Your local bulk supply store, such as Costco, will offer a large amount of different products for a fair price. You also won’t have to worry as much about expiration dates when you purchase smaller quantities of these items. On the other hand, a bulk vending supplier will be able to save you even more money, but it is very possible that you some of your items might pass their expiration date while they are still sitting in storage. Thus, make sure that you are only buying as many products as you are going to sell, but also be constantly watching for better deals and offers from various suppliers.