How To Start A Vending Machine Business
If you are a beginner to the vending industry, it is worth reading this guide to get a clear picture of what it takes to run and start a vending machine business.
Whether you are looking for a second income stream or a full time living, a vending business, according to Forbes, is one of the easiest businesses to start.
The best part about a vending machine business is waking up a few times a week to collect cash from your machines; What more can you ask for?
In the vending business there are 3 key aspects to success:
Cash- Is arguably easy to start a vending business, the only down side is you need cash in hand. How much money you have and how much you put into the business will determinate how much you make out of it.
Your capital will also determine the type of vending machines you can afford (used vending machines vs. new vending machines, candy vending machines vs. big snack machines)
If you have enough capital you can buy an already established vending machine business and/or a franchise, and save yourself the time and problems that come from starting a business from scratch.
Work- In this business where you rely mostly on yourself, you must put in the work in order to get results. The harder you work the more results you will see.
Many successful vending entrepreneurs are able to build vending machine companies from scratch to multimillion dollar companies in a matter of years, and this success, all due to the amount of hard work they put into their business.
Location- If work is king, location is queen. Location is your main (and only) income source in the vending business. A strong location is what adds value to your business and allows your company to grow.
Starting A Vending Machine Business In 5 Steps
Step 1: Research and Planning Stage
Whether you have been thinking about starting a vending business for years or 20 minutes ago, take your time to research if the business is right for you.
Research the industry, get familiar with vending terms as well as the different types of vending machines.
Make a strong estimate of the cost of your first machine along with the cost of the supplies (hence, snacks, beverages, candy, etc)
It is also worth writing a vending machine business plan.
Step 2: Finding a location
Investigate possible locations for your machine and keep in mind your target market. Remember that not all types of snacks will sell on all locations (hence, selling snacks on the beach instead of selling beverages is a bad idea).
Locations should also (but not always) stay within a certain range. As you expand the business some locations may become less profitable simply because they are too far away from your other machines. When looking for locations keep in mind that gas and transportation are business expenses.
When looking for locations is worth spending at least a couple of hours just seen the amount of foot traffic the potential location gets, this way you have a strong idea of whether or not people will buy from your vending machine.
Make a list of possible locations and try to get in contact with the owner.
In a meeting, or simply by phone, explain to him/her what your company is about and how you would like to place one of your machines in his property. If you both reach an agreement is best to both sign some form of legal paper or contract for security.
Step 3: Buy your first machine(s)
Once you have secured a location buy your vending machine, if possible have it delivered directly to the agreed location.
If you buy a used vending machine through an internet site, is wise to physically see it and/or agree on a return policy.
Step 4: Refill and manage the machine
Depending on the amount of traffic your location gets you may have to refill your machine monthly or weekly. Take your time to see exactly how long it takes before your machine’s capacity goes down to about 1/3, once you have this information you can schedule exactly when to refill your machine.
Step 5: Repeat
This is the basics to running a vending machine business. If your location is successfully bringing in profit, rinse and repeat this process with more vending machines.
Again this is only the basics. There are other complications and responsibilities in the vending business. If your business grows the way you want to, you will need to deal with serving multiple machines on a schedule, keeping track of all your vending machine keys and many other responsibilities.
Even if you have the money to start with multiple machines, buy one at a time. Not finding a location for a vending machine that you already purchased can hurt your initial capital.