Vending Machine Business

Vending offers entrepreneurs a unique business model that can be highly profitable, smooth running and recession proof, at least if they set themselves up right from the beginning. Here are some vending machine business tips for getting started, managing and marketing a company in this exciting industry.

Find a Mentor

Try to get a mentor who already has a successful vending business. If they are working a slightly different market or niche from yours they will often be happy to help a newcomer get started right rather than seeing them fail and do damage to the local industry by disappointing clients or customers. Riding along and observing an experienced vendor in action will give you a great idea of what the daily life of a vending machine business operator entails.

Work with your Competitors

Another tip is to forge relationships with other vending machine business operators as soon as possible. Look into trading accounts with them if possible so that each of you can keep your respective routes tight to save on time and fuel.

Work from Home

Save on startup and operating costs by starting a vending machine business from home. Running a vending business from a residential home should be no problem as you won’t have large numbers of customers or employees visiting your office. Check with local authorities though to make sure that zoning regulations for your street allow you to run a home business there.

Start out Part-Time

Start a vending machine business on a part-time basis before you quit your day job and go at it full time. You should have no problem running a small business like this around your working hours and it will give you a chance to see how it is working out before you take the plunge and go full time.

Stick with Proven Concepts that Work

Don’t go for new vending concepts right away as there is a good chance that they don’t work out well. It is safer to start off sticking with the traditional vending favorites such as candy, snacks and drinks until you build up a sizable business and can afford to start taking risks.

Get the Client Before the Machine

This tip can save you a lot of headaches. Many vending business operators rush out and buy a lot of machinery and then look for locations that are suitable. A much better approach is to inform yourself about a variety a vending machine options and then to go out a find locations. Once you sign up a location you can then proceed to purchase machinery that is suited exactly to the needs of that client.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Scams are common in the vending industry and you are better to avoid any systems or schemes that just sound too good to be true.

Don’t get suckered into deals by the machine manufacturers or distributors. They often push new business owners into deals in which they end up buying far more machines than they need. There is a great second hand market for vending machines and if you look around on eBay or elsewhere you can usually find used machines that are almost new for less than half the price of new ones.

Do your Due Diligence

Do your due diligence. If you buy a vending route then you should make sure that the locations that you are inheriting are profitable. Do your research and seek proof to back up all of the seller’s claims.

Be Organized

Start your business off right by implementing systems that can help you to stay organized and increase productivity. Look into a software package like Vend-Trak that is designed specifically for vending machine businesses.

Maximize Income from Available Machine Space

The selection of products in each vending machine will go a long way towards determining your profitability. Customers at each location vary enormously in their tastes and buying decisions.

When you start off you can ask your suppliers for ideas on product variety and volume. But you should immediately start keeping data for each machine about what is selling and what isn’t. This way you can optimize sales and give your customers what they want.

Aim to re-supply your machines when they are about half full so that you don’t run out of certain items and disappoint customers.

Build a Brand

One of the more unusual vending machine business tips that few operators pay attention to is brand development. Too many vendors don’t put any effort into this and therefore lose out on a lot of opportunity. Get a logo design so that you can brand your vehicles, machines and even uniforms.

Branding will help you to present a professional image and get your company name out there in public view. Over time, the high standards that your brand represents will allow you to grow a reputation that will allow you to more easily win new locations.

Look for Locations that Already Have Machines

Many vendors make the mistake of looking for locations that don’t currently have vending machines on site. The problem here is that these opportunities are mostly unprofitable and have probably been passed over by other operators.

The tip here is to go after busy sites that already have vending machines. Many locations will be dissatisfied with the service that they are currently getting from their vending operator and they may consider changing if you have something better to offer.

Add Machines to your Existing Locations

After you have taken the time to build relationships with the ‘decision makers’ and have proven that you offer great machines and service why not try to up-sell them with additional options. Try to think of something that compliments your existing setup, put your proposal forward and you may see your revenue from that site double over night.