Vending can be a lucrative side job for the right person. However, there are some VERY IMPORTANT RULES you must follow to make a profit from vending.
1. DO NOT buy machines from direct from the company. The machines are way over priced and you will never reach a point of return on investment.
2. DO NOT hire locators. They are way over priced and don’t care about you. They will not pick a location based on its profitablity.
3. Stick with candy machines. Drink machines are very hard to place, unless you know the owner well. Most businesses that are a good location for drink machines use a major company that has a nice, new, expensive looking machine to offer them. You can pick a candy machine up and throw it in your trunk when it needs to be placed or serviced. With a drink machine, you will need some friends, a truck, and a little bit of luck to move it safely.
4. You will be tempted to not follow these rules, and you will pay for it.
Other important things you need to know about vending:
1. Stickers that advertise the name of the candy or product are really hard to find. I don’t know why. The best thing I ever found was a cd rom you could buy off ebay. Still, many of the stickers on it needed to be tweeked. The disc was set up to where you couldn’t save your work, and with the software that comes on basic computers, tweeking the stickers was interesting to say the least.
2. Therefore, based on point number 1, another good side job might be selling vending machine stickers and labels.
3. Register the name of your business.
4. Make a business card.
5 Join a charity organization. This is the way to get your machine into a business. My personal favorite is National Children’s Cancer Society, but there are many other options. The different charities work in different ways, and your ability to contribute also depends on the type of machine you have. For a monthly fee, around 1.50 per sticker with the NCCS, you rent a sticker to place on your machine that says you are supporting their organization. You also receive a letter to give owners who are allowing you to place a machine at their business. Some machines have a coin slot at the top where customers can donate directly to the charity, and you simply mail the donated money to the charity on a regular basis.
6. Don’t screw over the charity. It is good to help others while you help yourself.
7. Buy machines and parts from sites such as ebay and craigslist. Shoot for paying twenty five dollars per machine. Don’t pay more than 100 bucks. There are different types of machines. My favorite are Vendstar 3000’s. They are plastic, which makes them much more lightweight than the metal machines. The Vendstars generally have three canisters. If you need to change out one type of candy, you just swap out the canister in the store. The other parts of the machine are just as easy to swap out. You probably will not be able to buy replacement parts directly from the company if you don’t buy the machines from them. This shouldn’t be a problem, since many people sell parts and machines on craigslist and ebay.
8. There are a variety of places you can place a machine. Machine revenue can go up and down depending on the seasons and the popularity of the machines location.
The best places I know of to locate machines:
1. Check cashing places. 2. Waiting rooms in Automotive places. 3. Hair cut places. 4. Bars.
Other places you can put machines:
Nail Salons Small Businesses Restaurants Apartment Locator Services Apartment Leasing Offices Video Game Stores Daycares Defensive Driving Schools Driving Schools Office Buildings
8. Peanut M & M ‘s are the Thin Mint of the vending machine business. In other words, they will be your best seller.
9. Have an account at a bank that will count your quarters for free.
10. Join a store like Costco or Sam’s Club so you can buy candy in bulk.
11. Place labels with your company name and phone number on your machine.
12. Give each location a number. Number bags with the location numbers. Put the quarters from each location in the bag that matches each number, so you can see how well each location is doing. Locations should maintain the same number for the lifetime of your organization. If you stop using a location, just don’t use that number anymore.
Create a brochure