Vending Machine Business Pros & Cons
I sincerely wish that this website will be a rich resource for anyone on understanding the journey of running a vending business.
It is A Simple Business After All
It is a very simple and it just take one to fill up the vending machines in 6 to 8 hours per day.
You have to prepare a good vending machine business plan.
And the good part is that you have cash everyday. There are no accounts receivable or waiting for paycheck, this a cash based business.
This can be done by a single person who can run this business in its entirety.
It is a matter of grouping all locations in an area. For Example i arrange my schedule as follows :
- Monday = Downtown Vancouver
- Tuesday = East Side Vancouver
- Wednesday = Burnaby
- Thursday = Surrey
- Friday = Richmond
- Saturday = East Side and West Side Vancouver
i personally operate around 100-120 machines, and you might wonder how i can do it by myself?
i started with a few locations back in 2012 and its just a matter of organizing your vending machine route driving schedule some locations need to be filled 1 month, most twice a month, some once a week and some extremely good locations needed to be serviced twice a week!
No Age Restrictions and No Skills Involved
There is no age discrimination on this kind of simple business,
you do not need to have any skills in customer service, but of course you have to always be in a good mood because in most cases, there are people or passerby asking for freebies. I would recommend to give some since you’ll have happy customers for long term.
This Starting your own vending business can be done with :
- Semi Retired
- High School Graduates
- University Students
How Do I Manage My Time?
I manage my own time and make your own schedule as long as the machines are well stocked with snacks. According to my experience the best times to go are as follows below :
- Early to avoid rush hour
- After 10am when everyone is already i their cubicles
- Lunch time when everyone is eating
- Between 1 to 2 pm before everyone is itching to get home
Instead of running a mom and pop grocery store in which i stayed from 9am to 9pm and earning just a minimum salary since most of the income gets paid to the landlord, my machines do the work for me while im doing other things or other work.
I have locations in hotels and establishments that have night shifts e.g. production facilities, grain terminals, night school, it continually earns even when im sleeping.
Some of my machine is installed with devices, and always alerts and reminds me when the machine is 50% empty via email.
Easy to Maintain
Machines are very easy to maintain even thou they are more than 10 years old, i have a lot of machines that are 15 years old and they don’t cause any problems. Most of the problems that i encounter is very simple to repair and caused by my negligence while servicing the machine.
Most of the problems are :
- Loose screws when pushing and pulling the trays
- Coin mechanism inside machine
- Loose Wiring accidentally get disconnected while servicing the machine
Here is a very helpful link on How To Basic Repairs which anyone can do it.
How to fix a leaking soda pop vending machine
How to Repair Vending Machine
Worst case scenario is some of my pop machine or combo machine is over 15 years old, sometimes there is a build up of ICY Material and starts leaking and some cases need to have the compressor changed, it is around $500 to $600 to have it replaced by a vending machine technician. The compressor itself costs around $350 to $450.
Are My Accounts Happy ?
Here in Vancouver, BC, 70% of the accounts doesnt have any written contracts since if you don’t provide a good service of restocking, procurement supplies manager would opt for another vendor.
Most of the customers are happy as long as you service them regularly and most of all if you can provide a certain % commission, 5% commission from profit is very common here in vancouver, bc.
I myself as mentioned before handles around 100+ machines in the lower mainland here in vancouver, bc. i had some very rare occasions which is still very vivid in my memory where the establishment had only about 1 to 2 weeks to move my machines out of their premises. the reasons for this is unknown since i always perform my duties as a vendor, i personally believe that you must always have a rapport with everyone who uses your machine. You absolutely and should never have any ill or cranky emotions whenever you are servicing your locations.
When i was starting out in vending i used a family sedan and gravitated into a professional commercial van which i’m very happy with its performance.
I had a tip before on how to keep the account very happy, is to sometimes clean the premises or throw away some cardboards for recycle and most instances is to give out freebies and always have a great smile even thou you have a bad day from family or finances or personal problems.
I have to always have to set aside all problems and have a happy disposition to my customers.
I’m always under the mercy of the location manager or people who simply doesn’t like the way you look or the way how you approach the business and whoever you are dealing with. It would be such a heartache if you are removed without any valid reason if you are just starting out because you will be loosing the following :
- Moving expense = normally you have to pay around $100 to $150 moving per machine
- Leasing expense = monthly payments on machine
- Time in emptying products = loss of time in which you can service other machines
- Investment loss in the location = if you paid $5,000 or even $10,000 for the account.location and you are removed without any reason this will be a disastrous loss if you loaned the money or lifetime savings gone to the drain, but this is a very rare case scenario. Just make sure that the manager or contact person have rapport with you before you jump into new accounts, or else you get burned
I heard that when you are in sales you have to have that personality that attracts people and customers and be very pleasing and at the same time a tad bit persuasive.
Owning my vending business is a very viable income for me in supporting my small family here in Vancouver especially when everything is sky high and have some form of freedom since i manage my own time.