How To Open A Vending Machine Business
The Craze With Vending Machines
There is a reason why the popularity of vending machines has been on an upward trend.
According to statistics released by Brandongaille.com on the viability of vending machines, the following are some key points to take note of.
The average annual sales realized from vending machines in the US is $7 billion. Collectively, the vending machine and snacks industry generate upwards of $64 million in annual profits. That already suggests that the most common food articles to go for are snacks.
On the same breath, about 56 percent of total sales realized from these machines were on cold drinks such as water, soft drinks and juices. That makes a combination of cold drinks and snacks the real deal for anyone thinking of opening a vending machine business. Even better, you are likely to earn up to 300 percent more if insist on healthier snacks and drinks.
Last but not least, there are up to 4.6 million spread across the US.
Looking at the above facts, one thing is undeniably true; opening a vending machine business is one of the most economically-viable decisions you will ever make. But how do you get started? This post shall paint a clearer picture on that.
How To Open A Vending Machine Business
1. Conduct a Market Research
The first step even before thinking of starting a vending machine business is to conduct a comprehensive market research in order to establish the feasibility of the business. First and foremost, you will need to physically walk around the location and check on the presence of vending machines and how distributed they are.
While you are at it, try to talk to businesspeople in your area and ask them about the viability of this kind of business. Especially target businesses in locations around schools and offices.
2. Choose a Suitable Spot for Your Machine
Choosing a suitable location is an indispensable requirement when thinking of opening a vending machine business. Apart from going with a place that is most likely to attract more clients, you also want a location that is free from threats of theft and vandalism.
Therefore, you will want to research on the crime statistics of an area and generally opt for areas with minimal incidences of vandalism or theft. If in doubt, look out for open areas that are visible, frequently patrolled or those in places with sufficient surveillance cameras.
Another thing to consider when choosing an area is the contract requirements.
Remember that property owners will charge you some commission for having the vending machine installed within their premises. The fee will be even higher if your machine uses electricity from such premises. Usually, you would need to negotiate a certain percentage of the gross sales, perhaps between 10 and 20 depending on your agreement. This is where the services of your lawyer may come in handy.
3. Choose the Right Vending Machine
When it comes to choosing the right vending machines, there are lots of options to experiment with.
First and foremost, you might need to assess the viability of leasing a vending machine against buying one. However, experts recommend buying used machines as you are likely to take advantage of the often highlydiscounted rates.
eBay, Craigslist and UsedVending are some amazing sites where you can get great bargains on used vending machines.
As opposed to new machines that come with a warranty period running into years, used vending machines have warranties of up to 3 months. Some may not even have these warranties.
That is a little drawback to buying used vending machines, but you can make up for it by hiring a repair technician to ensure the machine you buy is in peak condition.
When choosing the right machine, you should also carefully study the machine and understand how it works.
Standard machines that are stocked with soda, junk food or candy are still popular.
However, you might want to try healthy vending machines that dispense fresh and healthy snacks and drinks.
As we already mentioned, healthy dieting is the new rave. Also, insist on a machine that come with slots for credit and debit cards, considering many people nowadays do not carry liquid cash.
4. Choose the Right Products
Like any other business, you can only realize profits if you choose the most popular products.
First, you need to analyze the tastes and preferences of the consumers in your location, so as to be sure you end up with products that match their requirements.
Of course, you are not likely to cater to every individual, but you can easily establish the products that resonate well with a majority of the population.
As we have already mentioned, the average consumer is now more interested in nutritional value than anything else. You may also choose brands that are more popular with your consumers. Last but not least, factor in the cost of acquiring such foods against the expected profits.
5. Maintenance Needs
When all is said and done, your vending machines will still need regular servicing to ensure it stays in proper working condition. First and foremost, you should make regular visits to the machine to replenish all depleted supplies.
Next, keep the machine cleaned and schedule regular repairs with a professional repair technician. You may need to include a phone number on the machine that your customers can call in case they need to make inquiries, complaints or claims.
Starting a vending machine business is not very different from starting any other business.
Choosing an ideal location for your machine is of paramount importance. Once you have the location, your next concerns include delivering quality customer services and adopting measures that will ensure the continuity of your business.