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This will be a revealing article that I will be writing about. My vending business started in the year of 2012 when I brought some money from the Philippines. The money was from the sale of my successfull ink and toner refilling services in the Philippines with 12 brick and mortar shops. I sold it because I already foresaw what will be happening, I was ranked in Google way back and I observed that every year there are shops copying me, so I took a step ahead.
I was with limited capital resources to begin with and started out with 20 machines on about 7 or 8 locations. I was concurrently running a Grocery Store which I bought for $55,000 in Kitsilano Alma corner store in which I later resold it at $30,000, I was tricked into buying the grocery store from the previous owners and they are renting me a small stall inside the grocery store for $1,000 per month and 3 months advance downpayment doing the ink and toner refilling prior to purchasing the grocery business. They were running it very well and their expertise is plants and flowers.
When i got the store I tried to run everything at the same time : refilling ink and toner, flowers, costco items, fixing laptops and boy I was burned out and drained of energy and the rent increased to $3,000 per month which I cannot afford and just barely netting around $800 to $1,000 per month with 9am to 6pm everyday luckily there was a buyer but I sold it at a loss.
So what I did was I was doing the vending business 2X a week because when I visit 3 or 4 locations im completely drained of energy and have to run back to the grocery store and do some shopping and entertain customers. The profit margins in the grocery store is like $1 per pack of cigarette and sometimes I was too busy and sold to police baits posing as people pretending to be 19 years old which I was caught unaware and forgot to ask for ID before selling, its good that I got out of that business.
So how did I loose locations
I was a complete newbie in the vending businss way back and was trying to please everyone when I visited the locations and I was driving a Nissan Sentra, I got lot of comments on the car that it can load so much stuff and the space is very small and lots of people suggesting to buy a used cargo van. The previous owner told me that you can drive any vehicle you want and just do a good job in refilling the locations.
that I lost was in richmond, bc the manager of the hotel didn`t tell me that the hotel is being bought by a big property developer for a high rise, I serve the location well and everyhing was smooth and had my first break-in on the snack vending machine. Maybe the previous owner who sold me the location didn`t mention this to me, I was naive and as a new comer to Vancouver, BC I wanted to make a living to pay for rent and food, so I was desperate.
Note : this is not due to bad service that I lost this 1st location
that I lost was upon obtaining a large vending route again by another vendor was when I was servicing a location in a government call center near granville island, after 2 years for servicing it, the manager just happened to call me and say to remove the machines out of the building. At that time I only have a handful of locations and had a part time job at a gasoline station since I was fired at Staples for fixing laptops at my grocery strore prior to being sold. I felt bad, the people inside the call center had rapport with me, it was just the facilities manager who maybe doesn`t like the way I conduct the business wanted me out. I told her that I`m going to schedule it for removal by next week and every other day she calls me to have it removed.
Note : There might be some miscommunication and I believe that I didn`t try my best to have a good relationship with the manager.
that I lost was when I had a vending machine at an engineering company at virtual way, they requested me to put some certain snacks they like and which I did, the facilities manager was from the philppines and after running it for a couple of years there was a new facilities manager who is trying to stir the pot and trying to make some changes, she talked to me and say that they needed a reader on the machine. That was nearing the holidays in december as far as I remember, so in january I changed to into a brand new combo vending machine which cost me around $5,000 and had to arrange leasing company with installments for 36 months. Whenever I visit the location there are people in the company mentioning that the machine is not designed properly and the way the snacks is not to their liking and so many hundreds of reasons. The next week I got an email saying that the machine has to be removed in a month`s time. It`s like $5,000 down the toilet owing the leasing company.
Note : Reason is the manager and the people in the company doesn`t like the way I conduct my business with them
that I lost was I newly bought a location from a young vendor who is studying in college and earning some income on the side and sold it to me at a good price of $1,500. This was a car dealership in kingsway burnaby and suddenly the girl in the office just told me that they need the vending machine to be removed and I asked why, and she replied that they don`t need it anymore, so the $1,500 down the toilet again.
Note : People in the location doesn`t have any wavelength with me
that I lost was a math learning school in richmond westminster, I got this location from a vendor and there are 2 machines inside the building and I only have to go there on certain hours because they don`t want a vendor to disturb the kids in the afternoon when they are going to attend some kumon classes. The incident which happened was when the owner asked for some change , I just told her that im very tired and will come back tomorrow for some change loonies as float, when I was driving home to steveston on my rented house I was called on phone and had to go to the school immediately and when I met the owner they told me that the location was only 1 month contract and it already expired and I have to remove the machines immediately, I called the seller and was able to get a 50% of my investment so another $2,500 down the toilet.
Note : I didn`t have a gearing on building a relationship with the owner and just ignored their requests on refund slips and float which I sometimes I didn`t leave and also I`m always late of paying $60 monthly commission charges. It was the day that I forgot to pay the $60 and the owner had me disconnected from the location saying contract agreement expired the last time I visited them, they have a new professional vendor
that I lost was a education college I believe in downtown that have to move locations and they don`t need any machine on the new building because there was another vendor.
that I lost was a nursing school in richmond that I lost because the seller which was a filipino countryman didn`t tell me the problem on the coffee to bean machine that the machine is causing some intermittent problems and the staff at the nursing college keeps on calling me to fix it that I eventually pulled it out and loss around $2,500 because the filipino countryman was not honest and didn`t help me fix the coffee machine, it happens that the guy is a vending locator too.
Recently I sold a hotel vending location to him via Craigslist and he cloaked his name to an alias in craigslist and I was hesitating to sell it because it got it for $20,000 but he only came up with $17,000. I was surpirsed when he showed up at the hotel and sensed why he cloaked his name at Craigslist inquiry, so i showed him the 6 machines and everything is working and everything was transacted smoothly and then after a couple of days he accused me of selling lemons, I immediately called my technician to fix it but he had to delay it to a point that I received a letter from a lawyer to sue me and have to pay him back 17,000$, this is an ongoing case. Right now all 5 machines are perfectly working and the 6th machine compressor will be replaced by my technician and I even offered the buyer 1 month opportunity loss of profit of $150. My deceased father is a lawyer back in the Philippines and I know how to play the rules, I believe im innocent and these things are electronics, anything can happen anytime.
that I lost was when I had a machine in downtown in a filming school, the manager was moving and renovating and was trying to have a single vendor from numerous vendors in the school, of course they will opt me out since im just starting out and they choose a big vendor which is no surprise.
that I lost was a larger manufacturing company in Kebet Way Port Coquitlam in which my wife invested her hard earned savings of $10,000 on 2 vending machines. When we increased the prices from $1 to $1.25 on the chips and from $1 to $1.25 on the pop, we got a call on the production manager and say to change back the prices which we did, after a week our snack vending machine was destroyed and coin mech stolen and all cash box gone. The next week the office people on top of the lunch room called us that they need to renovate the lunch room and eventually the machines were placed outside the lunchroom.
We actually had rapport with the customers in the location and visited this every week and maintained the machines. We did a surprise visit to the lunch room and found out that there is a new vendor installing the micro market. The office people should have informed us that they wanted options sicne we are in talking terms with us. The office staff in this location is very tricky and cannot be trusted on how they move their weight around people. Sometimes i wish they can feel what it is like to loose $10,000 dollars
lost was the biggest so far I have invested around $10,000 out of my own pocket and they have 3 vending machines in an animation studio in west broadway vancouver, I cherished this location and whenever there was problem I go there as soon as I can since my locations mostly are in vancouver. I had talking relations with the facilities manager and tried to please everyone. Finally after serving 2 years I got a call to have the machines removed in a week`s time because they decided to go with a single vendor and choose the coffee guy to put his machines in their premises.
lost was in downtown in a big financial institute in burrard, the facilities manager met me upon turning over the business to me and asked me that I should change the machine because people are banging it when getting products, I was running it for 2 years and I told her that now I have the money to change the machine into a new one. She agreed to have it replaced to a new one but the problem was the new machines which was a Alpine VT 3000 was not functioning properly and people in the office are constantly complaining on getting free items so the manager decided to have it removed and told me that they have a new national assigned vendor in place which is decided by the head office.
12th and 13th locations
were lost was in downtown too, there are 2 financial institutes that I was servicing they gotten out of business so I have to move out the machines.
that was lost was not owned by me but my sister in law in which she invested some money in the vending business and lost it in a location in richmond in the healthcare field. After servicing it for a month they just changed vendors
in richmond was also in the healthcare industry, the manager told me to move the machines because they are renovating the spot. I found out that she called another vendor and soon the new vendor left the location too because the manager wanted state of the art machines but the location cannot support it. She finally called me back to put my machines back but I told her that I had my previous machines moved somewhere else and recommended her another vendor which they kept until now as I know of.
After all of this things happening to me , during that time I have a 1992 Ford E250 Van and had so many problems too with it and I was repeatedly told my wife maybe its a bad idea to come to Vancouver, BC Canada and maybe its time to move on again, probably pack our bags and head back to Philippines.
I was trying the make things working out during that crises, which financially drained me and I really wanted to go back home to philippines.
In spite of all these happening to me I got replacement locaitons for the ones that lost. Mostly it was government locations that was the replacements and I found the locations myself and the earnings are quadrupled compared to the locations that was lost.
My First Couple Of Years
I also have around 8 locations that are under performing and had machines removed and moved somewhere else maybe i should have not been moving things around since locations are hard to come by and should have just stick with them since they are still generating revenue but very small and negligible.
So right now I believe it is just karma. Presently my locations are warehouses, factories, transportation logistics, apartments, schools, hotels ,community centers and public locations which are exponentially performing a lot lot more, don`t get me wrong. I still have lots of offices locations in downtown but they are big companies that don`t mind too much on minding my vending machines and too busy with their thing and leave Francis Vending to do his job, mostly these are professional west end office locations in Kitsilano where I had my ALMA Store before.
Basically for Hotels, Schools, Public places they are mostly concerned with commissions and you don`t have to actually have rapport with people, they will even remind you the payment check if you are late.
Be very careful when entering into the vending locations if you are dealing with people in the office locations, try not to talk, stare, mind your own business and try to do the job as quickly as possible and offer commissions even they don`t ask for it, just to make the company happy. I have talked to lots of vendors and they likewise have the same experience. Just do it!
I`m very grateful that I experienced beforehand before I get more mature on doing this vending machine business and it will make you wiser and be super cautious on human involvement and acquiring new locations.
Don`t be mislead by a smiling beautiful attractive person when servicing your newly acquired location but in reality a underlying cloaked crook inside who can manipulate and change vendors at will, these kind of people will get back bad karma many folds, because I have been in the business for too long since i`m in my late 20`s back home in the Philippines even cheated with bouncing checks, fake cra audits on money extraction in asia its a wild wild west especially in the Philippines. That`s why the best profession in Philippines is a lawyer because they are connected with prosecutors, legislators and policeman which i think my Dad was untouchable in some sort.
In some cases people rob you on the streets and stab you while your taking public transportation by druggies and crackheads. Everyday in Philippine news in the city where i live there are thousands of crimes happening everyday. Here in Vancouver, BC im just learning the ways, but everything is very subtle.
For the meantime, im very happy with my locations and the results are very good and most of them are in vancouver, downtown and the eastside vancouver presently i have around under 150 machines to maintain so far everyone is happy.
After all it is business and business can be risky business or good business.
In case if I loose a location I already have stand by machines and there are tons of places that need vending machines, did I mention that this is a simple business after all. For the meantime it seems that everything is in place.