My Vending Work Van Vandalized

I remember when i was doing my vending business during the early days, i make sure that all my vending keys and collections for the day is secured when i get home.

It was a standard procedure for me and i even have a small bag that contains all the vending keys. I was very careful during the early days and even have the cash locked up inside the van when going from one place to another.

I have a security safe inside my van and its is very hard to break in.

As time goes by and very confident in my business thinking that here in Canada everything is very safe and secure. I just have to lock the van each time to hop on to another location and it was very worry free for me.

I soon upgraded my van to a slightly new model so that it will not keep on breaking down and problems with downtime on my visits.

I woke up on a day getting ready for work sometime on the second week of December were i was planning to leave Vancouver, BC for a short break.

My driver’s side glass window was smashed and all my vending keys, collections for a couple of days, chocolates, old English cookies, Dan d pak peanuts boxes were also gone missing! Just because i was too complacent not securing my things and leave everything in my work van.

This happened just beside the street were i usually park at my townhouse. Leaving all things inside my van has been going on forever and was thinking that my place is secure but it is definitely not!

Before i went for a break in the Philippines i asked around people here in Vancouver, BC what are their personal experiences on car break ins.

  • USB phone connector in jack
  • sweater
  • empty bottles and plastic for recycle
  • handbag
  • shoulder bag
  • backpack
  • wallet
  • laptop
  • power bank
  • gift wrapped item
  • couple of loonies on car dash

I was very astounded and surprised that i made a list of points that will make you think twice when leaving your car.

I was not able to update my blog on the vending business for quite a while. The reason behind this is that i was in panic mode. It is the time that i needed to do the following things before i leave for a short break.

I wanted to make a short visit to Philippines since it is were i grew up and i somehow miss my buddies and family. You cannot go wrong with the people that you grew up with you, it is 100% transparent even thou there are some disagreements. Friends and family without any pretensions and real were my heart is most comfortable.

My time is very cramped because i have to wait for Ford dealer to have it arrived for a special order on my driver side glass since my van is still not mainstream.

How many locks shall i destroy to replace the locks on the vending machine?

The time that destroying the lock on the vending machines takes about it least 15 to 20 minutes which includes the replacement of a new lock.  There are stubborn locks that took me up to close an hour to destroy.

Imagine instead of visiting 10 locations, i was doing only 5 to 6 and not getting collections to pay my bills because of downtime.  A meager $60 to $100 collection per collection slows down.

There are some vending machines that i have installed a high security lock and i have to use up to 2-3 drill bits just to successfully destroy a lock. What i did was not to service the vending machines with high security locks and ordered duplicates from the manufacturer and have to wait for a week to arrive.

In case, you wanted to change your regular locks to this high tech high security lock then here is the company information.

Van lock Vanamatic High Security Locks is by far the best locks for your vending machine.

I have set aside everything that i have been doing regularly. I set aside my part-time online training course that i was extremely engrossed and got everything out of momentum.

I have stopped all other things and have to work 7 days a week rain or shine just to destroy locks and change them. Some locations that have high security access cards were also stolen and i cannot go to those locations and service my machines. I have to choose a day were the manager is around for me to get a spare key again.

In short my vending machine business is in turmoil. There are locations that i just did not service anymore before i left Philippines for a break.

Sometimes maybe this is a blessing is disguise that vending operators must be also on the lookout and very cautious. I had some vending professional which i regularly talked too. And he told me his work van was robbed 3 times. Twice in front of his townhouse and another time in the parking lot of Costco.

I strongly suggest doing the following precautionary measures after working even thou it takes a little of your time just to make sure that everything pans out and never happens again.

Preventive Measures After Work

  • Leave nothing near the dashboard, not even a couple of loonies
  • Do not leave any form of GPS device
  • Do not leave your USB phone charger inside your vehicle
  • Remove all products from the front till the mid section of your work van
  • Open the glove compartment so that thief will see nothing when flashing lights by
  • Also, opens the middle compartment between the driver and passenger seat if any so that thief can see that nothing is left inside not even a single dime
  • Remove all kinds of shiny objects

For added security measures on your vending work van.

  • Always bring the cash with you per location strapped beside your body no matter how small or big the collections
  • Install 2 Way car alarm with shock sensor
  • Install DVR Car Dash Cam
  • Security Clear 8mil tint for all the side windows ( if robber tried to hit glass again then glass will not break and security tint will hold the glass and will trigger the car alarm )
  • Even if your collection is minuscule, always bring the coins to the bank coin counter after doing your rounds.

There was even a story that a regular customer goes to Costco to buy a whole load of cigarettes for his convenience store and was followed to Safeway for a quick drink of soup. When he returned his work van and window was smashed and all cigarettes missing.

Did i mention earlier that a jacket left inside the car was stolen with glass smashed ?

Living dangerously in the Philippines

I guess we are not living in dangerous times were people are held at gunpoint or stab while waiting for a public ride. This is very common in the Philippines were regular folks get robbed when riding inside a jeepney. The robber pulls out a gun and announcing a hold up and everyone surrenders watches, phones, wallets and bags.

Taxi drivers in the Philippines have a dangerous livelihood too were they are constantly robbed at gunpoint or shot. It’s the powerful and rich that is left untouched by petty crimes.

Needless to say for me there is absolutely more fun in the Philippines than anywhere during the Christmas season.

There are christmas carolling

which i always go every xmas if given the opportunity to my friend’s house which he gives charity to the poor and needy.  Even a small token from your heart can make the world a big difference.

 

 

Vending Machine Business in Philippines is not lucrative. I noticed that even if there are hundreds of driver’s in the waiting room which can readily access a coke glass front vending machine is not doing good.

Lots of vending machines in the Philippines are out of order from people trying to break in. I have yet to see when the vending machine business will take off here in my hometown.

December is good time to have a short trip since business is slow here in Vancouver, BC. Make sure that you go to a place that is warm. I guess anywhere in Asia is a good choice.

I also need to regularly travel to Philippines because it is the only time that i also go for dental repairs and checkups. Medical blood test, CT scans, x rays, stress tests and bone chiropractic adjustments needed to run this vending machine business.

If you know how to maintain your vending machines then the priority is also maintaining yourself in peak shape for performance.

I guess im back on track to my usual musings.

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The Demise of the Orange Vending Machine

 

Why the Orange Vending machines did not take off here in Vancouver, BC.

During the 2015 introduction it made headlines and was an instant hit.

I’ll take you by the hand to see an in depth story from a vending operator’s point of view.

I visited one of my vending machine supplier not too long ago.

My supplier showed me a USED Orange Vending machine that squeezes fresh oranges for a drink ! It sounds awesome !

I was super excited and immediately offered it to one of my big vending account.

It is a good thing that it was not realized or else i will get into hot water and will be loosing $$$ on lease payments.

Would be wiser to get another vending machine or anything that appreciates.

Imagine getting your Vitamin C every day from your workplace.

I was very excited on the idea and i was pondering in my mind why the Orange vending machines are being sold for a hefty discount ?

I took some pictures of the Orange vending machine and went to the website and the company is located in Italy where the machines are made.

Here is the link on the Oran fresh Orange vending machine company. It is a great machine in concept, design and operation wherein it squeezes around 3 to 4 fresh oranges into a cup.

The machines are formerly installed in university and they are pulled out, the supplier told me that the university wanted a hefty commission which the owner of the Oran fresh didn’t agree and he pulled it out.

I had my mind racing with a lot of ???

I guess this story needs to be analyzed in depth.

I have a question for you : Why would a prestigious university think of $$$ instead of concerns for the students. It is after all a prestigious university. You can read between the lines.

These machines were also installed in Langara College and even the top honcho was drinking from the orange vending machine. Here is a news clip that was big during 2015. I noticed that the orange vending machine was not to be found in Langara College anymore.

I again research and typed the keywords : Problems on Orange vending machine.

Here are some links that is worth reading on the existing orange vending machine operations.

Blogger in China noticed that the orange juice was dark and not the usual color.

Reddit forum says :

  • Oranges that are about to expire goes into the orange vending machines
  • Fruit flies on some machines
  • Cockroach on machines that are located in tropical countries

Again the Orange machines are not mainstream here in Vancouver, BC and if there is an electronic part that gets broken or a mechanical part gone bad then you have to wait for ages get to order one from the supplier in Europe.

There is not enough technical support on this Orange vending machine.

I noticed also that there are also a lot of made in china orange machines for sale in alibaba, i guess this is a knockoff of the original orange vending machine from Italy. The knockoff is around $4,000 USD while the original Oran fresh made in Italy was pegged at $12,000.

It is not a joke if you are serving fresh products to your discerning customers here in Vancouver, BC. I will not assume any responsibility on such unfortunate incidents.

In business, it is not always the monetary concerns in most cases. It will do more detrimental than benefit i would say if you blindly go ahead with such an ambitious project.

In order to successfully run this Orange vending machine business, the operator must be at the location every day and inspect the produce and clean the machine. Economically this is not feasible and not applicable here in Vancouver, BC since the labor is astronomically high.

Perhaps in Asia or other parts of Europe where labor is more inexpensive, the business model will work.

If i was still living in Asia i will not hesitate in ordering the knockoff Orange vending machines made in china since the supplier’s proximity is quite near and if you will be needing parts it is also inexpensive and manageable. Deployment to all the shopping malls will not have second thoughts with me anymore. Since it is just statistics, ratio and proportion that enormous population of people will buy fresh orange from vending machines.

If there are lots of roaches in tropical countries trying to get in the machine then just work it out with the supplier since everything is cheap to retrofit.

You see this business model will work in Asia but not here in Vancouver, BC. Small fine details of problems here in Vancouver, BC will leave you out of business in no time !

Personally when i inspected the Orange vending machine on the moving parts, i will never buy from the machine since i do not know how it is maintained and you can easily get food poisoning in the worst case scenario.

I guess the best bet is for large cafeteria operations where there are at least a couple of full time personnel that will deploy an Orange vending machine on the side as an extra income earner.

The cleaning and inspection of the fresh oranges will be a morning routine once the cafeteria opens shop.

Let me ask you a question :

Are you willing to clean the orange vending machine everyday on location even if just sold around 10 cups a day ?

Is $4.5 x 10 cups = $45 less cost of goods of oranges, gasoline and time worth it ? Profit is about $2 per cup.

Are you ready to loose $12,000 on an Orange Vending Machine ?

I’m not in a way trying to discourage people getting into the orange vending machine business, this is just my opinion, everyone is different.

The orange vending machine is revolutionary and a great concept !

Maybe the business model is not yet mature and bugs have to be iron out.

 


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Vending Machine Location Contract

Yes that’s right i was able to secure a new vending machine location and need to have it serviced after installing a combo vending machine 2 weeks prior.

New Vending machine location contract needs to be checked after a couple of weeks to make sure that everything goes well with the location and the machine placement.

With new vending machine contract locations it is imperative that you initially ask the staff in charge what is the most popular product that they wanted inside the machine.

Presently doing office locations is not that as lucrative as like 10 years ago. People are evolving into healthy snacks and drinks.

That’s why here in Vancouver, BC it would be best to offer healthy options since it is gearing towards into that direction, or perhaps offer a mix and match varieties.

It is on a Monday when the rain was pouring very hard ! In the vending service industry, you have to service no matter what the weather conditions. Vancouver is a great place to move about and there is no problem when getting around.

The vending operators here are very fortunate because even there is a heavy downpour of rain, you can still continue to do business and the city is very forgiving. There are no floods, no problem with transportation system and everything is very well laid out.

Doing business here in comparison when i was in Makati City was a nightmare. I have to trust my hardy motorcycles to do the job in my deliveries including my team members where they have their own motorcycles which i have to provide. If you are dealing with computer hardware parts in Asia, the best delivery system is via motorcycle.

 

In Makati City, when it rains the roads are almost impassable and unforgiving. You have to cancel all your appointments and flooding of streets are a common occurrence and you have to live with it.

Enjoying the heavy rain downpour in Vancouver, BC while im taking a lunch break.

I thought that towards winter there will a halt in renovations.

Seems that there is no end. I was servicing a location with a vending machine on the 1st floor and the staff mentioned that only the 1st floor will be renovated and there is no need for my machine to be moved.

The duration will take around 3 long months.

I think on my next visit i will try to ask the manager if i can move the machine to the lobby area where there are a lot of guests.

Self employed people always have to be prepared with sudden uneventful situations like this.

So i guess there might be some moving expenses in case it will be moved to the first floor or else there will be no income for 3 months if it stays on the floor that will be renovated.

I also visit a community location where there are some machines which are utilized frequently by kids and parents.

I thought the dreaded out-of-order sign is no more but it seems that this is part of the business.

Coin jams scenarios will never be eliminated especially if most of the consumers are children.

I just cannot picture how the coins gets jammed inside the coin mechanism. It is actually common sense that you have to insert the coin one at a time while observing the price display that registers or acknowledge on the coin and then continue right ? Not everyone is the same i guess.

Problem :How to solve coin jams in the vending machine ?

Solution : Most cases is by flipping the coin flap inside the coin mechanism thereby releasing the accumulated coins.

See the video which i have made to show you exactly how the coin jam was resolved.

I did a lot of work on Monday since it is always a busy start of the week for me. It is always the first day of the week that i need to start the momentum to work.

Statistics of New Canadian Coin On A Cash Collection

I headed down to a coin counter that day since i have some bills to pay. The coins during that day was mostly from a coinco coin mechanism which accepts new loonies. That means all the coins that i have gathered includes a mix of new and old loonies.

I have tried this several times on the coin counter to see if the new loonies is already mainstream.

If the new loonie is mainstream and if a lot of them are around then of course i have to bring my MEI and CON LUX coin mechanisms to Broker House here in Burnaby, BC to have it re calibrated to accept the new loonies or else i will be loosing sales every day.

So what i did was to make a trial sampling computations on the statistics and ratio of cash collection’s on rejected new loonies to the overall collection’s.

Surprisingly the total cash collection’s ratio of finding a new loonies is only 0.41% on every collection’s.

For example : If you have a cash collection’s of various coins of $486 then the new loonie will be only 2 pieces

Computation is $486 cash collection’s 0.41% = 2 pieces

So for instance you have a hypothetical large haul of $1,000 cash collection’s for 2 to 3 days then it will contain only 4 pieces of new loonies.

Conclusion : Following my statistical sampling of cash collection’s and computation, it will still be fine to leave the MEI and CON LUX coin mechanisms at its present state without doing any upgrades.

I went to Brokerhouse located at Burnaby, BC and the technician told me that the cost of re calibration and upgrade to accept the new loonies will cost around $50 a piece.

At the moment in time, i chose not to upgrade my MEI and CON LUX coin mechanisms. I will be observing of the % percentage of new loonies from my total cash collection will increase to at least 2% to 5% then it will be time for me to upgrade and re calibrate all my MEI and CON LUX to comply and accept the NEW Canadian Shiny Loonie.

Sample computation :

This are all hypothetical computations. For $1000 cash coins collection, 2% will be 20 new shiny loonies, 5% will be 50 new shiny loonies.

Earning money from vending machines is tough and every expense needs to be dealt cautiously.

See the video i made on the coin counter for a coin cash collection of $486 which i just got 2 new shiny loonies.

At present im also contemplating to install all my MDB machines equipped with a debit credit card reader.

Most of the populace have debit credit cards and have quite a bit of locations that uses 90% debit credit cards instead of cash. These locations are in the west end where most of the consumers are millennial which makes it better if you just carry a plastic with you than cash.

There will be an article on how i install on existing MDB vending machines with a 3rd party debit credit card device.

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Simple Vending machine solution from rain

Seems like the rainy days are more frequent now here in Vancouver, BC.

There are so a good deal of news that people are getting sick of flu.

Well yesterday i was in a hurry to get some locations done and when i approached my van the driver’s side mirror is partially destroyed and some debris on the ground which i took some photos.

That day was rainy but of course you have to provide outstanding service as a vending machine service provider to your customers. Rain, Shine or snow is no excuse.

damaged driver's side mirror from hit and run incident

damaged driver's side mirror from hit and run incident

This was the same incident that happened a few years back when i was near west Broadway taking a quick sushi lunch treat break. That time the driver’s side mirror was also hit. I called ICBC during that time and they told me that i have to pay deductible which is $300 three hundred dollars and my monthly insurance will go up.

Since i had excellent driving history since i started during my twenties i hesitate to get a claim and instead will just hold on for a used driver’s side mirror at amazon or eBay when there will be plentiful of surplus in the near future when my van will be more mainstream.

Most of the cases that slows me down is not caused by me but people who simply doesn’t care and just do a hit-and-run.

I guess im more fortunate than an actual uneventful misfortune on the actual streets.

driving hurriedly to downtown

I hurriedly left to downtown where the locations are to be served during that day.

To my surprise there were a lot of contractors in the loading bay at one of my locations and i couldn’t park and made a quick turn on the side street in case there are some available parking space.

There were none so i have to wait at the loading bay when one of cars leave for me to park properly. The car that took off didn’t even have a commercial license.

It was another hurdle when i approached the elevator which i have to go to two ( 2 ) locations on the 25th floor and 19th floor respectively. This location is a 2 in 1 location for me.

Was thinking why is this Monday difficult for me ? I still consider myself fortunate since i was quick enough to use the tenants’ elevator instead of the freight since it was out of order and security was kind enough to allow a heavy dolly filled with lots of products to use the tenants’ lift.

I need to go to a location that is about 45 minutes drive from downtown Vancouver, BC on a location that was complaining that the pop machine is leaking. This was the same problem last year when the pop machine literally flooded the floor in the school !

It is a good thing that the people there seems to be very emphatic towards small self employed vending machine service operators.

I made some remedy on the situation last week and there was the icy buildup near the condenser, it was already leaking with water so i immediately apologized and clean the place. The water retainer inside the pop machine is full of water and the ice is melting and thereby some water is coming out from the pop machine.

The video below was taken last week when the soda pop vending machine was leaking.

How to fix a leaking soda pop vending machine ?

I instinctively asked for a small large 2 liter plastic containers from a cleaner which im in very good terms and inserted in the soda pop machine and wanted to see if there are any leaks from my temporary solution.

What i did to temporary stop the soda pop machine leaking was :

  • Installed a 2 liter plastic container
  • Turned 1/4 clockwise on the thermostat to make the soda pop machine cooler

This is the video i took when the soda pop vending machine is not leaking.

I was very happy that the plastic container had a partial water buildup and the surrounding was dry. Anyway the machine is already on the period of Jurassic and i needed to have some help from Coke. I hope they will have it replaced as they did with my other locations.

If they don’t replace it then the above method is a simple yet effective temporary solution. I have some soda pop machine with the same setup on partial icy buildup near the condenser and i simply have a large plastic container to hold in case there are some leak. Whenever i visit the locations with the plastic container, i would just simply use the excess water for plants if there are or just dump it in the toilet.

The rain was pouring very hard and it was also that day that i received a call from a public location that both vending machines are located outdoor.

I have some vending machines that are outdoor and had some bad experience with it.

Simple Vending machine solution from rain

This was happening to the machine when there is rain. When you are depressing the keypad on the machine the numbers doesn’t show up what it is supposed to.

For example if i press 1 the display shows up 2, when i press 6 sometimes it shows 1. This happens when there is rain on the snack machine.

This scenario doesn’t happen if it is a soda pop machine since most of them are built to be used for indoor or outdoor.

I was thinking at that moment that maybe a wooden plank on top of the snack vending machine can be the solution, but what if the person’s fingers are wet from the rain and the long term effect will be water damage would have occurred inside the keypad and would cause some short and thereby affecting the main board. After all the keypad is connected to the main board so it is best to avoid water entering the keypad.

I was servicing the location for the longest time and had some form of rapport with the staff. I was initially asking for a wooden plank that they don’t need to be placed on top of the snack machine to avoid the rain traveling down to the exposed keypad which is very vulnerable.

Thanks to the staff that he suggested instead to put a sticky plastic wrap on the keypad and surrounding electronics that maybe exposed to the rain.

So this is the solution which i cannot explain in words but in video.

It is simple solution and yet effective. At first before the installation, when i was depressing the keypad 2 it displays 1. When i cleaned it dry and applied the plastic wrap on the vending machine keypad and the surrounding areas, seems that the problem is solved.

I did not receive any phone calls for the moment from this location.

There are times that in one day there are several problems that need to be addressed. Some people think that vending machine servicing is very easy and everything is laid out as scheduled.

As a vendor you have to be prepared all the time for such uneventful situations.

Lastly, there was another location that just received a permit to renovate. I was serving this location for a long time but they wanted a major renovation done on the lunch room. It was not renovated for more than 15 years. It was also a small uneventful surprise that the management informed us that it has to be removed and never come back.

The location wanted to change everything including the concept of not accommodating anymore vending machines in their premises after the major renovation that will be taking place on December.

I was also a bit fortunate that im constantly connecting with local locators to have standby locations that need vending machine placements. The machine was immediately transferred to another location that considers chips, chocolate bars and soda pop as essential necessities for temporary pick me up fuel.

On some rare occasions i was able to find locations on my own but of course i already have my hands full on running around filling up products on vending locations. My native tongue is distinctively not English and the way i speak English is not coherent and in tandem with Canadian English.

I don’t even sound with a thick Filipino accent. I have lived in Hong Kong, Singapore and traveled extensively in Asia before and lived in a multicultural city in the Philippines where my neighbors are mixed. Makati City which i mentioned many times on my previous blogs. I’m very comfortable with all kinds of people.

I would like to take up some ESL courses in the future meetup and learn how to make a sales pitch when approaching locations.

Seems that vending machine operators still need help from reputable locators and some vending equipment suppliers where they also provide some locations occasionally.

Everyone in the vending machine business industry have to work hand in hand in order to keep the ball rolling. If im not the one who is running the location then another vendor acquaintance will do it and vice versa.

Most locations just change hands and rotate among the vending machine business operators.

Do you think that there will be a day when you will be coming back to a previous location that you were serving before ?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSmOvYzSeaQ

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A Hundred Years

I was servicing a location in the east side of town. The people there seems to be very familiar with diversity and just talks just about anyone.

There seems to be no superficial looks and none of the populace are judgmental.

It reminds back when I was still living in the Philippines where I grew up in Makati City which is very similar to Downtown Vancouver or I would dare say a mini Hong Kong or Singapore.

All the concrete establishments are there. You can be as cosmopolitan as you can be in a filipino way.

In Makati City where I grew up my neighborhood are all super friendly because everyone knows each other and whenever you go out to hotels it seems that you always end up rubbing elbows with someone who is familiar.

It seems that when you are an outsider, no ones likes to talk to you and normally the people have this snobbish attitude. The expats there in makati city seems to have a hard time rubbing elbows with the neighborhood and they are always at ease with their own groups. Except for expats who opened up their own shops in the makati city neighborhood.

I have acquaintances with a lot of expats coming from Australia and united states who opened brick and mortar businesses in the Philippines.

Most of them who are flexible and have this friendly attitude have become very successful in their business endeavors.

Of course a westerner who ventures to a country that is homogeneous like the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, China or Japan can be turned only in two ways either assimilate or xenophobic.

As I have mentioned before that self-employed people in whatever background that they came from are naturally flexible and willing to assimilate simply because this is survival.

If you always have a blank face when servicing your locations and running your business then your days will be numbered. Customers knows what kind of mood you are projecting.

If you are too stuck up with whatever thoughts then you will get nowhere in business because you will be too judgmental and it is likely that you won’t capture the heart of the masses.

While I was servicing the location in the east side Vancouver, a person came up to me and mentioned : “Wish that you can keep the location for a hundred years”.

I instantly replied to him : “It will take me about 20 years to pay off my mortgage and another 10 years to buy my dream cars and the remaining years to travel and see the world!. Maybe another 10 years for my blogs and websites to rank in Google 1st page” he heh heh

There was call again from a location wanting me to go and service immediately.

Seems that this location is engrossed with water. I drove by and checked the machines and I silently just left the place after servicing the location. The machines are about 3/4 full and there are still water inside the machines. It was an absolute waste of time when I got there.

Customer is always right.

Next time I will just go to that location on my projected schedule while is every month. I know that the machines are still OK but as not to piss off the customer, you just have to go and service it even you know that it is still full. The location seems to be in love with water.

Or maybe the location missed me so much that I need to show my face all the time.

This getting to be a fatal attraction in the making. he he he

On my way home I visited a location which is on schedule and needed to be tended asap since it was already about a month’s time.

This location used to be on a bi weekly ( every two weeks ) visits because it is a factory located in Delta and there are always thirsty and workers that are always wanting snacks.

I was running this location for almost three to four years already, I lost count in my mind.

About one year ago while im servicing this location there was a healthy max combo machine suddenly that appeared with our snack and pop machines. It has all the bells and whistles and comes with a debit credit card reader for convenience.

During that time I was contemplating that I wish that the manager won’t side track and get too eager on depending on this new machine since it caters all forms of payments.

And might opt to do away with our aging machines in favor to the new vendor.

Our snack and pop machines are more than ten years old and the coin mechanism are non mdb which means that you cannot upgrade and adopt a bill validator and credit debit reader since the motherboard is the old school style. Our snack and pop machines are still using windows xp if you are comparing an analogy to the age and capability of the laptop.

Our snack and pop machines cannot run windows 10. In order to do this, the pop machine has to go and probably the snack machine can still be upgraded with a new motherboard which will cost around $1,000+ and debit credit readers and bill validators can work.

The sales on that location even thou without the new flashy combo machine prior to that is only around $120 gross sales every month and this translates to only $60 take home profit after deducting gasoline, cost of goods with my sweat and energy included.

Upgrading the motherboard to mdb complaint is not feasible with the $120 gross sales collection every month, so if the manager decided to keep the new vendor then it is fine with me.

I was surprised today when I was servicing the snack and pop machines that the new flashy combo machine is not in the lunch room anymore.

This comes to mind that maybe the new vendor retreated and found some new locations that are more promising and moving his machine with do him better in sales rather than sticking out with the existing snack and pop vending machines.

Or maybe the management have decided just to keep one vendor ?

I myself did not ask the management on my way out of the location, I do not want to raise eyebrows or changing their minds to getting back the new vendor’s machine.

If you wanted to stay in the vending machine business for a long time then sometimes you have to stick it up. The bottom line is the vendors’ performance and service.

If you go to your location faithfully and service it all the time without any lapses and problems, there is no reason for any right-minded manager to relieve your services.

Did I mention to you that there are also locations that the managers can instantly press the email send button and kick you out without consulting or give a valid reason why you and your machines are to be thrown out ?

Here is the link on what kind of business locations to avoid at all costs on your vending machine business.

You will be loosing money in no time on such kind of locations.

As long as you can perform then you can keep the location for a hundred years! He he lol.

 

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Vending Machine Service Call

When you are doing your vending machine business, most of the time you cannot immediately answer your calls.

Most people do not understand the small business operating procedures.

Customers think that when you call the phone on the vending machine on location and expecting a pick up immediately to solve problems like chips or snacks getting stuck on the machine.

If im a customer I will certainly think that it is necessary that to have a great vending machine business service the vendor should answer the call immediately.

The vending operators here in lower mainland BC is mostly operated by a single person and sometimes if other family members are cooperating then a tango team is the most in running a vending machine business.

As vendors’, it is absolutely important to return calls as soon as you received them on your voicemail.

Since most of the time the vendors’ will be driving around town busy refilling the machines, parking, loading and unloading.

Unnecessary calls are very annoying for the vending operators.

In my vending machine business I was surprised I got call on my voicemail and its explicitly says Fxxk You and hanged up.

In this kind of business it is best just to ignore such calls.

These kinds of calls stems from people who do not understand the vendors’ situation.

The vending machine problem by a large proportion is coin jam.

A Brand new top of the line machine or a used machine has the same coin mechanism inside.

It is normally the coin mechanism that will first have the problems.

It is always the same people who doesn’t know how to use a vending machine properly by inserting coins too fast will result annoying phone calls and coin jams.

I recently came back from a well-deserved vacation and as a regular self-employed person have to quickly service all the locations since in an absence of even just a week will entail a lot of problems.

Mind you as a self-employed person, if you take a week break vendors’ do not get paid.

The vending machine business operator is actually loosing money every day whenever you slack.

A week without sales can mean delayed bill payments or even a rental or mortgage behind payment.

It is true that if you own 100+ of vending machines it is a lot better than owing an extra townhouse and have it rented out, you will be making more money than buying a property for rentals.

Problem is just that your body’s energy and time is limited and whenever you are using it excessively and abusing it, it will eventually wear and tear as you may make an analogy to a commercial vehicle.

But if you are enjoying the vending machine business and think if it as a stress reliever then it is good for your body since at the start of unloading your dolly on the vehicle will start activating and increase your metabolism and bodily movement which is beneficial for your health.

It is only a matter of time that continuous manual work and mindless refilling of vending machines that will lead you to search what kind of small business that you can get into earning passively with minimum amount of work.

Online business is the only answer if you want to have a genuinely passive form of income.

It requires a lot of work too since you need to connect with your prospective customer and a lot of SEO work in able to reach potential clients organically.

As a successful vending machine operator, do you need to continually expand into more locations ?

Yes, in this business all vending machine operator needs to continually accept new locations as they come along, as I have mentioned in many numerous articles that I wrote previously, sometimes without any reason for many many months there will be one or two locations that work against you.

As an insurance it is best to keep on accepting locations that are offered to you.

If you have some free time then there is no harm in soliciting a location which is in your area of vicinity of service.

Most of my locations are in downtown west side east side, which im most comfortable.

I mentioned before that I grow up in a very densely populated city and naturally im very used to the hustle and bustle of a big city.

To me there is more color in life when im in a big city and I grow with it and not run away when it is congested.

I thrive on congested cities.

What im driving at is that if you have locations are majority in Langley and surrey area then you have to expand in that location.

Because even if you hands are full house with maintaining lets say one hundred machines or even one hundred fifty machines then even one extra location within the vicinity will not hurt.

If you lose one or two locations every year then it will even out on your added locations every year.

Eventually when running your vending machine business for the longest time then most of it will be in your area of interest.

The more locations you have the more problems that you will be encountering so you have to expect the nastiest that can happen to you.

 A F**ck You message on voicemail don’t mean a thing anymore with countless locations that you are servicing.

There will be always bad eggs.

In this vending machine business even if you want it to have it your way all the time, it is not possible.

Being flexible is the key to be successful as a small business self-employed person.

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Vending Machines Unsecured in Europe

As a vending machine operator here in Vancouver, BC, it is imperative that everything is secured properly in the public places.

Before i left for vacation i was talking to a coffee guy here in downtown Vancouver, BC, he told me that he was also servicing some coffee locations in the university and there are lots of vending machines at the campus.

I was thinking that it must be a very lucrative business is your vending machines are located in a university campus.

The demographic population is catered to the young and according to some of my locations there is a never ending desires of chips, chocolate bars and pop. Sometimes you need the caffeine and sugar content to boost you up when you are studying.

When you are concentrating hard to finish your thesis or mathematical problems it will lead you mentally exhausted and normally students go grab a chocolate or chips to make you happy from the sugar rush.

There is no conclusive evidence that you are loosing weight by using your mental functions in extreme levels when learning or studying according to studies.

I was wishing that i have machines located in universities before but right now im very reluctant since the coffee guy told me that in the lunch room, someone would come in with a hoodie and breaks the whole lock in one of the vending machines and come back after 30 minutes.

When the guy comes back after 30 minutes he then has a duplicate that will open all the vending machines located in the lunch room.

I used to have a location in a hotel with 5 or 6 machines, i just have 1 key for all the machines. This is the make your job faster since too many keys sometimes slows you down when servicing locations.

I myself was a victim with my machines in a hotel which i previously owned.

I used to have 6 machines in a hotel but everything has a different lock and secured with an additional puck lock. The last news i heard that the new owner which i sold to was broken into.

A year have elapsed with the new owner and the latest news was the hotel was getting rid of him because the management signed an agreement with another vendor.

You know in this business nothing actually is guaranteed permanent placement on your machine. You have to be on the constant lookout of new locations.

If your hands are full then maybe it is best to has a couple of new locations every year just to maintain the income level that you are comfortable with. Sometimes even veteran vendors which has around 20 to 50 locations loose around 1 or 2 every year, which is the nature of the business.

Your new location is an infatuation, marriage and sometimes end up in divorce as an analogy.

Several factors which i have mentioned why you loose locations.

  • renovation
  • opting for your vendors
  • storage space needed
  • management got pretty tired of your face
  • majority consumers got into 50s and needed change
  • new manager wanted changes

You just have to has a happy disposition whenever you are servicing your locations and never get into trouble with anyone inside the facility that you are servicing.

I was visiting London and Scotland and i was surprised that all their vending machines located in the airport or hotel do not have any added security locks.

If these machines were in united states or Canada im 100% that in due time the machines will be vandalized.

I was surprised also that in every hotel in London and Scotland, they only has a vending machine which is situation in front entrance of the hotel.

The machine is directly facing the hotel reception.

I had machines also here in Vancouver, BC in some locations in a hotel in east side Vancouver,BC and it is also in front of the manager or reception office but it was vandalized many times.

Sometimes i was thinking that when living in the established old world of London doing vending machines would even be safer than compared to lower mainland in Vancouver, BC.

I was thinking probably it is safer because in London or Scotland the streets are very narrow and there is no way to get around when breaking into a vending machine.

Your getaway vehicle can be immediately chased and run over by the police authorities in London streets.

Maybe the vending machine are protected by the medieval knights. ( joking )

Do you think chivalry and honesty is still practiced in England ?

But in stark contrast whenever im inside a small shop in London seems that the owner will instantly approach you and ask you if you need any help ? And seems like they do not like people staying too long and observing around and inspecting the products.

All the Sainsbury in London even if it is a very small satellite branch always has a security guard lookout. Sainsbury can be compared to shoppers drug mart here in Vancouver.

While here in Canada there are no security guards in all shopping malls inspecting on the exits.

It is only in Costco that there are assigned staff that inspects the receipt upon exiting.

Here in Canada when you are inside a store big or small, nobody cares if you are staring a product for the longest time. No one cares. You can take your sweet time to decide if the product is meant for you no pressure, akuna matata.

There is a real sense of being righteous there in England and seems that everywhere i go people have this akuna matata mental attitude.

My break was short and im afraid that if i spend some more time in medieval times there in Scotland then i will be out of momentum on my vending machines business and customers will be complaining.

Back into the new world here in Vancouver with renewed vigor and energy to work.

I like it here since it is easy to get around and virtually traffic is non-existent as compared to the streets in London.

Its just too bad i don’t have great European food lunch breaks here.

I guess Tim Horton deserves its respect here in the new world.

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Vacation Fever ?

I noticed that when i was doing my vending business about two weeks ago. The sales were not that promising or constant as compared to the prior weeks.

Actually to my surprise that all locations parking lot were about 50% empty.

I don’t need to ask the caretaker or the receptionist if it was in the office were the vast majority of the people went ?

As compared to last year when i was doing my route the sales were constant and everybody seems to stay put in town and never even have the thought of vacation time. Is it because every time during this time of the year i always say my usual hello and ask the people if they just came back from the holidays ?

So it’s me and my mouth and mindset perhaps that would trigger the holiday mood my a small factor perhaps ? This sounded absurd and silly.

I have this location which i have been servicing for the longest time and was at the east side. The east side always lives up to it’s promise, summer or winter the sales has been cooperating tremendously with me.

Its just depends if you are willing to go and service the location more often to produce more sales.

In some locations if you go twice a week there will be about 25% more sales at the end of the month. I have this already computed through the various years that i have been running this vending machine business.

The location that i mentioned has not been nice to me. For two weeks in a row the snack machine is always jammed with coins. I’m still amazed till this time why locations in the east side of town, always have the same problem.

Understandably locations with a lot of children have more often than not problems with coin jams since they put coins in manner that it is too fast and will cause some coin jams inside the coin mechanism. Sometimes the solution is just by depressing the coin return button repeatedly which will release the jam coins.

Going back to the location that i was mentioning. For two weeks that i have visited the snack machine is always jammed and if there are people inside the lunch room they always curse the snack machine. I cannot just tell them how to use a vending machine properly.

Its so basic that there are no words needed in explaining to usage of a vending machine.

Actually this spark an idea, to reduce the downtime for me to visit locations that have coin jams, i was thinking of making an info graphic leaflet and just paste it on all the vending machines that i have.

I was very happy towards the weekend because normally it’s a big haul right before Sunday on my evergreen locations.

Right after i had it serviced the location called me and mentioned that both vending machines was out of order. I couldn’t sleep last night and i was even thinking maybe there was this person who loves to sabotage vending machines and very happy doing it. Like a fetish kind of thing. Ha ha-ha i must be joking.

I woke up very early on the weekend and raced the see what would have happened and imagining that there would be coin jams inside the machines.

To my surprise both machines doesn’t have power and it was a matter of turning on the breaker.

The machines are located inside a heritage building and sometimes the machines trips the breaker.

I went around the corner to service another location in the east side of town. To my surprise beside the machines was an air conditioner and the pop machine was unplugged again.

The last time i went there it was both machines that were unplugged and Out-of-Order sign was hanged and assistant manager came out and told me the air conditioner trips the breaker so both machines needed to be unplugged.

The sales of course were almost nothing when i was servicing the location.

I already mentioned that i was paying $75 per month for this particular space. Anyway since the sales is affected by unplugging my pop machine then i presumed the next check payment will be 50% off since i hardly have any sales at all for this location.

I headed down to a public place today and there was this fellow countryman which grew up in the Philippines but from a remote province.

I always show respect and speak the same tongue which is Tagalog ( Tagalog is not my native language, i speak several, English is also not my native tongue ).

For some reason whenever i was doing my vending service in this location they repeatedly ask the same questions that im making so much money and was a lot better off than cleaning laundry and preparing beds.

Some other people think that my business is my exhausting and physically draining. But i tell you, once you get used to vending, it’s quite enjoyable to an extent that you always move around and don’t have to stay in one place.

So while i was on the 2nd floor of the public place, the fellow countryman just stared at my bin and took a chip without my permission and he assumes that im going to recycle the chips or throw it away.

I jokingly told him that the chips are dated Sept 08 and im going to take it to another location and i normally rotate the products on different locations.

He told me it’s only one chip that he will be taking and it doesn’t make a difference.

I told him that do you do that to when you walk into 7 11 ? I also was about to get disgusted with a fellow countryman mindset.

Just because i speak the same language that does entitled you to take away i free chip? I told him that i have planned for scheduled visits, spend money on the most expensive gasoline in BC, unload the dolly and make a few cents per bag of chips.

I even jokingly told him that what if im not Filipino or speak the same language like you do, will you grab a chip on my bin and say thank you? Eventually i just say that im better than that and have to be understanding and flexible and let 1 chip not ruin my day today.

I try my best to speak the same tongue to everyone i met to please the person since im in the service industry and always have a constant smile in this line of business.

That’s why i mentioned that it is better to sometimes pretend that you do not know how to speak Filipino and keep a distance and step away from fellow countryman here in Vancouver, BC. For some reason if they know you are from the same country, there will always be freebies on your visits.

Don’t get me wrong, i admire some fellow countryman who has the same wavelength like me. Business, straight and no running around the bush. Plain and simple. Yes or no.

In this vending machine business sometimes you have to acquire a certain sense of emotional intelligence which i have mentioned before on my previous articles if you have been following me.

Sometimes it’s the emotional intelligence that makes or breaks a business. If you are a businessman you absolutely need a calm mindset.

Aside from these unfortunate incidents everything is always as expected.

But of course if you have locations that is related to school then some of your sales will be affected too. Don’t put your eggs into the same basket, like you just prefers schools or community centers type of thinking.

Everything has to be diversified. As with your stock portfolio.

Recently i acquired two new locations. I thought everything will be very smooth and no problems.

I even installed all machines with updated bill acceptors, new coin mechanisms.

The machines from two locations was sourced out from my suppliers.

There was this supplier that i always buy new equipment which costs an arm and a leg but the cool thing is that i have a two-year term which costs below two hundred dollars every month. If a location is performing very well then two hundred dollars is nothing since your gross sales will always outweigh to cover the cost of the equipment.

I have another supplier which gives very good terms and conditions because all the machines are used.

Problem with buying the used machines is that sometimes it is a ticking time bomb. Like one of the snack machines motors suddenly malfunctions after one month of use.

Worst is that sometimes the snack machine doesn’t recognize any kind of coins. The machine just freezes just like a laptop or computer if it is way too used, it freezes and you need to reset it.

I’m saying that buying used machines is great but sometimes it is a lingering disease because the symptoms just pops up all the time.

The new locations i got which consists of a pop machine and two snack machines was constantly nagging me. I went to the location on several occasions when customers complained.

But when i reached there, i inspected everything and it was all working perfectly.

Sometimes when i acquire a new location, the people there are like the ones in the east side of town that doesn’t know how to properly use a vending machine. There are constant coin jams.

Actually i simulated this by having a bag of assorted coins to see if i can cause a vending machine to jam.

I insert about 60 dollars worth of assorted coins : nickels, dimes, loonies and twoonies. I inserted slowly in a way that i have to wait for the display on the vending machine to register. After doing this there was no coin jam.

Somehow im afraid to insert two coins at the same time, knowingly that it will surely jam the internal coin mechanism. I’m not a child in a community center that will cause it so it never happens to me while im simulating it with 60 dollars assorted various coins.

Seems like a burn out on me is on it’s way. Should i say that i need a vacation myself. I mentioned that it will just be around the corner.

My vending machine business will be in good hands if im away.

Here in Canada it’s very difficult to find someone that can be trusted and extremely expensive to have someone run it for you. Living in this world-class place needs to have a world-class pay as well. But there are always ways.

If you have been in business for the longest time. You know what to do and finding ways and there is always a strategy in all forms of business, it is just the manner on how to execute it properly and efficiently.

Let it be then if it is vacation fever.

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Farewell East Hastings!

Did you know that i have one of the most dangerous vending locations here in Vancouver ?

Yes you know it right. It is located in East Hastings.

My machine was vandalized many times, the glass was broken into many times.

The coin mechanism was stolen on my previous machine.

There is an evidence that the Price Display on the machine has been extinguished with cigarette butt and have some melted residue.

Did you know how i acquired this location? I was still heavily maintaining machines in downtown offices and on the west side of town on public places.

I acquired this location from a call on the owner of the building which he got from the recommendations from one of the managers in city of Vancouver.

When i was during the early days here, i was always in panic mode and people are constantly harassing me for freebies and i was always in a rush to get out of this location.

There are constant fights. Constant ambulance and police walking everywhere.

You would ask why i didn’t abandon or sold the place long time ago when my snack machine is vandalized several times. It is the reason that i was going to this place twice a week to service the location.

I had another location just across this hotel which was also condemned by the city of Vancouver and will have to undergo a major face lift and much-needed restoration and renovation.

I talked with the owner and he told me that i can go back anytime to the locations once everything is fixed.

But when will that be? My guess that it will take maybe around 3 years at least if there is something to be done.

Sadly this location is gone.

I’m very sorry also for the occupants for the building. There are tenants that have been living there for the longest time and was fighting to stay.

There are a lot of tenants that will be left out on the streets.

I just wish that the city of Vancouver have some form of temporary residence to relocate the displaced.

From a business point of view. This is a sad chapter of my vending machine business venture since it was one of my strong revenue generating location that was lost.

I have some backups of course. I had some machines placed in a 300 strong location that i have to visit on an empty combo machine on the other side of town here in Richmond on a weekly schedule.

 

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Being Flexible

When i was doing the vending machine business in the early days, i was introduced to a location in the east side part of town.

I was a newbie and most of my locations back then was in the offices.

I just abhor the idea of going to downtown and the streets are in such a maze.

I finally gotten used to it and there is much more opportunities in the main city than finding locations in other places.

I had some decent margins and was happy to visit a location and just collecting $20 to $50 dollars per location during my early vending days.

I simply enjoy the freedom and flexibility of doing at your own convenience and not hearing to people who likes to throw their weight around you all the time when you are acting as an employee.

I was acquiring locations in the west and east side and i had a chance to talk to a big vendor.

The big vendor who is already retired hesitates to expand in the east side of the neighborhood and all just wanted orderly and maintaining locations in the west side of the neighborhood.

As a vendor who didn’t grew up in Vancouver. There is honestly no discrimination on my part as a vendor visiting the west side and east side locations since they are all customers. It is my obligation to treat everyone the same and high regards with locations that are outstanding in performance.

When i was in the Philippines there was strong distinction on which neighborhood that you are staying. The neighborhood there is in extreme differences.

On the boundary where you cross all establishments are extremely chic and pretty expensive and is not in anyone’s reach.

Whereas on the other side, everything is cheap and affordable but you have to be very alert on security especially your house, everything has to be checked all the time to avoid break ins and theft.

But from all of these comparisons, there is no east or west borderline in the city where i live in the Philippines.

I lot of people in the expensive neighborhood is reluctant to associate and do business in the other side of the boundary, i think you get the picture and consequence if you do business with less prestigious establishments. Maybe you run the risk of bouncing checks and insufficient funds.

During my tenure in the Philippines i was very flexible in conducting my business in all sectors of the neighborhood.

I had no discrimination on which part of the neighborhood when i set my foot.

This comes back to the retired vendor here in Vancouver that is selling his locations to me. I asked him if he has locations in the east side part of town.

He told me he just likes to stick business in the west side and mostly offices and big companies. I understand his plight because he doesn’t want to deal with people complaining all the small things when you have a location in the east side.

I just shoved aside the idea on doing business in the east or west, it was just like when i was conducting business in the Philippines, whether i was in a slum neighborhood or high end it doesn’t matter as long as people pay me and i just provide outstanding service.

In the west side everything is very well laid out and people like more variety of products and sales is as strong as compared to the sales on the east sectors.

On the contrary, if you are venturing the east side locations, you have lower prices on products but there is more sales. It is more on the bulk sales that you get when you are in the east side of town.

On the west end you have to have a variety of products and offerings and the prices can be varied. Thus your sales is the same when selling common products which are found in your machines on the east side locations.

To be truly succeed in any form and type of business, you have to be flexible in whatever you do and wherever you go.

The downside in the east locations is that sometimes i feel im in the Philippines with people shouting, comments, negative feed backs, asking for freebies all the time etc etc but it boils down to just doing your business and being flexible with all kinds of locations.

Every self-employed person according to my observation is quite flexible and have a certain emotional intelligence when dealing with all sorts of events that evolves around their businesses.

Being on a one track mindset will get you nowhere and perhaps you will be ending in a dying business!

It would be absolutely essential to provide good service to everyone and treat everyone the same to stay afloat.

I heard some stories on some security following certain individuals who looks suspicious when entering local stores to buy things here in Canada.

Sometimes it is not the surface on judging people, i really wanted everyone not to be a shallow hollow mental attitude in all aspects of life.

In order to have a 100% entrepreneurship mindset these thoughts are to be repeatedly inculcated and this doesn’t come with your university education.

Flexibility is the key not only in business but also in relationships where you can to give way on certain events and situations.

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