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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Vending Machine Credit Card Reader

Do you have existing vending machine locations that you need to boost sales ?

How do you determine which locations that is deserving to have a debit credit card reader?

Is your vending machine a contender that needs to be upgraded to the debit credit card reader? Here are the rundown on my opinion as a real vendor that runs and maintains vending machine on a daily basis.

It would be wise to listen an advise to a real vendor who do this for a living and not from someone who just speaks from news or scraping information from sources in the internet which I sincerely think what is happening presently on most flashy websites earning from affiliates and commissions that tries to dry you hard-earned $$$.

Do not be so naive to listen to any credit debit card supplier or seller that pushes you to buy a lot of debits credit card readers.

I understand that everyone has to make a living.

It would be best to get advise from a vendor that applies it to his business and real facts on how beneficial it would bring to added increase on sales on the vending machines.

I’m in no way endorsing a product or earning affiliate on writing this article.

It is thru this article that I wanted all the vending operators out there to know if this debit credit card do really increase in sales

Here are the rundown on several factors to be considered when installing the debit credit card into existing machines.

Here are my experiences on the sales of my other locations with debit credit card readers.

Public locations such as hotels

are a must installing on debit credit cards, my observations is that the sales of coins and credit/debit is around 50%. Common sense tells us at tourists who visits Vancouver, BC are naturally equipped with credit card but most of them carry cash with them.

So my sales is around 50% cash and 50% credit card with a tolerance variation of 20% on cash / credit ratio

Private locations depending on demographics.

Millennial all carry plastics with them and you can safely assume that you have the option without having the cash handling capability. I have several locations which doesn’t have any cash whenever I visit the location, but needed to visit at least once a week.

Generation X such as myself carry plastics all the time, but since the Generation X is a transition or in between from the traditional old ways to the new changing landscape, I always carry at least 5 dollars in loose change and at least $5 dollar bill inside my wallet.

This reasoning is perhaps some generation x are taught by the old hard-working Baby Boomers to always carry some form of cash in case there is a natural disaster e.g.earthquakes, blackouts or worse case War !

Generation X is torn between the old and the new I would say. Generation X have some form of paranoia and have to be always prepared and alert.

Baby Boomers always carries cash with them and locations need not to be upgraded to credit debit card system. But of course a large proportion also have credit debit cards but hesitate to use them because in believing that it is a rip off and have a notion that these plastic companies steals their hard-earned money if skipped a month’s payment and get charged for 2%.

Mixed Demographics

If your location has all sorts of age brackets and people using the vending machines then it would be best just to install a debit credit card reader on your machine.

Is purchasing a debit credit card reader justified even if the sales is like $30 a month ?

I have these kinds of locations which I still service some very small locations because here in Vancouver, BC is hard to look for a vending location. If the small location is on the way or in a group of other 10 locations within the vicinity then ill just swing by and service the small location even if it is just $30 a month.

The products that are mostly close to expire but is still good can be placed in other strong locations which is fully aware what kind of products are placed in the vending machine and not very finicky and picky.

What are the requirements in the vending machine that can be qualified to equip the debit credit card reader ?

The vending machine has to be MDB capable. Vending machines that are non MDB complaint and super old like 15 years old cannot qualify.

You know that all vending machine operators do not have a majority of brand new machines at their locations so that leaves you maybe only 30% to 40% of the remainder that is worth upgrading to a debit credit card reader capability.

It is will be very ambitious for me to start with a project to buy maybe 1 or 2 debit credit card readers every month until all my MDB complaint vending machines are upgraded.

I noticed that if there is a credit debit card reader on my former machines which I have upgraded have resulted in more frequent visits from me, for instance : my monthly will turn into bi weekly and my bi weekly will turn into weekly visits.

Vending Machine Credit Card Processing Fees ?

Unfortunately doing business again here in Vancouver, BC is at a premium. I get charged for $15 for the older debit credit card readers every month and $7 for the newer 2018 debit credit card readers every month. A debit credit card reader here costs around $500.

In USA the monthly processing fees ranges from $7.5 per month and debit credit card readers are just around $350.   guess the used ones will be a lot cheaper in USA since vending machines are in proliferation.

Is it worth it to loosing $7 to $15 on the processing fees ?

If you can increase your overall sales considering and assuming all your MDB capable machine are equipped with debit credit card readers then it is justified.

For a hypothetical computation : Normal sales of $1000 without card reader. After upgrading the sales will be around $1,250 with card reader. According to my experience the sales increase is around 25% conservatively with a tolerance of plus minus variation of 10%. Meaning it may be an actual increase of 20% to 35% variance.

Recommended 3rd party debit credit card reader ?

USA Technologies

I was initially very happy with USA Live Technologies in USA. I had several healthy combo machines that came with the USA Technologies readers and the interface is a child’s play and very user-friendly experience.

I even have daily alerts on emails everyday on specified time can be specified for reports. Which makes you not constantly logging in to check daily reports.

Hands down I really like the USA Technologies, problem is that sometimes when I make an email to new orders, they respond the next day but most of the time they never reply.

I even have to email several contacts just to get a response.

Seems that they always change hands on the sales representative.

I’m not saying anything negative about this customer service protocol, it is just that I normally send a simple email stating that I wanted to buy 1 or 2 units but have no reply.

I used to run my own company mentioning back in Makati City. When a customer calls my Computer Trading company during the Asian surge in computer products hey days, you get a quick favorable and friendly reply. Orders jot down and delivery scheduled.

You know during my stint in Asia, I called my customers every day! I sounded like a broken record! Maybe the Asus 4MB memory chips needs replenishment ? Maybe you needed more I/O Graphics card ( that’s what they are called before the era of super graphics ). How many hundreds of mice do you need? ball type or lighted ones ?

I got really good customer service and my business propelled as a small self-employed businessman. My products are niche and I just carry 20 to 30 different products are micro small which everyone was very hungry during that Golden Era.

Here is the link to USA Technologies.

Nayax Technologies

I also have Nayax debit credit card readers on some of my machines. I don’t have any problem with the debit credit card reader since it is absolutely the exact equivalent of USA Technologies.

I had fewer Nayax debit credit card readers on my vending machines.

Whenever I was generating daily reports on the Nayax debit credit card readers it was very cryptic and it is very hard for me to read and comprehend.

I have to figure out the menus and navigation and always get lost.

Learning is unending and when you utilize and use it, you get new set of wires inside your brain and go through the learning process and pretty soon enough, you will be a master.

It took for a while to get used to the cryptic menu on navigation.

The great thing about the Nayax debit credit card is that the customer support is lightning quick and very easy to access help and advise.

If you are located in Vancouver, BC or the lower mainland then it would be the best option !

You do not have to deal with basketball running around emails and waiting for a reply. There is no need for the waiting time from UPS all the way coming from the USA and get shocked on added $100 tax for one unit.

Nayax Debit Credit readers is the most viable

and easy and locally available with outstanding support.

Conclusion

I advise you not to get too excited in getting your Nayax debit credit card readers immediately. You have to figure out on how to install it first by yourself on a MDB capable vending machine. Perhaps buy 1 device and install it to your best location and observe it for 1 month.

For vending machine operators that works hard for the money, then maybe 1 or 2 nayax debit credit card readers will be sufficient until all your locations are installed.

You have to consider if the Nayax debit credit card reader will justify its cost.

Buy 1 at a time and observe.

Installing a Nayax Debit Credit Card Reader

I guess actions speaks louder than words. Simply have a magnetic screwdriver set with you and a small set of ratchet for the installation of a Nayax debit credit card reader.

Installing it on a Healthy Max combo machine

Installing it on a AP LCM type vending machine

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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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Vending Machine Robbery

I was astounded that one of my machines had an attempted vending machine robbery.

I have a public location which i visit around once a month.

This location was very notorious for vandalism and theft. I have around four machines in that location.

Three of them are cashless debit credit machines only and the odd one is a small Coke soda pop vending machine.

I thought the vending machine robberies have already subsided here in the lower mainland.

I experienced this vending machine robbery around two years ago in practically all of my public locations and have suffered great deal of losses. Normally if a vending machine is vandalized, the thief occasionally steals the bill validator stack and the coin mechanism holder which contains all the coins.

The vending machine robberies days will be numbered as more and more people are not holding cash with them. This is true for vancouverites.

The problem is that all the public locations are temporary visitors in Canada and a portion of them are reluctant to use their credit or debit card in the vending machine and they normally exchange their foreign currency to Canadian cash.

I cannot blame tourists for not fully trusting the credit debit system here in Canada yet because there are cases of reports in other countries that copies credit debit card details and siphon money.

Some people are very private and doesn’t want to be traceable when using credit debit card. So there will always exist people using cash for vending machine.

Here is a video showing my vending machine robbery failed attempt.

This method is employed where the robber drill or destroy the price indicator and insert a bent long L shaped rod with a hook to try to pop the lock.

I pity on the other public locations that was sold to other vendors on the pretense that it will be generate lots of profits, but will be a ticking time bomb for a heavy loss on vandalism.

Here is the basic rundown on expenses that will incur in case there is a vandalism on your vending machine.

  • Coin mechanism $550
  • Bill Validator $450
  • Pucklock Security Installation $350

How long do you think that the vending operator will be able to make the expenses plus the additional downtime that the vending machine is out of service for repairs ?

According to my experience, the average profit of a public vending machine is around $50 per visit and it will take around 34 weeks to recupe the loss for one machine.

Imagine if you have a lot of vending machines located in a public area and all the time are visited on a regular routine by the robber and always breaking and destroying your vending machines then you will have some sleepless nights and some default on credit card payments and maybe rent or mortgage payments.

Here in Vancouver, BC the cost of living for regular people is extremely expensive and it is impossible to stash money here even if you are self-employed, even if you have hundreds of vending machines. It would work only if you have thousands of vending machines. But statistically there is will more break ins and out of service vending machines if you work with thousands.

I guess any form of business that entails manual work and trading your time for money is a dead end street and will be slaving a lifetime of work unless if you enjoy what you are doing.

Nevertheless, i was very happy that the robbery attempt failed.

Did you i tell you the last time my driver’s side mirror was a hit-and-run incident ?

Maybe it was the same person who did it to me again ? Second time around and now it almost smashed my blind spot mirror.

Here is a link that my driver’s side mirror was hit when blind spot mirror is still intact.

Here is a video when my driver’s side mirror was hit the second time around.

When i was headed to a location that was complaining of money being eaten which i did a quick fix the last time, i thought Halloween was over and i literally surprised while i reached my hand while opening the vending machine lol !

The robbery was enough experience for me already when i parked in downtown for a quick service call. The parking meter seems to have a perennial problem on people trying to play pranks by inserting slugs, foreign coins or robbery attempt on fishing out coins which i have mentioned on my previous article.

By the way when i first got to Vancouver, BC from the Philippines i have a lot of Philippine quarters and they work for public meters in Vancouver, BC. Sorry about this! I was just a curious cat when I am trying out the Philippine coins if they would work on the parking meters here in downtown.

As i was parking on a loading area in the west end of Vancouver.

You never know what is lurking on the garbage bins.

I remember about two or three years ago when i was driving in homer or hornby in downtown i saw a guy on a bicycle and suddenly smashed the rear window of a car parked and took out a backpack. This incident happened broad daylight when there was actually a lot of people walking by and a busy intersection with lots of cars passing by !

I’m just wondering why not make Plexiglas instead of breakable glass on the vehicles ? Or apply a tint from the inside of the vehicle which in Manila where everyone by default applies to all the vehicles.

If you apply a tint from the inside, this is a form of deterrent from the thief that would think twice in smashing your window to lurk and find some goodies inside your vehicle.

Here is a recommendation that everyone should apply to their vehicle.

When you are in Taiwan, if you attempt to smash a very tinted car, you will be out for surprise by the triad.

When you are in the Philippines or Asia in general.

Do you know that when you are in Manila city or especially when you are stuck in the traffic in the Philippines. Thieves would casually pass by the try to open your doors and make a quick snatch on your phone or bag if this is visible from the outside. In the Philippines it seems that there are constant danger everywhere and you should be on the lookout.

When i was ending my day i proceeded to a bank with coin sorting machine. I noticed that there are a lot of these new loonies already in circulation.

The new loonies will not work on MEI, Coin Lux and old coin co coin mechanisms. Seems that the six tubes coin co coin mech doesn’t have any problems on accepting the new loonies.

Next year will be very busy for everyone to update their coin mechs so that the new loonies can be accepted by the vending machine.

This is another unforeseen problem that most vendors will be encountering. Upgrading coin mech is around $30 and im not sure on the turnaround because i will be bringing in my MEI, Conlux to Brokerhouse located in Burnaby for quote and turn around time for the coin mechs to be upgraded.

I also received some news that another new $10 dollar bill is coming out, all my bill validators was not yet upgraded for the previous new $10 dollar bills and now another $10 dollar bill.

Here is the story on the unveiling of the new Canadian $10 dollar bill.

Here is a video taken on how the new shiny loonies looks like.

I have an interesting story to tell you on a recent breakthrough on the vending machine industry offering fresh drinks coming out from a vending machine. It requires a lot of work and i will be writing another blog if this project will be pushing through and what will be arising from it.

Till next time !

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Simple fix on vending coin mechanism not accepting coins

I have a location that needs constant visits since it is located in a community center.

I always receive calls from the staff saying that the machine is always jammed and needed my attention.

Whenever i go to the location, there were these problems that i encountered all the time.

  • Coin jam near the coin chute
  • Coin Return Button stuck

What remedy i did was to disable the coin return button so that whenever you press for coin return it will not function anymore and have no other option but to insert more coins to purchase a product.

You see this location is in an extremely busy location where there are lots of children and parents. You will certainly get coin jams in such kind of environment. This is understandable for me because of the demographics.

I always get a surprise call in the middle of the week while im servicing at the far end of another city.

One day I got really tired and just told the person on the phone that just put an out-of-order sign since there is another machine beside to satisfy the needs of the location.

If you got like 10 to 12 locations per day to attend too sometimes you thought that checking the coin mech by merely flipping the coin chute inside the check jams is enough.

I just found out that all these problems and calls to me was caused by a quarter with a gum on one side and it was almost invisible for me to detect on my visits even if i inspect it closely.

I accidentally dislodge the quarter with gum when i flip the coin chute on the side last week.

Since then i didn’t receive any more annoying service calls and all is well.

Here is the Video which i took on the quarter with a gum.

 

That rainy day started when i was in a location under a tree.  Suddenly to my surprise i receive a sign from above from a bird doing its nature call.

I guess it was lucky for me to have found the quarter with a gum after all these calls at lasted for months.

Seems that both machines are churning at full throttle after i accidentally found the culprit.

Was it the lucky gum or the bird ?

 

I needed to promptly visit a location which i just go every 2 weeks since it is a small location with around 50 occupants in an apartment complex.

At this moment in time, i always prepared the goods ahead of time since i already know what to refill on the machine. When i approached the combo machine, the manager immediately approached me saying that sometimes when people insert coins, the machine doesn’t register.

When i opened the combo machine then there were some coins laying inside the combo machine.

What i did was to figure out a simple solution so that this will happen again.

I noticed also inside the machine there were notes from the previous owner of the machine listings of coins lost with corresponding names on a piece of paper.

So this has concluded that i have to have a quick fix.

Solution on vending coin mechanism not accepting coins

  • cut appropriate cardboard into the shape of the coin guide
  • shape and funnel it to the coin mechanism using scotch tape

I took a video on how to cut the cardboard and taped it on the metal funnel in order for the coin to go straight to the coin mechanism.

I tested it with a lot of coins and it seems that the problem is solved.

Please see the video i made and it shows clearly how to do it without needing expensive technician calls or buying expensive parts for a simple quick fix.

This method applies to all kinds of coin mechanism

 

Conclusion

It would be essential for the vendor to properly check the coin path and coin mechanism since this is the part that has the most usage on the vending machine.


Always check the coin mechanism for foreign materials inserted or small objects that sometimes not easily noticed especially when you are always in a hurry to finish work in a location.

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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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I found an unlocked vending machine

Every day is busy for a vending machine service operator.

I recalled that during my early days of vending business, there were occasions that because I was in a hurry, I forgot to close the vending machine !

Sometimes you think that when you are running a vending machine business it is pretty easy and straight forward. Vending machine business has a learning curve when you are servicing various locations.

When you are at an extremely busy location sometimes you lose your composure and always in a rush and forget things like : vending keys, tools, vending machine unlocked

Did I tell you at there was an instance that I forgot my vehicle keys inserted in the ignition and the van was locked ?

This was around two years ago when im servicing machines in a very crowded and rowdy location.

I learned a lot of lessons that you should only do certain actions like moving or operating other people’s property with the consent. If you try to move, touch or operate things that is not yours you will get into big trouble. Here in Canada there are so many rules and regulations to consider.

Unlike when I was still in the Philippines, sometimes you just move the person’s belongings or lock doors that are unlocked without ask the owner and get a very positive feedback for such an initiative.

Here in Canada if you act accordingly without being told to do might even get into trouble since it is not your property and do not have the right to touch, move or operate. Everything you do needs permission from the owner.

So most of the time, it is better to leave the things the way they are.

I have a location in a public area that has another vendor’s machine besides mine.

Even thou I have a rival vending machine beside me, I instinctively talked to the security to inform the vendor to secure his machine since it is left open. I dare not to lock it on his behalf, because maybe he went down to get his goodies and might be coming back or might accuse me of trying to play pranks on his vending machine.

I hurriedly left this location since I have a homeless vending machine that has found a good refuge in another public place.

This time I went to set up this vending machine at another public place in a secured spot with security fab access. The vending machine was deemed homeless when it was during the spring time towards summer when there are a lot of renovations going all around the lower mainland.

During that time I thought my business is going downhill.

I had a thought why is this situation happening to me back then ? I had around three to five locations which are actually doing major renovations. The location do not have the intention of getting rid of me because of bad service.

It seems that during the spring and early summer it was like everyone was with the wavelength of making changes in their lunch rooms and changing the wallpapers and flooring. Some companies are downsizing to rent out the extra space.

The business here in Vancouver, BC is always on the arena of acquisitions and mergers. Other companies have to inflict some serious downsizing or even run out of business. You will have noticed that a lot of small self-employed businesses capital resources run dry after a couple of years. If they survive the 3rd year then they would be slaving for the most part of their life by working for sustenance of business with minimal vacations.

In a very expensive city, it’s somehow invites new flock of people who just likes to work all the time and wanted cash injections from foreign migrants on establishment of new small businesses.

Going back to the vending service industry.

Sometimes it would be wise to talk to extremely strong locations to add machines since you know that sales will dramatically increase if the machines are updated and especially if it comes with everything : bill validator and debit credit card readers.

I left to a location that is still in the vicinity of downtown and I just wanted to show you that all the public places are vulnerable to theft.

This particular location was vandalized many times with different methods.

Methods used in vandalizing my combo vending machine :

  • Dollar bill fishing attached with tape
  • Drilling a hole and using a hook to pop out the lock
  • Destroying the Lock in front and popping out the lock

What I did was to install a puck lock at the side of the vending machine and access the key through the back of the puck lock.

After this installation I was not vandalized anymore.

There was a time like two years ago during the summer months I had several vending machines located in public locations that was vandalized every week. I don’t know if this is the same person who was caught by the police.

The theft in Ottawa was worst where everything is destroyed, here is a news link.

I guess the more exposure you get in the public locations statistically would have more break ins and problems on your vending machine business.

This is a short and brief article since everything is straightforward and just wanted everyone to see that in the vending machine business, you still have a form of a learning curve in order to be truly professional.

After all we are just human.

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Keyless Lock For Vending Machines

I used to have six ( 6 ) combo vending machines in a public hotel about two years ago and was robbed and vandalized twice.

I installed puck locks on all six ( 6 ) of them and it did not happen to me anymore.

The new buyer had a break in with the Puck Lock system which i heard when the location was still his. Sadly the management choose another vendor just recently and he had to sell the machines at a discount including the loss of this public hotel location. Another vendor informed me that probably the old vendor did not comply with the management on some changes to the machines to install even color sticker on all the machine for a uniform look and blend in with the hotel’s wallpaper.

If you are not flexible and do not make any compromise to the location then your days will be numbered.

It’s just like a marriage relationship, both parties need constant communication, compromises and flexibility for everything to work out.

Here in Vancouver, BC it seems that looking for locations brings to mind on : infatuation, marriage and divorce breakup cycles.

My locations presently are around 100% doing good and have very good relationship with all managers after learning my lessons on my first year not reaching out to management to develop some sense of rapport.

Being Flexible is the key.

Going back to the security measures.

I’m always constantly thinking for a security measure that won’t allow deter any kind of vandalism attempts. Right now most of the vending machines : snack, soda pop or combo machines are very vulnerable to theft especially in the public high locations.

This is very true for locations in shopping malls, universities and hotels.

Can you believe it or not ? University vending machine are always broken into since they have to remain open for hungry students at night.

Around 99% of the hotels have a form of vending machine installed in their building because it is for the convenience for their customers and also no need of assigning another staff.

It is not practical to have a snack kiosk and manned by the hotel staff for snacks and pop to run it since the staff would be better off running the daily activities inside the hotel premises.

That’s why most hotels just opt a vendor to place vending machines and in turn get a cut of the profits on a monthly basis and not bothering the maintenance schedule.

When i was strolling in Metrotown on a sunday, i noticed that all the CokeAnd soda pop vending machines are equipped with key less locks.

I guess this will be more practical than to install a puck lock because there is no need to retrofit and expensive labor needed to move, drill and weld.

Here is a short video which i took when i was at Metrotown on one of the Coke soda pop vending machines.

And if you are ambitious enough to get rid of all your keys then this is the route to take. Especially if you have a number of machines in public locations which you think is not safe.

For most vendors their machines are secured in offices, warehouses, factories and private schools which are secured.

Then this key less lock doesn’t need to be bothered with.

It seems for now the cost i would guess is very prohibitive for me, i would instead invest in debit credit readers for my vending machines which is more practical for me.

Here is a link in You Tube on the manufacturer’s Key less Lock for Vending machines in case you wanted to know how it works !

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How to hack a vending machine with a coin and string

I was extremely busy the last few days. Sometimes when you are too focused on your vending service business.

I was wondering why there is a surge of vehicles especially in the afternoons stuck in most gasoline joints.

When you are a journeyman in no matter what kind of service industry you are then you would realize that the gasoline prices are normally highest in the mornings. The prices drop when everyone is rushing back home to for a much deserved sumptuous dinner.

The gasoline stations attendant told me that there was a pipeline rupture in Prince George and upsetting the prices to rocket. Recent news tells us that repairs are underway and the surge of prices will not last long. Probably it will settle in the mid 150’s which im used to.

Here are the pictures i took during the day and afternoon.

I wish i have time to drive to Abbotsford during late afternoon rush hour.

When you are on the road every day, you envy the people in the office that is comfortably seated.

I work i had before which requires me to seat the whole afternoon on a table and entertain customers walk ins and procedures in the printer refilling station way back in the Philippines and somehow i reminiscence.

I’m into another phase of business right now, in the self employment livelihood there will be always constant changes on all aspect of lifestyle and never same.

This week requires me almost to be in downtown most of the time which sometimes cause some frustration not only in a struggle to find a good spot for parking but there are always parking meters that are rigged for extraction of money.

Here is the news from CBC News.

This is one the meters again i encountered. The picture below depicts that my $1 ( Loonies ) clearly is inside the coin meter and im just puzzled what kind of contraption the syndicate uses to fish out the coins later when everyone is rushing back home.

I always take pictures just to make sure that in case i get a parking ticket, i can justify it for my defense.

By the way two ( 2 ) days earlier i went to visit one of my school locations and was astounded why they insert plastic coins in the vending machine ?

In the vending service industry, it’s not all the time that you visit your location everything is predictable on your meager collections.

This time the expected collections is not realized because of a plastic coin found inside the soda pop vending machine. Of course, the school authorities will always be informed and notified immediately to avoid future problems.

Here are the pictures of the plastic coins that im talking about.

Did it tell you that im going to see if the hacking a vending machine with a coin and string still works ?

Here is what i have prepared for you to see if this contraption is really working.

 

How to hack a vending machine with a coin and string

Things to prepare :

  • dental floss
  • coin with a hole ( see my previous post on where i got this coin from )

String to coin 18 inches in length

Attach the string to the coin with a hole and have it at least about 18 inches in length so that the coin can reach inside the coin mechanism.

If the string is too short then you cannot fish and play with it inside the coin mechanism.

Insert coin and string into the coin slot

You will see a sequence of pictures when i was trying to insert the coin into the vending machine.

The vending machine is equipped with conlux coin mechanism.

Conclusion

i have tried to use the hacking the vending machine with the use of a coin and string. I tried many attempts of inserting and pulling it but the price indicator never did register on the townie ( $2 ).

I even flick the $2 into the coin slot and the coin just slides down to the coin return slot as a reject.

The conlux coin mech which is equipped perhaps in all the healthy max combo vending machines seemed instinctively that the coin is not the appropriate type.

If you try to pull it up to get back the $2 ( townie ) it will never be aligned back to the coin slot and you will never get back your money. The string will break off if you pull it hard rendering all your time and efforts futile.

I went to another location which has different types of coin mechanism and trying to see if the hack with a coin and a string would work.

It so happened today that i was in one of my locations with four ( 4 ) machines inside a lunch room with different types of coin mechanisms.


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