How to Start a Healthy Vending Business

Are you looking for a new business opportunity that requires no special skills or training, can be done part time or as a home-based business, and can get your whole family involved ?  How about starting a vending machine business ?

Whether you’re vending traditional snacks, drinks, healthy snacks, or a combination, you’ll need a vending machine that is appropriate for your product and eye-catching to draw in customers.

 

Many healthy vending franchises say they’re giving you a great deal when they offer vending operators start-up packages that include the machine, product, locations, tutorials, etc. for exorbitant prices. Such franchises include Human Healthy Vending, Healthy You, Fresh Healthy Vending, Naturals 2 Go, and others.

 

Don’t be fooled! You can buy a vending machine new or used with a warranty for less than half of the cost that the healthy vending franchises charge! When buying a machine, keep in mind that a Healthy Wrap or some other healthy design/decal will identify your vending machine as a healthy option for customers and attract more sales.

Many healthy vending operators who are just getting into the business are under the impression that they have to special-order product or purchase online to offer their customers the healthier options they’re looking for.

 

Buying in bulk from places like Sam’s Club or Costco can save you hundreds when re-stocking your machine and you can then pass those savings on to your customers. Additionally it is more convenient to be able to buy them on demand as you are serving your route instead of waiting days for the product to arrive.

 

Once you have the perfect healthy vending machine with all the best products stocked in it, you need to find the most profitable locations for your machines. You can usually sell a prospective customer on your machine, product, and services alone, without the need to offer a commission.

 

Lastly you will need the proper licensing from your state, county and city where you are doing business.

The vending business is one of the easiest small businesses to get into and the Return on Investment (ROI) is typically less than a year if you do it right by buying an affordable machine and securing good locations.

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How to Display Nutritional Facts on Vending Machines

 

Healthy vending is not a crave that is going away. Society now is striving to make healthier eating habits and that includes what they buy from vending machines.  People want to know what they are eating, and laws are being enacted requiring companies to display nutritional facts on all food being sold.

 

The vending industry is no exception.  We have been the poster child for unhealthy food and drinks, but we can change this stereotype.  I have blogged about Fit Pick in past blogs, and this is still an excellent program for promoting healthy snacks in vending machines.

 

In fact, it offers over 500 products which can be labeled as “healthy” and over 175 government agencies and 100 schools have adopted it to help promote healthy vending.

Some of these devices are a small 6” screen that can be added to a vending machine to display ads, promotions, and display the nutritional information.  Some products are even combined with the credit card reader and can be used to track real time product data, and provide pre-kitting information back to the office.

The companies that sell the touch screens have also provided a database of the most popular foods and beverages which can be uploaded with the nutritional value information already built in.  If your product isn’t in their inventory, then you can upload your own nutritional values into the system.

At The Discount Vending Store, we pride ourselves in keeping our prices low and that means finding products that are affordable.

We won’t be discussing a topic here unless it can be sold affordably in our on-line store.  We are now offering the Air Vend on our vending machines which will provide the nutritional value information and also process credit cards.

Some folks say that this is a waste of time and money and that their customers don’t care about nutritional information on their candy bars and sodas.

Although most of their customers don’t care about the nutritional values, there is a growing percentage of customers who do care and they are not buying from our vending machines because they have the perception that it is all “junk food”.

By providing nutritional facts on all the products sold in the vending machine, you are proving to that potential customer that the snack is indeed healthy and hopefully you will convert them as a customer.

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Why is My Vending Machine Leaking Water and What Can I Do About It?

Everyone wants to ensure that their machine vends cold beverages, especially during the warm summer months. In high humidity areas you may find some condensation building up on your vending machine. This can happen even if it is located in an air-conditioned building. You may see water leaking out from under your vending machine. We would like to offer you some ideas to check if your machine is having an issue with excess condensation & some solutions to help you fix the problem. You don’t always need to run out looking for new vending machines for sale. Chances are you can get to the bottom of the issue with a few quick checks.

The primary causes of excess condensation are:
1. An air leak from a damaged door gasket
2. A loose door
3. A worn out T-handle or missing parts
4. Missing or broken delivery flap
5. Mis-aligned door or Mis-aligned inner door
6. Low air flow from the fan or a very high humidity environment
7. A compressor issue

the compressor issues can range from low Freon causing excess frost on the evaporator to a short cycling thermostat that does not stay turned off for more than a minute or 2 which can cause excess condensation.

One thing you should check is if you have over tightened the door. Over tightening the beverage compartment door can damage the seal used to keep the warm air out and the cold air in. These small gaps will create a mixture of warm and cool air to combine & can possibly produce condensation.

To prevent this, turn the locking handle until the gasket around the door is flush. Then turn the handle another half a turn to secure the connection to ensure you do not over-tighten the door.

You will want to check for any gaps in the inner door as well. Look at the inner door and make sure the lower edge of the gasket is not sagging below the door. Make sure that it fits snugly and that there are no places where the cooled air can escape.

Another thing to check is for any leakage of water into the machine or below the machine from the drip pan. This can be remedied by adding a sponge to the drip pan to help it hold more fluid, and evaporate. You could also place an inexpensive baking dish or tray below the vending machine to catch any water that may escape.

Once you have checked a few of these things, get a thermometer and put it inside the machine drink compartment so you can confirm the temperature. You are looking for approximately 38 – 43 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to feel inside and see if you can feel the air flow and vibration of the fans. If you can feel the air flow but it’s not getting cold, you may have an issue with the fans. Many problems that you are having with your cooling deck require a specialized technician to troubleshoot. A technician should be called to work on this area of your machine.

You may also want to check where the cooling line enters the tray and if there are any gaps you can seal those with plumber’s putty. A small hole could be drilled for an additional drainage line if your collection pan is not big enough to hold the excess condensation. That way it can drain down in to a pan placed under the machine.

Finally, cleaning the condenser coil is vital to the lasting success of a vending machine, which along with a few precautions can insure that your machine vends cold product consistently. When placing a vending machine, it is important to make sure that the vending machine is located at least 4-6 inches away from the wall to assure proper ventilation for units that have a refrigeration system. It is recommended to clean it at least once a year, and possibly up to once every couple of months depending on the location. A factory location will naturally have more debris in the air than an office setting, and therefore require more attention. A small vacuum, a rag, or a can of compressed air will go a long way to insure that your vending machine goes the distance.

All machine is different & you will want to check the owner’s manual for your machine. The manual should have information about how to set the temperature in your machine. It may also have a diagram to help you see the inner workings of the cooling deck. It may offer some troubleshooting techniques you can try. It is always a good idea to go to your manual first when you have any issue with your machine.

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Improved Customer Experience Through a Vending Machine Mobile App

Customer experience is a big factor in vending sales. If they have a good experience, they will be looking for more vending machines for sale & come back to purchase again. One way you can improve your customer’s experience is to offer a discount or have a sale on certain items. You can do this through the Monyx app for the Nayax credit card reader, the 365 Pay mobile app for AirVend or through the USA Technologies E-port Connect program and its More mobile app. Especially important for today’s growing smart phone-oriented generation are features such as machine location services, couponing capabilities and more. These will help you differentiate your brand & build customer loyalty.

Nayax Monyx App

The Nayax Credit Card Reader can connect customers with its Monyx mobile app. This app allows your customers to easily use their smartphone to make purchases at your vending machines. No wallet required. You can give them special discounts and run promotions wherever your machines are located.  Why should you promote the use of Monyx?

Your customers will have the following benefits:

  1. The ability to pay with varied cashless payment methods, like debit/credit card, prepaid card, PayPal and more, without carrying anything but their smartphone
  2. Receive discounts, special promotions at participating locations
  3. Track their purchase history
  4. Send gift products to their friends via their smartphone

You will be able to connect with your consumers to deliver vouchers and loyalty cards that increase sales and the number of returning consumers. A location- based sales system map can show all your machines based on consumer purchases, and offer sales per location. These options will be coming soon to the Monyx app and will hopefully be available by the end of the year.

You can also reduce operational costs while ensuring customer satisfaction by sending instant refunds to the consumer’s phone via SMS from the Nayax management system. An easy to use management platform puts automated machine operators in the driver’s seat and allows them to design and publish different sales by location and more. Monyx allows machine operators to communicate with their unattended consumer, enabling endless marketing possibilities. So how does Monyx work?

 

There are 4 simple steps:

  1. Pick a Payment:
    1. Wallet-upload money in advance
    2. Voucher or Loyalty Card (Buy 4 get the 5 for free! – coming soon!)
    3. PayPal and Credit/Debit Cards
    4. Customizable Pre-Paid Cards
  2. Choose the Machine:
    1. Manually (entering the machine’s number)
    2. QR Code (scanning the machine)
    3. Recently used machine list
    4. Proximity Map (coming soon!)
  3. Pick the product from the machine
  4. Pay!

 

USA Technologies MORE App

USA Technologies is empowering the self-serve and unattended retail industries to meet growing consumer demand for cashless payments. They have an advanced interactive media, content delivery system. In addition, it is providing new consumer engagement services through USAT’s MORE™ mobile app. The company is helping drive the next phase of mobile and cashless payments. They will help you move beyond a simple transaction. You can use payment information to engage with the consumer in the moment, at point-of-sale, driving increased and recurring revenue.

By seamlessly integrating into existing USAT technology, MORE™ works with credit, debit, NFC, mobile, and prepaid payment methods. You can get a complete kit containing promotional materials, detailed instructions, and loyalty cards to be distributed across your network, from the USA Technologies website. They have made it super easy to add this to your business. Using an interactive mobile application, consumers can link the information from the web-based consumer portal to get information on new products, advertising and special offers via their smart phone.

How are rewards earned? It’s up to you! You can opt to offer your customers anything from a one-time cash bonus for activation, cash-back on each purchase to specific, time-bound incentives to establish new purchase patterns. You do it all with a simple, web-based operator interface. Consumers can track their rewards as they earn them at your locations. They can choose to redeem rewards for credits or free vends. Consumers can find participating machines near them, or via search, using location services, and view by map, augmented reality or list. You can learn more about the E-Port MORE™ app at their website:  https://getmore.usatech.com/index.html.

365 Retail Markets 365Pay App

AirVend and 365 Retail Markets have introduced their 365Pay mobile app which can connect with all their AirVend devices via a scanned QR code. Consumers use the 365Pay app with their mobile devices to connect with the hardware device to access product and nutritional information. They can send cashless credits to the vending machine. They can reload funds to the account balance within the app. Additionally, they can contact operator via email with any issues or feedback.

Any issues that the customer may have with payment will go directly to AirVend and they will handle all refunds for you. AirVend and 365 Retail Markets are currently testing a loyalty program in machines all around the country where customers can receive points based on their spending and then they can redeem those collected points for items from the vending machine. They hope to have that program available before the new year. Currently customers can use the app to make cashless payments via the AirVend on a machine and to see their transaction history.

Media Link Connection

With all these great options available to you as a vending machine operator, you can really adding to your income by utilizing them. You can use one of our Media Link digital advertisers to push this information out to your customers, letting them know that they can download an app to connect them to your machine. You can use social media to run contests with the prize being a discount or a free product & then you can easily give access to the prize via one of these mobile apps.

Point of Contact Rewards

These options can also help you keep up good relations with the Point of Contact at your location. If something goes wrong with a vend, they are going to find the nearest person to complain to and this is usually your POC. They will be the ones taking down names and notes on any issues the customer may have. They can help the customer feel like their input is important and their business is appreciated. Having a good relationship with that Point of Contact will help make the customer’s experience better. Showing gratitude for them by offering them a discount or giving them a virtual punch card to use at your machine can go a long way. They can also be great references for any future accounts you may have. You definitely want to keep up a good relationship with them.

Happy customers are repeat customers. If they feel appreciated, that can really help your sales. We hope you’ll add a credit card reader to your vending machines and capitalize on the added sales you’ll receive by doing so.

Contact Information


More information on any of these options can be accessed at any of the following websites or by calling the companies using the provided phone numbers.

Nayax: www.nayax.com  (410) 666-3800

USATechnologies: www.usatech.com  (800) 633-0340

AirVend/ 365 Retail Markets: http://www.air-vend.com  (888) 365-7382

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What to Expect when Starting a Vending Business

Our target, here at the Vending pro service, is to utilize our blog to answer as many of your vending questions as possible. Here are a few questions that are often asked by Newbie’s to Vending.

What is the startup cost in starting a vending machine business?

Of course, you are going to have to buy a vending machine! We offer new vending machines and refurbished vending machines. Price is always a consideration when buying a vending machine for sale. Refurbished machines range from $2000 – $3600 with a three-month warranty and lifetime technical support. New machines range from $3000 – $5000 including a year warranty and lifetime technical support. You’ll need to find a location. Some people opt for Locators which cost $400 – $500. You’ll also need product for the vending machine. Product costs $200 – $300 per machine.

How Do I Find a Vending Location?

There are two locators that we refer to: Quality Vending Locations and Kick Start Locations. Of course, there are other good locators but these are 2 locators that we are familiar with that are reputable. For more information on locators, see our blog should I Hire a Vending Locator? Owners can also elect to find great locations on their own.

Where do I buy product from for my new vending business?

We recommend that you buy product locally! There are no shipping costs have almost anything that you might need to stock your machine.

Is there a market for Vending?

Sure there is! Your success in vending depends on you, your service and your products. Healthy Vending is IN! Healthy Vending can kick out traditional vending machines in most businesses. Healthy Vending Machines can all use credit card readers – which increase sales. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requires healthy options in schools. Healthy vending also appeals in gyms, hospitals and business locations like call-centers.

What will my return on investment (ROI) in a vending machine business look like?

If you buy from us and have a good location, you should see a ROI in 6-12 months assuming you are grossing $500 – $1000 per month. Your profit would be half of the gross income!

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