Vending machines are everywhere. You will see these automatic shop-keepers selling their wares in shopping centres, retail stores, airports, schools, arcades, supermarkets, restaurants, office buildings, recreation centres and much more. These machines represent a smart investment, because they are a retail operation that can be open 24 hours per day without having to be there yourself. Also, another advantage is that the popular products, such as brand name soft drinks and snacks, are already advertised for you!
Of course, just like any entrepreneurial endeavour there are a lot of considerations that you will need to make before you proceed. Before putting your hard-earned money and valuable time into this business, you will want to find out as much as possible about what you have to look forward to when owning a vending machine.
Here are some of the common questions that vending machine investors have before they begin:
Who Chooses the Vending Machine Location?
When you invest in a vending machine, it is up to you to choose where your machines are located. However, many first time vending machine investors find this challenging because they have no experience in the business and aren’t sure what the best location would be. Many vending machine companies will offer the services of a professional locator, who will help the investor to choose the best location for their machines. As the investor you will have the final approval of each location.
Does the Owner of the Location Always Receive a Percentage of the Profit?
Not necessarily. Often a business owner will allow a vending machine in their establishment, because it provides a convenience for their customers and employees. Of course, the agreement between the vending machine owner and the business owner will be different for every situation. It is important to record all agreements on a written contract so that both you and the business owner are on the same page.
How Often Should a Vending Machine be Restocked?
Generally, most vending machines should be restocked and maintained at least once per week. However, this depends on the machine and its location. If the machine is located in a very busy location, its stock will be depleted very quickly and will need to be replenished more often. It is important to make sure that vending machines are always well stocked, because if you have run out of a popular product then you will be missing out on the potential for generating revenue for that product.
What if the Vending Machine Needs Maintenance?
Vending machines, especially those in high traffic areas, will eventually need maintenance. It is important to keep your machine well maintained, because customers will be hesitant to put their money into a machine that looks like it is in ill repair – as they will assume that it doesn’t work.
Sometimes vending machine investors choose to learn how to do the necessary upkeep on their own, learning how to fix the most common issues with vending machines. However, sometimes the repairs are more serious and they require the help of a repairman to ensure that the vending machine is fixed properly.
In some cases, you might find that eventually the cost of repairs to the machine are greater than the cost of replacing the machine with a new one.
How Many Vending Machines Should I Buy?
The answer to this question totally depends on your own personal preference and the goals for your business. Some investors like to start out with one machine, so that they can get to know the business with a minimal investment. There is always the potential to grow your investment and take on more machines in the future. The more machines you have, the greater your profit will be. For example, Michael Schwartz, the founder of MSS Vending, started out back in 1991 and his business now has more than 800 vending machines. How much or how little you want to get involved is totally up to you.
These are just a few of the common questions that are asked by beginners in the vending machine business. It is important to take these considerations in mind, so that you can make the most of your investment and have a successful vending machine business.
Tim Grimshaw is a freelance writer and blogger. He is interested in all aspects of business, entrepreneurship and investing. He also earns an income on the side from several vending machines positioned throughout his local area.