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How To Start Vending Machine Business in 12 Steps

Do you want to start a vending machine business? If yes, you landed at the right place. Here in this article, we have listed all the steps to be followed to run this business successfully.

Vending machines have quite transformed into a stable business lately. With technology doing its bit, vending machines are now a popular mode of doing business. It requires very little manpower, no skills, and little investment. Anyone can start vending machine business, but you need to work on the basics right.

Is Vending Machine Business Profitable?

The scale of profit in this business largely depends on the location of the installed vending machine. If the place is a high-traffic zone, one can easily make more than $500 – $1000 a month.

The vending industry is one of the most profitable sectors on the entire planet. No retail shop, no manpower, no skills, less marketing. You literally just need to place your machine at a high-visible location and monitor it on a timely basis. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a vending machine business successfully.

Here are the 12 Steps to Start Vending Machine Business

1. Do Your Research On Vending Machines

Remember vending business has a one-time primary investment. It’s not easy to upgrade, nor to change. So research is the key to getting the best. It’s your duty to carry out extensive research in the market and take stock of your current finances. The initial investment could be a sizeable one, but it’s profitable in the long term.

2. Select your Type of Vending Business

The next step is to choose the type of vending machine to be installed. At present, there is a wide range of vending machines that are available. Depending upon the local demand, select the one that fits best. Below, we list down the popular vending machines that are catering to customers:

  • Soft Drink Vending Machines
  • Coffee Vending Machines
  • Snack Vending Machines
  • Specialty Vending Machines
  • Cooked and Frozen Vending Machines

3. Create a Business Plan

If you are interested to launch a successful vending machine business, it is essential to create a business plan document. This works as a roadmap for the current and future course of business activities. Some of the topics the business plan document must address are as follows:

  • Initial and recurring costs
  • Target customers
  • Pricing plan
  • How do you plan to promote your vending machine business?

4. Cost of Starting a Vending Mchine Business

You understand that you don’t have much to do except investing in the vending business. This is a financially extensive industry and you need to invest in good vending technology. This includes preliminary financial investment and logistical planning. If you are planning to take a loan, go through all the plans carefully. Try to opt for a longer payback plan via the right kind of small business financing.

The refurbished vending machines will cost you somewhere between $1,000 to $3,000. It isn’t a bad deal considering its total lifespan, while a new one will cost anywhere between $3,000 to as high as $10,000. The costs differ depending on the size and features.

Also, if you plan to install a vending machine under a building or commercial place, you might have to pay rent for the space. The commission that you need to pay generally ranges from 5% to 10% of your sales volume.

5. Buying The Vending Machine

After you are done with the research and ready with your capital, it’s now time to buy the vending equipment. Vending machines need time to time servicing and repairs. Make sure you choose the right vendor. If possible get into a contract with your vendor for timely services and after support.

If you are starting new, go with fewer machines, probably one or two in a specific market focusing on a target audience. As you grow, follow a stock and site-specific pattern to expand your business.

6. Stocking The Supplies

Choose what you want to sell. The vending machine business includes food and beverage machines that serve snacks, soda, or candy. These three make up the majority, though the fresh food is also making its way into vending machines slowly. You may also start with a specialty vending machine like a healthy snack or pizza or any special beverage.

7. Choosing The Location

Location plays a crucial role in the vending machine business. Deciding where to put your machine is going to determine your profit potential. If you are at a place that already has a lot of food joints or restaurants, it will not work at all. But if it’s near a college or office park, it will turn your tables around.

Try to pick a location where people will be in a hurry, like a railway station or airport. Or somewhere where there are limited restaurants and people have less time. Favorable Locations are:

  • Colleges
  • Schools
  • Railway Stations
  • Airports
  • Hospitals
  • Shopping malls
  • Parks
  • Office Complexes

8. Legal Compliance

Different countries have certain guidelines and regulations for installing various types of vending machines. Make sure your business follows all the vending regulations, which vary from state to state. As the vending machine is going to stay in a public place, it may be subject to certain compliance standards as well.

If you are from the United States, one can visit the official site of the U.S. Department of Justice to know more about local regulations and safety requirements.

9. Inventory & Back-Up

As you start your business, you will have to refill your machines on a timely basis. Run a check on your requirements and stock inventory accordingly. Your selection of products is an excellent opportunity to boost sales. Don’t overstock, and at the beginning adjust what you are offering and back up, based on the demand.

10. Vending Management System (VMS)

You are starting a business with technology. So, it’s highly recommended that you choose a technology for your machine which will come pre-programmed with management software. This is called a VMS or Vending Management System that you can use to streamline your vending operations.

A good vending management system will help you stay ahead of your competition. Also, VMS assists you to manage your vending machine inventory remotely.

11. Focus On Customer Service

Remember, you won’t be there to serve your customer, but your vending machine will be. Focus on offering premium customer service to your customers. Optimize your system with the best of technology and make sure that your vending machines are stocked and serviced on a timely basis.

12. Work On The Demand Patterns

You have to spend time on the changing demand patterns. Vending machine business needs timely research on trends in sales and products. Invest gradually as you start making money and keep a track of the pattern of sales. Keep updating your system as you grow with your business.

Vending machine business is an expanding industry. The opportunity to operate comes with comfortable investing. This a complete guide on how you can start your own successful vending machine business.