There's a lot to be said for running a vending machine business. Buying a vending machine is usually much cheaper than starting a shop, and the machine's don't ask for a salary. While it does take some work to load and maintain the machines, the workload is often significantly lower than that of other retail options. It's also easy to diversify the business by purchasing different machines and spreading them all over town. Those benefits ensure that vending machine franchises are popular, but there are a few things that everyone who wants to start one should remember if they want to be successful.
Know The Terms
Most vending machines come with certain terms and conditions, and it's important to understand those terms before getting started. This is especially true for people who are leasing a machine rather than purchasing it. These contracts tend to vary from one area to the next. For example, the terms of leasing vending machine in Australia are very different from the terms in other countries. A mistake at this stage can destroy a business before it gets started, so it's important to take the time to read things carefully.
Location Comes First
The first step towards making money with vending machines is finding the right locations. A vending machine can go essentially anywhere that the property owner will allow it, but some are much better than others. The area's most important factor is its foot traffic. Most visits to a vending machine are impulse purchases, so they need to be in places where plenty of people are walking past who might have those impulses.
When possible, put vending machines in places where people will spend large periods of time. Gaming conventions, concerts, and other such events have a captive audience that will want to purchase snacks without having to leave. The location will also determine the goods for sale. In general, vending machines do best when they offer convenience to people who don't want to travel to a full store. A cigarette machine can do well near apartments if it saves smokers from walking a few blocks to buy them somewhere else, while food does well if it can prevent people from leaving an event to get it.
People who have found a good location are ready to buy a vending machine. There are several factors to consider here, but the most important one is the choice between a new or used machine.
New or used? Used machines are much cheaper than new ones, so they're a good choice for the entrepreneur on a budget. The downside is that they tend to break down and require maintenance more quickly than new machines. That's fine for people who can fix them on their own, but calling in a handyman can get expensive quickly. New machines will cost much more up front, but they can go longer without repairs. Every machine will need some maintenance eventually, so this choice comes down to the owner's ability to perform repairs and when that owner wants to pay for them.
Size Size is another significant factor. It's usually easier to find a place for a small machine than a big one, but small machines need to be restocked more often. That means spending more money on fuel and labor, so large machines can be slightly more efficient. An empty machine can also mean missed sales, so large ones offer more security. On the other hand, perishable goods need to be replaced whether they sell or not, so excess space often means wasted money. This is a delicate balancing act, but in general it's best to have just enough space to prevent missed sales without paying for any excess. Getting this right takes experience, but the right machine in the right place is all that it takes to make money with a vending machine.