When we were kids, my brother and I couldn’t wait for our dad to come home from work. We were happy to see him naturally because it’s our dad. But we were also excited to get the candy and bubblegum he had for us.
My father had a successful vending machine route. And every day he would come home with extra candy. In addition to the treats, he would test our growing strength by letting us lift the huge bags of coins.
But what does this story have to do with you? It’s simple, he made money and so can you.
I’ll skip the basics of how to start a business, getting a license, incorporating, etc. Although important, let’s focus on the specifics of investing in these moneymakers.
1. Decide what sort of device to offer.
They come three ways: electronic, mechanical, and bulk. And there’s a good chance you’ve seen them all. The food and beverage types are the most advanced versions. So, let’s start there.
These dispensers are usually about six feet in height and start around $3,000 dollars. They usually have soft drinks, chips, cookies, etc. The automatic type is the most expensive but is also the most reliable.
Next up are the bulk ones. Think a giant piece of bubble gum or handful of M&M’s. Not as large as electronic, but they hold a single product. You can easily launch a profitable enterprise with these. And the cost is fifty to two hundred bucks.
The third type is specialty or mechanical types. You might find these at a laundromat, car wash, or break room. They have a few products and cost about $2,000 dollars to own.
2. Location is everything.
So, we have answered what type of machine to choose from. So, where are you going to place your investment?
You need locations with lots of foot traffic. Auto dealers, office buildings, schools, etc. Look at the places you come across running errands. Make a note of them and network with the owners and property managers of those facilities to get your cash cows placed.
3. Be professional.
The single biggest key to your success is professionalism. Treat your new venture with the respect. Treat every customer, and missed opportunity, with respect.
A family friend proved that being professional and serious go hand and hand. Dwight was able to run his retailing empire because he became an expert.
He stayed on top of maintenance, inquiries, restocking, and all other aspects. He is the kind of person that is always positive and open to improve.
And that takes me to my next point. Your attitude. The combination of a great attitude and professional character will bring in the profits you were hoping for.
4. Name your vending idea.
Why is this step important? As previously mentioned, you want to always come across as a specialist. A simple way to do that is with the naming process.
Consider the quick list below and more free tips on how to name a biz here.
• Use a name generator like Shopify
• Check with friends and family
• Pull out a dictionary
• Pick easy to spell and remember
Basically, give the naming procedure a fair amount of your time to discover something special.
5. Find machines.
Get going with small or medium sized soda equipment. One or two. See how well you do before branching out and buying more and taking on additional responsibility.
There are several sources for distributors too. You can go the wholesale or specialty outlet path or use platforms like Craigslist or Ebay.
Search Google and navigate the local and national results. Prices vary, so a little due diligence is wise. Depending on your budget of course, you may look at new or used inventory.
Since you will be spending a fair amount of cash, use caution before pulling out your credit card. Compare and consider the following:
• Seller references
• Test machinery
• Maintenance records
• Any financing
• Delivery options
6. How to stock products.
The next tip is reviewing your state requirements. Today, healthy eating is promoted everywhere. And that is a good thing. Know exactly how much space to set aside for these healthier options.
Often healthier choices will cost a bit more. But as a rule, make certain that the wholesale contacts that you make are giving you their best price. I don’t have to tell you that saving money here is vital to your bottom line.
7. How do you build your own territory?
Kicking off your new venture on you own is doable. With the list of tips above you’ll be a success. Earn the trust of a building owner or manager, and you’re off to the races.
But just like starting a janitorial franchise, you can do the same here. So, if you don’t want to begin from scratch you don’t have to. Franchises like Healthy You have been around since 2000, and do not charge a royalty or franchise fee.
Another option is to buy someone’s existing territory. And in case you’re wondering why someone would sell a profitable route there are several. Some owners may build routes and sell them, others may want to try something new, and it may be time to retire for someone else.
In conclusion, creating a vending side hustle, and becoming successful is hopefully easier with this information. If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone eager to grab your bags when you get home each night.