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Anyone dabble in the vending machine business?

NewManRising

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Lately I have been thinking about getting a few vending machines to generate a little extra income. I was thinking about getting a few small candy/toy machines. Aside from the start up investment, what are other challenges? My approach to getting them inside a store or business would be to simply go door to door and ask if I could put my machine inside and offer them an incentive. My ideas would be to offer a percent of the profits and/or maybe offering to promote their business to others. For example, say it is a pizza place, I would tell them I would let all family/friends and even strangers know their food is excellent and their staff/management is top notch people. Anyway, if you have established vending machines how did you go about getting up and running? Possibly give me a little idea of your process or business model. Also, any advice/suggestions on particular machines. Thanks
 
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collin_e

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We have a $.25 candy machine at our repair shop that a guy comes and cleans and refills once a month, it’s a mildly high traffic, and does get some business escpically when kids come in.

The issue I see with it, I would think you need a lot of machine to make it profitable or worth your time even doing. On the plus side, it’s pretty low maintenance and is definitely not time consuming. If you had enough, I could see it as a side gig

Need: Depending on what your vending. Typically, your at a machine for snack.
Entry: Mildly cost prohibitive for the average joe to start
Scalability: Pretty easily scableable if you have the capital and places to host then.
Time: Checks this off very well, a weekly restocking should be all the time they need.
 

lowtek

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My father ran a vending machine business. I believe it was his most profitable / low maintenance endeavor.

It does take a fair amount of work, however. You have to refill the machines / collect the coins fairly often. It's not difficult, but it is time consuming.

I'm not sure what his business model was, as far as splitting with the business owners.

You also have to roll all the coins and then take them to the bank. That takes more time than you might think. We have a washer/dryer combo at our rental that gets around $150 a month. That takes quite a bit of time to roll. I can't imagine rolling thousands of dollars in coins.
 

Thoelt53

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I can't imagine rolling thousands of dollars in coins.
That's a terrifying thought.

Luckily I've seen some banks that offer a Coinstar-like service, for free, if you bank with them. Then you would just be that guy who tops off the machine every week that poor Susie the Teller has to empty.
 
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eliquid

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They have automated machines to roll coins that aren't that expensive.

Im not talking about coinstar, but small home units.
 

pickeringmt

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I am excited to announce that I am going into this business
I helped a neighbor move and he gave me these four machines. For so, so many reasons I am going to see what i can do with it.
Here are a few of my assumptions:
  • I will either pay or donate 10% of the income
  • I will have to find secure places for my machines as they are not incredibly secure.
  • I am thinking of places where people will have cash - not that common anymore. Places like laundromats.
  • I have 4 machines, so I plan on just getting them out there and then moving the one performing the worst as much as possible.
  • I have no idea what to expect in terms of income, but I see this as an opportunity to build something out if the money is there. If the cash is there i will reinvest in more machines.
25786
 

Mike S

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With all due respect, there is nothing in any way entrepreneurial about parking some vending machines and collecting quarters. Low barrier to entry, little or no control, not truly scalable (you only have so much time in a day to collect and service your machines) Sorry but not for me. Good luck if you choose to chase quarters down the road.
 
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ZCP

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SD Entrepreneur

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With all due respect, there is nothing in any way entrepreneurial about parking some vending machines and collecting quarters. Low barrier to entry, little or no control, not truly scalable (you only have so much time in a day to collect and service your machines) Sorry but not for me. Good luck if you choose to chase quarters down the road.
I disagree and think there is nothing wrong with it for those starting out and can be a great learning lesson. You will learn: interacting with potential customers, sales, customer service, time management, money management, why it is a viable or unviable venture for them, etc. I agree it isn't the most scalable idea but taking action and learning is a great step in the entrepreneur journey!
 

njord

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In the spirit of TMF does it make CENTS? I'd say no on every account. Yea, if you want to buy a job and use it to learn some basic skills, go for it, but in the end you're just trading time for dollars.

You can hire someone to do that work for you.


I did some research a while ago about a similar idea but with pool/foosball games.
I found out the maintaince costs can be high and finding a good profeteble ( safe) location is hard.
The places that are aready have them or after seeing how profitlbe they are after a while get their own machines.

Goodluck!
 

ryanbleau

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Back when I was growing up in Massachusetts, we had a family friend who did quite well with vending machines, He had them in every grocery store, auto shop, barber shop, and even convivence stores. Cash business tends to attract a certain type of person. When he decided to retire and gave his son the business, his son bought a brand new Cadillac with cash he made that first week. Organized crime love cash businesses. depending where you are, you may have some competition.
 

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