Whether you’re looking to be your own boss or cash in with a side hustle, starting a vending machine business could be just the ticket. After all, it’s a $22 billion-dollar industry. A successful vending machine business provides ever-so-easy passive income that can otherwise be difficult to come by.
Launching your new enterprise may seem intimidating, but adhering to these simple steps will help you to succeed in your new venture.
Determine if Vending is Right for You
Be prepared to be a business. Start your company with a strong foundation of ‘why.’ Outline your long-term goals, then ask yourself if a vending machine business aligns with them. Do you want more flexibility in your schedule? More control over your financial future? Do you want to make a positive impact in your community? Or do you just want to make a little extra money? Like a fine compass, leaning on your end goals provides direction for all your business decisions as you move forward.
Of course, there are some fundamental, economic questions that you should answer: Is this a full-time undertaking or a side hustle (in other words, how much time can you devote)? How will you fund your new business? How much can you invest? Understand there’s a difference between what you want to invest and what you can invest—in both time and money.
Choose the Right Equipment and Products
Once you have built a strong foundation for why you want to start your own vending machine business, defined how much time you can spend and how you’ll fund your new adventure, it’s time to research equipment and products.
If you’ve determined your business will be a side hustle, or a vehicle to teach your kids about entrepreneurship, bulk vending machines might be just the fit. These little coin-operated machines packed with gumballs, M&Ms or skittles can be a fun family activity and earn your kids a little side money.
If you want a more lucrative business opportunity, you’re going to need to step up your vending-machine game. Because cash is a dying breed, modern vending machines with credit card and smartphone payment options are a must to optimize revenue potential. In fact, according to some reports, the average consumer spends 32 percent more when they pay with credit versus cash, and annual cashless sales have increased 28 percent year-over-year. Modern vending machines come equipped with the ability to process multiple payment methods.
Find vending machines from companies that provide training and support. Beware of seemingly less expensive or used machines without a warranty or any guarantee for continued support. These machines can actually cost you more in the end.
After deciding on the equipment that aligns with your business objectives, it’s time to identify what products you want to sell (specific offerings will vary between locations; more on that in step four). The standard vending machine fare—sugary drinks, candy and greasy chips—are no longer the only options. Healthy product machines are part of the mix in today’s increasingly health-conscious world. Do your research on local trends and demographics to identify what products will be profitable in your machines.
Secure Profitable Locations for Your Machines
Securing locations is where the rubber meets the road. This can be a daunting task, or it can be fun. Before leaving home to knock on doors, make sure to approach the right businesses, in qualified locations. The more foot traffic a building receives, the higher the earning potential. It’s probably not a good idea to place a machine in an office building with less than 20 employees and few visitors.
Location, location, location! Before contacting a potential location, plan a contact strategy. Identify the needs of the location and create a proposal for how your vending business will meet them. Explain, with as much detail as possible, your plan for restocking and maintaining the machine, as well as your contact information. Nothing sours an organization to the idea of vending more than having a broken, empty machine in their establishment and not knowing how to contact the operator. Some vending machine companies even offer location finding services, which you may want to consider.
In some cases, a location may ask for a percentage of sales. Be prepared to build this into your product pricing—or establish early on that your business is non-commission based.
Lastly, have a contract prepared for both you and the building owner to sign. The agreement should include all the terms and conditions of both parties. If the building owner objects to any of the contract’s terms, be ready and willing to negotiate until you reach an agreement you can both sign.
Choose Revenue-Maximizing Products Based on Individual Locations
Determining the right product mix is essential to the success of your business—and the product offering should vary based on the location and customer base. Selling gummy bears and sour worms might not be the best option for a machine placed in a gym. The success of your vending machine business largely depends on finding a product mix that meets the needs of each location.
As consumer interest in a healthy lifestyle increases, so does demand for healthier options in vending machines. As a result, healthy vending is a growing category and a serious option to consider if you want your business to be around for the long haul.
Whatever you decide about your product mix, make sure your offerings taste great, have some nutritional value, are relatively affordable and come from easily-recognizable brands. Pro tip: Offer some novel products to avoid the predictability of standard vending options and pique consumer interest.
Regularly Service Your Machines
It’s obvious, but machines need to be stocked in order to make sales. But keeping your machines stocked does more than allow people to buy your products. Consumers are more likely to buy from a clean, inviting, well-stocked machine. Regular servicing and restocking your machines gives you the opportunity to clean the glass and controls. Let’s face it—nobody wants to buy products from a grimy machine.
Healthy YOU Vending is Here to Help
Whether you want to earn passive income with a side hustle or are ready to leave your full-time job behind to be your own boss, operating a vending machine business may be just the ticket. Just make sure to define your objectives, choose prime locations, tailor the products to the locations and service your machines regularly.
Healthy YOU Vending helps individuals operate successful vending machine businesses by providing industry-leading machines, lifetime coaching, a community of online support and location procurement. We offer the support of a franchise without the associated fees and royalties. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you live the American dream. If you’re interested in a unique business opportunity, Healthy YOU Vending may be the perfect fit.