How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Image of A Coke Machine

A Quick Overview of Starting A Vending Machine Business

Starting a vending machine business means being creative.

It is basically a business that places and stocks vending machines in a variety of (ideally)high traffic areas where people have the conveniences to make a purchase.

This can be anything from a simple gumball machine to a complex machine that dispenses specialty coffees.

It is wise to start off with a certain type of vending machine when you start before branching out into different types of machines. Once you learn one business you can quickly move to another.

This is an easy business to break into and if you have a little persistence and a personable nature you will do well.

It’s fast-growing and offers a great chance to make a nice little income. Here are some things you will want to have before starting:

  • If you have connections with local stores and establishments you will be able to start quicker and get more money faster.
  • A working knowledge of the machines. Vending machines have a habit of breaking or stalling so you will need to know how to fix them or have someone fix them for you quickly.

Skill Set:

  • Keeping each machine stocked and in a timely manner
  • Delivering and setting up vending machines
  • Repair vending machines is A Plus
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:

Common staff positions needed to run some businesses

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

Set your own hours, and schedule your day as you like. As long as you can supply the areas your machines are located in.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

See our list of common business expenses

Licenses:

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Tips & Considerations:
  • It is wise to start out small, perhaps with a few machines, and then start buying more as revenue comes in. You will also have to invest in products to fill the machines.
  • Be careful there are scams out there that promise the world to you, and all they want is to sell the machines because their business model does not work and/or their merchandise doesn’t sell. Make sure to perform due diligence
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • It’s automated
  • It’s low maintenance
  • Products sell themselves once you set up the machines
  • You can set your own schedule

The Cons:

  • Lots of competition
  • Machines break and if you don’t get the fixed in a timely manner that’s revenue gone
  • People sometimes abuse and break the machines
  • You need to develop your business slowly over several years or invest a large amount of money up front to get started
  • Finding good locations may be difficult
  • Cost of each machine can be in the $3000 range
  • The return on investment ROI may take a while
Statistics:

See Valuation Resources for current vending machine statistics.

Revenue:

Vending is a numbers game, especially in bulk vending. You will need a lot of quality vending machines placed in high traffic areas in order to build a good revenue stream

Add in anywhere from 20% to 35% cost of goods and you have a ballpark estimate of revenue. This is an industry standard for bulk vending, so it is not guaranteed.

Resources:

Related Sites:

1-800 Vending

Equipment and Supplies:

Gum balls

Forums:

Vending Chat

Franchises:

Gum balls

h.u.m.a.n. Healthy Vending

Associations:

NAMA

Related Businesses

Concession Stand Business

Hot Dog Cart Business