A vending machine can be a great way to make some money, without even having to be there! You can invest in a vending machine and place it in a high traffic area where people will be likely to want a snack or a drink. Over time, people will buy the snacks in your machine and you will be able to periodically visit the machine to replenish the stock and retrieve the money!
Vending machines require very little time and effort on your part, however they are not a completely passive investment. There are a few important things that you should keep in mind when you are making money from vending machines. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Choose the Right Location in the First Place
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you are investing in a vending machine is deciding where to put it. If a machine is in a location where it won’t get many customers, you will not enjoy a good return on your investment.
A good location for a vending machine should be in a high traffic area where it is likely that there will be a lot of hungry people. This could be in an office, a barber shop, a store entrance, a waiting room, a shopping centre or a sports complex. The machine should be well lit and visible, so that the delicious treats inside will catch the eye of people as they walk by.
Before you decide on where to place your machine, do a little bit of research into possible locations. If you find a location that already has a vending machine, this doesn’t mean that you can’t place your machine there – you just have to offer a different selection.
Make a Deal With a Business Owner
When you find the right location, you will need to convince the business owner to let you have the vending machine on their property. The first few business that you talk to might reject you if they are not interested, but be patient, polite and persistent until you find someone who you want to work with. You and the business owner will discuss whether or not they will take a percentage of your sales or whether you will pay a monthly fixed rate. This is when your negotiating skills come into place, so that you can work out a deal that will be as profitable as possible for you while still serving the business owner well.
It is also important to sign a written contract with the business owner whenever you place a vending machine. This will ensure that there is no confusion later on when it comes to what you have agreed upon.
The More Machines, the Bigger Profit
If you want to increase the amount of profit you earn from your vending machines, why not consider owning more? The advantage to owning 5 or 10 machines rather than one is that it won’t take you much longer than it would to stock and maintain just the one – but your profits will be much higher. If you want to build from a part-time investment to a major money-making opportunity – consider taking on more machines. For example, MSS Vending founder Michael Schwartz started in 1991 and his company now has over 800 vending machines.
Take Good Care of Your Machines
It’s not enough just to set up a vending machine once and then leave it from then on. Once your machine has been placed in the right location, it is up to you to keep it clean, functioning and well stocked. If a machine looks like it has seen better days – people will wonder whether or not it still works and they will be hesitant to put their spare change into it. Also, if your machine runs out of a popular product – you will be missing out on potential revenue.
Most of the time, you can perform enough maintenance and re-stocking on your vending machine by visiting once per week. However, if the machine is popular enough you might need to visit it more often.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind so that your vending machine investment can be more profitable and successful.
Tim Grimshaw is a freelance writer and blogger. He is interested in small businesses, innovation and entrepreneurship and he contributes to several online publications. He also owns five vending machines that he has placed in local businesses.