Getting Started Can Be Easy
According to Forbes.com, starting a vending machine business is one of the easiest ventures to start. It’s a great opportunity to be your own boss and to make money while you’re not even working! But before you get started, it’s important to learn some basic tips (such as studying a vending expert) to know just what you’re getting into and to help you create a successful business.
1. Find a Top Location
Having a prime location is essential to running a successful vending machine operation and generating a high profit. One of the biggest factors to having a great location is foot-traffic. You should aim to have your machine set up in a location that sees at least 150 people on a daily basis, and ideally, at least 250 people. The more people that walk in the proximity of your machine, the better for your business.
The existence of other snack and drink options (whether from other vending machines, grocery stores, etc.) is another factor to consider when choosing a location. The more limited options are, the more success your vending machine will have.
Popular locations include schools (especially if you operate healthy vending machines), offices, gyms, hospitals, malls, large apartment complexes and laundromats. Remember, the busier the location, the more money your machines will earn you.
Also, determine what products would be appropriate for your chosen location. Or if you have specific products in mind that you want to vend, choose an appropriate location. It wouldn’t make sense to have a cigarette vending machine outside of a gym any more than having a healthy vending machine inside a bar.
If you aren’t able or don’t want to put the time and effort into finding locations on your own, you can work with a franchise and essentially pay the company to find you great locations. Even though it may cost you more in the beginning, going with a reputable company will help you be more successful and profitable.
2. Provide the Best Service Possible
Although it may not seem like it because you are not directly providing service, vending is a service business, and it is imperative to your success that you provide excellent service.
Maintaining a full and fresh stock of products will help your machines fare better. Also, doing regular service checks and routine maintenance will allow your machines to operate better.
In addition, buying machines that have remote monitoring will allow you to run a more stress-free operation, and provide better service. Usually done over web-based software, remote monitoring enables you to view your sales, inventory, even maintenance issues, all from the comfort of your home, office, hotel room while on vacation, etc. Other benefits of remote monitoring include reducing your fuel costs and your carbon footprint, saving you time from unnecessary trips to your machines, and reducing lost sales from items that are out of stock.
Finally, great service includes doubling up rows of top-selling items, to appease your clients as well as earn you more money, and giving out free product samples while you are restocking your machines.
3. Stand Out and Draw Attention
Vending machines have been around for more than 100 years. Though they have seen some changes and innovations during that time, the majority of traditional vending machines are pretty standard, bland and boring. As the operator of a vending machine, you want yours to stand out from the rest to encourage patrons to use yours over other machines. You want to make yours different in any way possible.
Attractive graphics, videos and a unique system of retrieving the products are all ways your machines can attract customers. For example, some healthy vending machines have a 23-inch HD video screen on the top of the machine that shows the nutrition information of the products and video ads, which generate easy advertising profits. The machine is also eco-friendly and uses 50 percent less energy than traditional vending machines, enabling it to stand out in the eyes of environmentally-conscious patrons. Finally, the machine’s large capacity and conveyor belt dispensing technology are not only unique and intriguing, they allow for 40 percent more stocking of more than 5,000 different products.
So even if you have minimal or no sales experience, but you’re interested in starting your own business that is based entirely on, well, sales, operating vending machines could be the easiest route to take. Just remember that location is key, providing top service is essential and having a machine and products that attract attention (in a positive manner) is crucial if you want to have a successful go at your own vending business.