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How to Start a Bulk Candy Vending Business

Monday, September 24th, 2012 | Permalink

by Rick Suttle | smallbusiness.chron.com

Bulk vending is a cheaper option for starting your own vending business. Unlike the larger snack and drink vending machines, which can cost several thousand dollars each in 2010, you can purchase most bulk candy vending machines for less than $200. The bulk machines are also easier to repair than the larger units. You have several options from which to choose when starting your bulk candy vending business.

Step 1
Research bulk candy businesses online and determine products that typically sell the best. Decide which products you want to sell.

Step 2
Check the Internet, local newspaper and other business publications for existing bulk vending routes. Search online for new bulk vending units, including counter-top and self-standing units. Make sure to look primarily for three-head bulk machines, because they are a lot more convenient and will usually produce more sales than single- or double-head units. Compare the purchase price of the existing route vs. that of the new bulk vending machines. Consider purchasing an existing route if the difference in price is nominal, as the locations are already set up for the existing route.

Step 3
Make an appointment with several owners of existing bulk vending routes, and have each one show you his locations. Ask each owner if you can see the sales figures for his current locations. Compare his sales figures against the national average, which is about $200 per year or about $16.67 per month, according to vending owner and expert Dave Clingman in his article titled “Bulk Vending” at clingman.net.

Step 4
Inspect the condition of all the owners’ bulk candy vending machines. Weigh your options between purchasing new bulk machines or buying someone’s existing route, then start with the number of machines you can afford.

Step 5
Search online for confectionery distributors or bulk candy wholesalers in your area. Compare prices and select the one that charges the lowest unit price. Make sure the price of your bulk candy allows you to make between 20 or 25, or up to 50 times your unit cost, using 25 cents as a base price for a handful of candy.

Step 6
Make a list of some high traffic retail locations, including automobile service places or dealerships, and beauty salons, in your immediate area. Consider places where people have to wait for long periods of time; or workers spend many hours per day. Select two or three locations for each bulk candy vending machine you own as some locations will not permit you to place them. Try to locate the machines yourself, but consider a professional locator if you need assistance.

Step 7
Try to find a charity in which to donate part of your profits as this will help you avoid paying huge commissions to each location. Set up regular payments to the charity, and be honest in paying them. Try to keep commissions limited to less than 20 percent of your sales, if you must pay a portion of your sales.

Step 8
Fill your bulk vending units up about two-thirds of the way, because this helps prevent product from going bad, according to candymachines.com; and it gives the impression that your candy is fresh and selling.

Step 9
Service your machines as often as required, based on your sales volume. Clean the units during each visit as clean machines are more appetizing to the public.

Things needed
Product supplier
Bulk vending units
High traffic locations

Tips
Consider selling a salty snack in at least one of your three units per location. Not everyone likes sweets. Also, evaluate your sales every month or two, then consider relocating the lowest 10 percent to 20 percent of them to higher traffic areas. Use your profits to purchase more machines. There is certainly full-time income potential in the bulk candy vending business, but you will need several hundred machines to achieve those kind of profits.

Warning
Do not fall for the vending machine scams of unscrupulous vending machine sellers. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against bulk vending machine distributors.

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