Posts Tagged vending machines

How to Start a Small Coin Vending Machine Business

Saturday, July 27th, 2013 | Permalink

by Sarah Dray |

A vending machine business is great for people looking to earn some extra cash without having to invest a lot of time to get it started. Depending on what budget you have available, it’s possible to start small and grow with time, or go at it full-force.


1. Decide how much you’re ready to invest. If you have a small budget, you may only be able to afford small vending machines, like the ones that dispense gum or pocket toys. If you’re looking to invest more, you can always look into drink and snack machines. Financing is available from certain retailers, so don’t be afraid to inquire about it.

2. Map a route. It will be much easier to refill the machines if they’re distributed in a logical pattern. When planning the route and choosing locations, do keep in mind the best stops to place your machines. Hotel lobbies, storefronts and fast food restaurants are ideal because of the constant traffic in and out.

3. Look online for companies offering vending machines for rent and sale. Compare not only prices but the advantages of each one, the warranties offered and whether they have additional services available., the largest vending machine website in the country, offers second-hand machines, a great deal if you’re looking for large equipment.

4. Get coin vending machines made of metal. Plastic ones may look cuter but unless you’re placing them indoors, they are more likely to get vandalized. New vending machines may come with a partial warranty, but used ones (and certain new models) may not qualify.

5. Pay attention at how your machines are doing. If you see that a specific one that is still full about a month or two after placement, you will need to either move it or replace the contents with something more popular. Don’t stop by to check on the machine only with the intention of collecting money. Instead, treat the machines as a sound investment and do as much as possible to increase sales.

Tips & warnings

Don’t stick only to the classics. Lots of innovative products are available to be sold via vending machines, including toothpaste/toothbrush sets, miniature toys and even small electronics.


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School Nutrition: Targeting Junk-Food-Filled Vending Machines

Friday, May 10th, 2013 | Permalink

by Oz Garcia |

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Statistics show that nearly one in three American children are either overweight or obese. I repeat: one in three! Sadly, these statistics have become the norm and for no justified reason.

These statistics need to change for a number of reasons, the most important one being that this is a matter of life and death. But where do we start?When our grocery store aisles are filled with candy, cookies, soda, sugary cereals and other heart-unhealthy processed foods and sugary, artificial additives, how do we shake this epidemic?

While I believe that parents play the most important role in teaching children healthy habits, I also believe that the U.S. school system plays a very central part in developing a child’s eating habits.

I recently published my fourth book (coauthored by Natalie Geary, M.D.) called “The Food Cure for Kids.” The book is, in a few words, about how kids become better — or “cured,” if you will — physically, mentally and behaviorally when living on the ideal nutritional diet.

While skimming the BusinessWeek website, I came across an article entitled “School Vending Machines Undermine Student Nutrition.” The article really hit home and is very closely related to my book.

The social issues inflicted upon children who are overweight and obese are highly debilitating and include depression and lack of self-esteem. What type of message are we sending when educational institutions — the very place that is supposed to infuse our children with thoughtfulness and nourishment — literally pushes limitless high-calorie and excessively processed foods?

The BusinessWeek article examined a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health, showing the negative impact that vending machine foods had on the purchasing choices of students at about 150 different U.S. schools. Eighty-three percent of the studied schools housed vending machines with foods containing minimal nutritional value — such as chips, soda and candy. The remaining schools’ vending machines contained fruits and vegetables.

The findings showed that students without access to junk food-filled vending machines ate more produce overall.

The moral of this story is that children will adapt to what they are given. Put a junk food-filled vending machine in front of a child and more than likely he will dial for Doritos. When this same child is presented a vending machine with the choice between an apple or a bag of grapes, he will have no choice but to choose one of two fruits and, consequently, develop a taste for fruit. Vending machines do not make sense inside a house of education unless they are offering thoughtful foods that are beneficial to children’s health.

In my book, I actually note my opinion that vending machines are a novel and unnecessary addition to schools. Principals and parents have begun to see them as a source of revenue to pay for extracurricular programs and school supplies. Parents must realize, however, that the implementation of vending machines are becoming factors of the growing number of children with heart problems, diabetes and other health risks.

Parents and principals: If you want healthy, successful and active children, I ask you to look for revenue solutions beyond vending machines; there is a better way to raise money than asking your child to buy a bag of chips. A bag of grapes will support your school’s football team or your fall talent show just as well as a bag of chips or a pack of Twinkies. Even better, your kids will walk away with a valuable lesson and maybe even increased self-esteem.

Take the time to check out your child’s cafeteria and explore what’s inside their vending machines. If you don’t like what you see, take a stand. Do something. If parents and schools can work together we will find a new generation of children, which are better educated and healthier. What more can a parent want?


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Should You Buy a New or Used Vending Machine for Your Business?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 | Permalink

by Sue Barrett |

Are you getting started in the vending machine business? If you are looking for equipment to buy, it can be worth your while to look into used vending machines or refurbished models. You can sometimes save thousands of dollars.

Even though you can save money by cutting your costs, you want to be smart and do your research. Since this is an income opportunity, the most important factor in your purchasing decision is your bottom line. Just as much as you do not want to overspend on your equipment, you do not want to have vending machines that constantly break and are out of operation – not producing any income for you.

If you are starting your company on a tight budget, keep in mind that used equipment may cost less, but newer or refurbished options may offer great financing on equipment. Run the numbers and see if you can qualify for financing. Depending on your situation, sometimes newer models can end up costing you less money in the long run.

Refurbished Vending Machines

You can often get refurbished vending machines from the same shop that sells new models. They can include warranties and the equally fast shipping and easy delivery that you would expect when buying brand new. This applies whether you are purchasing a snack vending machine, soda or even frozen food machine.

When comparing refurbished items, look at (1) warranty coverage, (2) what type of inspection is done on the machines prior to sale and (3) the repair service available. Warranties generally run from one to three years. You sometimes can get extending warranties, adding years on to the standard protection package.

It is nearly impossible to know exactly how long a particular refurbished model will last and how well it will run. However, you can get references and customer testimonials from the vending company to better predict what to expect before your purchase.

Used Vending Machines

You can find used equipment offered in the classified ad section of publications or on websites. Generally cheaper than a newer, refurbished model, used equipment may require you to pick up. If delivery is offered, it may not be as fast or convenient as it would with a large retailer – and you should not expect a warranty.

When buying used without a warranty or service plan, you either want to be knowledgeable in vending machine maintenance and repairs or know someone who is. This will take a large amount of the risk and hassle out of buying equipment that is not new and is likely to need more care.

If you find a used vending machine for sale that is in close proximity to you, and you have a truck plus manpower available to easily pick up and move the machine, this can be a great opportunity for you. If the owner is anxious to sell, and there are limited buyers in the area, you can often negotiate a great price.

As with most business purchases, you want to comparison shop to find the best deal for your particular needs. Get advice from people who have already operated their own machine businesses. You will gain great insight that can help you save money and increase your profits.


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Cotton Candy Vending Machine

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 | Permalink

There couldn’t be a better time than the present to consider the possibilities of a vending machine business. With the state of the economy becoming more questionable by the minute and the possibilities of vending machines profits remaining steady, it just makes sense. The benefits of vending have become more worthy of consideration as the possibilities of being laid off, having your pay cut and just not having enough cash become more real. Even if you aren’t worried about your job you might just be bored, and owning an electronic vending machine is a great way to start a business and be your own boss.

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Most people start a vending machine business because they want a source of passive income to supplement their salary, but some people turn it into a full time business that serves as their primary source of income. While 65 percent of these industrialists start out using their vending machines profits as a part time income source, 80 percent of those will eventually build the business into a full time job. If you start with one electronic vending machine you can eventually use the profits from that to buy another, and continue doing so until you have vending locations all over town making money for you.

If you want to turn a vending machine business into your primary source of income, you will need to start out by writing down a business plan so all of your ideas will be clear and uncluttered. Then you will probably have to evaluate your capital investment and analyze the areas where you are going to allocate your time and money. The vending locations will be extremely important. You want to place your machines in areas that are crowded with foot traffic where people might feel the need to stop for whatever it is that you are selling. Also make sure to buy your electronic vending machine from a reputable dealer that offers vending machine guarantees and warranties.

cotton candy vending machine business could potentially become your full time job. Plan carefully and act wisely, and you could be your own boss in no time.


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Types of Vending Machines

Saturday, November 10th, 2012 | Permalink

by Mary Jane |

Small business owners who wish to operate a vending machine business have choices when it comes to the types of vending machines the business will offer. Although people generally think of snacks and soda vending machines, there are several other types self-serve vending machines that offer products for people need and want in various situations and different environments. A business owner may operate several vending machines in different settings and for different target audiences.

Candy and Soda

The standard vending machine comes to mind is one that offers candy, snacks and sodas for spare change. These vending machines are available in various locations, including office buildings, schools, train and bus stations, mall and shopping facilities. Other types of vending machines include gumball machines or smaller vending machines that only offer specific types of candies including chocolates, hard candies or candies with a toy.


Some vending machines also offer freshly brewed coffee, hot chocolates or teas. These vending machines allow users to choose specific types of coffees for a given price and provides the cup, the coffee and milk or cream, if selected. Each vending machine offers a full coffee menu. These vending machines are located in offices, university and college environments and some shopping facilities.


A vending machine offering change in exchange for bills is also a useful vending machine in certain environments. For example, this type of vending machine is useful in places where change is required, such as parking garages or laundry shops. A change-vending machine works by offering smaller bills and coins in exchange for larger bills or credit cards.

Toiletries and Medical Supplies

Vending machines filled with toiletry and medical supplies are located in public bathrooms at the airport, bars, restaurants and clubs. These vending machines provide supplies, such as tampons, face cloths, teeth floss, small toothbrushes, toothpaste and condoms. Those located in airports may also have deodorant and temporary body spray, so travelers can refresh themselves after a long flight.

Office Supplies

Some vending machines offer products, such as office supplies. These types of vending machines are useful in scholastic settings, airports, libraries and career centers, where students may be looking for work. These vending machines provide pens, paper, UBS flash drives, notepads, pencil sharpeners, small staplers and mailing products, such as envelops and stamps.


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Healthy School Vending Machines

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 | Permalink

by Eliza Martinez |

Vending machines are found in schools across the United States; 43% of elementary schools, 74% of middle schools, and 98% of high schools have them, reports the National Association of School Nurses. However, most of them are filled with unhealthy snacks that include chips, candy and soda. With the rise in childhood obesity, many schools want to make changes regarding what snacks are available to students. Healthy snack vending machines are an option that many schools have tried out with success.

Healthy snack vending machines are an option that many schools have tried out with success.


When a school chooses to set up vending machines on campus, it benefits monetarily when students purchase snacks. For this reason, many schools worry that removing them would cause financial struggles since the profits have come to be relied on. Several companies have come forward with healthy alternatives to typical vending machine fare, including Fresh Healthy and Human Healthy Vending. According to Vendu-cation, these machines have been just as or more successful in test situations than traditional ones, meaning that schools are still able to profit from them.


Snack selection depends on what company a healthy vending machine is contracted with, but the selections include nutrient-dense snacks that support a child’s health and learning. Typical offerings include granola and cereal bars, string cheese, yogurt, pudding, trail mix, nuts, baked chips, fruit cups and sliced vegetables. Those that sell beverages usually offer low-fat milk, water or 100 percent fruit juice.

The results of a Gallup Youth Survey presented by USA Today reports that 67 percent of high school students purchase food from vending machines. Substituting healthy snacks means those children are not consuming as much fat, calories, salt or sugar.


Schools see financial benefits from placing healthy vending machines on campus, but these snacks offer benefits for each student who chooses them. Growing children need extra nutrients to support their development, and healthy snacks are an important part of a child’s diet. The right snack will satisfy hunger and contribute to nutrient intake at the same time. Children who eat a snack in the morning and afternoon are better able to concentrate in the classroom, improving comprehension and retention of material. Most hungry children tend to eat what is there, so placing healthy snacks in the vending machines makes it likely that most students will choose one.

The School’s Role

While placing healthy snacks in the hallways may promote more children to eat them, teachers are responsible for educating children on the importance of healthy snacking habits. Health and gym classes are good opportunities to discuss nutrition and fitness and how they both play roles in a healthy lifestyle, now and as children get older. A healthy vending machine is a good way to introduce the topic.


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How to Get Started Owning Vending Machines

Saturday, July 21st, 2012 | Permalink

by Leslie McClintock |

The vending machine business is a proven model for hard-working small-business owners with relatively limited capital. You purchase or lease vending machines and inventory and scout out your area for locations where you believe a vending machine would be profitable. Then you regularly drive around to your locations, collecting money from your machines and restocking the inventory.

Here are five easy steps for starting a vending machine business:

Step 1

Identify a location that needs a vending machine. Ideally, this should be a high-traffic area full of thirsty or hungry people with change in their pockets and limited competition. Contact the site owner or manager and ask him if he would like a vending machine. He may agree to put one in free to you, or you may need to strike a revenue share agreement, whereby you split the revenue the vending machine provides.

Step 2

Form a business entity, such as a limited liability company or a corporation. Fill out articles of organization or incorporation. Contact your state division of corporations for how to do this. Forming a business entity is important, because it can help protect your personal assets if your business gets sued. Since you or an employee will be driving your route regularly to restock machines and collect cash, you should consider protecting your personal assets against a lawsuit arising from a car accident. You may also want to consider putting liability insurance in place. If you don’t do this, an employee or partner who injures someone on the job could cost you your business and your home, and you don’t even need to be involved in the accident.

Step 3

Purchase vending machines. Consider the desires of the client, or site owner or manager before selecting the type of machine. You can purchase the machine outright for cash, or you can lease a vending machine. If you lease the machine, you should be reasonably confident that your revenue from the cash collection will more than pay for the lease cost of the machine.

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Step 4

Purchase inventory. This will likely be a significant cost center for you. Strive to purchase nonperishable inventory in bulk, where possible. You may wish to get a membership at a wholesale food retailer or discount grocer, such as Sam’s Club or Costco, depending on your volume. The more machines you have and the more food you sell, the better your discounts will be and the greater your profit margins.

Step 5

Keep records. As a business owner, you must keep a set of books in accordance with Internal Revenue Service rules. Keep track of your business expenses — expecially equipment costs, inventory costs, storage costs and mileage. As of 2011, you can deduct up to 55.5 cents per mile driven for business purposes. This can be significant for vending machine businesses because of the frequent restocking trips.


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About the Vending Machine Business

Thursday, July 5th, 2012 | Permalink

by Sherrie Scott |

Consumers head to vending machines for a variety of reasons. Most machines exist to satisfy public cravings for snacks and beverages. Vending machines offer consumers a quick convenient fix for hunger pangs or sluggish activity by offering energy-boosting refreshments. The scope of the use and demand for vending machines is widening as advancements in machine technology improves. The vending machine business offers an entrepreneurial opportunity that can be quite lucrative to operators willing to put in the time and effort to be profitable.


Vending machines are coin-operated devices that dispense goods to consumers. Consumers use vending machines by paying for the goods within the machine and utilizing the items dispensed. Machine operators earn money by placing machines in private businesses or public areas to compel customers to make a purchase. Operators have established routes in which their machines are located and it is their job to service the machines to ensure they are stocked with the appropriate goods.

Business Opportunities

Many business opportunities exist for vending machine operators. Entrepreneurs can opt to purchase an existing vending business, which usually includes the necessary licenses, machines and routes that have already been established. Business owners can also invest in a franchise, or start a new business from scratch. Purchasing an existing business requires that the operator maintains current accounts by services and stocking the machines with inventory. Entrepreneurs that choose to open a new business must purchase or lease their machines, purchase inventory, and obtain licenses and accounts for placing the machines.


Common machines are snack and soda machines. Smaller devices dispense individual candies or assorted nuts. Many machines are popular in establishments that cater to families and children. These types of machines have prizes and goods that appeal to a younger crowd. Vending machines that dispense films available for rent are increasing in popularity. Vending machines that are appropriate for a certain niche are also available. For instance, machines that distribute disposable towels and individual auto detailing products are provided at self-serve car washes.

Payment Conveniences

Several developments have been made in the technology of vending machines, allowing operators to offer more conveniences to consumers. In the past, vending machines were limited to accepting coins or small forms of currency, such as $1 or $5 bills. As vending machine technology improves, the forms of payments accepted have also improved. Some vending machines now have the option of accepting credit and debit cards as an added convenience to customers.


Vending machines are now offering a wider variety of goods. For example, an extravagant vending machine at the Mondrian Hotel in Miami allows consumers to purchase items as far-fetched as expensive jewelry, cars and real estate. There is a new demand for vending services that have not been available before. Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to determine a vending niche that has not yet been established in the marketplace capitalize on the initiative.


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Vending Machine Business Pros & Cons

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 | Permalink

by Rick Suttle |

Vending machine businesses can include single-item purchases like drinks, candy and salty snacks or bulk machines that dispense a handful of candy or nuts. Many with vending routes use a variety of machines. The basic duties of a vending route include stocking the machines and collecting the money. However, just like any business, there are certain pros and cons to running a vending machine business.

Steady income

Some businesses can take several years to become profitable, but a vending machine business is often profitable within several months, according to Once you select locations and establish your route, you can begin earning a steady income. Of course, the number of machines you own will largely determine how much.

Easy to operate

Once you establish your routine, the business is relatively easy to operate. Locate a wholesale food supplier to buy your products. Many vending machine owners purchase the products they will need for the day, then head out on their routes. Next, determine how often to visit your locations. Hopefully, your products will sell quickly and you will have to restock once or twice per week. It is important to keep the food fresh and replace anything expired.

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One truth about vending machines is both a pro and con: They can be expensive, but the cost of starting a vending business is substantially less a storefront business. Mechanical vending machines can cost several thousand dollars. Larger electronic units can cost more, unless you buy them wholesale. If you have 10 mechanical machines to start, your initial investment for machines and products can be $20,000 to $30,000. Bulk machines are considerably less expensive at several hundred dollars each. However, you will need dozens and even hundreds of these machines to make a significant income.

Getting good locations

One of the cons of owning a vending machine business is the challenge of finding the right locations. If you are located in stores without much foot traffic, it will have a negative impact on your earnings. You may need to hire a professional locator; however, hiring one can be expensive. One reason to hire a locator is that some stores may want a percentage of your profits. Experienced locators can negotiate the best deal for you. However, before deciding upon a locator, make sure you check the Better Business Bureau in the locator’s area. Many scam artists operate in the vending industry.


The larger electronic vending machines, which typically yield the most profit, have many workable parts. It is not uncommon for these machines to have occasional breakdowns–another problem with owning a vending machine business. If you have many machines, repairs can get expensive. In the long run, you will be better off learning how to do your own repairs.


Another problem with vending machines is theft. Thieves will find any way possible to get freebies. Some have used coat hangers to pry candy or chips from machine coils. Other thieves make their own slugs or mock coins. This can be a real problem with mechanical combo machines that do not distinguish between real and counterfeit coins.


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