If you want to start a small business, purchasing one or more vending machines is a good start. Not only does this business require very few hours, you can make a 50-80% profit from the goods you stock. The initial purchase of the vending machine is the biggest cost, and in order to save money, you can purchase used machines. Depending on the type of machine that you want to buy, expect to pay an initial investment of between $120.00 for a gumball machine, and over $5,000.00 for a refrigerated soda machine.
The key to being successful in the vending machine business is location, location, location. Find out how many people frequent the establishment, and what type of products these people may buy. In order to put your vending machine in the business, you will need to write a contract with the owners, so that they also benefit from having your vending machine on their property. This can be a percentage of the sales, or a location fee to keep your vending machines on their property each month.
One of the ways to make more money is to learn how often you will need to service the machine, and how often the product will last. The machines that sell fresh food or microwaveable food, for example, must be serviced all of the time, since this type of food has a definite shelf life and has to be restocked frequently. The more often you have to restock and maintain the vending machine, the more of your time it will take to make money. This will eat into your profit margin if you have to throw away too much merchandise, or spend too much time traveling to one location. The key is to not go to the vending machine until at least 80% of the merchandise is sold. For most locations, this will not take more than two hours a week. The food and beverage machines are more time consuming and offer less of a profit than candy and toy machines.
You will make more money if you complete the entire operation on your own. That is, you purchase the machine, find the location on your own to put the vending machine, and do all of your own services. You do have the option of contracting each of these possibilities out. For example, you can pay a company to find a business for you to place the vending machine. You can also pay someone to service the machines for you. All of these things cut into your profits, though, so that is a decision you will have to make.
Some of the best places to place vending machines are schools, universities and colleges, Laundromats, hotels, grocery stores, military locations, corporations, rest stops, and malls. The key is to offer convenience for customers purchasing a product, since when people want something quickly, they will be more inclined to purchase an item from a vending machine. For example, if a customer at a convenience store has to choose between waiting in a long line to buy a scratch-off lottery ticket and purchasing one from a machine right away, you will make money from the machine.
People can make a great deal of money from owning a vending machine business. The key is to start out small and increase your vending machine business as your profits increase. But if you have a knack for choosing the right merchandise for the right location, you have a great shot at being a successful vending machine owner.