7 Essential Tips for Starting a Vending Machine Business

By 2024, there’ll be 8.9 million vending machines across the U.S.

This reflects how our lives are getting busier and want convenience when we’re on-the-go. Vending machines offer consumers this by providing them with food or essentials.

If you want to start a vending machine business but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are our seven top tips.

1. Start Planning

If you’re unsure how to start a vending machine business, begin by creating a detailed plan.

Stumped on how to get a vending machine?

When you start from scratch, you must buy vending machines and find the best locations for them. This option gives you flexibility and a large workload.

Or consider buying an existing vending machine business to get an immediate cash flow but ask the previous owner why they want to sell. Conduct essential background research by inspecting the machines and reviewing existing contracts.

Another way to start owning a vending machine is by buying a franchise. You get an established business model but you must pay a startup franchise fee and the franchisor will take a percentage of your monthly sales.

It’s important to note vending machines have a one- or two-year part warranty whereas remanufactured ones have a limited one.

2. Decide What You Want to Sell

Now you know how to own a vending machine, you must decide what to sell by conducting market and industry research.

The most popular food products include fresh sandwiches, salads, fruit juices, granola bars, and chips, especially in colleges or offices. But remember food and drink items have expiration dates so be conscious when ordering stock.

You can also consider non-food items like laundry supplies, skincare products, toiletries, stationery, and even beach supplies. 

Before ordering, consider their price per-unit, and depending on the inventory’s size, you may negotiate sizable bulk discounts. If you want inspiration, consider healthy you vending machines. 

3. Figure Out the Best Locations

Not sure how to start a vending machine business?

Find the best location for your machines as it affects sales success. You must find high-foot traffic areas so you have the best opportunity but make sure your products match the demographic. 

The best places are malls, apartment complexes, airports, hotels, hospitals, and universities. Before setting up your vending machines, consider any ADA compliance standards as they may prevent you from installing vending machines in a particular location. 

You must also decide whether your machines are safe as theft or vandalism will cost you. To do this, research crime statistics and avoid areas where it’s rife. Only choose locations that are visible, patrolled, and in view of several security cameras.

4. Decide On Your Business Entity Type 

The business structure you choose will have legal and tax implications. The most popular types are the limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership, or S corporation.

It’s important to note sole proprietorships and partnerships don’t protect your personal assets. This means if there’s a problem, the business owner is held personally accountable and your personal property may be taken to pay back debts. 

Consult an attorney or tax adviser to decide the best business entity for your company to ensure everything runs smoothly.

5. Get Necessary Licenses and Permits

Before you can launch your vending machine business, find out which federal, state, and local law regulations to comply with.  

Also discuss with business and property owners about whether you can install vending machines on their premises and if so, how much you owe them in rent and electricity usage.

Most compensation is a percentage of a machine’s gross sales. This could range from 7% to 25% so calculate whether this is feasible before signing an agreement with the property owner. 

Once done, carefully choose a business name to stand out from your competitors. Make sure it’s not taken by another vending machine business by doing a corporate name search.

6. Keep Track of Your Responsibilities 

You must maintain your vending machine business by ensuring the tax filings, reports, and licenses are submitted on time.

If you miss deadlines, you may face fines, penalties, and a loss of liability protection which means you lose your business. Don’t worry if you’re overwhelmed, consult with an attorney or accountant and they’ll guide you.

It’s important to regularly check on your vending machines to ensure they’re in good condition. Schedule visits to your locations and stock up the machines if necessary.

Vending machines must also be clean and in good repair. Remember to include contact information on your machines like a telephone number or email address so consumers can report any problems. 

Always listen to customer feedback and remedy complaints immediately to ensure they’re happy.

7. Scale Your Vending Machine Business 

One of the main benefits of starting a vending machine business is how easy it is to scale. You can start with a handful of machines and expand when finances permit.

Start reaching new markets and areas to find out which vending machines are the most profitable. Once you have this information, your business will be successful.

That’s How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Now you know everything about starting a successful vending machine business. First, decide whether you want to start from scratch or take over a previous company. 

Next, determine what you want to sell and where. This gives you an excellent foundation so you can scale your business and provide customers with a brilliant service. Good luck!

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