What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Vending Machine Business?

Tara Barnett

The best tip for starting a vending machine business is to be clever but also practical. If someone is starting with a single vending machine, then he must place the machine in an area where sales are nearly guaranteed. Being smart about the products stocked in the machine is important as well. Depending on the arrangement a person makes with the owner of the place where the machine is operated, she may depend entirely on sales to generate income. As with many business ventures, starting a vending machine business should always begin with research to minimize financial risk.

Toilet paper rolls might be used in vending machines.
Toilet paper rolls might be used in vending machines.

When starting a vending machine business, a person must first determine how the business itself will work. There are many different ways to approach this venture, including outright ownership and renting the machines. Some people start this type of business like a turnkey franchise, which can also minimize the risk involved. Each of these approaches has different rules and costs, so being familiar with these options is very important.

Stocking a vending machine with a popular product can help maintain sales.
Stocking a vending machine with a popular product can help maintain sales.

Starting a vending machine business also involves figuring out where a person will put the machines. Some people make arrangements with local business owners in order to place the machines in their establishments, typically for a small cost or for free. Business owners rarely pay to have a vending machine placed in their establishment when the profits from the machine belong to someone else.

One of the most important aspects of starting this type of business is what products will be sold in the machine. Depending on where someone is placing the machine, it may be possible to sell a number of more unusual items to turn the vending machine into a destination rather than just a convenience. Vending machines are not limited to foods and beverages and can also be used to sell toys, home supplies, and other small items. If the item is prepackaged and can fit in the vending machine, it is likely that it can be sold through the machine.

Overall, one of the best tips for starting a vending machine business is to do research beforehand and think about how to catch the eye of passersby. For example, if someone is setting up a vending machine in an apartment complex that is not near any store, he might place single rolls of toilet paper in the machine because people often run out of toilet paper and do not wish to go all the way to the store. In an area with a large immigrant population, a person might fill the machine with snacks that will appeal to that population and include directions in that language. By treating a vending machine just like any other business that must meet the needs of its customers, an entrepenuer is much more likely to be successful in this venture.

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