How to Get Started in Vending

Before you start the business formally, do research in your market first.

1. Are there any other vending companies in your region?

2. If so how many are there?

3. Call businesses, are they doing a good job of keeping their locations and customers happy?

4. Find out if there are any businesses in the area that have 20+ employees that don’t already have vending services.

5. If you find that there is an appetite for growth in this market from answering the above questions move on to #6. If not, stop and look into another business.

6. Figure out what your startup requirements are. (Capital financial investment, time investment and space requirements)

6a. Find a mentor or coach. Don’t have one? DM me or others on here.

7. Do you have the ability to meet those needs without stressing your current personal financial requirements and space to operate the business? 

7a. Keep in mind that the typical minimum investment is going to be at least $1k, but is usually closer to $3-5k. Can you afford it? If not, stop here.

8. Reach back out to those businesses that you called to see if they would be willing to switch over to you, or get a vending machine. Get them to commit with a basic contract. Rightsize the equipment for that business (more on that below), and get equipment ordered or bought. 

9. Establish you business with the state/county. Get bank accounts setup and locate wholesale food and drink providers. Get accounts setup.

10. Figure out where you are going to operate the business from. Home? Storage unit? Commercial warehouse space? 

11. Take delivery of your machines, and coordinate installation at the customer site. (This may require hiring movers or buying moving equipment)

11a. Go pickup the snacks snd drinks that your customer requested and some other top sellers to fill in the machine(s).

12. Install and stock the machines.

13. Come back and refill them regularly.

Rightsizing equipment is the key. If you put in too small of equipment you’ll be out there too often to refill. If you put in too big equipment then the product will go bad before all products cycle through the machine. The goal would be to use a combo for 10-20 employees, small full-size equipment for 20-35 and full size wide machines for 40+ employees. 50+ employees consider doing a micro market instead.

Realize that this is not typically a get rich quick or way to make a quick return on investment. It can take a year or two to get your capital back in some cases. The key is long term steady income from each location that you maintain. It also requires regular time investment on your part. Vacations of more than a week can be tough without a support system in place. Be prepared for unexpected breakdowns and issues to come up. Have a contingency plan in place. 

Lastly, this is largely a customer service business. You need to keep the location (business) happy and their employees happy. If you put in old equipment that is constantly breaking down, they aren’t going to buy from you. Or if the machine regularly eats their money, the product is regularly going expired or they cant get a hold of you to get help or service their machines, its not going to end well.

Have a plan in place for these things. Write it out. Make a commitment to answer every call that comes in, and return missed calls promptly, regardless of how small of an issue they have. Doing that will win your customers over for life.

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