If you plan on being successful, before going out and beginning your vending machine business, you really need to do some initial planning. While it’s exciting to look at the different types of machines and daydream, you will likely fail if you don’t plan as the vending business is a lot more than just putting a machine and making money.
First of all you should start working on a business plan. Now this does not have to be an elaborate document, but it is a roadmap for what you want your business to be. A major part of this business plan is figuring out who your target customers are going to be and tailor your approach. You probably don’t want to put a vending machine with junk food in on office full of health nuts.
Your business plan will also be used as a tool to acquire financing. Even if you are asking money from friends and family for your vending machine business, they will be more likely to help if you show some professionalism and develop how this business will be successful. In addition, banks are going to require one before they fund your project.
Depending on your knowledge base marketing and accounting is going to be critical in the long-term success of your vending business. There is lots of software and books to help, but if you don’t learn it you may never really understand how the business works. While you can hire people for both the accounting and marketing, if you don’t have a basic understanding, there is a good chance that you will be scammed.
All in all, running a business is a time-consuming and intense activity and that goes for semi-passive businesses like vending. There will always be paperwork and tasks to do to keep your business on track.
Your best bet is to start small at first with up to five machines and find a place for them. Starting small is good because when mistakes are made (and there will be mistakes) they will be small ones. Starting large will only magnify areas of inefficiency and cost more to fix. Initially, look for good, used vending equipment from eBay or Craigslist that may need just a little cleaning or painting. This gives you a chance to start with little investment in new equipment and try the business to see if it is for you and to recoup your costs faster. Initially placement is tough and no matter how good the deal, 45 extra vending machines in your garage are worthless because they don’t create revenue. Spend a little extra per machine initially until you have the demand for more units.