How to Start a Vending Machine Business

How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Have you ever thought about the business that is behind the snacks you serve in your breakroom? If you’re in search of an innovative business idea that you can work on on a part-time basis, without any specific skills or knowledge or experience, and even include all of your family members vending machine-related business could be the ideal opportunity.

In the days prior to the widespread COVID-19 shut-downs, vending machine sales across the U.S. reached $8 billion and worldwide vending machine sales were $23 billion. While the vending machine industry was hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, when workers return to work and travel increases it’s likely to recover fully and possibly continue its current pattern of expansion. 

If you’re considering vending machines as containers of candy bars or soda pop, consider changing your mind. Recent trends in food and drink and the latest technology make the present a thrilling moment to begin vending machine businesses. Vending machines are witnessing the rise of healthier options for snacks as well as niche options, and some cities even have laws in place to make healthier choices available in vending machines for food and drinks. 2 Vending machines at Beverly Hills malls even dispense delicious delights like caviar, escargot, as well as bottarga. 

If the idea of starting a vending machine business is appealing to those who are interested, you’ll need to take it in the same way as any other company. This is all you require to know in order to start your vending machine.

Advantages of a Vending Machine Business

The many benefits of having a vending machine company are:

  • Scalability Start with just a few computers and grow your business as the need and your finances allow.
  • Costs for starting: Aside from purchasing the equipment, which can be financeable, your costs for capital are generally low. There is no need for an office or building–a little area in a garage, basement, or utility room is enough. Apart from a vehicle to serve your route and other tools, no additional equipment or machinery is needed.
  • Simple: Once the machines are up and running Your only responsibility is to ensure that you maintain and replenish the machines when needed, and to take the money.
  • Cash-based payments: There are no accounts receivables in the majority of firms. Cash is either collected from machines or companies that issue credit cards.
  • flexibility: The vending machine business is perfect for families. It is easy to teach your children and spouse to help with buying and stocking, bank deposits, and accounting tasks.

Apart from some initial capital or funding the sole other need is a certain amount of physical fitness since maintaining the machines requires quite a bit of moving and carrying objects, and some may be very heavy.

If you’re wondering if this is the best business idea for you Here are the steps to follow to get started with your own vending machines company.

Do Your Homework

Like any other type of company, market research and planning are essential to success. There are numerous options for beginning vending machine companies that each has advantages and drawbacks.

Starting From Scratch

The process of purchasing machines and finding locations on your own provides you with the most flexibility. You can start with just a few machines, and increase the number as opportunities come up and your finances allow. This also involves the most effort, since you’ll need to source and purchase the machines, and then find and negotiate the best locations for them (unless you work with a distributor of machines who offers machines and locations).

Buying an Existing Vending Machine Business or Route

This option allows you to receive instant cash flow from your current business. It is important to understand the reason why the business owner is looking to sell. The most important background research involves examining the accounts, examining the machines, reviewing the contracts in place, and analyzing the current locations to identify potential issues. 

Buying a Franchise

It is the most straightforward way to start your journey into the vending machine market. Franchises are a great way to get into the vending machine business. the franchise provides you with a proven business model that is based on the vending of certain products or items. In most cases but along with the initial franchise fee the franchisor is charged part of the earnings or a per-month fee. As the franchisee, you’re usually restricted to purchasing or renting equipment and other products from the franchising firm.

Whichever option you decide to go with The next step must be to prepare a business strategy. A crucial part of the business plan is conducting market research to assess the feasibility of your idea. For instance, by looking up the locations of vending machines and speaking to business owners, you might find that vending machines are in high demand in your region is already crowded.

Find Machine Locations and Sign Contracts

In the realm of retail and real estate locations is a major factor in the success of vending machine industry. Ideally, you would like your machines to be in areas with a lot of pedestrian circulation, like malls, office complexes that are large airports, schools, and even in front of shops. 

In the best-case scenario, you’ll need areas that don’t provide vending machines. You’ll probably discover, however, that the majority of the most desirable places in your neighborhood are already taken and, in some cases, the vendors already in place will have exclusive agreements with the property’s owner.

Remember that, even with the ideal place, your selection of products must be a good fit for the. Even well-known brands may not be a success in a highly-trafficked area if your customer isn’t the right one for your product.

Theft and Vandalism

When you are scouting out locations, be certain to look up the crime statistics, and stay clear of areas with high rates of vandalism and theft. The loss or damage will swiftly take away your profit. Locations that are recommended should be visible, supervised, and under the surveillance of security cameras.


You’ll have to pay the property owner or business to install machines at their premises and make use of their power. It is usually done in the form of a percentage negotiated from your sales gross.

The median commission is approximately 7 percent but this can vary greatly based on the quantity and dimensions that the machine. Being the operator of the machine you are required by contract to supply an account of commissions and sales to the company or property owner on a regular basis. 6

Your contract should also include:

  • The machines and the products are offered for sale
  • The term of the contract
  • Ending clauses in the event of a breach of contract or in the event of unprofitability
  • Exclusion (if appropriate)
  • The right to change, expand or decrease the amount of equipment

Always, it’s recommended to have the contract drawn up and examined by an attorney.

Purchase or Lease Equipment

If you’re not franchising or buying an existing business, you’ll have to purchase one or more vending machines to start. Before you do this it is necessary to determine what items you plan to sell (food beverages, food items, or other items of a specialty) and also what kind of vending machine you’d like to purchase.

Bulk Machines

They are tiny and dispense small quantities of snack items in bulk like peanuts, gumballs M&M’s, and gumballs. Prices can range between $50 and $200 and may have the lowest profits. You will require several machines to generate a significant amount of revenue. However, these machines don’t require refills as frequently and are easy to service as well as maintain. 

Mechanical Machines

These are bigger than bulk machines and are able to offer various items. Prices could start at $2,000 for each machine, however, the margins for profit are larger than the bulk machine. 

Electronic Machines

They use modern touch screens that can accept different kinds of payments like credit and debit cards. Electronic machines have the greatest initial cost but are also more durable than mechanical ones. A brand new electronic soda dispenser is priced minimum of $3,000 per machine. The more sophisticated machines that can offer more capacity, offer a variety of drinks, and accept various forms of payment could easily triple or double the price.

Buying Used Machines

If you’re looking for a way to start with a small amount, or just get a discount on a machine, second-hand machines are the best way to take. There are plenty of places to consider:

  • Craigslist can be a reliable source for local machines.
  • is an excellent source to search for used vending machines. It allows you to conduct thorough searches for machines by type, price, and location.
  • Amazon along with eBay are great sources for both used and brand new vending machines. Reviews are particularly useful for information about product reliability.
  • Dealers of vending machines are abundant and you can browse the web as well as local business publications to locate dealers in your region.

Warranty and Repairs

New vending machines usually come with a minimum of one or two-year part warranty. Remanufactured or used equipment could have a shorter warranty.

If you’re a mechanical person and have the ability to learn, you can be taught how to fix your own machines. In other cases, you might need to hire the assistance of an expert repair technician.

Maximize Profits With the Right Products

Speak to the company or property owners about what they would like to purchase. In certain situations, the nature of the products will be a component of the agreement.

Also, you should consider the location and market. Certain items are well-liked in public spaces and others are more dependent on the area of sale:

  • Hot drinks like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are likely to sell well in all locations.
  • Snack machines selling beverages such as sodas chips, candy, water, and chocolate bars can be a good choice in many situations.
  • Sandwich and hot food machines are a good fit for business places, schools, and universities.
  • Candy, toys, and other machines that are specialized could be appropriate for supermarkets, malls, play areas, and other locations frequented by families.
  • Personal items like toiletries and medications available over the counter can be used in restrooms in malls, public transit facilities as well as service stations.


Healthy Vending Products

Legislation that is in place in your state could make healthy choices mandatory. There are a variety of options to choose from, including:

  • Fresh salads and sandwiches
  • Drinking water or juices of fruit in place of sodas
  • Granola bars as an alternative to candy
  • Baked chips
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Fruit cups
  • Nuts

Sourcing Products

Maximize your vending machine’s profit by paying the least cost per unit for the products you buy for your vending machines. Find wholesale suppliers of food and drinks like Costco and check the costs. Try to negotiate bulk discounts, if you can.

Provide Good Maintenance and Customer Service

Just like any business that is successful, success within the vending machine industry involves offering high-quality client service. For the vending machine owner this is:

  • Plan visits to your location when needed to keep the machines in good condition.
  • Make sure your machines are well-maintained and clean. Unclean, unmaintained machines turn off customers.
  • Include contact information, like your email on the machine to allow customers to report any problems.
  • If necessary, rotate the products by dates of sell-by to ensure that the oldest stock is sold first.
  • Examine sales and frequently consult with your business or property owners to determine which items are the most popular with customers. The machines should be stocked accordingly.
  • Maintain good relationships with the person who handles contact at the machines in case they are receiving complaints or requests for refunds.
  • You must conduct yourself professionally in all situations.

Offering top-quality customer service is among the most effective ways to boost sales and boost your company’s reputation. This is vital for expanding your business by seeking new locations to install equipment.

The Bottom Line

A vending machine company is a simple business to start with. What you will require most is the same thing every start-up business needs determination and a drive to be successful.

Remember that, as with most small businesses, you’re unlikely to make a fortune through running a vending machines business. But the freedom of being the boss of your business and having the ability to call the shots is satisfying in their own right. And, if you have enough locations vending machines could generate an income that is steady for you.

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