Vending World Blog

How can a 20-year-old start up a vending machine business, with $2500 to invest, good grades, and in a town of 50,000 people?

If you’re looking to start a vending machine business, you basically have 3 options:

Do it yourself – This makes a lot of sense if you’re strapped for capital and you have sales/business experience. You’ll be responsible for locating a reputable machine supplier, training yourself on the technical aspects, and conducting your own sales process to secure locations.

Buy an existing business – There may be a vending business owner in your area looking to sell their route. Look through bizbuysell’s website, craigslist and your local paper to find out if this is even an option. 

Start a franchise – This is typically more expensive than the other two, but the major benefits are that you’ll partner with a company that has an established brand and a dedicated sales team to help you secure vending locations. You also get machine training and sales support that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to buy starting your own route or buying an existing one.

Starting a vending business in a virgin territory isn’t the kind of question that has a one-size fits all solution. Much of what you will have to deal with is going to be highly specific to your local regulations. Since you are in a region that currently does not have any kind of vending industry the first thing to do would be to determine whether vending machines would be considered in the same category as a physical store-front or whether they would be treated as coin-operated equipment (video games, gambling machines, kiosks, and other similar unattended devices). Legal considerations should always be taken into account before trying to bootstrap an entire industry into existence. Once you know that you can legally place machines and how much your per-machine cost of operation will be then you need to decide what KIND of machines to place in your area. Soda machines are fairly ubiquitous worldwide and where soda is not the norm you can almost always find some other type of canned or bottled beverage that is a cultural fit with your customers. Likewise, since there are no companies that specialize in supplying food and beverages for the vending industry in your area you will also need to choose items that you can source and replenish fairly easily on an as-needed basis on your own. In the beginning you are going to need to check your machines quite frequently since there is no data to use in estimation of how quickly your machines will sell product. 

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