Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Vending machines have been around for many decades, and while most of us haven't even seen one lately, they will continue to be around in hotels, barber shops, gyms, building complexes and many other places. Even Warren Buffet made his first mini-fortune buying and setting up pinball machines in barber shops. During a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Buffet said “I bought a machine for $25 in 1946 and built a small empire out of it.”
If you're searching for a new business opportunity that requires little time and energy, then take a look at starting a vending machine business. No special skills or training are needed either, yet you can make great money in this tried-and-true enterprise. This post will show you how to get started.
Why Start a Vending Machine Business?
Like most ideas listed on this blog, you'll need some money to make money. And if you want substantial income you can live off of, your money will need to grow and compound by reinvesting in your businesses and investments. The vending industry is a great way to accomplish long term passive income, because of how little involvement is needed once its up and running. Maybe start with a few machines and then grow from there using your profits.
The real effort comes in the planning. It's very important you do your research, including exploring locations and the items you will sell. For instance, the vending machine markets have grown substantially to include not just snacks, but also hot beverages, tech items, toys and even fresh food. In addition, try to understand your own financial situation. How much can you afford upfront? Crunch the numbers with your calculator and be realistic.
Steps to Make Your Vending Machine Business Profitable
There are many factors to this niche business that can make or break your profitability. And it's all in the prep. Let's go over them one at a time:
1) Picking Your Market. Should you sell coffee or soda? Potato chips or toys? With this one, I recommend sticking with a market you have some knowledge about. Or even better, something you're passionate about. Why? Because if you're passionate about something, even if you know little about it, you'll excitedly soak up everything you need to know. As a former health professional, I naturally have some knowledge regarding health food, so vending machines with healthy snacks sounds way more appealing to me than selling chocolate bars. Also keep in mind, vending machines have evolved quite a bit in the last decade. Self-serve kiosks are now available that offer people fresh food and beverages, which is an even healthier option.
2) Picking Your Locations. Locations could be just as important as the market you choose. For instance, if you're putting a vending machine into a gym, then it might be prudent to fill the machine with sports bars and drinks. More examples include coffee machines installed in corporate break rooms and colleges; or Detergent machines in university dormitories and laundromats. For super high traffic locations, consider sports stadiums, airports and malls.
3) Where to buy Vending Machines? With a little research, you can find plenty of vending machine franchises that will help you streamline the process. To help you get started, visit these websites: https://www.healthyvendingatwork.com, https://healthier4uvending.com and https://www.naturals2go.com. For financing, check out https://www.financingvending.com. In your research, consider state-of-the-art features like credit card reader functionality, interactive touch screens, voice accessibility and more.
4. Stock your machine. When you’ve made your above choices, you should develop a system on how to stock it with inventory to sell. If you want to have a truly passive business, hire someone else to do it. They'll be grateful for the job. Otherwise, pay attention to national and local trends, and stock your machines accordingly and on time.
Building From There
Perhaps you don't want to do all that due diligence in researching markets and locations. Well did you know you can also buy an established vending machine business? Through websites like Bizbuysell, you might be able to find an established route with machines already set up for you. Maybe for whatever reason, the owner just wants to sell and retire. Either way, do your due diligence and find a specific target market. Start with one or two vending machines to help you increasingly learn your niche. Then continue building from there, using tools to help you operate your inventory remotely. The vending machine business has been very profitable for so long, driving billions of dollars globally every year. You too can grow your vending machine business into a legitimate source of income.