How To Start A Profitable Vending Machine Business In 2022

There are numerous possibilities if you’re looking for a means to make more money or if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a new company endeavor. Vending machine operation is a straightforward source of revenue with adjustable entry expenses.

Even if you have no prior business expertise, a vending machine business has the potential to be very profitable. Even for a novice, owning vending machines can be successful as long as you put in the effort and do your research.

The vending machine industry is adaptable and doesn’t have the overhead expenses of many other businesses, such as office space and full-time employees. Additionally, understanding the vending business strategy is not difficult.

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits and drawbacks of opening a vending machine business
  • Costs of vending machines
  • A step-by-step guide to starting a vending machine business
  • Answers to some of the frequently asked questions
vending machine business

The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Opening A Vending Machine Business

With a few thousand dollars to invest, a vehicle, and determination, you can start and profit from a vending machine company. But starting a vending machine business isn’t all fun and games (though you can vend fun and games in your machine).

As with any new undertaking, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of the vending machine business

Scaling your vending machine business is extremely simple. You can start with a small number of vending machines and add more locations as your business succeeds.

Variety of options: Many different types of vending machines are available today. Vending machines offer upscale foods, healthy options, and occasionally even non-food items.

Little to no overhead expenses: Operating a vending machine business has little to no overhead expenses, especially if you’re doing it alone. Vending machine businesses don’t require much staff or office space, so you don’t have to worry about paying salary, benefits, or thousands of dollars in rent.

Disadvantages of the vending machine industry

Time investment: Running a vending machine business requires you to invest time and effort into regularly stocking, maintaining, and collecting money from your machines.

Vandalism and theft: Vending machines are a popular target for these crimes. To prevent a loss in profits, ensure your machines’ locations are in safe and secure areas.

Costs Of Vending Machines

The vending machines and the stock items account for most of the startup costs for a vending machine business. You can typically start an essential vending machine business with as little as a $2,000 investment.

Many vending machine owners advise purchasing refurbished or used machines, which may be found for between $1,200 and $3,000. A brand-new vending machine may run you anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on its size and features.

It would be helpful to consider the price of both the unit and the cost of filling. This might cost anything from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on how many machines you want to acquire and the kind of things you’ll carry.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A Vending Machine Business

Any advantage or knowledge about vending machines is a terrific method to enter this specialized industry. For instance, if you’ve previously determined that a snack machine is needed nearby, get in touch with the property owners you know and ask whether they’d be interested in installing vending machines at their establishments.

You can still establish a vending machine business and make money doing it even if you don’t have any personal connections. Here are the first six steps in starting a vending machine business.

1. Think About Your Possibilities For Vending Machines.

While most people might believe that vending machines offer the usual selection of snacks and sodas, you probably already know there are other possibilities.

Vending machines can be divided into four general groups, which we’ll list below. Consider all four categories when selecting the machine whose goods will be the biggest hits with your target market.

Start with one or two machines focused on a specific market, regardless of the type of vending machine you select. You can add new machines while gradually learning about prevalent stock- and site-specific tendencies.

Drinks and food vending

Vending Business Watch’s 2019 annual report found that snacks, drinks, and sweets dominate the US vending business. Vending income is 30% drinks. This works for vending machine startups.

Naturally, some machines serve only beverages, snacks, or both. Some vending machine owners buy several units for one site or install one type in multiple locations.

Before learning the industry, new vending operators should specialize in healthful snacks, drinks, or fresh meals.

Target local specialties to improve sales. Protein snacks and smoothies may go in the gym vending machine and juice and granola bars in the school. Healthy vending machine options may earn money.

Bulk Vending

Using gumball, sticker, or rubber ball machines, bulk vending requires little starting and maintenance.

These low-maintenance vending machines collect quarters despite their unattractiveness. Refurbished vending machines may yield $30 per month for around $50. Your products have little overhead. This simple investment can yield passive revenue in a school or amusement park.

Most bulk vending machines function mechanically without power or batteries; therefore, their operating expenses are low. Used candy and toy vending machines may only need minor repairs due to their age.

Unique Vending

When launching a vending machine business, you are not only restricted to selling food and beverages. Machines selling electronics accessories, cosmetic products, or other specialist items are frequently seen in large public spaces like arenas, airports, and malls.

Some of these vending machines are distinguished as Automated Retail Machines, while others employ the same technology as ordinary vending machines.

One example of a specialty vending item is:

Hot beverages: While coffee and other hot beverage vending machines are typically most profitable in offices, they can also be found in universities and conference centers. You might be able to combine your purchases since manufacturers frequently produce both traditional machines and specialty beverage equipment.

Retail: If you can negotiate a contract with a local transit station or even an airport, you can sell profitable vending products like phone chargers, headphones, and neck pillows. In malls and airports, upscale vending machines frequently sell high-end electronics or skincare products.

Laundry products: If you can find the right market for them, such as laundromats, apartment buildings, or dorms, individually packaged detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets make great vending products.

Tobacco: Depending on the state taxes, tobacco vending is permitted in many states and can be very profitable. Even marijuana vending machines are becoming available, but the market is much smaller.

2. Locate The Ideal Spot For Your Vending Machine.

While choosing a vending machine is essential, its location will influence its profitability. Expensive food and beverage vending machine may flourish in an office park.

When starting a vending machine company, consider where you have bought products from a vending machine and when consumers are most likely to buy a drink, snack, or another item. You may have had limited meal selections, been rushed, or had to wait at the airport or DMV.

The following are some other vending machine placement suggestions:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals or healthcare facilities
  • Groceries shops
  • Airports and retail establishments
  • Laundromats
  • Apartment buildings
  • Manufacturing facilities

Location security. A good salesperson may feel comfortable calling or visiting a property or business owner. This method may assist smaller firms if you are a regular client or know the owner.

You might also visit your local Chamber of Commerce. They can supply information on major local enterprises, which may spark location suggestions. Place your vending machine near businesses with at least 100 workers or busy areas like an office park.

Contact the owner or management of a venue you’re considering. Discussing site demands with possible partners may help you pick your vending machine and offerings.

Recognize state-specific rules, laws, and compliance with vending

Different laws apply to vending machines, and state laws on vending machines differ. Find out how your state regulates vendors before launching a vending machine business and approaching potential location owners by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce or researching your state’s small business regulations online.

Additionally, suppose you install a vending machine in a public area. In that case, it might need to adhere to ADA compliance guidelines, so it’s a good idea to keep accessibility in mind while selecting.

Prepare a proprietor contract and be aware of the commission criteria.

You must pay a commission to the company owner who provides space and energy before keeping your vending machine’s revenue. The property owner gets 10%–25% of your vending machine’s income.

Whether or whether you want an exclusive partnership, write a contract with the owner that specifies your compensation, contract length, and terms.

Include contract-violation clauses. Include expectations and duties for maintaining and replenishing vending machines, securing them from damage or theft, and planning for money loss. Before signing the agreement, consult a lawyer.

3. Hunt Down Your Vending Machine.

Without first acquiring a machine, you cannot launch a vending machine business. Fortunately, locating your vending machine can be done quickly and easily online.

Look for local and national vendors to understand the various available vending machine offers and pricing ranges. When examining vending machine prices, you should also consider inventory costs.

Start your search with one of these three categories of sellers to find the vending machine of your dreams:

  • Manufacturers and wholesale suppliers of vending machines provide the most up-to-date technology, the widest variety of devices, and comprehensive delivery, maintenance, and training services. The most expensive choice is to buy a vending machine franchise, which usually requires a significant initial investment and ongoing costs for things like machine upkeep and training for new business owners.
  • Many vending machines may be purchased on Craigslist and eBay, as well as from other secondary market vendors or online specialist businesses. It is more cost-effective and efficient for delivery times to be reduced by filtering by the location of the merchant or owner. This could be your best bet if you’re starting a vending business but don’t want to drop thousands of dollars on a new or used machine.

Once you look around, you’ll see that different vending machines provide different features and functions for varying prices.

  • These unique characteristics include the following:
  • Snack and beverage machines
  • Functionality for huge bills and credit cards
  • Voice or touch functionality
  • Software for remote monitoring and low-stock notifications
  • Customized “wraps” for the front of your machine with your brand’s name and logo
  • Interacting displays

Try not to be too enticed by these particular features, though, since they can become costly. Select the vending machine that fits your desired product line and current financial capabilities.

4. Fill Your Vending Machine.

You can start a vending machine business after choosing a machine. Stock it with an inventory.

Product choice boosts sales. Stock items based on local needs rather than food and beverage trends. To avoid overordering, adjust your offerings based on demand.

Drinks will dominate your vending machine business if you offer food and beverages. As the beverage market expands from soda to coffee, flavored water, and healthier drinks like coconut water, consider what your location can support in terms of pricier specialty foods and drinks.

If you want to sell cartons or odd-shaped drinks, look for a machine with adjustable product sizing.

5. Consider Financing.

Vending machine businesses require less startup capital than most small businesses, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A few thousand dollars is still a lot. Consider these two options for a vending machine loan:

Short-term loan

If you have a business financial history, a short-term loan to finance your vending machine may be your best option.

Short-term lenders deposit a lump sum directly into your business bank account, and you repay the loan, plus interest, over a set period. Short-term loans typically have 18-month repayment terms. Shorter-term loans have higher interest rates. However, short-term loans are easier to get than long-term ones.

Short-term lenders must approve your business’s financials before lending you money. To prove your candidacy, bring good business revenue and personal credit.

Equipment Financing

Start a profitable vending machine business with little capital. If you need aid, try an equipment financing loan. These loans are based on the worth of your equipment, which serves as collateral if you default.

Vending machines can last 10 years if maintained, which may reassure lenders. If you apply for an equipment loan, you will require equipment estimates for the machine(s) you plan to buy, together with your financial details and business plan. Inventory finance may also help you buy inventory.

6. Invest Wisely

You’re ready to start a vending machine business with a location, machine, and placement terms. Now it’s time to make money.

Buy a vending system (VMS)

Inventory, operations, and income management software may be pre-programmed in your vending machine.

You can manually manage inventory with the most common machines if you only have a few vending machines. However, a vending management system can assist you in remotely monitoring your inventory if you have five to 10 machines. Internet-enabled devices can remotely manage vending machines with VMS software. Most VMSs offer real-time inventory updates and reporting.

Promote client service.

Customer service is essential, even if you only have one or two vending machines. Following a few best practices will maximize your vending machine for customers.

Like many location-based businesses, Vending operators rely on word-of-mouth and in-person interactions. Find your state’s vending association, network with business owners, or join local entrepreneur clubs.

Most importantly, supply and maintain your vending machines regularly or biweekly. Provide an 800-number for service requests and comments to gather helpful feedback.

Spend time

Starting a vending machine business involves funds and patience, like any other business.

Consider that a full-size vending machine may require weekly money collection when planning travel time. In addition to buying merchandise, visiting sites, and restocking, a vending machine business entails analyzing sales trends, new products, and peers.

Bulk vending—think non-perishable sweets or stickers—has a four- to eight-week service cycle. Bulk vending may be a fantastic option to enter the vending machine business if you can’t take time off from your full-time job.


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Custom vending machines may not seem like a profitable company, but they have turned out to be incredibly successful after the worldwide epidemic hit.

Customers may buy their preferred snacks, drinks, and medical supplies from customized vending machines on the move without having to deal with the bother of purchasing them from a store.

By putting brand logos or phrases on the machine, the modifications also enable merchants to market their goods successfully.


How Profitable Is Owning A Vending Machine?

Vending machines can indeed be successful. Vending machines typically make $35 per week, but those well-stocked and situated in high-traffic, secure areas can make over $400 per month.

Can I Put A Vending Machine Anywhere?

Vending machines may be installed in most business buildings, including offices, retail stores, bowling alleys, etc. However, you must first execute a contract with the property owner.

Can You Run A Vending Machine Business By Yourself?

Vending machine ownership may be lucrative for entrepreneurs with varying levels of experience. Costs to set up a vending machine business are limited to those of the machines themselves and the supplies they will dispense.

How Much Is A Vending Machine Permit?

A food vending machine’s licensing price is $100 for the first machine and $20 for each additional machine.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill A Vending Machine?

If you utilize a vending machine business to refill your vending machine, the fee is typically nothing. However, if you were to buy everything in the vending machine, it would run you about $200.

What Type Of Vending Machines Make The Most Money?

The bulk machine is one of the most cost-effective vending machine models with the highest profit margin. The low-tech gumball, candy, and toy dispensers in playgrounds, parks, and restaurant waiting rooms are known as bulk machines.

Watch the video below for more clarity

About Author

vending machine business
Lydia Alolade
I am a professional article and e-book writer with 4 years of experience, I write on well research content on cryptocurrency, stocks, loans and finances.

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