When I first heard about the vending machine industry, I refused to believe that anyone could make money selling snacks from a coin-operated “automated retail” machine. I never even thought of them as a business opportunity, let alone a profitable one. I would soon learn that the vending industry revenues ~20 billion dollars and sells more than 13 billion snacks/beverages annually. Once I heard those numbers, I wanted to know how to get involved.
The question is “how can you start your own vending machine business from home?” While it can be overwhelming at times, with the right advice and some guidance, you will be on your way in no time.
The first step in starting a vending machine business is deciding if it is the right business for you. This is not one of those “become a freelancer from home” jobs that you can start in a few minutes and if it doesn’t work out, so be it. Starting a vending machine business takes time and dedication, but when done right, can allow you to be your own boss, and reap the benefits from your hard work.
Deciding if the vending business is for you comes down to seeing if it aligns with your “3 why factors”. These factors being purpose, time, and money.
- Purpose – The first question is, what is your purpose for getting into the vending business? Do you want more control over your financial future? To spend more time with your kids and family? Maybe you just want to be able to make your own schedule? Whatever it may be, it is important to decide what your purpose is before you start because it will help keep you focused down the road.
- Time – The next question is how much time do you have to commit to starting your business? This is important because it will affect the strategy of how you delegate your tasks of running the business.
- Money – The last question is what is your money factor? This answer will typically depend on a few other factors. Generally, the more support you get from a business opportunity the more expensive it becomes. However, in many situations that investment might be the best option for you. This all depends on your why, and your time-investment level.
Once you figure out your “why factors” and decide that this is the right business for you, then you can take the next steps to launching your business.
Step 1: Find Locations for Your Vending Machines
The key to making sure that you can operate your business from home is to find locations for your vending machines before buying them. This is important for two reasons. One, you won’t end up having to store a bunch of vending machines in your garage. Also, business owners often miss out on large potential profits by doing this. The problem is that each location has a “best possible” machine to fill the spot. Let me explain this with an example.
Let’s say you buy a cash only vending machine (if you follow our guide you won’t because we explain that credit capabilities are a necessity in today’s world), because it was on sale. Then you get offered an awesome location by an office building that has mainly middle-aged working adults. This demographic prefers using credit cards. Rarely do they carry cash on them. You are going to be missing out on a huge potential customer opportunity because you bought your machine before knowing where it was going to be placed.
So to make sure that you have space to move in your house, and are maximizing your profits, do not buy your machines before you have secured locations for them.
We’ve been talking about locations for your vending machines a lot. It is for good reason. It is often said that the vending machine business is actually a location generation business. This is because finding locations for your vending machines is absolutely crucial to your success. Reason being, you can have the nicest vending machine in the world, but if you don’t have a densely populated place to put it, there is no way it is going to make any money. So how do you find you find these locations and convince the building owners to let you put your machines there? You do it by generating, qualifying, and closing.
Generating leads is the first step to finding great locations to place your machines. This is an ongoing process that is the main determinate in your success in the vending machine industry. It’s also something you can do from home! Proper lead generation is a combination of prospecting, researching for leads, and marketing to allow leads to find you. When done properly, you will soon have a large list of leads ready to be qualified. Qualifying the best leads is important because your time is crucial. That’s why it’s called working from home, right! Only take meetings with the highest quality leads to make sure you are not wasting your time. Once you are in the meetings, its time to close the deal! Our full guide goes more in depth on how to close the deal and decide which startup option is right for you.
As you can see the vending machine business is not for those looking for a couple of easy dollars. It is however, a great opportunity to take control of your financial future and become your own boss, all from the comfort of your home.
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August Quinn Noble is a marketing coordinator at SnackNation and H.U.M.A.N. His goal is to make healthy food more convenient than junk food. He also loves making offices more awesome. Feel free to contact him at AugustN[@]HealthyVending.com.