Author Topic: Side hustle vending machines  (Read 4682 times)

VolcanicArts

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Side hustle vending machines
« on: April 05, 2017, 10:51:30 PM »
I've been considering buying about ten vending machines by next year and creating a small route for them. I've read some on them and they appear promising. These would most likely start off as smaller quarter machines that vend candy, gum etc. I currently have a great job I like and my profits from investments have been very good over the years. I figure I could easily just keep doing what I'm doing with no change ( currently save 50% of take home) and retire in five years assuming no drastic complications. However a part of me says you only live once and I would like to say later on that I created my own business at some point. I'm realistic in knowing at a small level these machines will not make me rich, but can provide monthly income and allow me to scale up later. At my starting point I'm looking at about 3500 for 10 machines, maybe 500 for location fees, and then having to pay for gas, inventory, and potential time lost. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of business or thoughts on it. Even if I lost everything I would not care that much, but that outcome seems unlikely. I have also been observing some machines placed around town and comparing levels over time. I have also started to find businesses that have waiting areas without vending machines and keeping track of them, also trying to think of non-competing products. Please let me know if you think this is a worthwhile endeavor.

DocMcStuffins

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 08:01:05 PM »
Have a friend who started this in is small town and does it with his little boys. It is their company and he makes them take inventory and keep a record / book keeping to teach them about business. Different than what you are doing but was cool. You may want to look into a company that does bendy machines at schools. There was won that did stickers and things. Rent is free as you promise the school a certain percent. They like it because it is all their schools mascots. A good pitch would be at the PTA presidents. Just FYI.

BlueHouse

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 08:14:53 PM »
I also think it would be cool if you looked in to new modern machines in other countries.  Half the fun of vending machines is watching the food drop, and kids love it.  It would also be cool if they could provide things you don't normally see in vending machines in America.

I LOVE the vending machines they have in Japan. So much, so cool!  I would love a ramen vending machine!
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

DocMcStuffins

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 08:18:08 PM »
Saw one before that made a pizza from stratch.

solon

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 08:56:03 PM »
If you had a vending machine that dispensed side hustles, I'd put a quarter in that.

k-vette

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 09:30:16 PM »
My first business was vending machines.  I used both snack and soda machines.  It's all about location and the number of machines.  More machines means lower overhead when you're running to grab products, etc.  Just some thoughts:

Soda machines and snack machines are HEAVY and require muscle and good equipment to move.  Smaller candy machines obviously less.  High margins on the small candy machines, but not a lot of actual dollars unless it's a really high traffic spot.

If it's a business with 20 employees and no customer foot traffic, don't bother.  50-100 employees, certainly.  Those that make a full-time job out of it typically have 100+ machines running.   
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VolcanicArts

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 10:40:34 PM »
My first business was vending machines.  I used both snack and soda machines.  It's all about location and the number of machines.  More machines means lower overhead when you're running to grab products, etc.  Just some thoughts:

Soda machines and snack machines are HEAVY and require muscle and good equipment to move.  Smaller candy machines obviously less.  High margins on the small candy machines, but not a lot of actual dollars unless it's a really high traffic spot.

If it's a business with 20 employees and no customer foot traffic, don't bother.  50-100 employees, certainly.  Those that make a full-time job out of it typically have 100+ machines running.


Sounds good thanks for the tip. I found a barber shop near me recently that has a waiting area about 15 chairs and no vending machines. I marked the location as a possibility for later. I see a lot of parents bring their kids in and wait so maybe candy and sodas would work well there.

BlueHouse

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 05:29:35 PM »
I like the machines that are more like the impulse-buy sections at department stores, not candy or soda. 

Check this link out:  http://unionmarketdc.com/retailer/guerilla-vending/

This particular location has things like T-Shirts, artisan salt, mugs, and other very un-mustachian things, but things that people will spend serious money on.  Think gift-shop, without the overhead of a store.  It was fascinating.
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

texxan1

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 10:49:29 PM »
Its quite a large investment, but I have one of the twice the Ice,  Ice and water vending machine... for those living in the south... It can be a very large money maker.... and really only needs minor time per week.. I work it with my ex/partner and we probably spend 4 hours a week at the machine, the rest is counting the money.

If anyone has ever looked at these and want some true numbers let me know

Tex

SC93

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 10:51:13 PM »
My good buddy owns a very large vending business and makes a few million a year. My other buddy (recently passed away) owned a smaller vending business and did quite well. There must be money in it if done correctly.

Goldielocks

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2017, 10:57:00 AM »
I used to manage the vending contract for a national grocery chain.  (230 stores, maybe 800-900 machines).

Some things to consider:

1)  Kids and parents like the ones that dispense a small toy instead of candy all the time.   Many sales were due to the kids, so items that kids find fun are good.  ... toys, gumballs, jawbreakers, etc.   The game / toy machines (that always dispense a small prize) are also fun, even the ones with a crazy coin drop for a gumball.

2)  For some reason nut / peanut machines sell well, especially small ones in maintenance waiting rooms where men work (I was told) BUT peanut allergies and sanitary condition must be considered, and these were banned from our stores unless nuts were packaged.

3)  Half of our sales seemed to be from employees.!   Machines for offices and school areas  (think a tutoring center or music lesson area) were good sellers.  So not just waiting areas, but places where someone wants a snack, but the employee size is too small for a full size vending machine... and a $1 coin machine works.   -- car repair shops, truck driver areas, Lordco auto parts, etc.

4)  We required machines to have a complete refurbishment (new paint, condition, etc) every 5 years, which can be expensive.  The machines must look great to be placed easily.

5)  Other than small candy / coin machines, the larger vending styles here need to covert to card systems.. this is a huge trend, that people don't carry cash.   Also, I went through the transition where the government brought out new money formats, so the dollar readers all had to be upgraded to work, or coin slots changed to allow for coin sizes, etc.

6)My predecessor was so aggressive in negotiation the placement contract and terms, and the vendors were outbidding each other, to the point that one went broke within 18 months of getting the 3 year contract, and I had to go out to get new vendors after.   Looking at the original contract, I don't think any business could have made money on it.   

trollwithamustache

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 11:56:03 AM »
Do you have a place to store the machines? A long time ago we had an operator at a plant do this as a side gig. I think he made a lot of money. But the problem was he needed space to store the machines/inventory for them. (and I think work on them periodically?) Anyways, he was the only guy at his facility so he used the company warehouse. Which was fine until it wasn't fine. 

I love a good side hustle and my study of his business seemed to be that he really need like 20x20 ft of good shop/warehouse space for the business.

VolcanicArts

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 01:02:31 PM »
Do you have a place to store the machines? A long time ago we had an operator at a plant do this as a side gig. I think he made a lot of money. But the problem was he needed space to store the machines/inventory for them. (and I think work on them periodically?) Anyways, he was the only guy at his facility so he used the company warehouse. Which was fine until it wasn't fine. 

I love a good side hustle and my study of his business seemed to be that he really need like 20x20 ft of good shop/warehouse space for the business.

Storage is something I considered, but I will be operating on a small scale 20 machines max, and will be placing them quickly. I can use my garage if I needed to store them temporarily. I've done a little more research, but I've gotten distracted on a woodworking startup, so that is my first priority now. Hopefully I can have enough time to have both the woodworking shop and the vending machines up and running by January.

Guide2003

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 01:23:12 PM »
My rich lawyer uncle gave a soda machine to his 14 yo son for Christmas. I think my cousin even requested it! Pretty neat idea to get him into hustling.

Would it be worth starting with a single machine and refining items, location, and process first before you commit to 10 machines?
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” Mother Teresa

VolcanicArts

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 11:37:22 PM »
My rich lawyer uncle gave a soda machine to his 14 yo son for Christmas. I think my cousin even requested it! Pretty neat idea to get him into hustling.

Would it be worth starting with a single machine and refining items, location, and process first before you commit to 10 machines?

I will be starting with 3 machines and scale up from there. The max I plan to have is 20 operational, as I figure once I get past 20 it will start taking too much time per weeks for restocking and maintenance that it could cut into time I need for my job or other things. I will be vending some woodwork at a traders village a few days a month soon, so just to get an idea about profit margins etc. I may bring one or two small machines and place them at the table I work at. Even though it will only cover 30 to 40 hrs out of the month, I can estimate profit potential over a long period of time, and there's a ton of foot traffic at this trade show. I can also buy used machines on the cheap for this to try out, and if the profit is reasonable, then I'll commit to 3 of the machines and secure the locations around January.

anonymouscow

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2017, 10:01:13 AM »
I just bought a route last week, 12 snack and soda machines.

For me this is a large investment, I am hoping after about 2 years I will have made my money back and then can do it full time.

Right now I am just trying to get the hang of things.


Mgmny

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2017, 03:59:14 PM »
I just bought a route last week, 12 snack and soda machines.

For me this is a large investment, I am hoping after about 2 years I will have made my money back and then can do it full time.

Right now I am just trying to get the hang of things.

How did you find it for sale?

SC93

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2017, 04:21:30 PM »
Valcanic Arts, You better check to see if you can sell that type of thing at your Traders Village. The traders Village in the DFW area will not let any other vendors bring in food or drink to sell.

2 years to break even? Ouch. I wish you the best and hopefully you don't tire of it. It can be tough work if you do it yourself.

As for storage, my one buddy did it all from his carport for years and years until he passed way. My friend that has a large company is building a new building to work out of and it's not very big at all. There is a guy down the street from me in another neighborhood that I see with mostly drink machines such as Pepsi and he lives in a duplex and runs it out of his garage. So storage isn't really a problem if you really want to do something......

anonymouscow

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2017, 06:38:48 AM »
I just bought a route last week, 12 snack and soda machines.

For me this is a large investment, I am hoping after about 2 years I will have made my money back and then can do it full time.

Right now I am just trying to get the hang of things.

How did you find it for sale?

https://www.bizbuysell.com

anonymouscow

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2017, 06:47:57 AM »
Valcanic Arts, You better check to see if you can sell that type of thing at your Traders Village. The traders Village in the DFW area will not let any other vendors bring in food or drink to sell.

2 years to break even? Ouch. I wish you the best and hopefully you don't tire of it. It can be tough work if you do it yourself.

As for storage, my one buddy did it all from his carport for years and years until he passed way. My friend that has a large company is building a new building to work out of and it's not very big at all. There is a guy down the street from me in another neighborhood that I see with mostly drink machines such as Pepsi and he lives in a duplex and runs it out of his garage. So storage isn't really a problem if you really want to do something......

Thanks, I agree 2 years is a long time.

Theoretically, this should just be 10-15 hours a week.

I am hoping after two years I will be able to replace enough of my income to quit my day job or go part time.

Mgmny

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2017, 07:33:02 AM »
I just bought a route last week, 12 snack and soda machines.

For me this is a large investment, I am hoping after about 2 years I will have made my money back and then can do it full time.

Right now I am just trying to get the hang of things.

How did you find it for sale?

https://www.bizbuysell.com

Cool, thanks!

VolcanicArts

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2017, 12:26:56 AM »
I just bought a route last week, 12 snack and soda machines.

For me this is a large investment, I am hoping after about 2 years I will have made my money back and then can do it full time.

Right now I am just trying to get the hang of things.

Good job keep us updated on your progress.

Norgirl

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2017, 10:47:23 PM »
We tried and failed.

We thought we had bought an established route of three businesses and six machines to place.

We did our due diligence as best we could but it turns out the sales figures had been heavily fudged. Food started to go off. Out of three, one was doing ok.

The machines were second hand and things kept breaking. One Caught fire.

We were unable to secure locations for the additional machines ( we would have been happy to pay a fee).

It was worth a try.


felixbf

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2017, 11:39:02 PM »
Back when i worked in a call centre (opened 24/7) in 2006-2008 vending machines would need to be re-filled every 2-3 days.Those guys made a killing marking up prices by 1-2 dollars.
So if you gonna do this ,aim for business that run 24/7 !

VolcanicArts

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2017, 02:48:33 PM »
We tried and failed.

We thought we had bought an established route of three businesses and six machines to place.

We did our due diligence as best we could but it turns out the sales figures had been heavily fudged. Food started to go off. Out of three, one was doing ok.

The machines were second hand and things kept breaking. One Caught fire.

We were unable to secure locations for the additional machines ( we would have been happy to pay a fee).

It was worth a try.

That sounds rough. One thing I've learned in business is you need to start with solid wares, I.e. new machines, and paid for locations. When starting off we are not knowledgeable enough with the ins and outs enough of maintenance for used machines, or how to establish routes etc. I would rather pay more upfront initially to prevent headaches, then later on I might tinker with the idea of used machines or finding my own locations.

anonymouscow

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Re: Side hustle vending machines
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2017, 08:51:46 AM »
We tried and failed.

We thought we had bought an established route of three businesses and six machines to place.

We did our due diligence as best we could but it turns out the sales figures had been heavily fudged. Food started to go off. Out of three, one was doing ok.

The machines were second hand and things kept breaking. One Caught fire.

We were unable to secure locations for the additional machines ( we would have been happy to pay a fee).

It was worth a try.

Yikes, that is terrible, sorry it did not work out for you.

Were you selling sandwiches and such? I hear that is really tough because of the short shelf life.

If I do lose a location I am hoping I will be able to move the machines to one of the other locations. It is one of my biggest fears going into this, there is really no guarantee that a location will not want to change vendors. I really want to at least make my initial investment back.

I am still waiting on some things to be switched over on the machines I bought. They have the ability to be set up so the inventory and sales can be tracked online. If they work as advertised they should make my life so much easier.