Every year, Americans spend about $7 billion on items obtained out of vending machines. As a result, the average vending machine owner makes about $300 per machine each month.

Would you like to start collecting a cut of this action? If so, it’s as simple as learning how to start a vending machine business—and then getting out and doing it.

It can take some time to get a vending machine business off the ground. But once you’re able to put your vending machines into the right places with the right items in them, you can begin generating big profits in no time.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take when starting a vending machine business.

Decide What You’re Going to Put in Your Vending Machines

The first thing you’re going to want to do when you’re trying to figure out how to start a vending machine business is to decide what you want to sell in your company’s vending machines.

When you think about a vending machine, you probably think about one filled with sodas or snacks. But in 2019, companies are using vending machines to sell just about everything.

You can put any number of items into your company’s vending machines, including:

  • Coffee
  • Sandwiches
  • Ice cream
  • Toiletries
  • Electronics

There has also been a big push in recent years to provide people with more healthy eating options in vending machines. Companies like Healthy You Vending have shown that there is a demand for on-the-go food and drink options that are healthier than the foods and drinks typically found in vending machines.

Do some research to see what those in your community are looking for when it comes to vending machines. You want to find the right products so that they sell like hotcakes when you put them into your machines.

Invest in the Best Vending Machines for Your Business

Once you know what kinds of items you’re going to offer in your vending machines, it’ll be time for you to invest in the machines themselves. This is often the most costly part of jumpstarting a vending machine business.

The exact cost of a single vending machine will depend on what you’re going to put in it. Machines that need to store cold items, for example, are more expensive than basic vending machines that distribute snacks.

You can expect to pay anywhere from several thousand dollars for a brand-new vending machine to about $1,000 for a used one. You may want to consider taking out a small business loan to ensure you’re able to get enough vending machines to spread out in several different places. 

Find the Right Places for Your Vending Machines

You can invest in the best vending machines money can buy and fill them with items that people love. But if they aren’t in a place where people can see them, what good are they going to do?

You want to find places for your vending machines that get a lot of foot traffic. The more people that walk by your vending machines, the better it will be for your business.

With this in mind, you should try to find a way to put your vending machines in places like:

  • Schools
  • Office buildings
  • Hotels
  • Malls and shopping plazas
  • Apartment complexes

Touch base with the owners of these types of facilities and work out a deal with them before putting your vending machines into place.

Keep Your Vending Machines Stocked Up at All Times

You’ve purchased vending machines, you’ve found the perfect places for them, and you have plenty of products that you’re ready to sell. It’s time to make some money!

But before you start bringing the big bucks in, you’ll need to stock up your vending machines and make sure that they stay stocked every week. The last thing you want is for people to come to your vending machine to buy something only to see that you’re out of whatever it is that they want.

It can take a little bit of time to figure out exactly how many products you need to put in your vending machine to keep up with the demand. You should get into the habit of taking inventory of what items are selling well in each of your various machines.

By doing this, you’ll make sure that you’re serving those who use your vending machine well. You’ll also be able to tinker with what each of your machines offers so that you’re not carrying too many products that people aren’t buying.

Perform the Proper Maintenance on Your Vending Machines

Just like any other piece of large equipment, vending machines need to be maintained on a regular basis. Otherwise, they can fall into a state of disrepair and stop dispensing your products to customers who pay for them.

You should inspect your machines routinely and check for any signs of trouble. You should also include a phone number or email address on your machines so that people can let you know if there is an issue with them.

A vending machine with an “OUT OF ORDER” sign on it is costing you money each and every day. Make sure you’re ready to do maintenance on your machines to keep them up and running.

Reinvest Your Profits to Add More Vending Machines to the Mix

It can take a year or so for most vending machine businesses to start turning a profit. They have to cover the initial startup costs associated with starting a vending machine business before they begin making real money.

When that time comes for you, it’s a good idea to think about reinvesting at least some of your profits into buying new machines. This will give you the opportunity to make even more money every month.

Learning How to Start a Vending Machine Business Is Important

Starting a vending machine business requires more than just a single vending machine and a few cases of soda. You need to know how to start a vending machine business for it to turn into a successful enterprise.

Follow the steps presented here to get your vending machine business going. Start off slow with just a few machines before kicking things into overdrive and buying more machines once you begin to see a profit.

Check out our blog for more information on starting a new small business.