The vending machine industry offers a level of flexibility, scalability, and freedom that’s hard to find in other business opportunities. And it can be as lucrative as more time- and capital-intensive businesses. The vending machine industry often realizes revenues of more than $20 billion per year. And with consumers placing a premium on healthy and nutritious grab-and-go items, vending machines can be the perfect solution to increase accessibility.
If you’re interested in starting a vending machine business, you may be wondering where some good locations are for your equipment.
As with real estate, vending is all about “location, location, location.” It’s important to get the right products in front of the right customers at the right time and for the right price.
Can You Put a Vending Machine Anywhere?
Technically, you can place a vending machine anywhere that a property owner permits you to do so. In each case, you’ll want to negotiate an agreement and sign a contract with the property or building owner.
The better question to ask is, should you put a vending machine anywhere?
The answer: No!
Only choose locations with enough foot traffic. Typically, you’ll want to find and contact locations with a good number of employees or visitors. But that’s only the first “checkbox” to cross off in your search for profitable vending machine locations. There are a few other questions you’ll want to take into consideration to identify promising locations.
Are The Individuals In The Location Likely to Purchase From a Vending Machine?
Vending machines allow for a wide variety of snack choices, which is one of the best aspects of a vending business. But not everybody is excited to purchase junk food from a vending machine. Offering healthy snacks, drinks and entrées can attract those modern, health-conscious customers. Also, ask yourself if building visitors spend enough time in the location to need a snack or drink. Plus, some modern machines can offer personal wellness items, such as hygiene essentials, laundry detergent, personal protective equipment, and over-the-counter medications. This product mix can both attract a more diverse consumer base and open the door to facilities that traditional snack and drink machines can’t fully satisfy—such as gyms, hotels, and laundromats.
Are there convenience stores or restaurants nearby?
Is there another source of quick sustenance near the location? Do the employees in the building flock to the convenience store each day for their snack time fix? You’ll want to consider these questions as you evaluate each potential location. Along those same lines, ask yourself if there are any restaurants near the location. Of course, not everyone heads out to a restaurant every day for lunch. Still, popular watering holes can contribute to lower vending revenues nonetheless. With that in mind, some employees or visitors to the building may find themselves too busy to leave for a fill-up. A vending machine filled with healthy options can provide quick, wholesome, and convenient sustenance that might attract more “on-the-go” customers to your offering.
How safe or protected from the elements will your machine be at the location?
Vending machines are an investment. And you want your assets to be protected. Carefully evaluate each location for its relative safety and level of protection from the elements. The best way to insulate yourself from vandalism and theft is by carefully evaluating each location before approaching the property owner. Also, consider how exposed your machines will be to the elements. If they will be located outside, is there an awning or other covering to protect them from moisture and sun? Even if your machines are inside, you might want to understand how near to windows or doors they will be. Ultraviolet rays can play havoc on vending machines and products.
Carefully evaluating each location is critical for vending business success. Similar to real estate, vending is all about location, location, location. Ask yourself some of these questions and carefully think about each potential vending machine location before contacting the property owner. And if approaching property owners and evaluating their building’s potential for profitability seems overwhelming, you can always consider seeking help to find qualified locations.