Starting a vending machine business is a never-ending adventure. There is a constant rotation of machine styles, products for the machines, locations of machines, and revised contracts for everything. Yet, in this changing environment, the ownership of a vending machine business is completely satisfying because you are your own boss. That’s a true achievement.
Let’s talk about changes ahead, whether you’ve just launched your vending machine business or you’ve had machines on location for a few years. It’s time to scale your business.
First, let’s consider the negatives that may be slowing down the profitability of your business.
These are annoying issues that can derail success, so let’s discuss and remove them:
1. The cost of maintaining the machines can be high. Vending machines are working machines that can be damaged or broken in several ways. There are electrical connectors and working computerized portals that allow items to move and pricing to be applied to individual slots.
And, sometimes there is breakage that occurs. When this happens, you’ll want to document the number of times and the total time involved each time you’ve needed to service a machine. When your vending machine business is up and running, you may want to examine the documentation and hire a service technician.
Although this is an expense, it makes good sense if you’ll save your own valuable time and energy to focus on scaling the business instead of constantly fixing the business machines.
2. The cost of rental spaces is increasing. As the economy has changed in the past years and costs have increased for everything across the board, owners of spaces have increased rental rates for vending machines, as well.
When this occurs, examine your contracts carefully to determine if it is time to move your machines to a better location at a lower rental price. If it is not reasonable, pay the higher rental charges, but negotiate terms for 3 years instead of 2, or 2 years instead of 1. Opt to press for certain helpful changes on your side to offset the increased rental pricing.
3. The cost of food and other items for the machines is increasing. Ditto. There are increases in almost every food, school supply, toiletry, and medicinal product. This can translate to higher prices, fewer options for consumers, or lower costs.
If possible, avoid higher prices, as consumers will move toward the machines of your competitors. Work on adding lesser-known, less-expensive options for customers by mixing them with popular items.
Also increase bulk buying to obtain lower pricing, if at all possible. Negotiate on every item with the wholesaler; it doesn’t hurt to ask for better pricing.
Let’s turn to consider how to best scale your vending machine business and position it for success:
1. Constantly consider improvements to be made. A state of mind that is always working toward improvements will create those improvements.
2. Refill and restock continually to avoid food spoilage and waste. If selling fresh items in a vending machine, ensure the freshness dates have not expired. If they have, pull and discard the food items; never attempt to sell outdated foods.
3. Learn the latest food and snack trends. Your goal is to drive traffic to your vending machines, so stock the hottest chili-pepper corn chips in the world if every adolescent who walks by after school wants them. Track organic foods and plant-based protein food items for adults or university students.
4. Change the product lines in your machines. Where a vending machine may have provided school supplies, change the stock to provide toiletries and medicines. Track the progress of sales and allow the responses to inform your actions that follow.
5. Popular products deserve more space. If you sell an especially popular food item and tend to run out of it before restocking, reserve two slots or even three for that product. A high-profit food item that is extremely popular deserves the additional slots and you deserve the profit.
6. Review your machine locations and revise, if needed. Consider moving machines to higher-potential spaces, such as working environments or hotels. Vending machines seem to fit in every environment, as long as the contents are appropriate to that environment.
In all of the above, you have the ability to scale your vending machine business at any time. Working to consider and change these items and issues, however, will move you to the next level of potential and possibilities. Yes, it’s time to scale your business. We wish you success!