How to Start a Vending Machine Business [Ultimate 7 Step Cheat Sheet]

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Looking for ways how to start a vending machine business?

There are several reasons why someone might choose to get into the vending machine business from low startup costs to an opportunity to earn passive income.

The vending machine business can be a lucrative and low-risk opportunity for entrepreneurs who are willing to invest time and effort into finding profitable locations and keeping their machines well-stocked and maintained.

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Why a vending machine business?

Here are some of the perks of starting your own vending machine business:

Low Startup Costs: Starting a vending machine business typically requires less capital than many other businesses. The initial investment is usually for purchasing the vending machines and stocking them with products.

Passive Income: Once the machines are set up, they can generate income without requiring a lot of ongoing effort or time. The machines can be restocked and serviced as needed, but they generally don’t require a full-time commitment.

Scalability: It’s relatively easy to scale a vending machine business by adding more machines in different locations, as long as there is demand for the products being sold.

Flexibility: Vending machines can be placed in a variety of locations, from schools and office buildings to airports and shopping malls. This flexibility allows vending machine owners to target specific demographics and adjust their business strategy as needed.

High-Profit Margins: The profit margins in the vending machine business can be high, depending on the cost of the products being sold and the price at which they are sold. Some products, like snacks and beverages, have low overhead costs and can be sold at a significant markup.

starting a vending machine business

Ideas and advice for starting a vending machine business

Some of the most experienced business consultants recommend starting a vending machine business as one of the best ways to make money fast. You can buy a machine and put it in your car and drive to different locations, such as schools and offices, and offer your drinks for sale.

Here are some tips for getting started…

7 Tips for Starting a Vending Machine Business

vending machine business

Here are some vending machine tips if you’re running a vending machine business:

1. Determine if you’ll be investing in a machine or renting one

Rental will probably be cheaper, but you’ll need to find someone who has machines available to rent or a location where you can purchase a used machine for cheap.

If you want to buy a new vending machine, there are websites that specialize in vending machines – these can help give you an idea of what kind of setup is best suited for your business needs.

2. Do research on various vending machines

The size, product range, and location are all factors that should be considered before you buy a vending machine.

3. Choose a location

Once you have an idea of what kind of machine would work best for your business, choose the location where you want to go ahead with it.

If you’re using a vending machine for selling drinks, make sure there is enough foot traffic in the area where you plan to put up your setup. This will not only attract more customers but also help increase sales since these people are already thirsty/hungry!

4. Decide between buying a machine or renting a machine

You can either buy or rent a secondhand machine depending on much capital you have at your disposal. If you’re buying, be sure to take the time and energy to buy a machine that best fits your business needs and product range.

5. Assemble and setup

Once you’ve made up your mind and bought or rented a vending machine, it’s time to set it up in your chosen location. Most of the machines come with instructions on how to assemble them; if not, you can always ask someone at the store where you bought it from for assistance.

6. Stock your machine

After that’s done, all you need now is some great snacks (and drinks) that customers will want!

Depending on the kind of products you’re selling in your vending machine, try putting some simple yet cost effective items inside such as tea bags/coffee sachets, snacks like chips, nuts, etc. for drinks you can put some small bottles of water (and maybe juice) – don’t forget to mark your prices on the items!

7. Marketing

With a little marketing through word-of-mouth and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., you’ll soon start getting customers coming in to buy products from your vending machine.

Some stores may even let you place your vending machine inside their premises after seeing how well it’s doing. This is definitely a great deal if you’re not looking for too many advertisements just yet.

How much do vending machines make?

When it comes to bending machine business profits, you might wonder how much you can actually make. It really depends on how many machines you own, the placement of those machines, and other factors.

According to this source, earning around $300/month from a vending machine business is within reach.

Do vending machines make good money?

Well-placed and well-stocked vending machines can earn up to $300 to $400 per month. That’s for one machine. If you have a network of 10 machines, that’d be around $3,000 to $4,000 per month.

Not bad but, it would take a lot of work to get to that level. Not to mention, each of the machines would have to be placed in great locations, like busy retail areas, malls, etc. And keeping them stocked can be a challenge if you’re not on top of it.

How do you find vending machines for sale?

how to get into the vending machine business

There are several ways to find vending machines for sale:

  1. Online Classifieds: Check online classifieds sites like Craigslist or eBay for vending machines that are being sold by individuals or businesses. Be sure to carefully review the product description and ask the seller any questions you may have before making a purchase.
  2. Vending Machine Distributors: Contact vending machine distributors in your area to inquire about the models and types of vending machines they have available for sale. They may also be able to offer financing options or recommend suitable locations for your machines.
  3. Auctions: Attend local auctions where vending machines are being sold. This can be a great way to get a good deal on a machine, but be sure to thoroughly inspect the machine and check for any maintenance issues before placing a bid.
  4. Online Retailers: Look for online retailers that specialize in vending machines, such as Vending World or Used Vending Machines. These retailers often offer a wide selection of machines, warranties, and financing options.
  5. Business Liquidation Sales: Keep an eye out for business liquidation sales in your area. These sales may include vending machines that are being sold as part of a larger inventory of assets.

When looking for vending machines for sale, be sure to carefully consider factors such as the type of machine, condition, price, and location. Do your research and ask questions to ensure you get a machine that meets your needs and provides a good return on investment.

How does an online vending machine business work?

online vending machine business

An online vending machine business, also known as an automated retail business, works by selling products through vending machines that are connected to the internet. Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Product Selection: The business owner selects the products they want to sell in their vending machines. These could include anything from snacks and beverages to electronics or beauty products.
  2. Vending Machine Setup: The vending machines are set up and connected to the internet. The machines are equipped with sensors that detect when a product is purchased, and they can automatically restock themselves as needed.
  3. Online Ordering: Customers can place orders for products through a website or mobile app. They can choose the products they want, pay for them online, and then go to the vending machine to pick them up.
  4. Delivery and Pickup: Some online vending machine businesses offer delivery options, where products are delivered directly to the customer’s door. Other businesses require customers to pick up their products from a specific vending machine location.
  5. Data Analysis: The vending machine business owner can track sales data and inventory levels in real-time through the internet-connected machines. They can use this information to adjust their product selection, pricing, and marketing strategies.

An online vending machine business can offer several benefits over traditional vending machine businesses, such as lower overhead costs and the ability to reach a wider audience through online marketing.

However, it also requires a strong online presence and effective digital marketing strategies to be successful.

How to buy a vending machine business?

How do you actually buy a vending machine business? This is a business that’s already up and going. You purchase it and take it over, essentially.

This can be a shortcut approach to getting into the vending machine business. You don’t have to buy vending machines individually, negotiate placements or any of the other upfront work required when launching from the ground up.

This can be a smart way to break into this business.

If you are interested in buying a vending machine, here are the general steps you can follow:

Step 1: Determine the type of vending machine you want

There are various types of vending machines available, such as snack machines, beverage machines, combo machines, and more. Decide which type of vending machine is best suited for your needs.

Step 2: Research vending machine manufacturers and distributors

Look for reputable vending machine manufacturers or distributors in your area or online. Read reviews, compare prices, and check the warranty and support options offered by each company.

Step 3: Decide whether to buy new or used

You can save money by purchasing a used vending machine, but it may come with a higher risk of maintenance issues. Buying a new vending machine ensures that you get a product with a warranty and reliable performance.

Step 4: Determine the placement and location

Consider where you plan to place the vending machine and the type of customers who will use it. For example, a vending machine in an office building will require different products than one placed in a school.

Step 5: Purchase the vending machine

Once you have selected the vending machine you want to buy, place your order and arrange for delivery or pickup. Make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully, and confirm that the machine is in good working condition before finalizing the purchase.

Step 6: Stock the vending machine

Once the vending machine is in place, stock it with the appropriate products and set the price for each item. You may need to adjust the products and pricing over time based on customer demand and other factors.

Step 7: Maintain the vending machine

Regularly clean and maintain the vending machine to ensure it operates smoothly and provides a good user experience. This may involve restocking products, cleaning the machine, and making repairs as needed.

Overall, buying a vending machine requires careful research and planning to ensure you get a machine that meets your needs and provides a good return on investment.

How does a vending machine business franchise work

A vending machine business franchise is a type of business arrangement in which an individual (the franchisee) is granted the right to operate a vending machine business using the name, products, and systems of an established vending machine business (the franchisor). Here’s how it typically works:

  • Franchise agreement: The franchisee enters into a franchise agreement with the franchisor, which outlines the terms of the franchise, including the products that can be sold, the territories in which the franchisee can operate, and the fees and royalties that the franchisee must pay to the franchisor.
  • Initial investment: The franchisee pays an initial investment fee to the franchisor, which covers the costs of training, equipment, and other startup expenses.
  • Training and support: The franchisor provides training and ongoing support to the franchisee, including marketing and advertising assistance, product updates, and access to proprietary technology.
  • Products and equipment: The franchisor supplies the franchisee with the vending machines, products, and supplies needed to operate the business.
  • Revenue sharing: The franchisor and franchisee share the revenue generated by the vending machine business, with the franchisor typically taking a percentage of the profits as a royalty fee.
  • Renewal and termination: The franchise agreement typically lasts for a set period of time, after which it may be renewed. The franchisor may also have the right to terminate the franchise agreement if the franchisee fails to meet certain obligations.

In exchange for the benefits of operating under an established brand and business model, the franchisee must adhere to the rules and guidelines set forth by the franchisor. Overall, a vending machine business franchise can provide entrepreneurs with a lower-risk way to start a business, as they can leverage the support and resources of an established company.

Vending machine franchise examples

Here are some examples of vending machine business franchises:

  • Healthy You Vending: This franchise offers healthy vending machines that provide a variety of nutritious snacks and drinks.
  • Naturals2Go: Naturals2Go provides vending machines that offer natural and organic snacks, drinks, and meals.
  • Fresh Healthy Vending: Fresh Health Vending specializes in healthy vending machines that offer organic and natural snacks, drinks, and meals.
  • U-Turn Vending: U-Turn Vending is a franchise that provides bulk vending machines that offer candy, gum, toys, and other small items.
  • Seaga Manufacturing: Seaga Manufacturing offers a variety of vending machines, including snack, drink, and combo machines.
  • American Vending Machines: American Vending Machines provides a wide range of vending machines, including snack, drink, and combo machines, as well as equipment for arcade games and other entertainment.
  • Planet Antares: This franchise provides vending machines that offer a variety of snacks, drinks, and other items, as well as a business opportunity for entrepreneurs to operate their own vending machine business.

Final Word

There you have it, we just covered how to start a vending machine business. This is a semi-passive income stream you can create for yourself that doesn’t require much upkeep once you get it up and going.

Is this a business you’d start for yourself?

how to start a vending machine business (1) how to start a vending machine business (1)

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Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at

One thought on “How to Start a Vending Machine Business [Ultimate 7 Step Cheat Sheet]

  1. Great Article. I enjoyed the in depth content. You can tell you took time to put this together!
    I have a digital product that I think your audience would enjoy. Let’s connect, I’d love to discuss this more.

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