vending machines?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pogitondo, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. pogitondo

    pogitondo Well-Known Member

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    california
    HI,
    I was wondering if any one has had any expierience with vending machines as a source of income? I did not find anything in the archives.
    An internet search gave me lots of sites of companies selling the machines,but could not find any message boards from people involved.
    Seems like most of the sites were warning me not to buy from the other guys,as they are all crooks!
    I like the idea of a small route..don't really need a lot of income,and the time flexability would be perfect for a single dad.
    If anyone can provide any insights I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks
    Pogitondo
     
  2. Bob_W_in_NM

    Bob_W_in_NM Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've been operating vending machines for most of the last thirty years. If I was out of the business, I wouldn't get back in for a number of reasons. I don't sell equipment, I operate it. Message me with your questions.

    Bob

    DBA Best Amusement Co.
     

  3. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    Bob, I'd love to know why. I've often thought of doing this too.

    Chris
     
  4. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I know at my work they drove one vending machine vendor out and now have a new one in place. Picky people - didn't like the choices, lost a quarter, ya da ya da..... Be aware you have to please alot of people, especially if you are contracted to provide the service.
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Been there, done that. Lost the whole investment. You can not believe what the sales reps tell you. They get paid for giving you the shaft.
     
  6. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Very true, I suppose it's like the circus... some people can do it, most can't. I tried it (on a smaller scale with Bubble Gum machines).

    Placing them was difficult and the initial investment was expensive.

    Anyone want a piece of gum?
     
  7. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    We're on our 3rd guy in 3 months here at work. New guy just raised everything 25%-50% no more business from me..


    mikell
     
  8. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    Well my parents had a vending machine route and sometimes you can do like they did and find machines already in place that the person is wanting out of the business. Then you can get a taste of the business without losing your whole shirt.
    When my dad got sick I started helping my mom run the routes. Now some of the folks were quite lovely to work with and became freinds where others were like little children when it came to the machine. Be prepared to have both sides of the coin. Also if the weather is bad they sometimes don't care. If the machine goes out they want you there NOW! to fix it so they can get their candy fix. If you have to raise the prices for some reason they complain because they can't seem to figure out the price for that candy bar or soda has to include the item itself, the gas and wear and tear on your vehicle, your insurance (so if some idiot decides to tip the machine on themselves), and then there's the lovely taxes that have to be paid. Some of the folks are just plain rude. One lady in a medical office that was in charge of all the staff on that floor some how got it in her head that she was in charge of our machines and business as well because she would suck down the dr. peppers like she just came out of the desert. Well all of a sudden she wanted two rows of it in the machien and we told her we couldn't do that because we had to think of our other customers and since she was the only one that was wanting the dr. pepper in two slots it would make us lose money. She told us she didn't care about the others she wanted it done that way and that was that. Well I had to explain to her that the contract wasn't with 'her' it was with the medical center. She got huffy and tried to have us kicked out of the building but luckily all the other staff stuck up for wanting the machines to stay.
    Another side of things is you might get a machine that make about $8.00 a month then you could get a machine that makes $300.00 a week you have to take the good with the bad.
    P.M. with any other questions
     
  9. Bob_W_in_NM

    Bob_W_in_NM Well-Known Member

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    Well, TexasArtist, I see that you are eligible for whatever campaign medals they hand out to vending machine operators. Those were some fine examples of the B.S. we have to put up with.

    I currently am primarily a juke box and amusement machine operator. I do have a little bulk vending (what a joke!). I've been there and done it all over the years. Used to have a big route of cigarette machines too, but they are pretty much "done". (Hafta put them in a place where people under 18 can't get to them, and that leaves the bars, and they're going away too!)

    I went down to the court house today and paid the property taxes on the machines that I own. I shelled out about 3,500.00. I still owe the second half, which is due May 10. People see me walk out of a location with a hundred dollars in quarters, and they think it's all profit!

    I operate about 300 machines of various types.
     
  10. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Back from the mid-80's up until the mid-90's, I ran a vending and video game business on the side. In the 90's I branched out into payphones. After all of the headaches, increasing vending taxes/permit fees, vandalism/theft, I decided to pull all machines and get out of it. After all, some locations were in small towns that had outragious local permit fees, one town was $200/yr per machine. I still have a dozen or so video games and a few vending machines in storage. I'll never put them out again, don't need that headache.

    With the payphones, when the state tariffs changed requiring us to provide all directory assistance calls at our expense, yet not allowing us to charge for it, I pulled the plug on my payphone business. After all, why should I go in the hole to pay for calls I can't collect on? Our profit margins were fairly small to begin with. The LECs (Local Exchange Companies) charged us private payphone providers more than they charged their own payphone divisions for providing the same services.

    The FCC has since pre-empted the state regulations that required that, and required LECs to be more fair, but too late for many payphone providers.

    The popularity of cellphones, the incompetence (poor service/equiptment) and greed (rate gouging) of many private payphone providers, increasing regulations, and vandalism/theft issues, caused a rapid decline in the number of private payphone providers.

    I do still keep my smart payphones software updated and operational. I now use them around my house as regular phones. I've not decided if I will ever put any payphones back out or not. Since cellphones don't work around this area, payphones are still in demand. I'm just not in the mood for the large headaches it takes to get licensed again, pay for all of the permits and fees, all for the small average income it may generate.

    Bob
     
  11. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    poker machines in bars...
    those are a mine.

    I was working in a bar last year laying the floors and the poker machine guy came in every day to empty the things... FULL.
    multiply that by ?

    sems like a gold mine to me.
     
  12. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    Bad thing about those poker machines is many are not legal in many areas and get confiscated/destroyed a lot, inviting criminal charges as well. The ones that are legal usually don't get much play. Not sure how much they cost to replace now but they used to be pretty darned expensive.

    In my living room, I have an old slot machine that was retrofitted to only accept tokens. Friends love to play the thing so I keep the payout tray full of tokens. Even as an antique, in this state it would be illegal if it accepted or paid out coins.

    I don't see how it should matter as long as it's operated as a home entertainment device, and not operated for profit. But it's ok for the state to run a lottery for profit, go figure.

    Bob
     
  13. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've seen a lot of machines damaged by people beating, kicking, and tipping them. Some small candy type machines were stolen from our building. People can be such jerks if their money goes without them getting their candy bar or can of soda. We used to leave post-it notes on the machine saying which office they owed money to and sometimes they'd stop by with the money and sometimes they wouldn't. They finally took their machines out of our building saying they didn't earn enough from our location.
     
  14. Holly

    Holly Well-Known Member

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    Dec 1, 2004
    Hello,
    I don't know if this is even along the lines that you are thinking about, but...
    My best friend and her husband just started a DVD rental business via vending machine. They have two actually. One sits outside a 24hour gas station and the other at a 24hour grocery store. People pay with a credit/debit card. I know that the initial investment wasn't cheap ( define cheap/expensive) but the proposed payback was "suppose to be quite good". We won't know for sure for a while since they just got them a few weeks ago.

    If you were interrested in finding out more, I could get you in touch with them and they could (or could find someone else who could) answer your questions.

    Just thought that I'd throw the idea out there. Maybe you could think of vending something that no one else has yet. Obviously, the first guy who thought the DVD rental thing up is probably pretty well off by now.

    Although, I have never been in the vending machine business - what ever you would decide to vend would come with all of the same hassles and problems that everyone else has forementioned- No matter how great the product.