What product do I want to distribute?
The first and most important thing is to perfectly define what product we want to put on sale. There are many products and ideas on the market, but we must not rule out being original and thinking of new business niches.
If we think of a vending machine, the most widespread and common items are hot drinks, cold drinks, tobacco and snacks.
Tobacco and coffee occupy the first positions in the ranking of the vending market share and, therefore, the ones that have been most exploited.
Snacks are also very popular and, increasingly, healthy food such as salads such as sandwiches or food dishes that can be heated in a microwave such as soups, creams or stews An increasingly frequent alternative in work centers.
There are also machines that heat the food in the vending machine itself. Hot sandwiches or pizzas are common in this type of format.
But the vending has no limits. A short tour of the Hostelvending website is enough to check all the items and ideas that fit in a vending machine: books, toys, souvenirs, sweets, condoms, intimate hygiene products, erotic items, bottles of wine, t-shirts and even rings. of compromise.
If choosing the product is important, choosing the location of the machine is vital.
For a machine to be successful, it is very important to locate it in places with a high traffic of people. They can be train, bus or subway stations, hospitals, public buildings, bus stops, beaches, gas stations, schools, institutes, universities or markets, among other locations.
But you have to go further and know the area well. A vending machine for food or beverage products in an area where there are no traditional stores can be a great idea. In the same way, if the item that we are going to sell is of a higher price than usual, we must first analyze the income level of the neighborhood or area where we are going to locate it.
It is very important to know the municipal, regional and national regulations regarding the sector [See point 4].
Own business or franchise
Once you are clear about the product and the location of the machine(s), the next step is to contact a manufacturer or distributor to purchase or rent a machine.
If you consider it appropriate to have specialized support and advice, you can always count on the experience of other professionals with a name already known in the Vending sector. In this sense, vending franchises, an increasingly widespread format, offer a full service, providing the machines, a business plan and ongoing advice.
As in any business, planning is essential.
Creating a detailed inventory of the products that will supply the machine is essential to guarantee later that the machine will always have products available.
The same must be done with the change in cash and, of course, foresee all possible payment systems: debit or credit card, payment with a smartphone... Lacking any of these alternatives means losing customers.
It is essential to have a product stock storage space and a suitable vehicle to be able to replenish the products, in addition to work tools that allow small repairs to be made and, very importantly, to carry out thorough and periodic cleaning of the machines. Nothing looks worse than a dirty food machine.
It is advisable to go to well-known brands because the machine thus takes advantage of the advertising and marketing campaigns of the brands themselves. A machine stocked with top-brand products sells 20 percent more than others without this offer, according to industry studies.
Contract of workers and/or commission
If it is not possible for us to operate the machines directly, a support person can be hired. They are generally workers who are paid on commission, but there are many entrepreneurs who end up hiring staff directly when the business prospers, grows and makes a profit.
It is not necessary to have a special qualification but it is advisable to have knowledge of mechanics and electronics to ensure proper maintenance of vending machines.
Vending companies that supply machines often organize training activities at their facilities.
If we work with food and beverages, it is essential to take into account all regulations on hygiene and food handling, and to have the necessary qualifications to be able to handle these products.
A flexible and adaptable business
One of the great advantages of vending is its flexibility. If a machine does not generate the expected income, it is easy to change the business plan.
You can choose to change or adjust the products that are dispensed, or change its location.
On many occasions a machine has revitalized a 'dead' area in a local or establishment. The benefits are mutual: the operator of the vending machine and the owner of the premises win.