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Starting a Vending Business - Frequently Asked Questions

How much will my vending machine business make?

If we could predict how much money your vending machines will earn, we would no longer be in the vending business--we would be retired! What we do know is that the success of your machine will be dependent upon three factors: location, location, and location. The busier the location, the better your vending machine will do. It’s that simple.

How do I find locations for my vending machines?

This can be accomplished in three easy steps:
Step 1.
From now on, wherever you go, keep your eyes peeled for busy locations. Any location with a lot of foot traffic is a good location for a vending machine.
Step 2. Approach the location owner and propose to set up your gumball machine, candy machine or other vending machine within their store, explaining to them that you will completely service the machine yourself. Let them know that the machine takes up less than two square feet of floor space, does not need any electricity, and will provide their customers with a great service. Best of all, they will earn a percentage of the gross sales (anywhere from 15% to 33%, its up to you).
Step 3.
Set up your machine and start making money! Once you set up the first machine, find another location and start the entire process over again.

Do I have to offer the store owner a percentage of my sales? 

This depends on the approach that you take. If you approach the owner as a business person strictly interested in expanding your vending route, then it would be proper to offer them a percentage of the sales. Do not forget that offering a percentage is an incentive for the owner to allow you the space in their business. We recommend offering anywhere from 15% to 33%, depending on the location. Another approach that you could take is through charity. There are many charitable organizations that will supply you with stickers to put on your vending machines in exchange for a nominal monthly fee, usually $1 per month, per machine. Most store owners will allow you space in their stores for free when you are associated with a charitable organization.

Should I use a locating service?

We firmly believe that the best way to secure quality locations is to do it yourself. If, however, you wish to use locating services, there are a number of locating companies that you can contact and hire independently. Gumballs.com does not promote, sell, or endorse locating services of any kind.

What are good locations for vending machines? 

In our experience, certain businesses have consistently proven to be successful locations. These include restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, shopping malls, Boys and Girls Clubs, laundromats, movie theaters, high schools, colleges, markets, coffee shops, banks, automotive centers, taverns, and apartment complexes. Always be on the look out for more obscure locations that could prove to be really favorable. Some surprisingly successful locations that we have come across include auction facilities, casinos, bingo halls, horseback riding facilities, and airports. Remember, any place with steady foot traffic is a good location for a vending machine.

Do I need a business license or insurance to operate a vending route? 

You should consult with your local licensing department to find out the specific rules and regulations pertaining to bulk vending in your state.

Should I have the location owner sign some sort of contract? 

This is up to you, but in our experience we have found that a contractual agreement is unnecessary.

Is theft and/or vandalism a big issue with these machines? 

Because bulk vending machines are typically placed in high visibility and high traffic locations where there are people or employees at all times, theft and vandalism is uncommon. If you are locating your machine in a questionable location, a simple and cost-effective solution would be to wrap a chain around the base of the machine and chain it to a fixture within the store. This simple solution would prevent any would-be thieves from attempting to steal your vending equipment.

How often should I service my vending machine? How long does it take?

Our spiral gumball machine holds up to 3300 gumballs and could go several months without servicing. However, we recommend that you check on your machines at least once a month. Servicing a vending machine, which includes collecting the money and refilling the machine, takes about three minutes per machine. A vending route consisting of 100 vending machines could take as little as 6 hours a week or two weekends a month to fully service.

Do I need a truck or van to run a vending route? 

No. Our spiral gumball machines, bulk vending machines, and triple-vend machines easily fit within a standard vehicle. That is, of course, unless your vehicle is a bike. Then you have a problem.

Can I operate my vending business from my home? 

Heck, you could operate your vending business out of your bedroom closet if you really wanted to. There is absolutely no need for an expensive office or warehouse.

How can I calculate a break-even amount to vend with my candy wheel? 

Numbers you will need

A. Total cost to get the candy to you (price of candy + shipping cost)

B. The amount your coin mechanism accepts (.25, .50, other)

C. Number of pounds of candy you are getting

D. Number of candy pieces per pound ( a google search often provides this number)

 Completing the calculation

E. Divide A by B. This gives you the number of vends to break even

F. Multiply C by D. This gives you the total Number of pieces in the box of candy

G Divide F by E. This is the number of pieces per vend that will break even.