Of all the home based businesses out there, none seem simpler to successfully run than a vending machine distributorship. Really, how hard can it be to purchase a vending machine, find a home for said machine, fill it with a variety of products, and stop by every now and then to scoop up a bucket load of quarters?
As I look back on my own life, though, almost every time I've asked a question beginning with the words “how hard can it be,” I've ended up with a task infinitely harder than I'd obviously anticipated. And that can very easily become the story of any vending franchisee blissfully unaware of what challenges are actually ahead. If you can anticipate any foreseeable problems, the vending machine can be a very lucrative home based business, so to save any unsuspecting small business buyers the pain of finding the challenges out the hard way, we'll take a look at some of the very important aspects of successful vending that are often overlooked.
One of the most important things to do when starting any small business is to do all your homework before investing in your franchise business. Most likely, if you're reading this article, you're already taking care of the research side of things, but there is still something specific that a potential vending franchisee should be looking at, and you may not be aware of its importance to the future of your business. That detail is machine quality.
It may come as a surprise, but not all machines are built the same. In the past, many were built of various plastics, which meant that although they were cheaper to purchase, they required a variety of replacement parts since plastic isn't terribly durable under constant mechanical wear. The better way to go is metal, and one company with outstanding machines is Uturn Vending. Despite having many moving parts, their machines are said to be some of the toughest candy machines in the business.
As with all businesses, vending location is key to a lucrative business. Most successful candy vendors find so much success precisely because they chose to put their machines in high traffic locations where people tend to stop and stand for some time. Bus stops, train stations, waiting rooms, grocery stores—anywhere that the machine will be present before a relatively stationary crowd is good place. While crowds often equate to big profits, make sure that the machine's location matches its product—or visa versa. DVDNow machines, which offer DVD rentals, do not go in public restrooms any more than a Love Maine Lobster Claw machine, which actually vends live lobster, belongs in a bank; just use common sense. If for some reason you have a hard time nailing down your locations, many franchisors will do the service of selecting appropriate locations for you.
Many first time owners of a vending franchise make the mistake of setting their prices too low—it seems counter intuitive, but it's true. Vending machine owners who are afraid of setting prices too high wind up not making enough money to pay their bills, continue purchasing machines and further expand the business. Something winds up suffering, and generally it's the expansion of the operation. Look at the products and prices of other machines in the location you select, as well as nearby and similar locations before setting your price in stone.
In a business that runs entirely on cash, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of moving the profit straight from your Vendstar machine right into your pocket without any kind of plan. But doing this is dangerous both to the longevity and growth of your work at home business as well as your own personal bank account. If you're not purposefully setting aside money from each extraction for the purchase of more machines, it is not uncommon for the business size to stagnate. What's more, if there isn't a specific fund for taxes and another for refilling the machines, when it comes time for each of those, the only alternative to falling out of the game or finding yourself in hot water with Uncle Sam is withdrawing the necessary funds from your personal account. There's an old saying that goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It may be a bit corny, but it's pretty accurate.
The problem for many work from home business owners is a lack of awareness and foresight. What all of these vending considerations boil down to is that you need to be aware of your current environment and attentive to where you want to go with your company. Vending isn't terribly hard, but if you treat it like a game, it won't pay off, because it still remains a business
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