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Showing most liked content since 02/27/2017 in all areas

  1. 7 likes
    I read and gain a lot of insight here but rarely feel the urge to comment until now. We added card readers to our mix a year ago and I would say it has had a very positive effect on our business. I started our business 17 years ago buying a small route (6 drink and 6 snack machines) and we now have 2 full vending routes and an ocs route as well. We struggled the first few years until I made a decision to stop letting our customers dictate our practices. We then set our pricing structure and we raise prices periodically to offset rising cost of goods etc. Your vending route is a business and you should run it like a business as being profitable is the most important factor . There are always going to be people that complain about price and fees but they complain about everything else in their life as well. So when i had the decision to eat the fees or pass them on i didn't hesitate for a second. My 2 cents JJ
  2. 6 likes
    There are three ways to get into the business. You can start with a couple machines and grow from there (recommended), you can buy a small existing route with enough machines and revenue to keep you busy for a day or two (only recommended under certain circumstances), or you can buy a complete business with at least one full-time route that is capable of supplementing some income (not including the loan payment). Of the three, the third option (buying a complete business) is the hardest and the least recommended because a newcomer doesn't have the experience to run such an operation. If there are multiple routes, then it's almost impossible to operate unless the business is completely managed with existing employees and the operation is 100% passive income. Aside from that, the reward is possibly good (but not gauranteed), the risk is high (guaranteed), and the chance of you actually wanting to call this your new career is completely uknown. Now, focusing on the other two options (ie. starting with a couple machines or buying a small existing route), we can break down both. Starting off with a few machines (even on location) is a low-risk way to see if you're even into the business. Should you decide that it's not for you, you have very little money invested in the business (as long as you don't pay an arm and a leg for your first few machines). The downside to starting small is that you have a problem with stales, primarily on snack machines. The reason for this is because, unless you have good locations, you simply won't sell enough of each individual product out of the cases (or variety packs) that you buy and you'll end up having some products left over that are past expiration date and should be removed from the machines. Let's say you even have a can machine with 8 selections, but the location you have generates $30/week in can sales and they primarily only buy mountain dew, coke, and diet pepsi. If that's the case, the other 5 selections are at risk of expiring. You could leave them empty... but someone might occasionally want a 7up and they might get upset if it's not there. You end up having to buy an entire 12-pack or 24-pack of each variety of soda. Once you have several soda and snack machines out there, you can start spreading the products out and having them sell faster, allowing you to reduce your expired products a little, but the next problem is that you need enough product to fill all of the machines but you also don't want to get too much product, so you still may end up with as many stales until you get way more accounts or better accounts. As for buying an existing route, the benefit is that you usually have enough revenue to produce a decent profit. You are capable of reinvesting back into the business or pay yourself a little. You also get the benefit of selling enough product fast enough that you can buy several cases of various products at a time with little risk of overbuying (if you know what you're doing). There still may be a problem with stales, but the percentage of stales in an existing route should be far lower compared to the revenue than that of a couple machines. When I first started, I would bet that 10-25% of my chips expired from one week to the next. I have more stales now than when I first started, but I have WAYYYYY more revenue. The downsides to buying an existing route are that you invest way more (thus, a higher risk to lose money if you decide it's not for you and you try to sell out) and you NEED to start upgrading your vehicle to carry the amount of product you'll be needing. You'll also need to dedicate extra time to the route for service calls and repairs. The general recommendation here is to start off with a can machine and find a decent location (ie. hot factory with 20 employees) or several locations and see if it's for you. If your locations are generating decent revenue ($50+/week from a can machine) then it may be worth while to invest in a snack machine too. Once you get your feet a little wet, you can really decide if you want to jump into it or not. It's just hard for all of us here to tell anyone to jump straight into the business because we all know how difficult it can be at times. We all went through the dark ages of vending and we have all had absolutely terrible days where everything went wrong. Keep in mind that virtually every business has its ups and downs so vending isn't any worse. It's just that you don't have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to see if you like it. You can buy a can machine from a local distributor and have it delivered to the location for maybe $800 and you can start being a vending operator right then and there. As for the "someone that someone knows" having a few machines, the important thing is to find out how much money the locations generate, what kind of machines they are (make AND model), and how much she's asking. With that information, if it's accurate, we can tell you if it's worth trying or not.
  3. 6 likes
  4. 5 likes
    There is nothing easy about raising prices in my opinion. You can explain it to the customers to kind of ease the pain, or you can just raise them without any advanced notice. On one hand, simply raising the prices might offend some people but the decision maker might not even pay attention. On the other hand, notifying the decision maker that the prices need to go up might cause the decision maker to want to look for someone else. The worst-case-scenario to me is when someone says "just take the machines out." In all fairness, these accounts need to be canceled anyway if they cannot accept price increases. Any way you raise prices can lead to some form of backlash. It's difficult. On top of the previous point, physically raising prices can be a pain too. I have a lot of accounts with 90 cent candy and going to $1.00 can be difficult on older machines because I don't have $1.00 tabs and the label maker doesn't look as professional. I feel for anyone who stresses over raising prices. However, it should also be well understood that keeping the prices fair (relative to your area) is important. There are some old vendors out there that don't ever want to raise prices in fear of losing customers. They eventually get to the point where their equipment is so old and the prices are so low, revenue becomes very misleading (as profitability is very low) and the equipment holds very little value. These vendors make it difficult simply by leading other customers to believe that things such as 80 cents for candy is a fair price. When I explain to customers that I don't make a profit on 85 cent candy, they start to go on about how they can get reese's cups at walmart for 75 cents or that candy costs 65 cents at sam's club OR they try to tell me that I need to "buy in bulk" so that I can get a discount on candy so I can sell it cheaper and thus make more money. You know, the vending experts that have never actually done vending before. I find it 100 times easier to explain the need for price increases in person than over the phone. Usually, when they see the sincerity in my tone about how I don't WANT to raise prices but I have to, they usually understand. I have a very simple ideology for price increases too. I make my top accounts profitable but I want to keep the prices low as to not get undercut. On the bottom accounts, it's my way or the highway. Oh, and I try to stagger price increases so I don't get canceled by multiple accounts at the same time.
  5. 5 likes
    A business is not defined by the number of employees or if it has a warehouse. If you wish to use a different term, that's fine. But to discredit the thousands and thousands of businesses out there as not being "real" businesses is just ignorant. A business provides goods and/or services for a price. You make good points but you are clearly not familiar with other regions. Around here, $10-12/hour is pretty common for route driver wages. The cost of living isn't that high. You are definitely at a disadvantage when you're a one man show making the same money as an employee when you only look at it from a financial standpoint. However, I am much happier with my general freedom to do things as I want, when I want. I happen to enjoy being in charge and ibknow from experience that there's way more than just money. If I only cared about money, I'd probably work on an oil rig. I think you are discussing things with a narrow view in that regard. I can work my own schedule. I get to see my customets directly. I don't have to worry about employees or coworkers messing things up. The vast majority of businesses in the world are small and I think you forget that. That guy operating a hotdog stand might be his only form of labor, but he's still operating a business. If you wish to discuss growing a Vending business into a large operation, that's fine, but no business-minded person should have "operating out of a warehouse" as a priority over "making a substantial profit." Being in business is about profits, not revenue.
  6. 4 likes
    Except cashews cost too much and nuts in general have a very small market. Not saying one will not find the right location . But out of 100 locations you will be lucky to find one that nuts will sell in at all. I'm leaving this topic alone now, failure is the best teacher.
  7. 4 likes
    Yea I don't think like a business guy. I have no idea where the money has come from the past 35 years. Do you work for uturn?
  8. 4 likes
    So I've been working on placing these candy for a cause honor boxes for the past 5-6 days. I used Rodney as well as Sheridan to locate 32 of them. This is my first experience with honor boxes, so I want sure what to expect. It's definitely nowhere near as simple as bulk. Of the 32 locations emailed to me, 7 were refused upon arrival. One nearly cussed me out as soon as I walked in the door and another was someone's home (luckily I looked up the address before I tried to deliver). After dealing with all of that, I started questioning whether I wanted to continue to pursue this venture. I did get a call from a location today, that I had placed late Friday afternoon. Of course, getting a call within a few days of placing usually isn't a good call, but they said "your mint thingy is empty". So I head over hoping I at least have $8 to cover the cost of the 100 mints I had in the box(I don't usually think so negatively, but my last few interactions these boxes weren't so good). So I walked in and swapped out the box with a new one(with as many mints as I could fit, just in case they actually sold) and returned to my truck to see the damage. $31.50. Only short $1.50 and netted $23.80 in only 2 and a half days. Needless to say I was VERY happy with that collection. Now I'm hoping some of these other locations settle in and can perform at least close to as well as this one.
  9. 3 likes
    Family can be the worst people to hire because they will be the first to screw you over. Sell the route. If you sell to family cash up front only.
  10. 3 likes
    What I don't get is how the smartphone experience is better than a computer experience with a fixed keyboard and large screen. It's very obvious sometimes that a poster is using only a phone to type on as the text is riddled with typos. I do not see how a person communicating in that way can possibly be taken seriously or ever look professional. Some in the Millenial generation have been allowed to treat a tiny device in their hand as their only form of contact and for those people LOLs and such are considered proper, but they aren't proper in a business world. I hate when I only have my phone to work on this forum with and it takes forever to create legible text.
  11. 3 likes
    Not sure they are fully ADA. The NV doors use the existing NV bin which I don't believe is truly within the ADA guidlines.
  12. 3 likes
    Big van. I like the upper shelves. I have a much smaller van with my logo. What do you guys think about the logo. It makes it more visible (got about 3 leads to put machines) but also more visible for people looking at the product and money we transport. That is my van down here:
  13. 3 likes
    Put your meter on it (continuity). If you don't have a meter you should.
  14. 3 likes
    I use vendsoft as well and love it. However, I don't have any online machines. I use payrange and just haven't wanted/needed to jump to card readers. It's 20 bucks for up to 20 machines or 30 bucks up to 100 machines or something like that. No contract. It's made my life a lot easier. Not only in keeping track of inventory in machines and in my unit but I'm able to clearly see my sales reports per machine, per location, w/e. I used an excel spreadsheet before but the time this saves and the clarity of it is worth every dime. It pays for itself every month. I use an app on my phone or an app on my iPad. I also don't need a service signal to use it which is very convenient. I had an issue when I first signed up and the founder responded and had it fixed right away. Turned out to be a user error. I'd highly recommend them. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. 3 likes
    I started in vending just recently, but I can't imagine doing this without some sort of system. I use VendSoft because it's low cost and does just about anything I want it to. Pre-kitting, warehouse inventory, tracking sales, cash reconciliation, etc., etc. I know it can do telemetry too, but I don't use it so I don't know how. The BIG thing I want to say about them is that their tech support is amazing. It's via chat/email - but they always get back to you within a day and what I can't say enough about is their willingness to listen to your needs and even update their software to accommodate it. They have added several features that I have asked for, and usually within a few days! Give them a try! (Not associated with VendSoft in any manner, other than a very happy user)
  16. 3 likes
    You did imply that an "actual" business includes employees and a warehouse, and if it doesn't look like that, then it's only a job and not a real business. I would never tell someone or imply that their business isn't an "actual" business because they lack employees and overhead. That's just silly. So no, I didn't miss your points, I just think you are completely off base with a lot of people. Sure, there are people who will agree with you, but some like myself will not. As for the 10-12/hour wage, that's the going rate in many Midwestern areas. You should look it up. I can call many different operators and they will tell you the same thing. $20,000-$25,000/year will easily pay a normal consumer's bills in the Midwest. I have never seen a route driver position open for more than $14/hour locally.
  17. 3 likes
    All very good advice here from experienced vendors. Personally I am a KISS type of person. Keep it simple stupid. A eight select can machine is the best and can be bought cheap. Anywhere from $400 to $800. Preferably a single price Dixie Narco. Reason being they are the easiest to repair. Parts are easy to find and support is always available. Stay away from 79 inch vendors to hard to move. 10 well placed can vendors doing 4 cases a week will net after product costs approx $400 a week. or $20,800 year. Not bad for a $4,000 to $8,000 investment. .Keep it to the core brands like Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mt Dew, 7-up. Keep diets to a minimum because shelf life is short. Bottler machines are easy to get replaced because they don't service the accounts like they should be. They sit empty or broke down and service techs in a lot of cases are miles and even days out for repairs.Bottlers are more focused on fountain equipment and vendors are secondary. Fountain is in many cases 4 hr response time and vendors can sit for days. National accounts like Mcdonald's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut's etc pay for this service. Keep in mind what you are going to use to deliver the product. The more things you offer the more room you need to store and the more time it takes to shop. Think about how long its going to take you to find that Starbucks under all those bottles and cans. Accounts are lost from poor service mostly not from good service. So go after those bottlers. All they can say is no.
  18. 3 likes
    I agree locating is hard work, really hard work. But if you don't do it, you don't grow. Just remember that you are offering a free service including the machine or machines. They key word is FREE. Just ask them to try it for 30 days and if they don't like it you will remove it. That rarely happens so use that as a little nudge.
  19. 3 likes
    That's why I never understood why anyone would pay extra for that. They call the same places no matter if you buy the candy or toy package. Might as well just buy the cheapest package and decide on your own what should go there. But then again, I could be wrong. I've never used Rob but knowing him like I do, all of his "options" seem like nothing more than ways to boost his revenue on the same service, partner. Sent from the pay phone at 34th and Vine using Tapatalk 2
  20. 2 likes
    I pay a percentage that is fair to him and I.
  21. 2 likes
    Always buy everything used or refurbished in life accept for bedding and clothes.
  22. 2 likes
    Put in double play cranes to satisfy the play/win law
  23. 2 likes
    There are not many ways this could be a good deal (unless the two snacks are brand new or are very profitable where placed) Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
  24. 2 likes
    Yeah... based off of the numbers you gave us, you are at 27.6% like Jim said, not 40%. Our pricing here in Ohio seems to be different from most of the country. Cost of living is cheap and people won't pay much for vending machine products and the competition's prices are also quite cheap. I have seen prices go up a lot with the surviving companies in recent years but there are still so many old-timers out there and new vendors who keep prices incredibly low. Having said that, I just did the math and I am currently at 42.5% year-to-date. Trust me, I would like to be at 50% or more but it's not easy to get to in this market. Just remember this: keeping your prices too low may keep you in your locations but it generally won't allow you to keep up with repairs and pay yourself without leaving a heap of debt in your tracks. What happens to the low-baller vendors is that they ride it out until there's no room left for any profit and then they sell out for maybe half of what they hope to get. Once they get out of the market, the new vendor(s) start to raise prices and customers call left and right looking for the same pricing they had before only to find out that those prices were non-existent. At that point, they look for the next lowest pricing available or the best service. The companies that provide the best service are the ones who manage to stay comfortably afloat by keeping prices profitable.
  25. 2 likes
    Here is the decal that we made on our own:
  26. 2 likes
    Nope. Bad and foolish idea. Let someone else be responsible for the food manufacturing safety. You have enough liability just transporting and selling the food. Besides, you need special permits to manufacture food and the regulations will kill you. Don't you have enough to do already?
  27. 2 likes
    Rustoleum hammered. Good to go over rust, and the hammered camouflages the defects.
  28. 2 likes
    I have a shelf like that on an AP 112 but it's great for me because I only have one and a half candy shelf instead of 2 full shelves. So I have no comment on changing them. As for the VE kit. I won't advise against it, but I have seen many people give positive reviews on the inone kits. It might be worth considering too. I have actually installed two VE UCB's on two AP 7600's and one InOne board on a USI 3014. In the end, I think I prefer the InOne for three reasons. Firstly, the InOne kit allows me to use my existing mech and validator OR switch to MDB. Just be aware that you might need a longer MDB harness on certain machines. Secondly, the VE UCB's installation guide is a little more confusing and the programming guide is WAY more confusing whereas the InOne guides are pretty straight forward. Thirdly (and the least concerning), one of my two machines was problematic for a while. I think it was due to some sporadic voltage drops at the location and very possibly not the board's fault.. but I have seen other people mention the same problem too. It seems as though the VE UCB is more prone to freezing up during voltage drops than the InOne board. Once everything is installed, it's great with either kit. I am pretty indifferent ONLY because I feel in my gut that VE will support their product better than InOne will in the long run. If that weren't a concern, and if the VE UCB wasn't slightly cheaper, I would probably stick exclusively with InOne. I think they are both very good products though and both enable you to switch entirely to MDB and add credit card readers and drop sensors. I'll let you know that I don't plan on upgrading my AP 110's when they have dual helix motors though. They are pretty reliable and I have them at places where they get slightly abused. I will totally upgrade AP 6000/7000's, National 147/148, 157/158, or any USI 3015's if they are in pristine condition, or AP 110's with single helix motors.
  29. 2 likes
    Superb equipment anywhere there are kids. An interactive will outsell a standard head for gum, though getting the space for it can be tricky. I focus mine in restaurants- if you can get one in a buffet, you can mop up very well.
  30. 2 likes
    If this is true parts will become easier to get. Be interesting to see (if this is true) if NEN moves the factory
  31. 2 likes
    If you read through the forum, the general consensus is that you will have less problems with NW, Oak, Beaver... If you have consistent problems due cheap machines, then you will spend more money on parts, more time on repairs, and lose more money due to downtime of it not working. Also owners will likely not want to keep machines around that are not reliable, so there is a possibility of losing a location too. I believe you can set up refurbished Oak Vistas on a double or triple stand cheaper than the options you were looking at, and it will give you more versatility down the road. Side note I do not believe you will want to hire someone to run your route. Unless you trust them to get the money for you too, you are going to be making double the amount of trips which is really inefficient, not to mention paying the other guy from your profits won't be fiscally viable until you have a bazillion machines.
  32. 2 likes
    Stick to your guns because, like you said, if you drop your prices you will be working for free. If the company wants to subsidize your pricing that's another story but be sure you collect the subsidy every time you're there. If they want lower prices then you could eliminate any commission you pay them but you could also say that you were already planning to increase some pricing and if they don't want them higher you could forgo the commission.
  33. 2 likes
  34. 2 likes
    I want to create a Twitter and Facebook accounts named The CIA, just so people receive the message: "The CIA is following you."
  35. 2 likes
  36. 2 likes
    But after all this discussion: if you have a couple hundred machines a sole propriaship is fine. A lot depends on the state you are in also. And again, this forum is a poor place to get the right answer to tax questions. Such questions are specific to you.
  37. 2 likes
    Why swap the bill validator stackers when you can just pull the bills out and put them in a bag? Swapping stackers won't prevent theft.
  38. 2 likes
    Tax payments depend upon your net tax liability. Answers to these kind of questions are best answered by a tax advisor. They truely cannot be answered by folks here that have no knowledge of your exact financial situation. i think that if you want to learn about taxes down load the instructions for 1040, schedule c, and depreciation/amortization. They are not really that difficult to understand. They are more tedious than anything else. if you are overwhelmed take a class or talk to a professional. I have no idea what your situation is. Unless you are bringing in a noticeable amount of money or have enough business expense to leverage tax law you may be spending time and worry needlessly
  39. 2 likes
    Too much "disposal" of stales eh?
  40. 2 likes
    I only do frozen...for a reason.
  41. 2 likes
  42. 2 likes
    And this is why, if you make the decision to stay with and grow your business, you need to form a corporation also. Sadly we live in a time where even the slightest perceived incident can result in a law suit.
  43. 2 likes
    Or I could send it to him for free and make him donate $40 to TVF. That would be 2 times my cost.
  44. 2 likes
  45. 2 likes
  46. 2 likes
    Egg salad is just another form of chicken salad.
  47. 2 likes
    Don't be too quick to assume the worst, it may be just a simple request, but do be prepared to end up talking about pricing versus some other offer they have had. It's always a delicate subject, but I know what my pricing minimums are and will give up an account rather than work it for free or at a loss. Some companies are willing to subsidize lower prices for employees, that is, you have a system for billing them the difference in price between what you need to sell for and what they want the employees to buy for. With bigger companies especially on the left coast it's more common than smaller locations. You can throw price comparisons at them like orsd suggested, but if someone else is offering them lower prices that is the only comparison that matters to them. It's the nature of the business, so try not to take it personally if they switch. If you end up leaving, leave on good terms if you can, and you may end up back there when the cost cutter can't deliver anymore.... by the way, I think your prices are good, especially on 20 oz drinks. I don't know what size snacks you carry, I still have a lot of .75 items in small snack size and crackers, I go .85 on larger snacks and 1.00 on candy (soon to be 1.25 on candy as my costs go up). My commission accounts are a little higher to cover the commission to the location.
  48. 2 likes
    When I dip something in sauce no matter how long I hold it over the bowl it never drips until it’s over my shirt.
  49. 2 likes
    Remove the cassette, then shoot compressed air, preferably 90 PSI, around the black flippers that are behind the cassette at the top. Most Conlux failures are dust & dirt. After this, empty the cassette and try 1 of each coin to be sure it's being correctly routed to the right tube.
  50. 2 likes
    I bought a used refrigerator at a yard sale for about $75.00. It stays in my box truck all the time. I plug it in at night. I keep all my danish frozen and candy refrigerated (but not too cold). I unplug it during the day while on the route, but it stays cold all day.