Been planning on getting more chickens recently and was gonna use uship. Ended up only getting 1 bid on uship that was in my budget and after reading their feedback I passed and instead decided that I will go get them myself. Panama City FL to Oceanside NY in a Ford Ranger pulling a 5x8 cargo trailer. Google maps says 1214 miles 18h 16m.
So the plan is to work at my other job (county jail) tomorrow from 5:50am-6pm, hopefully get to bed by 8pm get up at 2am and be on the road by 3am. To save on cost im onli planing to eat out twice so I previousve prepared by stocking up on travel food. Got the essentials: gatorade, water, monster energy drinks, cookies, apples, bananas, vienna sausages, granola bars and pringles.
Planning on driving to Elkton, MD and getting a room (motel 6, thats right only the best) Friday night then wake up early and meet Rob Saturday morning at Parsals headquarters.
Work 12 1/2 hrs today at jail then came home and repacked bearings on trailer. Couldn't find a cheap spare for trailer so hope theres no flats.
Got up at 3am but didnt get on the road till 5am. Drove till 9pm and got a room in Virginia. Didnt want to waste money on fancy hotels so opted for the Howard Johnson, guy wanted $65 a night, I got it for $50.
Got up at 5am and on the road by 6am. I had never been this far up the coast before. A few things my first trip taught me NJ tolls are crazy all combined I spent $80 on tolls one way, the trashy and smelly reputation NJ has is well earned. And lastly you better be able think and react fast in that traffic from the NJ turnpike all the way into NY cause they are well use to running on the ragged edge all the time. At origimally planned to meet frank and rob at 8am that morning which that got pushed back to 10am since I didnt leave Virginia 6am. Actual time it takes and what gps say is two totally different things. Ended up getting there around 2pm. Got there and Frank showed me around 1 of his buildings, he has some really cool historical stuff from bulk vending. Before we left to go get something to eat frank showed a pallet that had 2 coolers and a couple boxes of food to take for the trip back home. It was insane the amount of food Anne(franks gf), frank and rob had put together. Got a quick tour around the area and seen alot of the old buildings the folz vending, Eppy Charms and few others in the business used. When then went and had dinner at the cheese cake factory, it was awesome again. Got back to parsal loaded up 8 chickens and all the product my trailer could hold and then got back on the road.
Plan was to get back to around Virginia and get another room, didnt make it out of NJ. Couldn't keep my eyes open so I got a room just north of Atlantic City. Stayed at a red roof inn, it was easily the crappiest hotel I ever stayed in between the cockroaches that were apparently having a meeting around the outside of my door, the broken safety latch lock that look like door had been kicked in, tv didnt work, non-smoking room that reeked of smoke, broke toilet and my favorite all the left over soap pieces in the bottom of the shower from previous renters.
Got some sleep then got back on the road around 10am.
I recently got a chance to meet with Frank Parisi of Parsal Vending. This meeting came about through another member Havending. So Anthony (Havending) knowing that I was interested in the chicken machine text me one day and asked if I was interested in meeting Frank, already knowing the guys ties to the industry I jumped all over the opportunity and told him line it up as soon as possible. So by that afternoon Anthony had lined up a meeting with Frank 4 days later. We were to meet at a home he owns in south Florida and was gonna have lunch at the club house at noon. This was about an 8hr drive for me so I decided to leave the day before. I pulled out around 10:30am on a Monday morning. Got about half way there when I blew a tire that ended up sending me across the interstate in a 360 spin, a semi truck narrowly missed me when I slid in front of him going sideways down the interstate. The truck finally slid off the road thru the ditch and up on to an embankment. I got out accessed the damage then quickly changed the tire and got back on the road. When the tire came apart it ripped off one of the fender brackets and caused some other damage to the rear fender well. Got to the next exit on the donut spare tire and had 4 new tires put on at a wal-mart. About 2 hours later I was on my way again. Once I had got to within an hour from Naples, Fl, where his house is at I decided to get a hotel room. Didn't want to spend a lot of money so I chose a Howard Johnson. First thing I noticed was a room upstairs with the door standing wide open with 2 girls standing in the doorway. First thought was they must be smoking. I observed them for a few more moments until it hit me. PROSTITUTES! They were casing up the guest checking in to see who to approach. Now I would like to say the story gets really exciting here but since I'm a happily married man working on 10 years now the night ended with me falling asleep watching tv in my room, alone. The next day I decided to get a bite to eat at chic-filet for breakfast. After getting the food I was headed back to my hotel when I heard a noise, when I got to a stop light I hop out and found I had ran over a nail, yes one of the brand new tires that had just been put on the day before was quickly loosing air. I pulled off and put the spare back on, oddly enough it was the left rear which was the same spot the tire the day before had come apart. I got back to the hotel in time to choke a chicken biscuit down and take a quick shower before I had to get back on the road and drive the rest of the way on the spare since I didn't have time to get it fixed before needing to meet Frank. Well an hour later I was there. I ended up spending the whole day with Frank. First met his wonderful girlfriend Annie, super nice, a great host and easy on the eyes to boot fellas. Next we had some lunch and ended up talking about vending for hours. Frank is a real vending nerd like a lot of us, he eats, sleeps and breathes this stuff. After a long lunch we ended up going back to his house and relaxed. It wasn't long when I found myself In a situation I had not expected, Frank holding out his phone saying "here it's Roger Folz, talk to him for a little bit". We talked vending for a little bit got to hear some old war stories and some of his insights about vending. We hung out for a little longer, got to talked to several members of the Parsal team. Seems Frank has put together a very experienced team having recruited several of Rogers old crew. One of many things I came away with about Frank and his team, they are all about working with operators and getting new ideas. By this time I figured our day wrapping up when Frank asked if I would join them for dinner. Not wanting to impose I declined the offer, but Frank insisted. We ended having dinner at The Cheese Cake Factory. Now I had never eaten there so didn't know what to expect. I must say I have a new favorite restaurant. The food was awesome. Frank being the host he is insisted on paying. We left the restaurant and went back to pick up my truck from his house. Frank and Annie offered me a place to stay for the night but I really could not accept besides already haven taken up there whole day I had a buddy that lives down there I wanted to visit with before I got another hotel room. I can't say enough about Frank and Annie's generosity, great down to earth people. During mine and Franks conversations he shared experiences and stories of other successful operators and pointed out several ways that he seen as the best ways to be successful in the business. Never felt like I was being pitched to just given good solid advice from an industry veteran. We had only gotten half way through the day when I knew this was a company I wanted to work with. I don't want to say to much cause I'm not sure what Parsal wants out there right now but I will say the "All American Chicken" is just the beginning for Parsal Vending. Expecting my first chickens Monday or Tuesday, can't wait.
Up until this month I've been unsure about the direction I wanted to go with vending. Now that I have chosen the direction of racks and amusement machines I have begun to move it that direction. The main factor in this decision was I had got to the point where I stopped enjoying vending as much and it started feeling like more of a burden then anything. First I purchased 2 cranes that I already had locations for. Next I sold off or pulled equipment from all locations that didn't it the new business model. Then I bought 2 more cranes for $550 one needs claw assembly, still have to go pick them up from south Florida. Realizing the need for a better way to haul and deliver these machines I picked up a drop deck trailer Tuesday for $800, not the hydraulic ones but the manuel winch ones. Wanting to make the most of that 8 hour round trip I picked up another bulk machine consisting of two 2" machines a 3 column tattoo machine in perfect shape for $225. Now waiting on product from coast to coast and new appliance dolly from Northern Tool to get here, hopefully tomorrow. Oh I almost forgot, been taking heat for not working mandatory overtime at my full time job but needed time for vending and family so as of last week I am now part time at the jail I work out. I have found the biggest deal between part time and seriously working on getting this to a full time gig is mind set, at some point you have to stop hiding behind the fears of not getting a steady pay check, benefits and retirement and make tough choices that will hopefully put me where I want to be.
I have posted about this before but after yesterday I feel inclined to resurrect the topic in this blog. When a business tells you they are about to close to you remove your machine or let it ride in hopes of securing location with new tenants. Yesterday I was driving down the road and seen a car sitting in the parking lot and front door of the biz proped open. It was a vietnamese restaurant that was placed about 2 years ago. After six months the place called and said they were shutting down and to come pick up the machine. Well I thought about it and said piss on it "let it ride". Well after about 6 or 7 months there was a sign on the building that said papa joes coming soon. Papa Joes is a popular restaurant in another town not to far away. So I was stoked about the possibilty of possibly gaining two new accounts, both the new restaurant and the original one about an hour away. Well months went by and they wasn't ever any activity and then the letters were removed from the sign. So at this point if my machine was even still in there I figured the only chance of ever getting it back would be through the real estate leasing agent. Well after a few more months went by I had pretty much forgot about it until yesterday when I drove by. Well end up securing new location with a double head (mints and gum).
My second stop yesterday was gonna be a rack and a 4 col. sticker machine pick up. Hate to chance that much equipment on "letting it ride". I was suppose to meet old owners friend there to let me in so I could retrieve machines. When I got there no one was there yet so I played on my new Galaxy Note 2 until a van pulled up. It turned out to be the new tenants of the building who is opening up another restaurant. After talking to him and his father about the way it works with me providing machines and servicing them free of charge and paying them a commission they wanted the machines to stay. After a little more chit chat they requested an email with other machines I might have available also inquired about a crane. Got to get on the ball and get some of these cranes, already have at least 6 locations they I could put them in, takes money (I don't have right now) to make money I guess.
All in all I have had great success securing new accounts by leaving machines in closing businesses, not saying these ,ocations couldn't have been secured without old equipment already being in place but I think it did make it alot easier. So in the future I will continue to "let it ride"!
Having owned my own business before and now building another I absolutely without a doubt know that it's the only thing thats makes me happy professionally over working for someone else. I love business, looking back I wish had went to school for it. The one thing that I enjoy most about the vending biz is the networking with other business owners and talking about ideas. Besides vending I have had a few other interest but nothing that is currently realistic without additional income to fund the expense of a start-up. Some of the things that has struck my interest is the restaurant biz, coffee shop, car wash and recently a micro brewery among other things. The ideal situation is hit the lotto just so I can afford trying out different businesses, lol. Mainly started this entry to get some other entrepreneurs feedback on ideas and other resources about business, like websites, books, online courses or whatever.
Right now I frequent sites like forbes.com, entrepreneur.com, investopedia.com, inc.com and fox business.
I've been wanting to add some cranes along with a few other kind of machines to my route for a while now. Thought yesterday was gonna be the beginning of that with 2 cranes that I was suppose to pick up in Jacksonville. Everything that could hinder this pick up seemed like it happened yesterday. It was gonna be real tight with buying machines, locks, plush, trailer rental and one crane needed new graphics. I have reservations about amusement vending only because lack of knowledge and experience. I have decided not to try and rush into this. Instead gonna wait til I find a suitable trailer, hand cart, ratchet straps at a good price. Also want to learn a little more about them first, i guess the best way will be repair manuels and reading online articles and of course old post here. Looking forward to a new challenge! Any ideas from the veterans to make this a smoother transition, throw them at me.
About 8 years ago I had a credit score of 750, 1 failed business in NC and 8 years later its now around 575. We currently rent and have been talking about buying for years now but have never took the time to get credit straightened out so it would be possible. Looking ahead now is the time. Got about a year left at full time job before I want to be vending full time. Want to be able to buy a house before I leave the state so I have enrolled with sky blue credit repair, who is supposed to be one of the best in the business by all the reviews and consumer reports I read. Some other goals we have is for my vending biz to be doing well enough to replace my wife's income so when she has our second child in May she doesn't have to work while she finishes her degree. Some other personal goals I have for the near future Is improving my relationship with Christ and being a better husband and father. I have alot to be thankful for but I can see where there is so much more possibility with a little more effort. I will try to keep this updated with the different ways I attempt to accomplish my goals, please chime in with anything you might feel useful.
About 2 1/2 years ago I placed a double A&A PN95 in a small bar in the town I live in, always did just mediocre. After about a year the bar closed and I never got a call to pick up the machine so I figured it was another lost soldier. Hadn't given it another thought up until about 8 months ago when the place was bought by someone who had owned a restaurant in this same town, I happened to have had a triple there. Well that restaurant had shut down about 10 months ago and I was able to pull that machine, it always did around $30-45 a month. When the new owners of the bar opend it back up they put some money into it and fixed it up into a nice, small town bar. I stopped in one day to see if my machine was still there and it was gone, new owner had no clue what might have happened to it but said if they found out anything they would let me know. They also agreed to a new machine in the bar. Never got around to getting one installed and they ended up opening a small restaurant beside the bar that does mostly takeout and also serves the bar. So I have been meaning to drop a machine in the restaurant and one in the bar for awhile now. Wife went by the restaurant tonight to get some takeout and bam there sits the orignal machine from the bar in the corner of the restaurant, when she called me and told me I was kinda shocked that the machine would turn back up after this long. Machine was obviously dirty and in bad need of servicing so i told her to let them know that I would be in tomorrow afternoon to drop off 2 new machines and pull the old dirty one. So after all this time I have one of my orignal soldiers back. This is one of the machines I started out with (purchased from another TVF member) that was listed as MIA with no hope of its return. Didn't get the story yet on how this machine turned back up but happy to have some lost equipment back and locations for 2 more machines.
Got some different kind of machines I need to try and get onto some of my better locations to maximize revenues. Gotta get funds up to help get in the crane business. Still considering attaching some sort of narrow sign boards to candy/gumball machine stands and sell space to non competing businesses. Would mainly utilize charity stops like hair/nail salons, automotive repair shops, car dealerships, laundry mats, bingo halls, etc. I figure it might even help with locating, you could offer new potential locations 3 months free at say 10 locations. Open to any other ideas for generating additional revenue at exsisting accounts.
As of late I have really been giving a hard look at my route and eventually decided to scale back a tad do to shortage of time and a new baby on the way. I work at a county jail as a detention officer. I have been on midnight shift up until tomorrow. When you work 12hrs (6pm-6am) you really don't need to be running the roads trying to service when you can barely keep you eyes open for the trip home. So I was losing a whole day every time I worked off while attempting to get back to a normal schedule for one day then back to the grind. Working this schedule I always felt ran down and unproductive. So last week I told my boss to let the powers to be know that I either need to go to day shift (kept hearing I was the next in line), go part time (which every time I would inquire I would get the run-a-round) or I was leaving in January. Need just over a year to be vested so I don't lose any of my retirement and with a baby on the way staying full time on day shift is the best case scenario. I told my boss this last Sunday when I worked off and when I came back Wednesday the Chief of Security let me know he was moving me and I could start day shift Monday. So this means I will be at home at night with the family and I also have more time to vend. Starting to feel like I'm really gonna be able to reach a stride with this business. Still glad I got rid of a couple of my furthest locations and now look to really saturate a smaller radius (50-60 miles) before expanding out further. This will put me in 4 counties. Also going back to vending candy (never thought I would be doing this). Gonna also look to add cranes in 2 or 3 of my best accounts, want to realize the maximum potential of every location. Hopefully I will be out of equipment to locate after the next couple of months. Also want to add that I have seen a nice increase ever since I added a little focus to flat vending (hey andy them machines didnt take long to pay for themselves).
I started about 2 years ago using a little Stanley cart from Wal-Mart when I serviced my route which was mostly candy back then. Since then I vend mainly toys and gumballs (finally listened to will.vend and Havending) and outgrew that little cart a while back. Recently I have been going in and see what rack needed then go back out to my trailer and grab the toys I need, they are pre-bagged in 4 mil bags (a will.vend idea) purchased from uline. Then grab what gumballs and flat products I need and carry yhem in a gumball box that also contains mini clip board with route cards and a scale for weighing quarters. If there are any issues with mechs or anything got to go back to trailer and get parts and tools. Seems like I have been making to many trips to trailer so been eyeing the Stanley FatMax cart. The other day I went to go pick up a sand blasting tank and blast cabinet (craigslist find, $100 for both) for refurbing machines and lady had a FatMax cart and I could have it for $10, jumped all over it since they go around $70 or 80 new I believe. Hopefully this will save a few trips to the trailer.
In my quest to remove all my triples this is replacing an 1800 triple in a busy beach restaurant, too bad the owner will not allow toys or this would be a double. The owner wanted brown to match the trim in the restaurant. The front is covered in a prismatic tape I got at O'Riley's Auto Parts. And yeah this is one of them nasty melted skiitles and M&M machines that I post ed pics of a while back.
heres a picture of what I had described in a previous entry only spent about 20 minutes on it and it seem to work fine. Got a couple ideas for cheap paint booth's when I have more time and money. Frame would be 2x2's with vizquene (not sure of spelling) as the sheathing and 3 box fans would have a paint station and a drying shelf.
Just got back to working out all these A&A's, gonna try to get at least 4 done a week. Already got enough locations for a dozen or so, some new locations some swapping out triples. These 3 are a darker red or what I like to call Alabama Crimson, they need another coat of paint then cleared. Got another 5 sanded and ready for priming.
Well as some of you might have noticed I have not been on for a while (except an occasional quick check not signed in.) Its been a little hectic lately we moved to a new house cause our last landlords were getting a divorce and not making mortgage payments, crazy drama. I have come to realize a few things about my small route in this time. Do not bother with triples, thought I was doing ok until I started having more and more problems with the .50 mechs I was using on the 1800's. I think I'm at a cross road similar to what Jax went through, simple is better. Selling off the rest of my 1800's and getting rid of candy, gonna run all single gum, double gum/toy or rack. Glad to be back and looking forward to getting caught up.
Got out in the shop this evening a starting breaking down some machines here are some pics to show you what I'm dealing with, on the upside I've profited $3.75 so far. I got alot of stuff to do the next couple of days but I gonna try and get the rest broke down by the end of this coming weekend.
I have been struggling lately to keep expanding but have come up with a little money and have decided to go ahead and refurb all my A&A PN95's. I bought 20 doubles and one single all with stands a while back for $300, I also have a few other from previous deals. The 41 heads I bought all have candy wheels and some still candy in them (yuk). So this blog will take you along my journey over the next month and a half getting these things refurbed and out on the street making money. Journey begins tomorrow after work, I have to straighten up my shop and set up an area for tear down. To be cont.....