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Showing most liked content since 03/25/2017 in all areas

  1. 26 likes
    I started this as a separate thread so as not to hijack the thread in which I mentioned it. Here is how I was taught to calculate cost to service. I do this on a monthly basis and it does change from a little from month to month but with nothing else changing in your business it will remain pretty consistent. In short, its the total of all your costs to run your business except for COGS, sales taxes, commissions and debt service. This would include your vehicle expenses, insurance, phone, office expanses, warehouse, repairs, labor and payroll taxes. Then you take that total amount and divide by the number of stops you run for the month. As a generic example lets say your revenue for the month is $25,000.00. The sum of your expenses that fit into your cost to service calculation is $4,250.00 and you run 200 stops for the month. Your cost to service is $21.25 per stop. Your avg. revenue is $125.00 per stop. So for the month, on average, you make $125.00 every time you stop the truck and get out to fill a machine. Of that $125.00 $21.25 is your cost to service leaving you with $103.75. How I use this information: Lets say I am looking at a potential account and I think it will generate $200.00 per week. 52 weeks X $200.00 = $10,400.00 / 12 months = $866.66 per month avg. I anticipate servicing 2X per week = 104 service stops per year and avg of 8.66 service stops per month. 8.66 stops X $21.25 = $184.03 My COGS for my business is 52%, sales taxes are another 5% and 10% commission. That’s a total of 67% of revenue = $866.66 X 67% = $580.66 Adding Cost to service and the fixed expenses, $184.03 + $580.66 = $764.69 leaving a net profit of $101.76. If my equipment investment is $5,000.00 then it will take me 49.2 months to make my money back. If, instead, I service 1X per week 52 weeks / 12 months = 4.33 service stops per month. Take 4.33 stops X $21.25 cost to service = $92.02. Adding cost to service and fixed expenses of $580.66 + $92.02 = $672.68. Subtract that from the estimated monthly revenue of $866.66 - $672.68 = $193.98. So now my time to payoff the equipment is reduced to 25.78 months. So now I look at the potential location and get an idea of what I can do for them. If they want more service then I will reduce my commission offering to “recover” my additional cost. If they want the commission then I know I need to go in with prices that are higher than my average to keep my return on investment down. If I can’t get the higher prices then I will seek a longer term agreement to give me the best opportunity to at least make enough profit to get back the cost of the equipment. Hope this all makes sense. Let me know if it doesn’t I will try to clarify it.
  2. 7 likes
    The company gave you a job for 5 years, put the bread on your table, must not have been too bad to work for if you stayed that long; so now you want to take advantage of them? Now you are gone a few weeks and suddenly the accounts are getting service so bad they want to change? And these accounts just happen to know to call you? Glad you didn't work for me.
  3. 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
  4. 5 likes
    You guys all crack me up. Cvending is the only one that called them nuts correctly. The one you can't get to is the nut on the faceplate screw that cvending mentioned. The other 4 nuts on the corners are what need to be removed. I always have a 11/32" deep socket, 1/4" drive on an extension in my tool bag. It's about the most common tool I use other than my phillips. Many machines have one nut that's almost impossible to get off or back on so you can easily run those validators with just three nuts on it.
  5. 5 likes
    On a side note, guys like lacanteen make this form well worth a donation to this forum. I have gotten a vast amount of information, and entertainment that is priceless. I think i'll make a donation today. Thanks.
  6. 5 likes
    Again, whether it's wrong or not depends on who you ask. Legally speaking, your answer has been pointed out. You're probably fine, but that doesn't mean they won't try to go after you if you went crazy on getting accounts. Getting two accounts shouldn't warrant an actual lawsuit to go through to court, or be worth anyone's time or money, so you're probably good if you just go after two. Personally, I am just a little put-off because I feel like you were a little deceptive in order to get an answer you were looking for. It seems like you already know how you feel about taking the accounts but you want us to give you the answer you want to make you feel better. That's simply my opinion and should be taken as such.
  7. 5 likes
    Truthfully, I can't say there is too much that keeps me up at night. The two most recurring things that DO keep me up at night (if anything does) are deciding where to spend my money (ie. repairs, upgrades, new equipment, myself, etc..) and dealing with machines that need repaired and/or machines that need to be stocked soon. Since I do this completely on my own, it gets difficult to balance repairs and stocking machines. When it's time to have machines moved or major repairs done (refrigeration decks, board exchanges, etc...), I find myself getting behind with the business and THEN it becomes a mental battle of who needs done tomorrow and who can wait a few more days. Those are the things that keep me up at night. I used to get bothered by simple things such as disgruntled customers who get upset about prices or locations that ask for some sort of upgrade (when they make almost no profits to begin with). Now, since I am more experienced, I don't let those types of things bother me too much. So.. in summary, it's the simple management of my time and my money that keeps me up at night. Virtually everything else is a piece of cake and I usually forget about things until the next morning.
  8. 5 likes
    Chris brings up a big problem we have these days - wholesale is no longer limited to businesses. Anyone can walk into Sams or go to their website and see what our product cost is, but they have no idea about overhead costs. They just think that everything over product cost goes into our pockets. It would be nice if everyone had the experience of running a business for a while to better understand how many different expenses we have to cover out of revenue before we make anything.....
  9. 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.
  10. 4 likes
    You want us to settle your marital affairs too? Lol. I try not to mix them. Customers get frustrated.
  11. 4 likes
    Lubrication. Don't use wd 40. On royal machines a little pam cooking spray helps with bridging bottles.
  12. 4 likes
    Pricing strategy is an important part of this business, but few operators agree on how to do it. Do you tell the account? I will if there is a key contact I deal with often, just as a courtesy. I won't go hunting for someone I barely know to tell them (and give the impression that they might actually have some say or can debate the matter). If I raise a common price, say all the canned drinks in a stack machine, I will post a small sign for the first couple weeks so that people will know and not think the machine is broken when they put in the money for the old price. I try to raise only one category at a time and space out the increases by 6 months or so. If you leave prices alone too long, people will be more upset when you do finally raise them; as opposed to being accustomed to routine but not too frequent changes. I try to make clear in a nice way when I am speaking to a new account that pricing is my territory - unless they want to subsidize costs for their employees. I can make the point that if my prices are too high I will lose business, and my prices are reasonable compared to the local C-store. At least that is my theory.... in 5 years I have only lost one account because of a price increase, and I didn't cry over it at all...
  13. 3 likes
    Take the validator off machine B y removing the four nuts. Once off you will see a Phillips screw on the face of validator that hold faceplate that attaches to that nut
  14. 3 likes



    Simple yet effective Excel spreadsheet for tracking locations and sales. The following automatic calculations are included. Days in service Revenue per day Projected annual revenue by location Total active revenue Total revenue per day Projected annual revenue for entire route Machine daily average All of these calculations are done for you after you make entries into the "pink" column. There is also a section to track inactive locations.


  15. 3 likes
    Super shady imo. Business is business at the end of the day but this is borderline at best. I'm not into it.
  16. 3 likes
    For spares, you should always have a spare validator and changer on board your truck. If all of your machines are the same (pretty rare situation) then you could look at other spare parts like vend motors, but for the most part your problems will be with payment systems.
  17. 3 likes
    Screwdriver set, primarily standard size Phillips and flathead in addition to one narrow screwdriver for coin jams. A whole set is useful. Deep socket set with ratchet AND a socket drive. I have an extendable socket driver with a deep/extended socket set. Between that and a screwdriver with 4 different interchangeable tips, those do about 90% of my repairs. Scissors are useful. Pliers. That's probably all you need. Maybe a swear jar.
  18. 3 likes
  19. 3 likes
    Tell them he's the new driver. Then, after a few months, he can let them know the situation. If they realize that the new guy has been providing their service and they are happy with it, they probably won't care.
  20. 3 likes
    Hi folks!! Sorry it has been so long since I have dropped in. I am still alive and well and doing fine. Still working in the industry and consulting. I want to say I am sorry to the people that sent me private messages that went unanswered, I do not get a notice until I sign into the forum so I missed tham. Most were about doing locating and my answer is I do not do locating. I hope everyone is doing well and making plenty of money. Again, sorry it has been so long but I will try and drop in more often.
  21. 3 likes
    High end salaries, in my experience, does not translate into sales. Some of the tightest pockets in vending are attached to higher end earners. Not saying don't try, just saying don't go overboard on equipment and estimates
  22. 3 likes
    A few things I can tell you, is that a one-man operation can be profitable, if you don't burn yourself out. Just because you can run $12K sales per week, doesn't mean you should. A driver for a large company can do that because he has the support of office, service, and warehouse staff. I had a customer/friend in the mid 1990s that was a "one trucker" and ran $350K per year, which was really humping it back then. He only lasted 4 years and had to sell out. The best piece of advice I can give anyone in this business is this: do not have a single account that is 10% or more of your business. To lose it would be devastating. !0% doesn't sound like much, but in a game of pennies, it is.
  23. 3 likes
    Just sharing my thoughts but excited employees don't point to higher sales like a parking lot full of cars will.
  24. 3 likes
    Always buy everything used or refurbished in life accept for bedding and clothes.
  25. 3 likes
    Put in double play cranes to satisfy the play/win law
  26. 3 likes
    To calculate the gross profit margin as a percent, you need to know the revenues and the cost of the goods sold 1. Subtract the total costs of your goods from the revenues the sales generate to find your gross profit. $145K (gross sales) - $105K (cost of goods) = $40K (gross profit). 2. Divide your gross profit by your total revenue generated. In your example, you would divide $40K by $145K to get 0.2758 3. Multiply the result from Step 2 by 100 to find the gross profit margin percentage. You have a 27.6% gross profit margin percentage. I try to double my money, i.e. if it costs me $0.27 to buy it, it sells for $0.27 x 2, or $0.54. Then I look at the cost and round to the nearest nickle, In this example, I'd sell it for $0.55 This will provide you with a 50% gross profit margin (after cost of goods, before other expenses).
  27. 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.
  28. 3 likes
  29. 3 likes
    If you are going to run charity bulk you will always be losing locations (or voluntarily pulling equipment) for a multitude of reasons. Losing/relocating accounts is a frustrating and constant part of the vending business. Why do you think there are garages all over the country with vending machines sitting in them? Most of the time they were bought with the intention of getting them out on the street and it never happened or they were on the street at one time and the location was lost. Two different scenarios...same result. Why? Because the vendor wasn't up to the task of locating or relocating the equipment. This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest reasons people fail at bulk vending and to a lesser extent all other vending as well. So many people entering the vending business think "I'll place the machine and it will be there for years making money.". Unfortunately it doesn't always go that way and slowly the machines start coming back home . In short order the new vendor is overwhelmed and disenchanted. Then it's fire sale time. If you are getting into this business you better put "Finding New Customer Accounts" at or near the top of your business plan. Be ready to get those machines back out earning in short order. If you plan for it going in, I really think it will improve your odds of growing and succeeding in this business.
  30. 3 likes
    Where you buy your machines will greatly depend upon the type of accounts you secure. If you land a good size account you may need to buy newer equipment that;s Credit Card ready. A&M out of Georgia seems to have a pretty good selection. AMS snack and Royal GIII soda machines would be what I'd buy. If you get some smaller accounts, then Craigslist might be your best avenue. The older AP7600's are rock solid and the older Dixies are easy to find and fairly reliable. Avoid Vendo. Seaga. Gaines and Planet Antares. Depending on where you live, it might be cheaper to pay a slightly higher price to avoid excessive shipping costs. In addition, your State laws will dictate what type of licenses you'll need.
  31. 3 likes
    Now that there aren’t smoking and non smoking sections in restaurants they should change it to children and non children sections.
  32. 3 likes
    Let’s have a moment of silence for everyone born near Christmas who gets one present that “counts for both.”
  33. 3 likes
    Well, here are a few tips that will come in real handy if you don't already know them: 1) There is a switch on the back of the sliding panel. When you pull the panel out, the switch is essentially "off" and your electronics will be disabled during that time. I guess their idea was that you couldn't screw anything up on accident that way. If you need to program anything, you have to pull the switch out first and it's near the rear of the panel that slides out. It's difficult to find at first. This allows you to program the machine. If you change any parts out though, you want the electronics disabled first. 2) On the specific 6632 I am referring to, I had some problems with the first coin mech I had in it. The problem was with the coin mech's harness directly. Once I switched it out later, the problems went away. 3) The Polyvend 6632 uses a 24v coin mech. The most common mech I use for 24v machines (USI 30xx, older royal can machines, polyvends) is a Coinco 9302-L. the "2" refers to 24 volts. A 9300-L is 110v and is NOT compatible. A 110v mech might plug into the female part of the harness but your coin mech will be ruined pretty much instantly if you put it in, so don't use anything unless it's a 24v non-MDB unit. I'm not sure what the mars equivalent is off the top of my head but maybe a mars TRC 6010 (not to be confused with the TRC 6000). I believe the TRC 6010 is also 24v and would work on the polyvend. 4) The 6632 is capable of having a mars validator installed but it can be a bit difficult to install as the machine was made for a MAKA and has totally different hardware. 5) My 6632 has pretty much never failed me. Only the coin mech and the tiny bulb has failed. Should the control board ever fail and I have another snack machine available, I'm taking a few motors, spirals, and the mech and validator out and sending that thing off to the scrap yard. We all give our thumbs-down to polyvends here but it's not because they were necessarily bad machines.. but because a lot of parts are simply unobtainable. ...and they look like crap.
  34. 3 likes
    He's serious... he will probably send you a FREE sample bag of coffee if your lucky too.
  35. 3 likes
    I'm going to take pity on you and send a changer to try. Make sure you turn the machine off before plugging or unplugging anything. The only thing you can check is to be sure the acceptor gate assy is plugged in. At the top of the changer are 2 cream colored or gray latches which when pushed down will allow you to tilt out the acceptor and look behind it. You should see a gray ribbon harness plugged into the board which is attached to the back plate. Otherwise email me your info: george@louisianacanteen.com If this works, you must swear to avoid Polyvend, because they are not for newbies.
  36. 2 likes
    This looks too much like a blue sky scam sold at biz op shows or in hotel conference rooms.
  37. 2 likes
    You can't. Sometimes it just happens. Make sure your bags are all tucked fully into the spirals like I see your other are and that side spacers are used where needed. If the side wall there is an adjustable one that's probably why it got caught but you just have to deal with it. Even a guaranteed vend wouldn't have helped unless the next bag pushed that one off - though there is no next bag behind it.
  38. 2 likes
    If you were just a driver there is a lot more to it then you may think. If you worked for me and did this I would probably go after you even if I loose money just because of the principal. Get a job as repo man if u wanna steel stuff.
  39. 2 likes
    Install camera, catch guy destroying your property. Then let it play out, I don't think LE would really do anything. It's up to the company to take action on individual. It happened to me, only employees destroyed my machine! The law only shrug his shoulder and pointed at management! Good luck!
  40. 2 likes
    Your title asked if it is wrong to take "account" from your previous employer. Your first post mentions "some" accounts. Now you bring up being able to take up to 3/4 of their business away. It seems as though you're trying to act like you're innocent on one hand, yet there is way more to it than you let on. You need to be clear from the get go. You know your previous employer and much of the business relations with the majority of their accounts. Win lose or draw, they could totally try to file a lawsuit and it would tarnish everyone's image.
  41. 2 likes
    They make very tiny cameras these days you can put inside of your snack machine looking out.
  42. 2 likes
    You need to get video and have him arrested for criminal mischief. Do not retaliate in kind. Use the law.
  43. 2 likes
    A dream come true, but what if you paid for the equipment and got fired, happens more than most people know. If you can bear the expense, then jump on it with some really good equipment.
  44. 2 likes
    Welcome to the forum bossman. You do realize that this thread is 5 years old? Good way to get your feet wet anyways.
  45. 2 likes
    You know Parrot, we learned a whole lot about your family in this thread. But in spite of that you still love them, trust them and help them out. That's good, up to a point.
  46. 2 likes
    Same as the others. Cash flow. I have grown the business 160% in the last 14 months and as we all know after machine, moving costs, other expenses new accounts require it gets expensive real quick. Have had some unfortunate luck with a ton of MEI acceptors and validators needing to be refurbished lately, almost 30 in a 3 week period. Never fun! Makes it real hard to draw a salary or feel like you're actually profitable.
  47. 2 likes
    A store that sells new husbands has opened in Melbourne , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates: You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building! So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads: Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids. 'That's nice,' she thinks, 'but I want more.' So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking. 'Wow,' she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads: Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework. 'Oh, mercy me!' she exclaims, 'I can hardly stand it!' Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads: Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak. She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor , where the sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. PLEASE NOTE: To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street. The first floor has wives that love sex. The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer The third, fourth, fifth & sixth floors have never been visited.
  48. 2 likes
    Today was a good day. I got 2 new Shootin Hoops machines placed. Both are in ghetto convenience stores. Should be good.
  49. 2 likes
    I am going to get me a gumball machine tattooed to my arm from one of my customers! How's that for patronage! Sent from my Z987 using Tapatalk
  50. 2 likes
    Thanks for the kind words. It's true persistence is the name of the game, along with thick skin. You have to have thick skin to be able to deal with theft and losing accounts, and all of the other stuff that goes along with this type of business. The sooner you learn it's just part of the game, the sooner you can just let all of the negative that happens in the business and just keep focused on the positive and always keep moving forward.