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flintflash

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About flintflash

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  • Vending Type
    Full Line
  • Vending Since
    1994

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  1. With any type of delivery service, you should always let the business know you are there. That's for their security AND yours. I have always had my route drivers announce themselves or check-in with a receptionist. A uniform that helps identify who you are will also help. it's not necessary, but I would want my accounts to know who I am . Just my 2 cents.
  2. If it was a Coke DN276, the default password(s) that they used were either 4321 or 4231. The buttons starting from the top are the numbers. Top button is 1, second is 2 and so on. As long as the password wasn't changed (which seldom it is), it should be one of those. I actually think those passwords were set up at the factory so they may apply to any DN276.
  3. My drivers earn a straight 10% of money collected. Of course, now with cardreaders, I have some extra math involved. I pay every two weeks, tally up the daily routes for the two-week period and pay 10%. My drivers are making between $35,000 and $45,000 annually. I'd be interested in what others pay their drivers.
  4. DEFINITELY, use this time to enjoy life. Take the vacation! I worked too many years and almost burnt myself out by not taking time (and I had employees and a manager). We work to build our business so that we can provide and have a decent life, but if you don't cease those moments to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it ends up being a burden and wearing you down. You've busted your hump and worked your way to this point where you can step back and take a breath (or two). Enjoy it. It doesn't happen always (as you know), there's always another fire to put out somewhere. So right now, spend the extra time with your family. Use some of it to make those plans for the future, but enjoy your hard work. Afterall, this is why we do what we do. NICE JOB, Chris!
  5. Most of the sandwiches, pizzas and burritos, etc. come frozen. They usually will have around a 6 month shelf life while frozen. Once they thaw, the clock starts ticking. Burritos and pizzas are usually 10 - 14 days, sandwiches are typically 14 - 21 days (except Landshire which can be 30 -35 days). Remember, once they thaw, you can't refreeze them and restart the clock. We have a fridge at the warehouse that my drivers put them in when they return from their route, if they've thawed. We then pull those fist the next morning for the next route and use first. Vistar has a lot of different items in the book, but the Pierre Fast Choice line, Landshire, Tony's pizza, Don Miguel burritos (under Hormel) and El Monterey (under Ruiz) are the more cost affective best sellers I have found. The Pierre line, in general is good, but very costly for the higher end sandwiches. You won't be able to mark-up your prices on the food like you do on snacks or pop. I try to keep my price points between $1.25 - $2.50. Once you start going over $3.00, people tend to avoid the machine. That's my experience.
  6. I, too, just scrapped two of those pop machines. Can't do much with them, can't find parts. I'd pass.
  7. Biggest thing with the food machine is KEEP IT SIMPLE! As AZVendor stated, don't "get all gung ho" . Your best bet is to start out with frozen burritos, pizza and maybe a few burger sandwiches. Avoid the "great big assortment and variety". You'll end up with tons of items that won't sell. I've always had great luck with the El Monterey 10oz burritos or the Don Miguel 7oz burrito line, Tony's 5" round pizzas, and Pierre Fast Choice Burger line. Hot pockets do alright as well. Avoid the sandwich wedges and ultra-high end items. Unless it's a HUGE account with some bucks, people aren't going to pay more than $3.00 for a food item. Keep it simple at first and then try new things slowly, if you start to get requests. Look at a food machine as the "break-even" machine. You aren't going to make much money with it (due to margins and outdates), but you need it in order to keep the vending and pop machines, which is where you will make your money. Good Luck! Hope it works out for you!
  8. Chris makes a GREAT point! Don't let Brand names give you a false confidence. AVOID using the 16.9oz bottles. The reason they are so inexpensive is because the plastic for the bottles is so cheap. 20oz. water costs more, not because the bottle is bigger and holds more, but because the plastic used is a higher grade. If you only load a few bottles in your machine, maybe you can get away with 16.9oz, but as summer gets closer and water sales increase, you'll have less headache with 20oz bottles. Just my 2 cents.
  9. While I totally agree with everyone who has responded, I understand your original question Chris. It sounds like you have been doing everything right with reinvesting in your equipment, upgrading bad components, and so on. Now you're at a point where things seem to be humming right along. I've had those years where every machine just seemed to have few service issues and then years where it seemed every machine wanted to crap out at the same time. I would stock pile some of your freed up cashflow for those gloomy periods where the crap hits the fan. If the 7600 is working just fine and the customer doesn't seem to have issues requiring a drop sensor and they are happy with the Rock-ola, I'd leave things be and bank the cash. Maybe even designate it for the upgrades and that way you have it for that, but in the mean time you'll also have a nice cushion for any unforeseen problems. We have had periods of time where service expenses dropped and I used that time to prepare for the unknown to come. Sounds like you have a sweet operation. Are you running your vending as a full-time job or as supplemental income. You mentioned possibly hiring a PT driver down the road.
  10. Hey BVENDING! We use ours to move our vending machines as well as pop machines. Ours have attachments that fold out to lift up the vend machine under the feet. Makes moving equipment a breeze, especially negotiating doorways or corners in hallways.
  11. We have similar "Piano Dollies" as those. We got them from Step Rider. You can order them online. Shipped fast and the dollies work GREAT!
  12. My drivers service 18-24 machines, without prekitting, just like yours. One route has 30 machines on it and is completed. How do you pay your drivers? Hourly or commission? My drivers are straight commission and can (and will) handle a large route. I have found that hourly drivers will make fewer stops take much longer, just to put in the hours and work less. You may want to ride along once in a while, just to make sure they are not "milking" the time. And as AZVendor mentioned, it's all about the training. Maybe have them ride along with your ACE driver to get a good feel on how a route should be serviced.
  13. Be sure to talk with the director and check to see if they have a café. I looked to pursue our YMCA near us, but when they remodeled the building, they added a café that sold water, Gatorades, juices, milk and coffee. They also sell granola bars, fruit, muffins, and some bagged snacks. I've kept a watch on the competitor that was servicing this account and he is doing about a third of the sales as before the café. I believe many of the YMCA's in the more urban areas are headed this way. Talk with the director first.
  14. The Two-Piece equipment dolly you are referring to is a Piano Mover. We have used them for all of our equipment moves for the last 5-6 years. Before that, we used an appliance dolly. The Piano Movers are EXCELLENT for the huge bottle machines and make equipment moves simple for my service team. They can maneuver thru doorways and around corners easily. HIGHLY recommend them if you move a bit of equipment. As for GAMVEND's question, we have used a variety of dollies but end up coming back to the Magliners. They may be a tad pricey, but they last FOREVER. All I've ever had to do is replace a wheel now and then, which is simple to repair. We've tried some of the inexpensive ones from different discount club stores, but my drivers end up beating the hell out of them. And you can't find replacement parts for them very easily either.
  15. Hey folks! I've been checking out the Forum for a while and became a member a few months ago. I never really knew Vending Forums existed (could have used this in my early years). I've owned an Honor Snack & Full-Line Vending business for almost 25 years now. I have been enjoying reading the different posts and even us old dogs can learn new tricks. I've picked up some helpful information from many of you and thought what a GREAT way to share experiences. I've got 25 years of Honor Snack experience and happy to help out any way I can. I would love to see the Honor Snack Industry thrive like it did in the '80's and '90's. I'm happy to share my experiences and give any suggestions to new up-and-comers. And I appreciate all of your incite as well!