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  1. Instead of repeating myself by giving the same advice over and over I have decided to make one general post for everyone, and post the link when I am responding to an introduction. Welcome new VENDiscuss members. You have found a great source for learning all about the vending industry. There are plenty of experienced vendors here willing to give their advice. I remember being the new guy, (2009) and was welcomed with open arms. Priority 1. Avoid Biz-Ops. The term Biz-Op is our term for business opportunity. It refers to the companies that push inferior machines at inflated prices with outrageous (implied) promises. They attempt to sell you an entire business as a kit, and even set it up for you. Listen to the members here, and you can start for a lot less, and even make your money back a lot sooner then with the Biz-Op route. Bulk or full line? There are 2 basic directions to go with vending. Bulk, and full line. They are two different animals, and you may find one fits you better then the other. Some do both. Some do mostly one, with a little of the other on the side, for example a bulk vendor who also supplies beverage machines, but may not venture into snacks. I would say that most vendors start out in bulk vending. It is generally cheaper and easier to get into. Then later on some make the transition to full line. I am a bulk vendor. I have looked into full line, and even discussed buying a full line route with a couple of vendors who were selling. But in the end I decided it was not for me. What I want to avoid in full line is probably what draws others to it. It is a very personal choice. Generally when I give my opinions, it is often centered more around bulk then full line. I admit that I forget too easily that others do, and even prefer to do, full line, or both. Start small. Some of you are wondering why I am saying this when you may not even have the resources to start any other way. But there are plenty of people who decide to get into vending, take on an extra mortgage, and end up with a garage full of machines that will never be used, or a giant route where they discover they are over their heads, and are not even sure where all the machines are. If you just get one, or a few, the investment can be quite small, especially if they are used. Or you could purchase a small route already running. (Run the numbers by the members first, and they can help you figure out if it is a good deal or not.) The next step is to actually run the business with what you have. Learn how the machines work, and how to fix them. You will have problems, and have to learn how to deal with them. Once you learn how to deal with the problems with just a few machines, it will be easier to deal with those issues when running a lot of machines. This actually is work. Yes you are going to have to actually do work. Many people get turned on to vending, thinking you just sit back, and the quarters come rolling in. Well, it kind of can, but it doesn't happen by magic. You don't just buy a machine, and suddenly it starts spitting out quarters. This is a business, and must be treated as such. Lots of people dream of being an entrepreneur, but don't realize the amount of work, dedication, and motivation that needs to be put into a business. There are a lot of abandoned machines out there just because somebody found out they actually had to work. Unlike employees, you will decide the entire direction of your business. If your not successful, it is on you, and you won't have a boss to point your finger at. You will also be the repairman, salesman, janitor, accountant, and delivery guy. And your significant other will start asking you what your going to do with all this crap all over the house/apartment, and when the living/bed/dining room or garage isn't going to be full of machines and product. If this makes you cringe, have second thoughts. But if your like me, you would probably get a kick out of all this. My suggestion. No disrespect for the full line guys, (okay... you full line chicks too, ) unless you know you want to get into full line, I recommend getting a couple bulk machines. (Research the ones discussed on this forum, then decide what you want.) Take them apart and put them back together so you understand how they work. Clean them inside and out if they are used. (Not a bad idea if they are new either.) Get them into a location or two, and start servicing them. You will quickly find out if this business is for you or not. Like it so far? Then you start building, slowly at first. You have the benefit of the profits from your current locations helping you fund this little project. And as you get more and more machines, you have that much more coming in to expand further. This is where you do what I call moving up the vending food chain. You slowly begin to add different types of machines and products, moving into just one new type at a time. Maybe you add sticker machines, or start testing the waters of full line with a beverage machine here and there. At this point if you find you like full line, then bulk will help you fund getting into full line. The point is that you take a step at a time, testing the waters each time, and find your niche. And you build it up exactly how big you want it. Weather you just want to add a supplemental income, build a vending empire, or do something in between. What I love about vending is that you can have just one machine, hundreds, or any number in between. As big or small as you want it. You can also decide if you want to invest plenty of your hard earned money into building this enterprise, or after starting up, building very slowly, only using the revenue resulting from your first machines to expand. Good luck, and don't forget to thank Steve C (W) for starting, and working hard to maintain this forum. And notice the little donation bar on the left. Even if you don't donate now, once you start benefiting from this forum, it is nice to give a little back to help keep this forum running. If other more experienced members want to chime in and give their advice, maybe even disagree with me, or tell me where I am wrong, I encourage this. I know I only scratched the surface, and honestly I still feel like a newbie.
    35 points
  2. Machines and Equipment What machines should I buy? Top machines manufactured Start-up guide for bulk vending machines Machines to avoid at all costs Bulk vending machine and equipment reviews 1800 Vending - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/382-1800-machines/ Vendstar - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1845-down-and-dirty-on-vendstar-3000/ http://vendiscuss.ne...c/260-vendstar/ http://vendiscuss.ne...0-ratings-poll/ U-turn - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/345-u-turn-48-select/ LYPC - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/816-lypc-review/ Vendesign - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2297-vendesign-machines/ Northwestern - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1825-northwestern-triple/ http://vendiscuss.ne...rn-60-machines/ http://vendiscuss.ne...31-nw-super-80/ http://vendiscuss.ne...stern-super-60/ A&A Global - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/320-aa-machine-review/ http://vendiscuss.ne...om-aaglobalind/ http://vendiscuss.ne...s-aa-po-89-450/ Amerivend - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/602-amerivend/ Seaga - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/915-seaga-millennia-gumball/ http://vendiscuss.ne...ple-vend-3000s/ XYZ - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/982-xyz-easy-pro/ Beaver - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/416-southern-beaver-rb16/ http://vendiscuss.ne...and-comparison/ Oak - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/343-oak-450-vista/ http://vendiscuss.ne...-oak-vista-300/ http://vendiscuss.ne...s-aa-po-89-450/ http://vendiscuss.ne...stern-super-60/ Eagle - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1504-eagle/ Acorn - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2174-acorn-machines/ Dentyne Ice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/493-dentyne-ice/ V-Line - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/6635-v-line-vending-machines/ Buzz Bites - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1307-buzz-bites-vending-machine/ Bulk Products Which products should I vend? Toys versus candy - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12262-toy-vending-vs-bulk-candy/ What bulk items sell well? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/488-good-selling-items-for-bulk-vending/ Does anyone vend toys only? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11888-does-anyone-sell-only-toys/ Which candies should I vend? Best selling candies - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/316-list-of-your-best-selling-items/ What is the best selling, low maintenance candy? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12194-best-sellinglow-maintenance-candy/ Runts - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8279-runts-candy/ Chiclet gum - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7845-chiclet-gum/ Which toys should I vend? Top selling toys - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1166-top-selling-toys/ Best 25 cent toys - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4902-best-25-cent-toys/ Best 50 cent 1 inch toys - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/6764-best-50-cent-one-inch-toys/ Best 2 inch toys - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1241-top-selling-toys/ Best toy products of the month - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8724-good-products-this-month/ Bouncy Balls - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/5174-bouncy-balls/ Which 1-inch toys rank the highest? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7517-1-inch-product-rankings/ Top selling caps - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8429-top-selling-caps/ Which stickers should I vend? Sticker recommendations - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9487-sticker-recommendations/ Sticker suggestions - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/5444-stickertattoo-suggestions-needed/ Inventory Control How should I preserve my inventory? Preserving inventory - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12343-question-about-preserving-inventory/ Freezing - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/306-keep-bugs-away/ Accounting and Finance How should I keep track of my expenses and revenues? Vendtrak software - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8012-vendtrak/ Counting quarters and keeping records - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2803-counting-quarters-keeping-records/ Counting and Banking - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7512-counting-and-banking-question/ Visit the Vendiscuss Downloads section for expense/revenue and other excel spreadsheets What coin counters/scales should I use? When do I need to buy a coin counter? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4089-at-what-point-do-you-buy-a-coin-counter/ In the market for a coin scale - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11730-coin-scale/ What's the best way to count coins? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2465-coin-counting/ What should I do to keep track of my machines? ID codes and serials - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11831-keep-track-of-your-machines/ What can I do to control my costs? Controlling costs tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8768-what-are-you-doing-to-control-cost/ Dealing with the rising costs of products - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12149-dealing-with-the-rising-costs-of-products/ Servicing Procedures and tips for servicing machines: Servicing your locations - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7722-servicing-locations/ Where do I put my coins? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11556-best-place-to-put-coins-during-collection/ What do I need to bring with me when servicing my machines? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/3101-what-do-you-bring-with-you-when-servicing-your-machines/ How do I become more efficient when servicing? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2319-being-efficient-servicing-locations/ How soon should I service my machines? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2014-how-soon-to-service/ How can I be safe and protect myself when servicing my machines? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1028-saftey-measures-tips-add-some/ What are your service intervals for candy? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11935-what-are-your-service-intervals-for-candy/ Servicing tips and practicalities - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/182-servicing-tips-and-practicalities/ Dealing with thieves - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9839-how-to-catch-a-thief/ How do I keep my machines running smoothly? Lubricating your coin mechs - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12410-what-do-you-use-for-lubrication-on-your-coin-mechs/ Help! I have bugs in my machines! - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/145-bay-leaves-ants/ Help! I have moths in my machines! - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/306-keep-bugs-away/ Commission and Charity Should I do charity or commission bulk vending? Charity versus commission - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10499-the-charity-vs-commission-game/ Charity bulk vending A glimpse into the life of a charity vendor - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2250-a-glimpse-into-the-life-of-a-charity-vendor/ Commission bulk vending Commission percentage off of gross sales or profit - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/6233-do-you-base-your-commission-percentages-off-gross-sales-or-profit/ Commission percentage off of gross sales or profit - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9691-commissions-off-gross-or-net/ What commission percentage should I start with? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7894-commissions-to-start-off-with/ Locations What are the best locations? Best locations - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12189-best-performing-locations-for-bulk-vending/ List of popular bulk vending locations Pet stores Supermarkets Airports Hobby stores Truck stops Parks Drug stores Tanning salons Tattoo parlors Cell phone stores Skating rings Employee break rooms Family restaurants Sandwich shops Furniture stores Public city buildings Malls Hair salons Barber shops Gyms Eye care centers Arcades Electronic stores Banks Fire stations Smoke shops Antique stores Manufacturing companies TV repair shops Computer repair shops Auto Clubs Video game stores Car dealerships Boat stores Marinas Oil change shops Pawnshops Police stations Go-kart tracks E.R. waiting rooms Day cares Lawyer offices Ice cream shops Pizza parlors Recreational areas Laser tag entertainment areas Retirement homes Nail salons Clothing stores High-risk locations Vendors who operate in high risk areas - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2817-how-many-operate-in-high-risk-areas/ Locating Self-locating tips and advice Locating tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/59-locating-tips/ Locating scripts - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/62-introductions-scripts/ Locating scripts, objections, and rebuttals - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4440-locating-scripts-objections-rebuttals-success/ Why am I losing locations? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8550-what-is-the-reason-for-losing-locations/ How do you find time to locate? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7834-finding-time-to-locate-how-does-it-fit-into-your-daily-life/ Should I use a locator to place my bulk vending machines? Lets go locating - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9570-lets-go-locating/ Which bulk vending locators should I use? Locaters, a comparison - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11801-let-the-games-begin-a-race-of-the-top-4-for-my-business/ Visit the Vendiscuss Locating Discussions section for more information Part-time or Full-time Part-time and full-time bulk vending Tips for going full-time - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11837-any-advice-going-from-part-time-to-full-bulk/ Can I do this as a career? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12014-can-bulk-vending-be-done-as-a-career/ Full-time bulk vendors - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1857-full-time-bulk-venders/ How many machines do you own? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/47-how-many-machines-do-you-people-own/ Tips on how to go full-time - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8269-how-to-go-full-time-into-bulk-vending/ Bulk vending for full-time income - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10160-bulk-vending-for-full-time-income/ Routes How do I value/buy/sell a route? How do I value a route? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12062-4-year-old-u-turn-eliminator-route/ How do I sell a route? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12296-when-selling-a-route-on-craigslist/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12029-existing-route-question/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12069-why-do-people-think-they-can-get-100-or-more-per-loc-for-routes/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/3583-need-expert-opinion-on-selling-my-route/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2025-pricing-route-part-38/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7487-need-advice-for-purchasing-route/ Route tips and advice - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9996-route-purchase/ General Route Purchasing Guide General guidelines for buying routes: Start by offering half of what the machines are bringing in in total sales per year and work upwards. In most situations, never offer more than what total sales are in one year. For every positive aspect of the route, increase your offering price; for every negative, decrease your offering price. In addition, evaluate the position of the seller and adjust your offering price accordingly. Why is he or she selling the route? Is it because of an emergency? Is he or she retiring? Is the person moving to another town? Is he or she tired of running a route? Positive and negative factors to consider when buying a route: +Newer machines -Older machines +Well functioning machines -Machines need work +Interactive machines (shootin' hoops) -Machines are difficult to service +High earning locations -Machines must be relocated +Location of machines -Machines are not in ideal locations for you +Seller has excellent relationships with business owners -Total sales are below national averages How to gauge the demand for the seller's route: In most cases, if the seller has received multiple offerings, he or she will tell you. Be careful, however, the seller may not be telling the truth. After the seller has stated that multiple offers have been made, ask him or her a follow up question such as: Are any of the other prospective buyers close to sealing the deal? If the seller seems overly excited, he or she may be trying to fluff up the price of the route. What to do if the seller is moving out of town: In this situation, try to get the seller to tell you when he or she is moving. If it sometime in the near future, start by offering a lower price. Expect to pay a higher price if the seller has plenty of time left before moving. What to do if the seller needs cash fast because of an emergency: Start by offering less than half of what total sales are in one year and work upwards. When to pay 100% or more of total sales in one year: -Machines are of highquality (Beaver, Northwestern, A&A Global, etc...) -Machines must be in excellent working condition -Total sales are well above national average figures When to pay below total sales in one year: -Machines are not of high quality -Machines are not in excellent working condition -Total sales are average or below national average figures What to do if you do not trust the financial figures provided by the seller: Ask the seller if he or she is willing to finance the deal over a 12 month period, stating that the revenues from the machines will be used to pay the deal off. The monetary figure offered to the seller is the average total sales in one year. If the seller is hesitant about accepting this proposal, it may indicate that the financial figures provided are not accurate. What to do if the seller is willing to show you his or her route: If you are willing to go around with the seller, keep your eyes peeled open and bring a pen and a pad. Be prepared to take notes on every machine and location. While examining each location, be as objective as possible. Examples of questions to ask yourself at each location: -What is being vended? -How clean are the machines? -Are the individuals that frequent this location primarily adults or kids or both? After visiting each location, you should be able to more accurately determine the dynamics of the route. Examples of questions to ask yourself while looking over your notes: -Are the products being vended at each location appropriate? -Should machines be relocated? Keep in mind that without detailed notes, you might pass on a route with tremendous hidden potential. With just a few tweaks, revenues may increase significantly. Growth and Building How do I grow my bulk vending route? Expanding quickly - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9376-how-does-one-expand-quickly/ The most important tip for bulk vending success - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4273-stop-locating-you-dont-need-any-more-stupid-accounts/ What should I do with my free time? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11517-downtime-boredom-any-suggestions/ Barriers to bulk vending wealth - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/3067-biggest-barrier-to-becoming-wealthy-through-bulk-vending/ Building a route - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/8313-building-a-route/ Labels, Graphics, Print, Web Bulk labels, graphics, and other print media I need quality labels, QUICK! - http://sweetstopvending.com/ Downloads section - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/forum/27-labels-and-graphics/ Websites Setting up a website - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11600-bitting-the-bullet-setting-up-a-website/ Example of bulk vending website - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12231-website-just-went-live/ What are the benefits of a bulk vending website? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10966-benefits-from-a-website/ How should I get stickers off of my machines? Sticker removal - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11740-sticker-removal/ Other Bulk vending NO NO's Vending marbles - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12236-vending-marbles/ Gumball gimmicks - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12147-gumball-gimmicks/ Mixing gumballs and bouncy balls - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12303-why-oh-why-would-you-think-this-is-ok/ Bulk vending success and motivational stories Its official! I have 300 locations - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9996-route-purchase/ Best pulls ever - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2931-best-pull-ever/ My biggest single account collection ever - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4723-my-biggest-single-accout-collection-ever/ Taking the next step - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10846-taking-the-next-step/ Nepa's vending success and financial reports - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2206-nepa-vending-financial-reports/ What got you started? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/11368-what-got-you-started/ What goals and plans do you have for the future? 2014 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/18632-goals-for-2014/ 2013 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/14772-goals-for-2013/ 2012 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10416-what-plans-do-you-have-for-2012/ 2011 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7446-2011-business-plan/ 2010 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4857-2010-business-plans-goals/ 2009 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/2500-2009/ 2008 Goals and plans - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/662-building-your-empire/ What is your end goal with your bulk vending business? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7684-whats-your-end-goal-with-your-vending-business/ Additional interesting posts If you had to do it all over again - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/4568-if-you-had-to-do-it-over-again/ If you had to start from scratch - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7787-if-you-had-to-do-it-all-over/ If you had 20,000 dollars - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/9059-if-you-had-an-extra-20000-for-vending/ The big picture of bulk vending business ownership - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7651-in-the-big-picture-of-business-ownership/ Has anyone ever tried to convince you out of vending? - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/10767-has-anyone-ever-tried-to-convince-you-out-of-vending/ The vending millionaires - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/1681-the-vending-millionaires/ Most competitive bulk vending areas in the country - http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/12350-what-are-the-most-competitive-areas-in-the-country/ A special THANKS to PerformaVending. Quite a substantial number of the links listed above were provided by him. Please give him a thumbs up as well! This post has been promoted to an article
    33 points
  3. 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.
    32 points
  4. I was going to title this thread: CUSTOMERS SUCK! but too much negativity for hump day. My approach (good or bad) to servicing the vending machines when I am on the route is to try and attain invisibility - time my arrivals to low ebb in the breakroom, casual attire in muted colors - no banging the totes or slamming the machines - smile and hand out famous amous cookies when forced to interact but minimize the chit chat - works for me, the accounts are used to my presence, ignore it and carry on with their business. Makes it easy to just observe, be a fly on the wall so to speak. Been at it for a few years now, have gotten to where I categorize customers into general stereotypes: 1. The BUM - you know this guy, he's going to collect from you every time you show up - usually shouting across the room: "Hey, your machine ripped me off for $2" - the bigger the audience, the bigger the show. I have an account bum at a big fab shop with 200+ employees - have a big 5 wide snack in there with Ivend every thing working perfectly but the bum puts on a show every time I get there looking for his "refund" - can never tell me which item he got "screwed" on - just a general "your machine sucks and is always ripping people off" - he's the only one that has ever claimed a mis-vend at that account since the machine was installed, and he claims it every single time he sees me. 2. The INSPECTOR - watch your stales, or this guy is going to do it for you. Had one account that every once in a while I'd walk in and there would be a handwritten "out of order" sign on the machine with notes saying "food is rotten" - or sticky notes stuck on the glass over selections that would say "rotten food" or "food poisoning danger". Used to really piss me off, didn't have any pastries or anything like that in the machine, freaking Lays short shelf life would mean occasionally a bag of cheetos would go a day or two over date, but I always pull stales at every account, every time so the inspector really had to work at it. Finally stopped getting the notes and found out from some of the guys that worked there that the guy was a former employee that never bought anything from the machines, but would spend his break time drinking free coffee reading the dates through the glass on the machines - soon as he would spot one even one day out, slap the "rotten food" notes on the glass. 3. The HELPER - never pay for a business consultant, every single one of your accounts has one on staff. I always act the employee - never imply or admit to the staff at my accounts that I own the business, just stocking machines and answering to the man like everyone else. Not at first, at first I would tell people I owned the machines and all that got me was a lot of "help" - lectures on what needed to be stocked in the machines: get rid of the Diet Pepsi in the stacker that sells a case a week and replace with Diet Dr. Pepper because that is what the helper wants even though she only drinks a couple cans each month. Or the helper that wants to manage the delivery cycle - why don't you come right before lunch twice a week? - for an account that barely cracks $100/mo. Or - you should change our your entire inventory once a month to increase variety because we never get pork rinds or milk duds. Nope, I am just a guy shlepping snacks and pop but will sure pass your great suggestions along to upper management. 4. The SNOWFLAKE - gotta love millennials They don't buy much and if they do it's gotta be cashless 'cause the snowflakes don't carry cash - they are sarcastically amused by the whole idea of vending and ask annoying questions about whether people really still by things out of these machines..... Damn kids need to get off my lawn. 5. The FAKE HEALTH NUT - they make a bunch of noise about wanting healthy options but secretly keep feeding an M&M addiction. I got accosted at one account by a big gal - not obese, built like a linebacker over 6' tall - clearly the alpha female of the office - she backed me up against the machine and went on a diatribe about how the stuff in the machines was terrible and enabled people to continue to make poor decisions, didn't want to hear about 60/40 split wanted nothing but sugar/salt/fat/gluten free options in every selection. I deferred to my non-existent superiors and told her I'd pass her concerns along. Later that day, I had to return to replace a burnt out light - came around the corner and saw that same big gal at the machine - I stepped back where I could see her without being noticed - watched her buy a twin pack of Hostess Cupcakes, march down the hall and go into the womens restroom - suspect she was in the stall hoarking down those cupcakes like nobodies business - so much for healthy options. If I wasn't married, I'd be extremely attracted to her - she scares the crap out of me. Anyway - just curious if everyone on here kind of deals with the same sort of people or if it is just me. ABC
    15 points
  5. 5 years ago, I noticed that I would say hi to the new members, but I found I kept writing the same thing over and over. With the full intent of being lazy, I decided to make a single post, and simply share the link with the new members. I didn’t expect what happened next. It was pinned, and stayed at the top of the forum all that time. (And mocking me with the misspellings.) I also didn’t have the slightest inkling that I was going to take over this forum 5 years later. So I’ve decided it was time to update this message. Welcome to VENDiscuss. This has been, and still is a great resource for learning about the Vending Industry. How to get started, how to be successful, and how to save money. There are plenty of experts here in many fields, not only are they willing to help, they have helped so much that practically any question you might have is probably already on this forum. They all have their own opinions, and ideas, and that is a good thing. There is more than one path to success, and you can choose what advice to take. I would say read the forums. Search them for the questions you have. They have been asked dozens if not hundreds of times. And interact, ask new questions. We all have to start somewhere, and if you are new to the business, this is my advice: Avoid Biz Ops. Maybe you never heard that term before, but it is short for Business Opportunity. Unfortunately I have yet to see any Biz-Op actually help anyone in the vending world. Maybe a good one will actually come around in the future, but I haven’t seen it yet. The problem is they are more interested in making that sale than helping anyone out. Their goal is to sell you, take your money, and they're gone. They tell you that you can make more than you actually can. Then they sell you too many machines for a person starting out, and at an inflated price. You’ve never seen these machines before, so really don’t know what they’re worth. But then they tell you they will place them into businesses for you. Unfortunately in the worst possible locations. And if they train you at all, what they will tell you is too often wrong. What you end up with is a load of debt to pay 3, 5, even 10 times the actual value of the machines you purchased, and an under-performing business to pay it off. I almost got suckered into one of these, but something didn’t seem right, so I didn’t take the “plunge”. Not too long after that I saw the same machines for sale, brand new, in an ad for less than half that price. I got lucky, and hopefully you are reading this before you got suckered in. If not, it might be possible to turn things around. I hope you are reading this before signing up with one of these companies. Start Small. For most of you, this is a brand new experience. As much as many of us enjoy the business, there are plenty of people who would hate it. It does not matter how successful you are if you dislike what you are doing. It’s also possible you could buy a hundred machines, and just let them sit in storage for years. This is an unfortunately common occurrence. It’s best to “test out the waters” first. See not only that it is something you might enjoy, but can do, and like to do. If you end up not following through with just a couple machines, than you are out so much less than if you bought a couple hundred bulk, or a couple dozen larger beverage and snack machines. I recommend buying just one machine, maybe 2 or 3 at most. You might want to buy a used one, and figure out how it works, as well as how to fix it. Then find a location for it. See what it’s like running a couple machines, and if you like it, buy some more. At this point you are buying machines with a little experience, and those located machines can help pay for your expansion. This is work. Some people get the idea that all you do is put a vending machine out, and the quarters just start rolling in. This is not exactly true. Sure the machines make money while you are not there, it is not really a passive income. (Partly, but that is another complex discussion.) You will need to get to the machines regularly, fill them with product, empty the money, fix them, clean them, and move them in and out. You are taking on the job of maintenance, sales, janitor, delivery and accounting. Maybe as you grow you can hire out some if not all these jobs, but most do it all themselves. Money will not magically appear in your bank. This can be fun. I am worried what I have posted can turn people off. And honestly there are some people who should be turned away, if they are not willing to commit to doing it right. But there are plenty of people who love this. You get to drive around, open up a machine, put stuff in it, and take money out. Spend a few minutes cleaning it, and it’s off to the next one. I enjoy driving. I like listening to pod-casts as go from location to location. I like talking to some of the people on my route, and I like opening up the machines, and pulling out the money. It can be frustrating to find your machine broke down, or getting that call to remove the machine(s). But this exists in any business, or job. If you are willing to put in the work, and effort, you can make decent money at it. It scales to what you make it. It can be a hobby, or a source of extra income. You could do it, and another part time job, or it can be a full time job in itself. You could grow to have employees, and manage them as they run the business. Choose the field that fits you. In my original post, I recommended that people start out in bulk first. (Gum ball types of machines.) I had sound reasons for it, the first being one of the cheaper ways to go, and second a little easier than say beverage, and snack machines. Takes up less space in storage, and a lot easier to move. But I now believe this was bad advice. While there are similarities in the different fields in vending, they are different animals. And we are all different, so I now believe it makes more sense to do what fits you. What I gave were my reasons for choosing bulk, but we all have different goals and desires. In the vending world, there are the bulk vendors, the full line (snack and beverage,) coffee, honor box, atm machines, amusement, and others. (Hey, the categories in our forum.) Bulk is a common starting place, but it doesn’t have to be if something else fits your interest. My advice. Again, start small. Why invest a lot of money into a business before you know it’s right for you, especially when you don’t need to. Plow all that income into the growth of the business. Now you are in cheaper, and the business is helping fund it’s own growth. Maintain a separate bank account with a growing minimum balance. You need an emergency fund, as well as the funds to grow your business. Refine your route. This isn’t just about placing machines, and taking care of them. You might find another machine works better at a location. You might be able to add machines at a location. Some locations may not be producing enough income, so you would pull that location. Decide how big you want to be. Every once in awhile check if your goals have changed. Maybe you want to be bigger. Maybe you’re too big. Maybe you want to sell your route, or buy somebody else’s. It’s good to evaluate your life and goals every now and then. This is a simple formula for making a success in this business. Low risk, time to learn, and as it grows, it is either partly, or even fully funded by itself. Take other people’s advice. I am one voice, one person, one group of ideas, so don’t just listen to me. I want to be as helpful as possible, but I am sure there are some on this forum who completely disagree with me, or just part of my advice. There are plenty of perspectives here, and if you listen to many, you will find the one that fits you. Here is the link to the old post: http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/7539-welcome-new-members/page-0
    15 points
  6. Hi everyone, I just wanted to share something with everyone regarding my business. Starting in 2006, I began working for a local company in what became a life-changing occupation. My vending experience had just begun, and I was a fresh, young kid just looking to make a buck. Having nothing going on in my life, I simply saved up money and hoped to buy a house some day so I could start a family. In 2007, I also began to work a part-time job simply because I was bored and had nothing to do on the weekends. Fast forward to 2011, I was going to college full-time, working that "part-time" job full-time, and operating my own vending business part-time. In 2013, I made the decision (after some work-related controversy) to go back to working part-time. This gave me the opportunity to focus more on my business. Finally, around September of 2014, I made the decision to finally quit that part-time job that I had had since 2007. For the next 2 years after that moment, I was supporting myself through my business alone. Now, in 2017, I can officially say that I not only support myself, but my entire family through my income alone. The financials aren't perfect, and anyone in this industry knows how unpredictable expenses can be, but I have enough accounts and enough financial flexibility to get through most hardships. I am very happy to be in the state that I am in and I am also happy for all of the help and support of my fellow members here. Despite some family and "friends" who have been nothing but naysayers and tried to discourage me from ever pursuing this, I feel as though I have really done it. I am quite confident that in the coming years, I will do nothing but keep moving onward and upward. Thank you to all of you and I hope this gives people not only motivation to keep pursuing their dreams, but also give them incite into the difficulties that come with doing such a thing. It's not easy, and it never was easy, but it's doable and rewarding when done right.
    13 points
  7. I understand rants, they let off some steam, but posting one on a board full of potential customers doesn't seem like the best of ideas. I mostly use locators since my regular job consumes a large portion of my time, but I can tell you I wouldn't want to work with you with that attitude. Yes, as a locator you have some concerns in dealing with vendors, just as we have concerns in dealing with locators. It's just part of the process. Personally, I find a locator that does well for me and by me, that locator never has to worry about getting paid or me worrying them to death, but until you prove yourself to your customer, and this goes for anyone in any business, then you will have to deal with issues. You come off as sounding like you could careless about your customers, and NO ONE wants to work with someone with that attitude.
    12 points
  8. So, in my days of landing rack accounts, I've developed a method that pretty much guarantees a placement for my gear in the 5-7 way range. The process is pretty straightforward, find a loc, and get in touch with the gatekeeper. Then, boom, secret weapon! When I go to talk to the account, I first present what I'm thinking of installing. i have a brochure that has some examples of the equipment I use, so I'll show them that, what I'm thinking would work, and what I think as a guesstimate the commission would be- I don't use this pitch for charity at all. If they're interested, awesome, proceed as usual. If they're still not convinced, I pull out the red folder, and the fun begins. My secret weapon is a form I created that offers a "service trial" for the equipment. I have tried a few different time frames, but I've found that 3 months/90 days strikes the best balance for everyone. They can dump me right off the bat when the period is over, and it's not that long in the big scheme of things, and I still ahve a good window to capitalize on the initial boost new equipment gets in a new location. Now, if they take the trial, they get the following: Whoever has the authority to sign that I am in for that 3 month period gets that card, and what they do with it is their business. I have turned a LOT of leery or waffling businesses (both owners and mangers) over with this. The cards can be picked up most anywhere, and come in a variety of styles. I usually get the generic silver ones, though I couldn't find a picture of those to save my life. All in all, I've gained 13 accounts with this method that I might not have otherwise, and all but two have panned out and kept me on. You do have to do some research and know what locations will be worth the investment, but considering that's less than what I'd pay for a comparable locator, I see it as money well spent when it's needed. Otherwise, the best locating advice I can offer is be confident, and keep trying. The more practice you have, the easier it will be to get locations. Don't be afraid to improvise and get creative when you need to either. I suppose this trick is old hat to most of the vets here, but for those that might not know about it, it might land you a loc someday. Good luck to everyone on your locating endeavors!
    11 points
  9. Regardless of what the other chip expiration dates are, if you can't sell a bag of chips in 2 months then you don't have good enough accounts for snacks or it's just a poor choice for that account. Longer shelf lives means more preservatives so you could say that Frito Lay has a higher quality product perhaps. You can't argue with their success and these same dates apply on the retail shelf, too. Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, vending chips are slow sellers so there is a longer time from manufacture to distributor to where you buy it for a lot of the time to be used up. You also don't want to eat those chips 2 month after they expire because the do lose much of their fresh taste. Stop worrying about simple stuff and things that have always been.
    11 points
  10. I have never done bulk but I have done honor boxes for about 2 years and I have been in the vending industry for about 11 years while being in business for myself for 7 of those 11 years. Honor boxes, bulk vending, and full-line vending all have their advantages and disadvantages. Honor boxes are the absolute CHEAPEST to get into and margins can be decent but you can easily max-out at something like maybe $40/hour and that's completely full-time and does NOT include the cost of a vehicle. Yes, $40/hour is good, but you'll be working pretty hard between servicing boxes and finding replacement customers when you lose customers. If you aren't going out every week looking for new customers, you'll fizzle out with honor boxes. Realistically, you can expect $15-$20/hour with honor boxes if you have your own vehicle, and people seem to look down on you from my experiences. Bulk vending, from my knowledge, is far less expensive than full-line but more expensive than honor boxes. Theft is usually not bad (ie. no one steals your product and machines don't get stolen too often from what I hear). Margins are probably on par with full-line (maybe 25-40%??) but that's because you often have to pay a hefty commission for a prime location. The primary advantage in bulk-vending is that you can collect a lot of money in a short period of time with very little overhead. I can't give you numbers because I don't know enough, but I am familiar with some vendors who sit back for 3 weeks at a time and run a 1-week-long route and collect a couple thousand dollars. The primary disadvantage, from what I understand, is that you need a LOT of locations to really make much money and you have to be careful about not putting too much product in the machines but also not making them look too empty. I think I have heard that you can expect many locations to collect as little as $7/month in sales whereas a good location does $25/month in sales. When you have 200+ bulk vendors, you can actually make a little money, but that's not going to happen overnight and tracking machine sales could be a little cumbersome. Full-line is obviously the most expensive but it has its perks. As with any of the three mentioned vending types, having good locations is everything. I will say though that THIS is the reason why I stick with full-line: One good location with a snack and can machine can easily generate $200/week in sales. Even at 25%, that's $50/week in profit. Furthermore, you can make that money in less than an hour if you're fast. In reality, I can restock $200 worth of retail products in about 45 minutes and I might profit more along the lines of $60 after everything is said and done. Once you factor driving time, I probably require 1 full hour to do such a location, Regardless, that's $50-$60/hour and I am actually not pushing myself to full speed. I have done this for 10 years and I am still relatively young. I can turn on the jets if I need to and probably get in and out in 30 minutes. The downside, of course, is the investment cost. The upside, of course, is the money you can make. The outcome REALLY depends on how good the locations are, how dense your area is, how efficient you are, and how good your prices are. If you are selling everything dirt cheap.. then you can't expect to be able to comfortably buy nice equipment and turn a nice profit. Economics is a real thing, and sometimes you can make more by lowering your prices, but there's a point at which it doesn't matter. As an example, maybe at 35 cents per can, you can easily sell 3 sodas per customer for a total gross of $1.05. Maybe at 50 cents, you'll sell 2 at a total of $1.00. Maybe at 75 cents, you only sell one. In all events, your product costs 30 cents each, not including tax. Three sodas cost 90 cents (profit $0.15 for 3). Two sodas cost 60 cents (profit $0.40 for 2). One soda costs 30 cents (profit $0.45 for 1). Selling one soda for 75 cents is more profitable than 2 sodas at 50 cents. In reality, people will probably only buy one soda regardless of the price. If you sell the cans for $1.25, you will probably sell nothing and get quickly kicked out, but there is always a sweet spot. In my case, through growth, cancellations, and various other changes in how I handle things, my COGs and fuel expenses (as a percentage) have gone down a little as my gross has increased. I am making roughly 35% more profit now than I did last year, which is a huge increase. I could possibly expect a 10% in profits next year too if I do well. I'll tell you this: in my 7 years of self-employment, i have seen so many ups and downs on my mental state. There were SO many times that I wanted to sell out and it just looked as though everyone was always doing better than me. Even people on this forum who had been doing it for 15 years were making more money than me and that BOTHERED me. I wanted to make profits NOW, even though I KNEW that I had to wait until I had paid off many loans and grown enough to really make actual money. I wanted it NOW. The hardest part was knowing that I COULD be doing something else [right then] and make MORE money. In the end, I now make the money I have always dreamed of. I set my own hours. I make ALL of the decisions. I don't have anyone constantly barking at me, except for a few annoying customers who have nothing better to do. Most importantly, I get to enjoy what I do and get paid doing it. Sometimes I don't feel like I am really working... other times I feel like just going home because I have dealt with too much crap for the day. The single most important thing that I KNOW about my current mental state is this: I enjoy being a vending operator. If it weren't for that, I would have gotten out years ago. Who in their right mind would invest into something that could take YEARS and YEARS to turn into a profitable venture when you could get something else making good money today? Furthermore, who in their right mind would invest into something they don't enjoy? If you're only in it for the money, then you need to consider that most businesses struggle the first few years while they get their finances straight (pay off loan, reinvest, etc..). If you're in it because you like it and you want to live off of it too, then just realize that it gets easier with time but you need to be patient. Whatever you do, don't start treating every other venture out there as though it's better. Bulk MIGHT be better, but it might not be. Vending might not even be your calling. Who knows. Decide whether you do it for the money or because you like it and want to make money. If you know for sure which one you are, then you can decide whether it's worth changing course or not. I am notorious for long posts, but you are new and you are in that difficult point where you don't know if you made the right decision or not and I think you might find my insight useful. I think we all went through that.
    11 points
  11. Safari, Why not tell everyone a little more about WHY you are looking for these vendors? That may help encourage some vendors to share their stories. What you are asking for is VERY personal...most of us don't go around asking other business owners what they make for a living without a very good reason. Tell us about yourself. Your posts indicate you are already in vending. So, tell us why you want the info and how it's to be used. If all you want is "success stories", that should not require a minimum gross of $5k per month. Some may gross $5k per month yet, because of poor business management, earn less profit than an efficient vendor with a monthly gross of $4k. Others may gross $3k per month but are a success story because they work only for themselves after years of having worked for a bad company or bad boss. And, maybe others are success stories because they are finally free of the grind that kept them from spending time with their family. By paying their bills using vending machines they now have control of their schedule...all without grossing $5k per month.
    11 points
  12. This is a collection of many of the accounting and liability related questions that have been asked here on the forum over the years. I’ve tried to combine the important stuff into this post, but if something is missing please let me know. First, a disclaimer – I am not an accountant . My advice to everyone is to call your Secretary of State, Department of Taxation, or the IRS to verify things. Also, when in doubt, Google Second, each state deals with taxes and businesses in a different way. The advice given here is general and your state may impose more regulations/requirements than stated herein. Hence my advice: call your Secretary of State or Department of Taxation to verify things. Last, I am going to gear this towards an LLC. If people have specific questions about S-Corps or more complicated things feel free to PM me. But to keep this somewhat clean, I’m going to pick a recommendation (LLC) and talk about that (mostly). Additionally, the terms I am using here are generic and chosen so everyone understands them. They are not, strictly speaking, accounting terms. OK, some definitions: Liability Protection – this basically means not losing your house if someone sues you. LLC – Limited Liability Company. This is a company, and not a corporation. It is the easiest business entity to create that provides liability protection. It is a pass thru entity (see below). Note, “Limited” means you can only lose the amount of money you invested in the company to get it started. For a vending business this will be very small. S-Corp – This is a normal corporation (i.e., C-Corp) that has filed for the S election. More complicated to form than an LLC, but there are some advantages. It provides liability protection. It is a pass thru entity (see below). C-Corp – Out of scope for our discussion purposes. There is no reason to have a C-Corp unless you are doing this full time and making more than $100K/yr. If that is the case then there are some potential tax advantages to a C-Corp, but that is it. This is the most complicated business entity and it is not a pass thru entity. Sole Proprietorship – This is just a guy who decided to start doing business. No forms to file, nothing to set up. There is no business entity. No liability protection. Pass Thru Entity – This means that the money your business makes is, for tax purposes, treated as your income. In other words, you record this income on your 1040 and pay taxes there, instead of your business entity paying taxes. Note, local taxes are almost never pass thru and most states impose some sort of business tax (e.g., in Ohio you pay $150/yr). And yes, the business income still passes thru to your state tax return. Technically this is double taxation, but really not in the sense that most people mean. So…what type of business entity should I form? Almost always LLC. Don’t do the sole prop because there is no liability protection. The C-Corp is too complicated. The S-Corp is an option only if you are making $50K or more a year. If so, you might get a slight tax advantage. The LLC is simple and provides protection. Note an LLC can be taxed in several different ways – Sole Prop, S-Corp or C-Corp. By default it will be taxed as a Sole Prop – this is what you want so there is nothing special you need to do. Everything is easy. One extra schedule to file (Sched C) with your 1040 and that is it. Also, be sure you keep your LLC and personal expenses separate. Get a separate bank account. If you don’t, and there is trouble, you may lose your liability protection. Lastly, when you form the LLC, you can do it yourself. Go to your Secretary of State’s website. There should be clear instructions on forming an LLC. You must simply fill out a form (mostly online), pay a fee, and you are done. You can use your own Soc Sec #, or call the IRS (or go online) and get a new one for your LLC – this is free. OK, I formed an LLC. Do I need insurance? It depends. The LLC protects your assets, but nothing protects the LLC’s assets. If you are sued then everything owned by the LLC can be taken. If you have a significant investment in machines then you’ll lose everything. The insurance will cost approximately $300/yr. Do the math to see if it makes sense. If you have $10,000 in machines, definitely get insurance. If you have $100, no need. Great. I’ve got the company and I got insurance too. Do I need an accountant? How do I do my taxes? Well, the LLC is a pass thru entity. This means you simply take the income of your LLC, subtract the expenses, and the balance is the profit (or loss). This is what you get for all of the hard work you’ve done all year You then file a Schedule C with your 1040 and put that number down there. You’ll pay income taxes (federal and state and, possibly, local) on that figure. You’ll also pay FICA taxes. FICA taxes are social security and Medicare. Unless you are making >$100K, just figure 7.65% of your income is what you pay. Normally, if you are salaried (i.e., get a paycheck), your employer withholds this automatically and there is nothing for you to do. But in the case of the LLC, the profit that flows thru to you hasn’t had FICA deducted from it. No problem – the IRS will let you pay when you file. However… You will probably have to pay quarterly estimated taxes from now on. This is because you haven’t had any income tax withheld either. And, if you don’t pay at least 90% of what you owe before the end of the year, or end up owing more than $1000, the IRS wants you to estimate your taxes. If the LLC is your main source of income, you’ll almost certainly fall into this category. Luckily, there is an easy way around this – just figure your taxes in December and make a tax withholding payment. It doesn’t have to be exact – it just needs to be close enough. But if you don’t want to do this, then you can always make the quarterly estimated tax payments – they aren’t hard to do. Another option is to pay yourself a salary. This is a little more complicated (you’ll need QuickBooks or something similar to handle the payroll), but you won’t have any estimated or FICA tax worries. Note, in general you don’t want to do this unless it is for retirement benefits purposes. This is because your company will also be paying FICA taxes, so 15.3% is taken instead of 7.65%. Note, I oversimplified some things above. For example, not all expenses are deductible – travel and entertainment are the common examples. But just about everything you are doing as a vendor will be a deductible expense. Also if your profit is actually a loss there are some limits to what you can deduct. All that being said, buy TaxCut or TurboTax and it will walk you through everything. To summarize about taxes, here are the types you’ll run into: - Sales Tax. Check your state to see if you need to pay. Many bulk operators are exempt, but not all. This will be based on your gross income. - Federal, State, Local Income. This is what we were discussing above. Based on your profit. - FICA. Based on your profit. - State/Fed Unemployment. Will not need to pay unless you have employees. - Worker’s Comp. Technically more of a premium than a tax. Will not need to pay unless you have employees. Company formed, insurance bought, taxes paid. Now, what are all of those tax advantages of LLCs I keep hearing about? Well, really, there aren’t any. At least not for the typical vendor. Running a sole prop will give you the same tax advantages as an LLC. The key is to keep good records and to know what can be deducted. Of course anything that is an expense can be deducted. Normal things like candy and machines are obviously expenses, but so is mileage. You can deduct $0.55 per mile you drive. Just record your mileage and write yourself a check (I do it monthly) for the mileage. It’s yours – tax free and is an expense to your business. Being creative you can find other things to treat as expenses – cleaning supplies (one for the machine and one for your house), cell phone (but just use it for “business”), etc. An LLC doesn’t give you anything special over a sole prop with respect to taxes. You form an LLC for the 2 L’s – Limited Liability. Lastly, some of you have employees. If you do, make sure you pay their FICA taxes. No business entity offers liability protection from the IRS coming after you for not paying these. And you’ll face stiff penalties and fines. Don’t try to treat them as “contractors” – you’ll just get into more trouble. Let me know if there are any other questions Kevin
    10 points
  13. An absolute must for the new vendor, and a good refresher for the rest of us on a lot of good stuff. Christmas came early this year it seems! Thank you Vendelicious, this is terrific!
    10 points
  14. I am amused by this thread. I have been in bulk vending for over 7 years and am making a lot of money off the machines that everyone says are useless junk. Every time my "useless junk" is stolen from a location I just smile and go on my way knowing that I only lost $30. I don't think too many of you guys feel that way when you lose a nice machine. I have a friend that has a route of 700 vendstars and when he collects his $7000 monthly do you think he cares what kind of machines he is using? My point is this, if you are going to be a commercial vendor fine, buy top of the line. But, if you are wanting to make money fast and want a return on investment in months and not years, then I suggest you take a look at these plastic peices of junk. You can make money and a lot of it with these disposable machines. They are in good supply and incredible deals are to be had, so get out there and start making some money!
    10 points
  15. You need a bigger route. Way to much time on your hands
    9 points
  16. I just got to the end of a mammoth week for me. It started out on Sunday with a call from a site saying my machine was tripping the circuit breaker. Call my fridgy/sparky Monday morning and arranged a time to meet him on site. Site is over an hour drive away and sounded like a problem I couldn't fix myself. Arranged to meet him on Wednesday. Got wife to call site back to let them know we'd be there Wednesday. The guy tells her that they noticed after they had called me that the machine had actually caught fire and there were burn marks at the back of the machine and on the wall. Crikey! Next I was getting ready to head over to my shed to work on machines I was refurbing to get out on site and I get a call from another site to say the glass front of my vending machine had been smashed and could I come straight away. We go and empty the machine and remove the door (Bevmax) and take it too a glass place for a quote on getting fixed. They estimate expensive and probably will take 3 weeks. (I had previously spoken with the Dixie Narco distributor and they had none in stock and suggested trying a local glassier) Not a promising start to a week. Tuesday night I was having friends over, so that took a lot of the day out in preparations and adding to my stress levels with a growing jobs list to get machines out. I was talking to a bill acceptor distributor following up about getting their new devices to work on AMS Sensit II machines (I have new note acceptors that accept our new AU$5 note, but they don't work on the Sensit II model). Anyway, he is quite chatty and I got to mentioning how my week was going and the broken glass and he mentioned that a vending machine trader that I already deal with should have some from scrapping a heap of machines recently. I give him and call and he thinks he should have one in stock. Good news. Better news, he was planning a trip up my way this week (he is four hours drive away but every couple of months deliver some various vending machine stock up this way). Excellent, because we were running low on stock too. Wednesday morning, glassier gets back to me with quote. Yikes! Vending trader gets back to me to confirm that he has a door in stock and will be up on Friday. Cool cool. Catching a break. I meet the sparky on site of the machine that caught fire. Turns out the machine had been pushed back against the wall and kinked the power cord shorting it out. We just needed to replace it with a new heavier duty power cord. That was a relief. I wasn't expecting to get it working again that day. So today, I loaded two vending machines on the trailer, including one I had been working hard refurbishing. Old mate comes and delivers my new glass Bevmax door. I deliver the machines. One was a bit tricky because of safety rails in way and the opening too small to let the machine through. One guy there has the idea to forklift it over, which works out. Head back home for lunch, and then back to the shed to pack stock and the replacement glass door. By now we were running against the clock of when security closes up on a Friday afternoon. Get the door back on. Get the stock in just before security closed up. Then one last callout to a machine that had been mis-vending. Found tuna snack pack that had fallen and somehow managed to wedge the lip at the top in between the glass and the frame. I got home at quarter to seven feeling very accomplished at the of a week that started out quite stressful. I'm now enjoying a well deserved cold one.
    9 points
  17. Hey guys. Just thought I'd pop in and say hello and see how my baby is doing. I can't believe she's 11 years old already. Looks like things are going good Mage.
    8 points
  18. 8 points
  19. First deal: Pay 140% of annual sales?- #nope. A food route that nets 45%? Not possible. 17 AMS machines? $34-$42K. Make a living or good income just on food vending? #nope. Second deal: Seaga machines? Not #nope but hail #nope. If you have $140K burning a hole in your pocket and want to get into this business, buy some regular snack and drink machines and do it right.
    8 points
  20. Easy. MEI VN2511 with single price harness. A generous donation to this forum will set you up.
    8 points
  21. I have been in this situation a few times over the years and have always told the location that I can't touch the other vendor's equipment and it is up to them to remove it. Like I said earlier you don't know why there has been a lapse in service. Is the operator deceased, sick, elderly and lost track of locations, in jail, or was it a sold to another vendor and left off the location list? Who knows? What I do know is that I don't own it and I have no right to take property that I don't own. If the other vendor or his family suddenly reappear down the road looking for their equipment I can say honestly that I never touched it, I'm wasn't involved with it's removal and I simply came in as a new vendor at the request of the location. The windfall of taking this equipment and the money inside it is not worth the potential problems and damage to reputation.
    8 points
  22. 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.
    8 points
  23. Finalized the deal on the route I've been working. Added 90 locations, consisting of: 49 5-way racks 1 7-way rack 43 triples 5 singles Also includes spare machines and parts: 35 5-way racks 38 triples 1 single Also he included all remaining inventory. 1" and 2" toys and a few boxes of candy and gumballs. Not to mention about 60-70 locations are ready to be serviced and collected.
    8 points
  24. I found this quicker than I thought I would. It's a long read but well worth it. No "Likes" on it which is surprising but I think it's because of the long read. Anyway, here you go: "This is a very good question to ask of the professionals here. This subject is often overlooked, especially when vendors believe they can trust the friend or family member they employ. Speaking from experience, the very first thing you need to do is realize that you can trust no one when dealing with cash. As far as service techs go, you will either have to meet them at the location to watch over them or you will have to trust the tech from experience and simply wait to see if anything suspicious comes up. As a service tech myself, I have never had a customer question me about any missing cash, but I am always concerned that a route driver might take money, knowing I was just there and blame the shortage on me. I also worry about what the location personnel might think when they see me put money back into my wallet and pocket if I have had to use my own money for testing purposes. Again, this has never been an issue for me yet in 13 years, but there are some techs in this area that I wouldn't trust to even touch a machine let alone access the money. I have some customers that insist on meeting me because they don't want to put a common lock in the machine for me to access with or give me a copy of their keys. However most of my customers either give me a copy or are regularly using common keys or will put a common lock in for my access. Now to the sticky part of your question. Again, do not trust any employee. If they know they are being supervised and watched, regardless of if they are a relative or not, they will be more likely to be honest. I learned this by running my vending company with 3 route drivers for 16 years. You must put controls in place to allow you the ability to know when cash is missing or to know when something suspicious has happened. These controls are referred to as Route Accountability and you need them in place at the machine level, the truck level and the warehouse level (if you have one), for cash and products. The bare minimum level of control you need is at the machine level. This can be accomplished by following route accountability steps that include reading meters at every cash collection. These meters are built into the logic boards of all late model machines or you can install a unit counter in any single price machine. The logic meters are best used by reading the non-resettable cash meter at every collection. The simple formula to use is Beginning Cash Meter (from last end meter) + Coin Added (from outside source) - End Meter = Expected Cash in collection. Compare the cash collected and counted to the Expected Cash and you will have the over/short of that collection. The Coin Added item is for refilling the coin tubes from a change bag issued to the driver. This is a must as the coin box will not always have the correct number of coins in it to refill the tubes. Making sure the tubes are filled to the same level every service is important as a fluctuation in the tubes will affect the over/short of the machine. If the tubes are low and not refilled, you will have an overage. If the tubes are properly filled the next service you will then have a shortage. These over/shorts may balance out, but don't allow the drivers to regularly ignore this part of the job or you will never know what to expect. The change bag itself should be issued each week with a known value of rolled coin. Any time the driver fills the tubes with coin from the change bag, it must be noted on the route ticket so you can track how much coin was used from the bag and so you can subtract that added change from the collection of the machine (coin added externally is cash not generated by sales). At the end of each week you count the remaining change fund then perform the calculation: Begin Fund - Adds to machines - Remaining Fund = End Fund which should equal the beginning amount. Any difference means the driver is not recording the information correctly, or stealing from the change fund. In order to make the driver accountable for products you will use the formula Beg Inv + Adds - Stales - Pulls (back into inv) - End Inv = Units Sold. I always did this by categories such as chips, cookies, candy, bag snacks, pastry, gum/mint, etc. as prices would be the same for all products in each category. Then you can perform the product accountability by category instead of lumping it all together in a nightmare inventory. As to methods to use to keep tabs on drivers, knowing their route order is a must as well as knowing where they should be at any given time. This is best learned by running the routes yourself or with the drivers so you can learn the timing of the stops. Once this is known, and if you suspect a problem employee, check the machines ahead of them at one or two stops and count the money in each machine, read the meters and, if you suspect they are stealing bills, mark some of the bills (5's are a popular target) so you can verify that all have been included in the collection bag. Once they return the cash bags, audit each one to see if anything is amiss. You must do this a few times if you want to fire someone for cause, but you can probably fire them the first time you confirm it using this method."
    8 points
  25. Lowering prices for complainers is not a good strategy. I will pulll any of our machines before I work for cheap for spoiled office workers who don't spend any money.
    8 points
  26. Stop Locating! You don't need any more stupid accounts! It may be a bit self-destructive given the fact that I own a nationwide locating service but, the truth is the truth, and it must be told. "I would like nothing more than to place another 250 accounts for you 'Olivia Operator' but I cannot in good conscience place any more equipment for you. You need to stop locating. You don't need any more stupid accounts!" Here's the story: Olivia Operator told me she wanted to make a sizable investment in to a new vending business. Her goal was to make profits from owning and operating bulk vending machines. It was only 7 months after we started the process of carefully buying a very significant quantity of low cost, plastic candy machines and placing them in high traffic businesses around her metropolitan home. She, her husband and two sons were restocking them on a monthly basis. We had already spent nearly 70% of her intended investment when she enthusiastically called and asked if we could go out and acquire another significant quantity of new accounts...she wanted to spend the whole wad! She was going to go the distance and really make money from her vending business when we told her some unexpected news..."You need to stop locating. You don't need any more stupid accounts!" As much as I wanted the business...and, Lord knows, I love to spend a whole "wad" of money any chance I get, but I had to remember...she wanted to earn profits by owning and operating bulk vending machines...not just candy...not just gum...not just toys..."bulk vending machines" (any kind of bulk vending machines). There starts the process. I was reminded of the second location I ever acquired for my vending route 19 years ago. My enthusiam was high. I was ready to go get the whole world and I managed to acquire a store called, "Check Out Video" in Northern California. It did $12 in the first day of operation...$18 in two days...$52 in the first week...$133 in two weeks!...and YES, I checked all those days! I was overwhelmed and knew I had something good. I quickly spent my rent money on another 2 Oak heads and a single pipe stand for a mere $650 (I was new!!!). I tried for the next 2 weeks to convince a store (any store) to accept that machine. NOBODY but nobody would agree to take it. Finally, not knowing what else to do with it I asked Check Out Video if I could put this one in the store as well. They agreed and the rest is history! Why? Well, from that day and for the next 2 years, Check Out Video paid the rent on my apartment. I wasn't aware that I had just learned one of the most valuable lessons in building a customer based business..."THERE IS NO BETTER CUSTOMER THAN THE ONE YOU ALREADY HAVE!" As I mentioned in a previous post, on occasion (wearing a different hat) I have opportunity to sit alongside major players in the business world. It has been surprising to learn that such significant portions of marketing budgets are allocated to influencing customers they already have. The reason is simple. Think about a ground-based hand water pump. For those of you who have never been out of the city, some people acquire their drinking water from ground acquifers using a large metal arm hand pump attached to pipes that help pull water up to the surface. It takes a lot of pumping to get the water to start flowing, but once it starts all you need to do is occasionally gently pump the handle once or twice and the water keeps flowing! Back to 'Olivia Operator'. We opted instead to help Olivia upgrade her machinery. First, we selected the highest producing locs to "run" with. We pulled 20% of her slowest producers and added them to the highest producing accounts (thus lowering her total number of locs) and amazingly, her gross sales and profits both increased! We then began spending money to acquire larger (more professional, higher quality) machinery to replace the plastic machines in the best accounts. After only a modest amount of work and 10% more investment, she had doubled her gross sales and nearly doubled her profits. Currently, 'Olivia' is one of the most profitable (per stop) bulk vending operators I have ever met. Certainly, there are many who can give suggestions about specific upgrades, but I just thought I would mention something quickly lest you forget that "THERE IS NO BETTER CUSTOMER THAN THE ONE YOU ALREADY HAVE!"
    8 points
  27. If you don’t know me don’t feel obligated to read this. So it seems kinda weird to share this here, but it also seemed weird to not mention it and pretend everything is normal. And then it’d be weird to bring it up in conversation and casually slip it in somewhere. It’d also be weird to highjack a fantasy football thread with it. So I weirdly decided to mention it here. Anyway, my wife had twins over the weekend. (This is why I’ve been silent on the FF front Moondog.) They’re a healthy boy and girl, and we’re quite happy. These are the people you’ve been helping support with all your advise and knowledge. We appretiate all of you.
    7 points
  28. The BEST way to get started, in my opinion, is by sticking with either Royal 650/Merlin IV or Dixie Narco 501e's. Keep in mind that a 501e is very different from a 501T or 501MPC or anything else that it might say. You want a 501E with an SIID board in it. With the Dixie 501E or Royal 650/Merlin IV, you'll have all of the capacity and versatility you would need for almost any account that you'd be able to land as a new vendor. They are usually readily available used or refurbished, and you can actually buy the Royals new to this day as they still manufacture them (not the case with the 501E). I recommend new vendors stick with Dixie 501E's because they are easier to learn and you can transition to telemetry usually with no issues whereas older Royals might not report cash sales (this only affects you if you want to pre-kit, which requires a $300 card reader and $8/month wireless fee). Don't do Seaga, definitely don't do Gaines, no Antares, and a few other brands. There are other models too that are older and very good, but a lot of markets have 501e's and Royal 650's readily available for purchase and you will kind of future-proof yourself with those models. USI is okay too but many of their machines have pros and cons which can be a pain to deal with sometimes. Vendos are also good but, as a general consensus, you want to know what you are doing with vending because vendos can be problematic in certain ways. In fact, the only 2 series I would recommend you ever touch are the vmax (540, 720, and a few others) and the v21 series. The v21 is an excellent series but they DO have some problems at times (like all other machines) which can be somewhat difficult to figure out... and being new means you won't have a clue. There are SO many knowledgeable people that can help you diagnose a Royal or a Dixie and that's the only reason why Vendo moves down the rankings a bit. Also, certain USI soda machines are 100% incompatible with card readers and will not function whatsoever. One model I KNOW will not work is a CB-500 (aka CB-10, BC-10). However, only the model that have the MCB12 board in it are of issue. The models with GVC boards are fine. You'll know what it has based off of the actual model number (USI 3189 is the CB-500 with an MCB12 board and will NOT work with card readers. The USI 3500 (as the model number should say on the sticker) should have a GVC board and be fine. As for snack machines, there are many models you can go with because there are so many kits, but at this point, if you can get your hands on them, stick with machines of certain generations or newer. AP 4000/5000's, don't bother. Don't bother with any AP machine that doesn't have a digital display either. AP 6000/7000's are VERY good machines given how old they are, and they have made many vendors a LOT of money. They are probably the best workhorse snack machines ever made, but they are old and need to be upgraded to accept new technology. That can be done, but if you can get something newer then that's great. AP 110's are also VERY good machines for their time, but the same issues exist with them. In fact, they have a lot of important advantages over the 6000/7000 such as how the validator mounts and where the coin mech is. They are much easier to repair in my opinion, but they need the same money invested as the 6000/7000 and might not be as common in your market. AP 120s are good machines too but have some issues. If you get a working AP 120 with a drop sensor, then you are good to go. If a board goes bad on it, the simple solution is to buy a retrofitted board for about $315 + shipping and taxes. Anything newer than an AP 120 is probably a "good" AP machine but parts can be issues at times because of a history probably related to being bought-out by Crane, and I don't know the details of that history. National 145/146's were also workhorses, but I highly recommend you dodge these machines. The same is True for the National 147/148's. They all made a lot of money but I wouldn't even bother with those. National 157's are good machines but sometimes need some upgrades. The upside is that they are good machines and only require an MDB harness, maybe a new E-prom, and probably some programming change to make them MDB capable if they aren't already. We are talking about $50 if even necessary. The downside is that not all had drop sensors and to add one will usually only be cost effective by buying a retro kit that includes a board and drop sensor for $415++. But a drop sensor isn't really necessary and there is nothing wrong with getting a National 157 if the price is right. Anything newer than the 157 is usually a good machine for National, and I only know of snack models going up to 160/170 but I don't know the differences in those models. There are also GPL's that look almost identical but they can have various amounts of differences between them. It's difficult to say whether you should bother with GPLs or not because it depends on what's in them and I don't even know. USI machines are difficult to even talk about. The easiest way for me to explain this is by saying this: Unless the machine is VERY recent and has a GVC board in it, you might not get cash sales reported if you want to pre-kit in the future. That's often not a big deal, especially for new vendors, but it can matter later on because it's the way of the future in many ways. If a machine has an F80 board in it, you WILL NOT get cash sales. If it has an SM6 board in it, you MIGHT get cash sales. If it has a GVC board in it, you SHOULD get cash sales. Regardless, anything with an F80 board, SM6 board, or GVC board in it will be a decent machine. Don't get anything older than those. For model numbers and some details, you can go to vendnet.com and look through their snack machine manuals list. You'll see details on what boards are in what models right there. AMS has also been in the market for a little while (not as long as the other guys) and they make good machines but older models often require costly upgrades. You can probably stay away from any brand not mentioned here. As you can see, there are a lot of models. One of the EASIEST ways to quickly check to see if a machine is even worth messing with is to see if it is already setup for MDB. Sticking with newer model machines is your best bet, such as AP 120 or newer, National 157 or newer, Dixie 501e, Royal 650, etc.. Any of those models will accept a card reader, should already be MDB, and there are many people out there that know how to diagnose them when you have problems because they are all very common machines. It MIGHT cost you more to buy these but it might not. Buying refurbished will, of course, cost more than buying used but a company with a good reputation can provide you with excellent machines to get you moving. Having good machines that are relatively future-proof will mean that you won't have to go through many of the pitfalls that many of us have gone through over the past 10,15,20, or 30 years. I promise you that there are many more vendors out there than you realize and the bulk of them only have a handful of accounts and often don't keep up with technology because they can't land decent accounts to justify the upgrade. Don't be like them; start with the right equipment first, and don't buy new machines until you get your feet wet.
    7 points
  29. So I inherited a office deli combo machine on one of my locations. I have replaced it with a REAL machine, and have found a great location for it. It brought me $46 in about 10 minutes!! Which is more money than it would have brought me in its lifetime.
    7 points
  30. It's unfortunate. There's nothing you can do really. He may have done as you said. It's easy to lie. I sold 6 accounts for less than what you paid. I believe I was fair. However, that doesn't mean everyone will be honest. You really only got burned a little. Yes, the difference is huge, but it's important just to use this as a learning lesson. I spent $7,000 in 2010 on an anteres route and got burnt because I was ignorant. All of those machines are gone and only one account remains that does $2k/year. I cancelled most accounts and scrapped the machines. One location generated about $3/week! of course, they invited me to their house and lied about the numbers to my face. Long story short, three of the locations were related and all merged to a 100-person factory. I struggled as they wanted 5 machines (in hindsight, it was way too much). I handed it off to another vendor who I formed a nice relationship with and it has helped me grow to where I'm at. The lesson is to never trust someone who seems honest. If they aren't honest enough to report their numbers and pay taxes, then they aren't going to tell you the truth either.
    7 points
  31. Today we placed a machine in a restaurant and this is location 100! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    7 points
  32. Lease to own programs spread the cost of the hardware over 5 years. There is, on average a 15% sustained rise in same store sales. Our cashless sales are growing every month and are approaching 25% of our total sales. In an operation of our size, that's a lot of quarters and bills we are not counting in the money room. Also, coin jam or bill jam? no problem, card still works.
    7 points
  33. 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.
    7 points
  34. 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
    7 points
  35. Yes it is. You have to get on your knees to read the card reader.
    7 points
  36. The hard part is that drivers only work for themselves. If you pay them hourly they will dog it all day and not get enough done or work slower to get to overtime. If you pay a commission then they slam the machines full of whatever they have without regard to planograms or stales just so they can 'maximize sales'. If you pay them a salary they think they are getting screwed on the long days and don't see the benefit they get on a short day. Regardless of how it's done it must be done with supervision, auditing, supervisory ride alongs, key security, safes on the trucks, over/short monitoring and lots of training. Expect and Inspect is the way to do it.
    7 points
  37. I agree, you will be missed. In fact I ask that you do come back. Maybe take a little break, than come back, and just be a member, not as somebody who needs to, but just to enjoy yourself. Even if it is just to pop in and say hi. But thank you for everything you have created, and all the work you have done. There are a lot of successful members because of this site, and they have you to thank. You did ask that I demote you, but I created a new member category just for you. Founding Member will now appear under your name. Good luck, I wish you the best.
    7 points
  38. Sounds like they did you a favor. Leave peacefully and find a new spot for your equipment.
    6 points
  39. I have been in the cracker stacking business a long time. I have had employees steal money, wreak trucks,lock vending keys in machines, lose keys, fail drug test,call out of work with a hang over , I had to fire my cousin it made a large part of my family mad at me and to this day they will not talk to me. The worst employee was a middle age lady who worked for me we had a sheriff department account. I was called in the the sheriff office to watch a video of my route lady having relations with a prisoner and guess what I was picking up the machines the next day. vender 4321 let them drink a few drinks and eat a pack of crackers if that is the worst thing they do consider yourself a lucky person.
    6 points
  40. The fact that you do not like questions is extremely telling. Frankly, those who blindly follow a pitch are fools, and it seems that that is exactly who are looking for.
    6 points
  41. Zip, zero, nada, 沒有, nichts, niente, rud ar bith, 何も, rien, ничего, niks, ništa, τίποτα.
    6 points
  42. 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.
    6 points
  43. To All My Democrat Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2017, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. To My Republican Friends: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    6 points
  44. I can give you what I know: To determine the age of Dixie Narco, the S/N ends with 2 letters: The first letter is the quarter (A,B,C, or D) the 2nd letter ie the year: "O" is 1990, "P" is 1991, etc. The 501T ended around 1993 and replaced by the E series. E meant "Extended" cabinet to vend bottles 2 deep, and included a larger port so the bottles could exit the cabinet reliably. The P model came about around 2005 and is to be avoided at all cost. A/P has no consistent date stamping process, but as a former A/P distributor here is the rough break down: Model 4000/5000 1981-1985 Model 6000/7000 1985-1990 Model 103 prototype for the 110, 112, 113. Do not buy under any circumstances, only 600 manufactured 1991. Model 111/112/113 1991-1997 Model 121/122/123 1998-2005 Model LCM 1,2, or 3 1997-2003 Model Studio 1, 2, or 3 (serial numbers start with "SL") 2003-2005 Model 131, 132, 133 2005-2007 Model Studio 1,2 or 3 (serial numbers start with "ST") 2005-2007 Model 931, 932, 933 2007-2009 (Manufactured by Crane) As a reminder, the dates for A/P are from my memory and are as accurate as my 55 year old brain can produce. My knowledge of National is considerably less but here is my best guesstimate: Model 145/146 1985-1989 Model 147/148 1989-1994 Model 157/158 1994-1996 Model 167/168 1996-2006 Model 180/181 2006-2014
    6 points
  45. I usually say..... I keep ordering the free ones but they never seem to send them to me. I'll let you know when they come in.?
    6 points
  46. One more comment - true story. Was stocking an account several years ago, a lady who worked there started talking to me, telling me I needed to stock healthier choices. I asked her "is there a special item would you like me to add that you want to buy?'. Her reply: "oh no, I would NEVER buy ANYTHING from a vending machine". Smiled and kept stocking.....
    6 points
  47. From the album: Performa Vending Machines

    Starter Rack due to take over a high traffic spot in the next few days, with any luck. Machines on top are A&A 2001, the bottom units are A&A PM Elites. I still need to add price labels, choking warnings, and displays for a few of them, but that's in the works. I have also made the error of putting 50 cent 1" sticky and 50 cent 2" sticky on the same rack, so I'll fix that tomorrow. The 2" machines have Flatline's Duck Mix #5 and Jumbo Splat mix, both of which I really like. Hopefully the kids will too.
    6 points
  48. This just might be the most useful thread ever... Well done kandyking.
    6 points
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