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  1. 35 points
    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.
  2. 32 points
    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
  3. 31 points
    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.
  4. 15 points
    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
  5. 15 points
    Well, the time is nearing for my deployment to Afghanistan and I wanted to stop in to say goodbye for the next 6-8 months. Thanks to everyone who has helped me in setting up my business and the continual support found through the members on this forum. You may see my name from time to time since my wife will be handling things while I am gone and she will have access to this account. Please take it easy on her if some newbie questions pop up! But she should have a pretty good grip on the whole thing. Thanks again, ladies and gents. Until that time.
  6. 13 points
    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.
  7. 13 points
    Notably A&A Global, Beaver, Northwestern, and Canmax. While your presence here is appreciated, I will no longer tolerate your moles. Each of you have secretly joined this forum with the sole intention of monitoring what is being said about your respective companies. I have no issue with that and find that to be a prudent behavior. However, I will NOT tolerate your continued efforts to bully me, our members, or this site when something negative is posted about your company. This is an open forum. As such, our members are FREE to express their opinions about you. Especially if they found your services to be less than adequate. If our members continue to be bullied, blackballed, or threatened with legal action for exercising their right to free and open communication, I will make it my personal mission to spread their word to as many people as I can. Your behavior is unacceptable. If any of you have any issue with anything that is posted here, I advise you to take it up with me or the moderating staff personally instead of hiding behind what you believe are anonymous usernames and moles. Or better yet, why don't you actually post something in response? Why don't you actually become a productive member of this community? Why are you afraid of actually interacting with your customers? If this unacceptable behavior does not stop, I will be forced to go through our member rolls and delete each and every one of you and not allow you back. That goes for the moles as well. In addition, I will set up company specific forums where our members can post their experiences they have had with you with complete anonymity. Then you will have no recourse. The choice is yours. Become a productive member of this community. Offer help and guidance to YOUR customers and reinforce your brand. Or continue to cower in the shadows and strike at anyone who dares say anything that you don't like. Make your choice quickly.
  8. 12 points
    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
  9. 12 points
    I will also add that the only reason we are back online is due to the overwhelming response I received last night via email. I received nearly 100 emails asking that TVF return. I realized that there are far more of you who truly appreciate what we have here than those who do not. It would've been unfair of me to penalize the many for the deeds of the few. I will share some of them in an upcoming blog post as I feel they confirm for me just how much our members care about, and enjoy, this community regardless of what is being said elsewhere on the web. I also received many questions as to why I can't just ban the offending members. The answer to that is its just not that simple. Sure I could clean house and rid the forum of everyone who has a differing opinion or whom I do not like but where would that leave us. Its a fact that I do not like a few of these members but I can not simply ban someone because of my personal feelings. Contrary to popular belief, aside from actual spammers, we've only banned 1 or 2 real members in almost 6 years. It is not something we like to do but sometimes its necessary for the greater good. Also contrary to popular belief, we very rarely edit anyones post. Yes, the option is open to us but it only happens on rare occasions so the notion that everything here has been doctored is simply not true. No one knows the decisions that I make here everyday. Some are easy, some are hard. All anyone ever sees is the result. This forum is much like vending. It is not "set it and forget it". As we grow and more personalities join, those decisions get harder and harder. All I am trying to do is present the best possible product for everyone to enjoy. You may not agree with my admin style but quite honestly I feel it has served this community well over the years.
  10. 12 points
    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.
  11. 11 points
    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!
  12. 11 points
    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.
  13. 11 points
    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.
  14. 11 points
    Everything in life has it's downside, even waking up in the morning. You have to decide if this is something you want to do and also why you are doing it. Personally, I tune out all that negative crap and concentrate on what's going on right in front of me. People are still buying snicker's and drinking cokes just a much as they were 10 years ago. No matter how much you tell someone that they should be eating healthy, they will still eat what they want. My take on the healthy stuff is that if you want healthy, go to a health food store. I'm in California and have been under the healthy vending laws (schools) for a couple years now and it's still profitable. If this is what you want to do, don't let people tell you that you can't do it. There always seems to be more reasons to not do something than there is to do something. I've heard this doom and gloom before and even purchased a route from someone with the same outlook 5 years ago. They said the reason they wanted out was because vending was "going away". At this time, ALL their accounts are actually doing way better than when I purchased them. If you want to do something, do it and don't let nobody, no-how, no-way hold you back. You are in charge of your destiny, not the naysayers. Right now, I've got empty machines all over the desert that need to be filled. Something I've been told over and over that wouldn't happen. This is the start of my 8th year and am looking forward to 20 more. The 2 to 5 year mark was tough for me as well. My wife and I nearly gave up at 2 years. After a long hard discussion and crying our eyes out, we decided to stay in it. 2 years after that we were filing for bankruptcy. 4 years after that and we are finally on our feet and doing good. I can't tell you it has been easy because it has not. But I can tell you that all the hard work and sleepless nights are finally paying off and I'm so glad to have stuck it out.
  15. 11 points
    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.
  16. 10 points
    If you read through many of the post you will see statements like. How do you locate? I work too much to locate. Should I use a locator? They are all very valid. I would like to use my experience to shed some light on locating. Locating can be the most fun part of vending if you allow it to be. You get to get out and meet new people and see new cities and towns as you do it. First Should you use a locator? Well that really depends on you and your situation. The hardest part of this business for most people is getting up the nerve to go out and talk to locations about vending. If you are going to be in this business for any length of time you have to get over your locating fears and the best way to do that is with your very first machine. When I located my first machine my knees were shaking when I entered each location. And got about 4 no answers and then there was a yes. And that first yes was such a high, I walked out of the new location feeling like a million bucks and I still do with every yes I get. Over all you will get much better locations by doing your own locating and you will keep them longer. To the location owner the first person the talked to seems to them to be the one in charge of the vending operation. And they are less likely to boot you if they feel like your the boss and not the guy on the phone. You are also more likely to go after the locations that you really want by locating on your own. If you work a lot I can understand that but you still have to find some time some where to try and locate. The best time to locate is while you are servicing your machines. Now I am knocking all pro locating but the only time to use it is for locations that you have tried to get and could not but still want. Keep a list of turn down locations that you still really want to get and only let your locator work that list. If you give a locator a free pass to get well what ever they can, That's what you will get. You also need to dress the part when locating. My self and my route guy always wear a company polo and tan pants or shorts. We carry nice photos of our machines on locations. Not stock photos from the net. This shows the owner what you really want to do. if you have any large or chain accounts put those photos in the front. This will make the mom and pop feel as is "wow the same company who puts machines in Walmart wants to put some here" You also want to always locate only when you have a machine ready to go in. Have you ever been looking at a big ticket item and all of a sudden your sales guy has another customer or a phone call and he passes you off to his partner? That is a sales ploy known as a "take over" the fist guy thinks hes not getting anywhere with you so he gives the second guy a shot. If you cant get a location get your wife, husband,sister,brother or friend to give it a shot about a week later many times they will get it. When going for large accounts with more than one location you need a clear plan. You need to know what you want to do and what machines and product you want to use. And have a printed plan with photos because many times you will need to send it off. Start with the store manager and keep moving up the food chain until you reach the real choice maker. In most companies its the director of other income. And most of all do not give up. I keep pitching machines until the want to kick my out. Happy locating
  17. 10 points
    I am officially a businessman. Yesterday I placed my first machines in the break room of my local bank branch. Two single heads on a stand, filled with Skittles and Peanut M&Ms. See my first post about it here:http://vendiscuss.net/index.php?/topic/22544-first-success-permission-to-locate/ A few days elapsed between getting permission and actually placing the machines because I followed the advice (wise, I think) of a loved one, to not risk the extra money of forming a corporation before I knew I had customers, or in this case, people who would allow me to place machines. Well, I got permission and filled out my papers to start the LLC that evening, mailing them the next day. I checked the state website every day to see if the papers were approved. The day they were approved I filed for an EIN with the IRS and filed online for my sales tax license. Then I checked every day to see if the license was granted. Finally saw it on Saturday night (they work on Saturday? No complaints here, I guess!) And spent the next few hours getting the little details taken care of with machine prep. Every day seemed to take too long and brought up thoughts that I would be rejected for being too slow when I finally brought in the machines! Well, I went in on Sunday to cash my paycheck and brought the machines with me. The teller immediately remembered the machines, and I said I have them! Brought them in, placed them in the break area, and thanked the tellers. Back to the important part: I am now a businessman. No one in my family has started a business. We started my life poor, my parents worked their way up to middle class, and mediocrity was all that was expected of any of us. But this is an achievement. Will I get rich in vending? I don't know. That's not what this is about. Will I be successful? I already am. And I will continue to be so long as I remember to let the Lord build this house (see Psalm 127). From vending I am learning what the business world is and how to run one. That is an achievement that I am grateful for. I may move on to another business(es) in time. But for now, I am a vendor. Thank you all for your help. I intend to hang around.
  18. 10 points
    Well guys, I quit my full time job today. Things at work have been going south for a long time and I finally made a decision to just give it up. This is a decision I have been wrestling with for a good while. I will be focusing on my vending business full time and will continue to buy storage units. Hopefully, I will see and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Wish me luck.
  19. 10 points
    I would buy Oak Vista Panel machines, or A&A PO89 panel head machines , metal craft stands , sell only 1430 count gum. Use a well respected charity and locate yourself. Service the machines only when they are nearly mt. You could easily do 2000 machines yourself. This scenario gives high profit , ultra simplicity, you can work out of a very cheap gas saver car. Try it out with 10 machines and get a feel for vending and if you like it then dive in. Never forget; your job is not to bring wonderful toys and candy to the people of earth but to maximize your income per unit time. You are young, treat the machines like savings bonds. Go about the business quietly, diligently, resolutely, and you will make a great deal of money.
  20. 10 points
    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
  21. 10 points
    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!
  22. 10 points
    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!
  23. 9 points
    You need a bigger route. Way to much time on your hands
  24. 9 points
    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.
  25. 9 points
    This has been going on for sometime now and pops up on this forum fairly often with people asking about "Healthy Vending". Many that come on here are usually considering one of the franchise or biz-op companies that specialize in all "Healthy Vending". Firs let me say that in general people are more health conscious than ever however that does not mean an all healthy vending business will work. I have always advocated that my clients offer "healthy" selections to their customers. I recommend they have an actual "healthy program". These are sometimes modeled after the Fit Pick program NAMA created. You can come up with your own and call it what you like. However, I have also told my clients that if their customer or potential customer sets unrealistic demands on the amount they must stock in a machine to not do business with them. I have seen where a vending customer says they want 50% of the products offered to be healthy selections. This can be a disaster waiting to happen. What happens if you cant sell through that many items? Now what? The best approach is to work with a customer based on sales and and demand. So lets say you start out with 10 items and the usage and demand is their you will be happy to add more selections as needed. That is just good business practices that make sense. Now with all that said lets get back to an all "Healthy Vending" model. Yes, healthy options in vending is seeing more and more demand. However, it has not gotten to the level to sustain itself as the only type vending an operator does. Can an all healthy vending machine work in certain accounts? Absolutely it can. The problem is scale. You will here this term used in business all the time. "How do we scale our business". This means how to we grow and what is the pinnacle we can reach. Unless you are in a very large city like LA, NY, Chicago, etc it is very hard or impossible to scale because their are only so many of these accounts that will support an all healthy vending type setup. Lets look at it from this stand point. What accounts can you think of in your area that would demand and allow all healthy vending? YMCA? Gyms? Hospitals? Schools? How many of those do you have in your area? Lets take hospitals for example. They are great vending accounts and do some major revenue. The issue is many of these hospitals are contracted by food service companies that do both the cafeteria as well as the vending. That is the way the RFP goes out and if you cant do both you do not have a shot at getting the vending. Second these hospitals are paid huge commissions and all healthy will hurt their bottom line. Simply because the sales volume will go down. I know this because I along with many of my clients even struggle with even offering a limited amount of healthy options. People will simply not buy or buy much less because it is not what they want to eat or drink. Now lets look at schools. Schools are "ok" at best even with regular vending. 95% of the time you can not get the drink business because the bottling companies pay big commissions, give the stuff like score boards, banners, signage, donations, etc. You simply cant compete with that. Second is unless it is a college or alternative type school it is seasonal and closed during the summer. I pulled out of all schools in my area and turn many down this past year. It has become do difficult doing business with them it simply was not worth it. They had to many demands and requirements that it did not make business sense. YMCA, can be good accounts. I have done many over my years in vending and currently have some my company does. We have "healthy selections" but would never do 100% healthy. Why because even with our limited selections we have it is a struggle to make it work. We are constantly having to watch dates and rotate items and throw the healthy selections out. Gyms, are ok accounts at best but in the end their are only so many gyms in a given area. Also many in the true healthy lifestyle prepare and bring their own food. They ONLY grab a snack out of a machine as a last resort. They get their foods from specialty food store and because they use so much of it they buy it in bulk and take it with them. Now, if you think you are going to get the average vending account to switch to all healthy that is not going to happen 99.9% of the time. Employers want to keep their employees happy and their would be mutiny if some of these accounts enforced an all healthy vending program. Fact is you are not getting the accounts because the demand is just not strong enough. So that is the issue is being able to scale (grow) the business large enough to sustain you as a sole means of revenue. Unless you are willing to drive many miles between accounts their are just so many accounts that would work for all "Healthy Vending". In the end I say to have a healthy selection program in place because I think it is important to offer it and make sure it is part of your business model but all healthy simply will not work for 95% of the vending operators. NONE of the large vending companies offer all healthy vending? Why? If it was in such demand and was a money maker why wouldn't they do it? Fact is they don't do it for the very reasons I have already posted in this thread. No other reason why because it si not a conspiracy to keep people "addicted" to candy bars or to run any of the "healthy" companies out of business. The fact is all businesses work off supply and demand and the fact is the demand is just not high enough to do it. It may get their one day but right now it is not. I hope this helps clear some things up and answers some questions.
  26. 9 points
    Hey guys, I am posting this to let you know that effective immediately I have resigned as moderator. As most of you know I sold my business to a friendly competitor, people I have known for over a decade in this business, a while back and stayed on to manage the combined operation. SInce the buyout there have been several other acquistions leading to a business approaching 2M in revenue. It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot about running a multiple route operation. I also learned that the people I sold out to were not the people that I thought they were and struggled for several months to be able to accept the fact. I was unable to do so and so I quit. I have taken a new position as a manager in another industry, one that so far has been a wonderful experience for me but is not the same as vending which I hope to return to as soon as the time on my noncompete agreement comes to a end. So with my focus and energies on a new career I felt that it was appropriate for me to step down and back a bit from TVF. At times my efforts here have been both very rewarding and, yes, at times, very frustrating, but I wouldn't change any part of it and I am so thankful that Steve decided to let me help out around here for a while. In closing, this little community that we have built here means a lot to me and I want to reiterate how much I have appreciated the opportunity to be a part of and serve here and even though I am no longer a moderator I will still be around and participating. Thank you Steve and everyone at TVF!! Mike
  27. 9 points
    Let's start with snack machines. Since you probably know next to nothing, I will break it down quite easily for you (at least I think so). For snack machines, here are brands and models: *note: by "series" it means something within that range of numbers. For example, an AP 6600 XL is part of the 6000/7000 series and uses almost the exact same parts as any other AP 6000/7000 model such as a 7600. The differences are in cabinet size, shelf dimensions, and the number of shelves and selections. Automatic Products (aka: AP): 6000/7000 series, 110 series, AP 120 series, AP Studio, LCM (I am not sure what is newer than that). I don't recommend buying an AP 4000/5000 series, AP 400/500 series, or anything that doesn't have a validator cutout. National Vendors: National 147/148, 157/158, 167/168, and I don't know what is newer than that (Crane bought AP, National, and GPL). The National 145/146 are personal favorites of mine, but you probably don't want to get stuck with one that is beyond its time. Some of them can't be upgraded with validators without significant labor and parts. GPL models are often the same as National numbers such as 157/158 and 167/168. USI (aka Fawn, FSI, u-select-it, and Wittern): For USI machines, I only recommend equipment that has MDB devices hooked up. If they don't, you probably don't want to get involved. Parts can be too hard to get for older stuff, although their 3013/3014/3015 series of machines were pretty durable. Stick with their newer stuff... and even then, you should check their website (vendnetusa) and look at their manuals to see how NEW a model number is. Rowe: Don't get them. Glasco: Don't get them. Polyvend: Don't get them. Lektrovend: Don't get them. GPL is the acronym for the merger between Glasco, Polyvend, and Lektrovend and most of the GPL equipment I know of is rather good. It's confusing but you need to check the model numbers. ------------ Now for the soda machines.... Dixie Narco: Dixie narco is the (insert your favorite car brand here) of the soda vending machine world. Do you like Fords? Then Dixie Narcos are Fords of the vending world. You can get parts easily. Repairs are generally straight forward. They are EVERYWHERE. For Dixie Narco models, there are practically too many to name but here is a small list of them: 276, 360, 368, 414, 501T, 276E, 501E. They have newer machines but you might not want to mess with them. They also have glassfronts but those are a whole 'nother ballgame. They are a little more confusing to figure out because some have control boards and some don't. Some hold bottles and some don't. You really need to learn so much more about them than I can summarize here. Royals: Royals are really good machines. I know of NO bad models made by Royal. If it says Royal on it and it has a validator in it, it's probably a good machine. They do have some odd models like a G3 version that uses a single motor and a chain (I have one) but, as I said, I have never seen one that didn't work well. Vendos: I recommend staying away from some vendos due to their occasional problems and part availability. They can be really good machines but some of them just have temper tantrums. You need to know more about vending machines before you can dive into a vendo. However, the 720 series is pretty decent. The v21 series (621, 721, 821) are simply amazing. Do NOT mistake a 720 for a 721 though. They may look similar on the outside but it's like comparing REAL lemonade to Country Time lemonade. The 721 is simply awesome; the 720 is "okay" at best. USI: I ONLY recommend the CB-300 and CB-500. I don't know what exactly the model numbers are but maybe BC-6 and BC-10. They are very good machines but can only be used indoors. A DN 501e or a Royal G3 would probably hold up way better than a USI model for a variety of reasons though. With that BASIC information down.... Here is what I advise you to do. When you look for a machine, see if it has a validator. If it has a Mars VN series validator (ie. vn2501, vn2511, vn2512, etc...) then you might have a decent machine. If you have a Coinco with a BA series (ie. BA30B, BA32SA, BA30SA, etc...) or a MAG series (Mag50B, Mag32SA, etc..) then you might have a decent machine. If the machine has a metal validator in it, it is of almost no value to the machine. Lets say you found an AP 4600 with no validator in it. If you asked ME how much I would pay for it... I would say NOTHING because it would cost more than it is worth to move, upgrade, and repair if needed. An AP-7600 in good shape with no validator? I would give $400 if it is in perfect shape but not more, even if it has a VFM or Ardac validator in it. Those are essentially the same as having NO validator in my book. I am going to throw either of those two away after I put a different validator in there anyway. So.. as you can see.. there is so much to look for it really just depends. Find a model number, see if it has a validator (what kind? Provide the model number), see that it WORKS, and see if it has anything special (MDB components for example). Also, check to see if it visually appears to be in good shape. Once you get that information, you can come back to these forums and give us that basic information and we can tell you more about it. There is simply too much to tell you. it takes an experienced vendor to be able to look at a machine and decide if he wants to fool around with it or not. If someone was selling an AP 110 series, I wouldn't buy it... even though they are good machines. I only have ONE and I plan on keeping it that way. However, a DN 501T in great shape with a good validator could easily fetch $500, even though the machine might be much older than the AP 110. I have a lot of DN 501T's and adding another wouldn't hurt anything. Get information on machines (condition, model numbers, accessories) and bring it back here and we can help you.
  28. 9 points
    As the next paragraphs might be overwhelming to you, you should first analyze your accounts and see if you can extend the service schedule on a significant number of locations by increasing the inventory, doubling or tripling up on best sellers, etc. If you can put off the employee hire just a bit longer then you can prepare for it using the following paragraphs. Before you hire any employee you must ensure that you have route accountability of some kind in place. This means that your driver must record inventory adds, stales, pulls and ending counts by category. That he must read the non-resettable cash meter at every collection and that for every service (opening of the door) the cash is collected and the meter read - doing "adds" in the middle of the week muddies the water. There must be individual collection bags for each machine, no money from more than one machine can be aggregated into one collection bag. The driver must have a change fund of a known amount with him for refilling changers. The coin he adds to the machine must be recorded so the collection will still balance to the meter and the change bag can be balanced at the end of the week. Your single price machines must have can counters on them so there is a meter to read. The can counts are then balanced to the cash collected. Inventory counts are very important in single price machines. You must record all of this information in such a way that allows you to analyze the over/shorts and look for problems or potential theft. You must also spot check the machines on the route to verify that the meter readings are being recorded accurately. This allows you to verify that the prices posted are correctly programmed for every selection as sometimes that causes an over or short. You must be prepared to set traps, such as marked bills, when you suspect an employee is stealing from you, or go out ahead of the driver and count down the machine and the cash in it just before he arrives. Beware of the massive shortage one week and the massive overage the next week, especially on stand alone bill changers. This could be evidence of a "loan" the driver makes to himself. Be aware that it will be unlikely that any machine cash will balance to the meter reading on any single collection, but you should always be within $2 or $3 of balance - the fluctuation is mostly from changer coin float. Know that your meters will never not record a cash vend, that test vends through the logic board will not be recorded as cash vends, while test vends with cash will be recorded as cash sales. Therefore, any cash test vends performed must be recorded. If you go repair a machine on your driver's route and you do some cash test vends, you must leave a note with the test vend total in the coin box that will be collected with the next service. Over time you will see an unmolested machine average out to a virtual balance. Be aware of machines on the route that take 5's or larger bills, as those are easy to pilfer. If you suddenly have no 5's in a bag whose machine takes 5's, that's a warning sign. Protect your keys. The driver must trade his car keys for the route keys every day, this ensures your keys come back each day to be locked up. Each route must be keyed differently so no driver can sneak into another driver's locations. There is so much more to this that you can implement to protect your cash, but this is the bare minimum that you must do or you are leaving yourself open to theft regardless of how trustworthy this person is.
  29. 9 points
    You know what's better than a new machine? Great service. You know what's better than great service? Nothing! Here's two examples of outfitting two locations, each in the $10,000 per year range, both hotels. Hotel #1 has 4 machines, two snacks and two sodas. Hotel #2 has 4 machines, one snack and three sodas. Hotel #1 has a nice AP123 and a vendo 721 on the 1st floor by the free breakfast area and an AP500 (refaced with upgraded bill val) and a vendo "ancient single price". Cost to outfit: $3,200.00 - $2,000 for the snack, $600 for the 721, $300 each of the 2nd floor relics. Hotel #2 has a repainted AP7000 and a Vendo 721 on the 1st floor next to the ice machines and a DN "ancient single price" on the 3rd and 4th floor. Cost to outfit: $2,000.00 - $500.00 per machine x4 None of the machines have card readers. Hotel #1 requested them but decided to put in an ATM machine instead. Win, Win. Hotel #2 doesn't care either way. Total investment: $5,200.00 for 8 machines and two cranking locations. Results: Money in the bank. Remember, it's not how much you make, it's how much you save. You can make a million dollars a year, but if it costs you a million to make it, you really haven't made anything! Do not set a goal to break even. Set a goal to make enough money that you have some left-over at the end of each month. Neither of these two hotels asked for new machines. What they wanted was great service. The previous operator had new machines but terrible service. New machines only guarantee one thing - an new machine.
  30. 9 points
    Place an ad trying to sell their business.
  31. 9 points
    Right here I am going to reveal the biggest secret to locating. I wont even charge you for it.. the secret to getting vending locations is.... YOU HAVE TO PICK UP THE PHONE. Its that simple. Get a phone book and start dialing. Some places will say no, and some places will say yes. Make appointments, if the decision maker ( DM) isnt there, schedule follow ups. Make an excel with your follow ups.Even if you are the most timid person, you will eventually start closing locations. It is all about practice. What do you say? Well its your business don't you know why people should have a vending machine? If not why are you in this business. Just make a list of benefits and answers to objections. After each call or meeting where you get a "no", sit for a minute with your note book and think about what you could have said, to make the DM say yes. Write it down and use it next time. Eventually you will find your sales style and you will figure out what works and what doesn't. Remember "no" does not ever mean "no" it just means "not today" always follow up on every no until you get the account. If you do this you will eventually get the account. At some point you have to decide if its worth your time , but I have followed up accounts for a year and eventually I got them. Just try them back every few months until they say yes. It does not matter if you are shy, if you have never sold anythnig before (i never did) if you are not a good salesman or communicator. Just start dialing you will eventually figure it out, and find your "style" there are a lot of good books on telesales and b2b sales in general, read them, take what tips apply to vending, and throw out the rest. I can say from personal experience I am not a good sales person or even a very good communicator in general but I dedicated myself to learn to locate machines and now I do it every day. the key to locating success is you need to make at least 5 calls per day and you will start closing locations I gaurantee it. If you make 5 calls every day rain or shine you WILL get locations. This is how pro locators do it, they are not magic they are just experienced and they make a lot of calls. Good luck and keep smiling and dialing!
  32. 8 points
  33. 8 points
    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.
  34. 8 points
    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.
  35. 8 points
    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.
  36. 8 points
    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."
  37. 8 points
    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.
  38. 8 points
    First of all, the answer to the most asked question... IT IS NOT ME! I am not trying to reincarnate myself or this forum elsewhere on the web. I've been getting a lot of PM's recently concerning "Eric Caserri" and his new vending forum that he cleverly named "The Vending Forum" or "TVF". I'm sure most of you reading this are aware of what I'm talking about. If you don't, you soon will even without this post so it's no big secret. I am going to offer this explanation to hopefully clear up some confusion that some of you have. Note that this post is not meant to attack anyone. It is simply meant to answer some questions that many of you have asked me privately over the last two days. I figured it would be easier to post this out in public rather than keep answering PM's with short answers. This explanation is from my point of view and I will explain the best I can given the facts available to me. A few months ago, "Eric Caserri" contacted me with an offer to purchase TVF. I don't remember specifically what my response was but obviously, I rejected his offer. Apparently, Eric decided that if he could not purchase TVF directly from me, he would start his own "TVF", quite literally. Much to my dismay, Eric decided it would be a good idea to create a replica of our forum. If you look, You'll notice that he literally copied our categories and our subforums complete with forum descriptions almost word for word. Eric Caserri's TVF Vending Category Steve Caserri's TVF Vending Category Eric Caserri's Specialty Category Steve Caserri's Specialty Category As you can see here, he also copied most of the introductory post I made in July, 2007, the day TVF launched. He did add a bit or two here and there to personalize it. Eric Caserri's Intro Steve Caserri's Intro Eric did not stop there. As most of you know, he also used my screen name (caserri) in his own email address. Something he admitted doing because he felt it would ensure that people would read his emails. Speaking of emails, Eric also gained access to a list of most, if not all, TVF member email addresses. I know this to be true because the member who provided Eric this list has confessed to doing so. I must apologize to every member that this affects. TVF assured you when you joined that your email address would NOT be sold or distributed to any 3rd party. Unfortunately, this is what happened and it was done without my knowledge. Let me take a moment here to say that TVF has never claimed to hold a patent on vending forums. In fact, we have peacefully coexisted with other vending communities during our entire existence. From Vending Chat to now defunct forums such as Bulk Vending Forum, KickStart Vending, Vending Boards, and Vend Talk. All the while, we never considered ourselves in competition with any of them. We know that membership will utilize all resources available to them. Most will drift from one community to the other and back. Some will settle on the one they like best. There is no rigid, one size fits all template for vending forums. Everyone is different and everyone is free to choose where to spend their time. So, I argue Eric's claim that these two "TVF's" are in competition with one another. He may be in competition but we choose to peacefully coexist. If I could speak to Eric, I would simply ask why he chose to build his forum using deception and by harvesting the efforts of others. Why did you not build your forum from the ground up, as I did? Why couldn't you take the time required to attract a good quality member base, like I did? I hope this post was able to shed some light on what exactly is going on here. I did not post this to start a cross forum war but only to clear up some confusion that our members obviously have. Like I said, I've been getting lots of questions and I thought a public explanation was in order. Everyone here is welcome to draw their own conclusions and make up their own minds about Eric's motivations. However, I would be very hesitant to join, participate, and support a forum whose founder has publicly admitted to deception by using my name. Who clearly, intentionally, and unapologetically copied content from our TVF to his TVF, and most importantly, who gained access to our members private information without their consent and used it in his recruiting efforts.
  39. 8 points
    This is an interesting discussion...I'm five years into this and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've been where Hawksfan is right now. I made the decision to not let the negative thoughts affect my determination to see this thing through. Persevere, my friend. I never wish to work for someone other than myself.
  40. 8 points
    I literally just complained about this on the vistar topic. Those 28 packs disappeared faster than Lindsay Lohan at an AA meeting.
  41. 8 points
    All my accounts are just average or below average which is just fine by me. My prices are too low and my equipment is too old. Even so, not many hot-rod salesmen from big-shot corporations are hitting-up my accounts and when they do they get the boot. I service the crap out of all of them and know most of the people at my locations by first name. When I get a call from someone we usually laugh about the situation then I drive out and fix the problem, no matter how small. My area is in a very tight circle so I can effectively service and get to call-outs in a timely manner. I work 4 days per week, Monday thru Thursday. If I'm sitting around the house on Friday, I usually go out and tune-up troublesome machines. If I want a 4 day weekend I service all my accounts on the regular day then the following week move everything back a day. I never ignore a customer or a broken machine. My house is small, my kids are fed, my wife is happy and the bills are paid on time and that my friends is fine by me.
  42. 8 points
    Got to chatting with the owner of one of my commission locations. Just a toy double. Nothing fancy. Decent money-maker. We were talking about the holiday season and she asked if I still had my mom. I thought it was odd, but answered in the positive. She pulled a box from behind her and she gave me a really attractive winter hat and scarf set for my mother along with a really intricately designed winter beanie for me. This woman had knitted these herself. She went on to tell me the following: She takes the money I give her in commission each service and uses it to buy knitting supplies and material. With that she knits sets of baby blankets and baby hats. Once she has 50 of those sets she delivers them to one of several local hospitals in order for them to give to indigent families who have just welcomed a new baby. But she doesn't stop there. She also knits men's beanies and sets of women's hats and scarves until her box is full. She then takes the box and hands the hats/scarves out to the homeless at local shelters. She said this Christmas she made extra men's hats and women's hat/scarf sets in order to hand out to workers who delivered to her store this winter (like UPS or Fed-Ex)...and (as it turns out) to me. Thanks to this kindly woman, I got an early and unexpected Christmas gift...as did my mom. And I got the extra gift of knowing my commission was going to something really cool because of this woman's big heart. I've had my equipment in her store for years and only learned about this today.
  43. 8 points
    And we can call it "The Chicken Coop". Sorry, that was too easy to pass up.
  44. 8 points
    I think were suffering a Phase shift in the vending industry and there is really no set plans in place to continue so like pinball, arcade games.. and others 1 inch bulk will be phased out eventually. leaving us with novelty vending and 2 inch. video games died, they don't make any real money. I mean that from a operator standpoint example 1: New Dirty Drivin game $7600.00 Say $1.00 per play... 50% commission it would take 16,000 plays before you even see a dime. video games are dead for that alone.. Pinball machines died as well, alive in the home market but does golpher on location. new pinball games Even used ones run $3000.00 used to $8000 to make $30.00 a month.. So when we are economy forced to switch from $25 cent 1 inch to $.50 cent. people wont pay it. decline in sales already have hit the bulk industry. and $.75- $1.00 for 2 inch... will kill the industry period. I know of 90% of all parents don't even carry cash, let alone 4 quarters to give to Junior for a cheep toy for $1.00 So if the question is what is the future of bulk vending? There really is not one to speak of. there is only two things that would save the bulk industry from a bleak future... A low cost.. Battery operated Small.. dollar bill changer that took credit cards as well. say under $500.00 Now that on a 7-11 head rack would be the only way bulk could survive at higher price points. Number 2 would be to change the 2 inch mechs to ESD coin sliders... EASY to work.. can hold 8 quarters.. and is easy for people to work and understand our $1.00 mechs now are stupid and outdated.. customers are as dumb as a box of cheerios.. they cant figure out how to put the quarters in right.. the only company that makes a $1.00 coin mech people can semi follow is beaver.. However, Knowing this simple FACT!!!!! and I do mean a FACT!! The Fact I speak of is this... I run full bulk vending.. arcade games.. pinballs.. cranes.. Redemption games... novelty vendors.. interactive gumball..... the only things I don't do is snack-pop That 90% of the people who just do bulk vending... are the cheapest frugal people I have ever met. They will whine and complain about a $.30 cent part. or a $11.00 globe or lid. So if you want the real truth, YOU the 90% will kill the industry on your own. not updating your racks, new globes when they are all old and faded Plastic junk machines... I bet the mention of adding a $500.00 changer to your rack was almost a heart attack.. Bill
  45. 8 points
    Hi everyone! I was blown totally away by the generosity shown to me the past two weeks with what you folks donated to help my wife and I recover from this disasterous hurricane that practically destroyed Long Beach, NY. Deb and I have a long way to go but we will recover especially with friends like you! A special thank you to Steve for spear heading what was sent to me! You guys and gals are the best!
  46. 8 points
    IMO, it's not that someone can't make a living using a u-turn, it's just a little harder to do so...and here's why: In order to make a living with bulk you have to be able to get into all kinds of different locations. So, you would want to carry the most flexible equipment you can. Some locations can only support a single, others a double or triple, and then, of course, some require a rack with multiple heads on it. With something like a u-turn or a triple like a Vendstar, you don't have much flexibility. The locations you find for those machines MUST support at least a triple because you can't break them down to a single or double. And if you place a triple or u-turn in a place better suited for a single or double, you are going to lose your rear-end in product waste. The single/stand-alone head like those offered by Oak, NW, A&A, Beaver, etc gives you flexibility. You can vary the number of selections you offer from location to location. The same machine/head you use in a single-only location today, can be mounted onto a rack to serve a bigger-better location tomorrow if needed. Not saying you can't have some triples or u-turns. But, I wouldn't recommend you use them exclusively or even predominantly because of the limitations I've outlined above. If you plan on going full-time or making a good living, limiting how you can set-up your equipment is only going to limit the number of locations you can accommodate...and doing that will only limit your income and growth potential. With the right equipment, you can turn singles into a double, triple, or a rack...or break a rack down into triples, doubles, or singles...and it only takes minutes to do so. You can't do nearly as much with a triple or u-turn. Without being flexible, you just aren't going to be capable of getting into as many locations as one who is.
  47. 8 points
    Just got back- GOT IT! The owner was so-so about most of the pitch, but I got him with Will.Vend's "What can I do to earn your business" bit! That settled it, he explained that I'd have to "work out the details with the manager" but he gave me a date: August 7th. The one stipulation is that I'll have to buy and remove their existing gumball machine, a Victor Junior Giant, but that shouldn't be hard. I've got to get my rack put back together! I cannot thank you all enough, this has been an awesome day! Thank you all so much!
  48. 8 points
    I have never heard this said as simply or as well. Class warfare at its best. The folks who are getting the free stuff don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff. And, the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop. And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting! Now... The people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist. So... The people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place. We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff. Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250years after being founded. The reason? The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them. The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 236years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff out numbers the people paying for the free stuff. We have one chance to change that in 2012. Failure to change that could spell the end of the United States as we know it. ELECTION 2012 IS COMING. Get Registered and exercise your right to vote. A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!
  49. 8 points
    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!"
  50. 8 points
    im 15 years old.... i think im the youngest blogger on this site also i bet im the youngest route owner, i have 18 located so far


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