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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
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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!
  12. 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!
  13. 9 points
    Place an ad trying to sell their business.
  14. 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!
  15. 9 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
  16. 8 points
    I literally just complained about this on the vistar topic. Those 28 packs disappeared faster than Lindsay Lohan at an AA meeting.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 8 points
    And we can call it "The Chicken Coop". Sorry, that was too easy to pass up.
  20. 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
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 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!
  24. 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!"
  25. 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