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Two Rivers last won the day on November 10

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  1. Thank you for the kind words Bryan. I am finding that it is a constant battle of watching locations and contemplating whether and when to pull a location. My main concern now is that, as I pull, I am going to have to go out of my immediate neighborhood to locate new boxes. Everything I've located so far has been within a 5-6 mile radius of my house. I guess I'm lucky in that regard. I may have to expand to a 10-12 mile radius. It'll be interesting to see what the holiday season brings for these candy boxes.
  2. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $324 Actual Gross Sales: $225 25 boxes Collected Theft $99 31% Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $2590 Actual Gross sales $2025 Theft 22% Box avg. (30 days): $24.93 Theft continues to rise. I'm not sure what to make of it. Prior to my last three weeks, the theft rate was holding at 20%. Each of the last three weeks, the theft rate has been closer to 30% bringing the overall theft rate to 22%.
  3. Just a quick update on locations now that I'm two months into this endeavor: Boxes started with: 50 Current Boxes: 49 (1 thrown away by a restaurant manager) Active Locations: 43 Lost Locations: 7 Pulled Locations: 5 Businesses refusing an Honor Box: 42 All lost and pulled locations replaced.
  4. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $268 Actual Gross Sales: $194 23 boxes Collected Theft $74 %28 This was, by far, the worst week I’ve had for theft. Not sure what to make of that with all of the candy in people’s homes leading up to the Halloween holiday. If this week would’ve held true to my overall theft rate prior to this week, I would’ve collected closer to $220. It was a bit depressing. Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $2254 Actual Gross sales $1798 Theft 20.2 % Box avg. (30 days): $24.38 I did lose the best auto repair shop this week. Apparently, the Franchisee did a walk through and decided to remove anything from the shelves that wasn’t his own. I think his decision was mostly driven by the fact that someone had been allowed to put in what was basically an ice cream bucket asking for donations for something. It looked tacky. Anyway, I’ve also made the decision to pull three locations that are performing extremely poorly both from a theft and overall sales perspective. I’m talking boxes that routinely have between $8-$12 dollars of candy gone and usually less than $3 bucks in the box when I pick them up. So, overall, 5 boxes to locate on a Monday afternoon. I’m estimating I can do it in an hour or less. It has now been two months to the day when I placed my first boxes. Have a great week everyone!
  5. Thanks for the clarification on shortage Chris, that's what I expected. New, interesting twist to the Honor Box vending business for me last night. I received a text message from someone inquiring as to whether I would like to buy a route of 45 candy honor boxes currently located in my metro area. His text stated that he wants to get out of the business because he has other opportunities. In the text message he said that he had 45 boxes out on location, each making about $20 per month. He stated that he started off with about 80 boxes two years ago and that these are the locations he has left because these were his best. I asked him what type of boxes, candy or snack as well as cardboard or acrylic. His response was candy and cardboard, but that he wasn’t planning to sell the boxes, just the locations. He also gave me the names of the towns the boxes are currently located in, and based on that information, I would say it’s not a very dense route at all. I called the person and we talked on the phone briefly. I guess I was seeking more specific information on why he would want to sell locations and not boxes if he were getting out of the business altogether and wondering what his price was. Upon answering, he didn’t want to give me his name and stated it would need to be a cash transaction. This put me a bit on edge so told him that I don’t really have the time to add more boxes to my route, but that I appreciated him contacting me with the offer. The fact is, I really don’t have time to add to my route and, if I did, I have found locating to be so easy that I wouldn’t pay for locations. After getting off the phone, I did a google search on his number and was able to confirm that his boxes are the direct competitor boxes I have found while out locating and running my route and that I chose to put a few of my boxes right beside in businesses (only 2 or 3 locations). His boxes all advertise that the charity is a local non-profit whose mission is to teach kids values and keep them off the streets while giving them martial arts and other fitness training. At this point, I guess I’m not sure whether his offer was serious or he was just phishing for information. He never quoted me a price. Would anyone on here willingly pay for locations only? Would it be worth it to get rid of a competitor? I can tell you that his non-profit is run by Asians, he is Asian, and he seems to be only placing his boxes in businesses run by Asians such as nail salons and Asian restaurants. I say this, not because I have anything against Asians, but to give background for the understanding that it leaves both of us plenty of room to operate side by side. Like I mentioned above, I did initially choose to place two or three boxes in nail salons right beside his boxes and they seem to be doing well enough to leave them there for now. Also, I am putting higher priced product in my boxes. My boxes tend to be filled with “fun size”, his with more “bite size” candies.
  6. 22 Boxes collected this past week. $264 dollars in gross sales. Boxes were placed an average of 12 days. 42 out of 49 boxes currently placed in businesses To date: Total gross sales expected based on Candy missing from boxes: $2000 (approximately 6,000 pieces of candy at .09 cents per piece) Total gross sales received in boxes: $1604 To those of you that do this for a living, how would you account for this as a percentage for theft/shrink. Would it be 20% based on the notion that 1604 is roughly 80% of 2000? I’m expecting a bit of a downturn over the next few weeks as lots of homes/families will have candy similar to what is in my box sitting around from Halloween.
  7. Collected 26 boxes this past week. $214 gross sales collected this week. Boxes were out an average of 12 days. $1340 total gross sales collected so far. I had something new happen this week that hadn’t happened to me before, but I’m know has happened to others, and will probably happen again. I thought I had two boxes placed last Saturday, October 12th. One at a local microbrewery and the other at a tattoo shop. Showed up at both places to swap out the boxes this past Saturday, the 19th. The tattoo shop had the box sitting in the back room and stated there was no room for it out front on their counters. Okay, fine, that’s happened to me before. I just don’t understand why they can’t take the courtesy to call and let me know they don’t want to set the box out rather than let it set in a back room for a whole week. One of the reasons I like to check on a newly placed box within a week. Unfortunately, that’s happened already a handful of times since starting this business 6 weeks ago. Here’s the one that really hurt though. Stopped in the microbrewery, didn’t see my box where it was placed the week before which was right on the check in/seating desk by the front door. Asked a waitress who didn’t seem to know anything about it, but stated she’d go ask the manager in the kitchen. He comes walking out from the kitchen with no box, walks up to me, and explains that his General Manager decided he didn’t want the box placed after all. Then adds that the GM proceeded to throw the box away. Not cool! Then he offers me $10 for my “inconvenience” as he put it. Well, I didn’t quite know how to react since this hadn’t happened before. Somewhat in shock, I simply accepted the $10 and walked out. The reality is, that decision cost me a whole lot more than $10. The cost to purchase the box and shipping cost, as you all are well aware was close to $9, there was another $9 in product in the box, plus the lost revenue of not having a box producing either that week or in the future. Also, as most of you are aware, it is extremely cost prohibitive to buy these boxes in small lots so the box will not be replaced anytime soon. I have drafted a letter detailing lost cost in product and lost revenue without the box and will send it to the owner of the company by e-mail. The letter provides my address and asks for a bit more money to cover my costs. I know seeing any further money is a real long-shot, but just sending the letter makes me feel better. Also, as you all can see, there was a pretty significant drop in revenue this week. Many of the collections this week were from nail salons and those don’t seem to be producing hardly anything for me. I have about 6 or so that are all averaging only $4-8 per month at best. Most of them are right beside other locations. Would you keep these locations, spread out the collection to a month, and then collect when your already in the area picking up a more productive box? The unfortunate downside is that you are picking up a box with significant amounts of product still in it after a month that will eventually spoil if you don’t pay attention and then put that product in a box that moves product faster. Also, I have read that nail salons tend to slow down now that there are fewer people needing pedicures with the cooler northern climate. Finally, I guess I’m expecting the possibility of a real downturn for the next few weeks as our society fills up on Halloween candy. Anyone with an idea of how slow or how long I should expect any slowdown to last when it comes to candy/pops honor box biz?
  8. Collected 25 boxes this past week. $285 gross sales collected this week. Boxes were out an average of 12 days. $1125 gross sales collected so far. I am currently running a route on Tuesdays (6-7 boxes), Fridays (6-7 boxes) and Saturdays (12-14 boxes). I'm also beginning to figure out which boxes can be stretched out longer. I currently have boxes on 7, 10, and 14 day cycles. I have 3 to 4 that need picked up weekly. I know I can begin to stretch some of these out even longer as I contemplate whether or not to place another 25 to 50 boxes eventually. Lost two locations; one was a pet supply store where I left a box for the owner to look at and asked that they give me a call if they didn't want it. They never called, I assumed it was placed, showed up to switch it out only to have the person standing there with the full box ready to hand back to me stating that it just wasn't for them. It happens, just wish they'd call rather than sitting with the box for ten days. Also lost a martial arts studio which had been performing wonderfully for me ($16-20 per week). Owner stated that they didn't like the conflict it created between the children and the parents. Yep, that also happens. Oh well, had both boxes re-placed almost immediately. Here's a dilemma, wouldn't mind feedback: I have already pulled two locations for extreme theft. One a national pizza place where the box wasn't allowed out in public, had high theft and was damaged. The other, a national auto repair chain with high theft. Now the dilemma. I am considering pulling two more. One is a national auto parts store. The store already has candy and chips for sale as well as a cooler with pop for sale. The manager has admitted that it is mostly his employees accessing my box, but has no idea how high the theft each. I am collecting the box every ten days and each time I collect, the box is close to empty (75-90 pieces of candy at .09 cents a piece. The box is running $6-$8 collected each time, which basically means the money is simply paying for the candy. Nothing more. I have considered bringing the issue up with the manager and stating that I'd be willing to leave the box in if he would grant me access with a gumball machine. I currently have no gumball machines out but wouldn't mind placing a few. The store is relatively new, only built within the last two years and will only get busier and busier since it is in one of the fastest growing suburban areas in the U.S. Would having a gumball machine be worth leaving a box that is not making money? Also, I have an auto repair store that is averaging about 40-50 pieces of candy gone every two weeks, but only averaging $2-3 dollars collected every two weeks. Extremely high theft, extremely low revenue so far. It already has both a bulk candy machine and a gumball machine I'm considering pulling two more. I have a box in a nation-wide auto parts store. The store also sells candy by the counter, full-sized candy bars, chips, etc. and has a cooler with pop in it. The manager has stated that it is mostly his employees eating the candy. It routinely has 75-90 pieces of candy gone and only $5-$7 in the box, just enough money to about cover the cost of the candy. I've considered bring it up to the manager and stating I could live with the shortage if he would allow me to put a gumball machine in the store. I do not currently have any gumball machines, but wouldn't mind placing a few based on the high profit and low maintenance aspect. Would this be a good trade off, or should I simply pull the box. I don't want to attempt to make the manager feel responsible for the theft in any way, don't think it's the right thing with the candy/mint boxes. Also, I have an auto repair shop that every two weeks is averaging 40-50 pieces of candy missing, but only a few bucks in the box. Extremely high theft and extremely low revenue for what I've experienced on my route so far. This store already has both a bulk machine and a gumball machine, so no negotiating here. The box has been there almost 6 weeks now. Pull it?
  9. Weekly Update: Candy/Mint/Pop Route 43 boxes out on location Lost one location, a pizza restaurant which closed it's doors. I showed up Friday evening to switch out the box, found the lights out, chairs up, and door locked. Could see my honor box sitting on the counter inside. Luckily, the business has another location in another state. Had to call them and they gave me the number of the local realtor/broker who showed up to let me in to get the box. In all, I know having it sit there only over the weekend is a rather short time compared to what can happen to equipment being stolen/lost/locked up in this industry. I immediately replaced the location by placing the box in another pizza place right down the road. So, for some totals Collected 26 boxes Collected $240 dollars Overall, since placing first boxes September 4, have collected $841 in gross income. Boxes averaging $25.88 per 30 day month gross income. Some observations/data I have boxes placed in the following types of businesses. Auto Repair - 4 Pizza Restaurant - 5 Other Restaurant/Bar - 12 Nail Salon - 9 Martial Art Studio - 2 Hair Salon - 2 Clothing Boutique - 1 Pet Supply Store - 1 Vet Clinic/Boarding - 2 Physical Therapy Clinic - 1 U Haul Rental-Storage - 1 Paint Supply Store - 1 Cell Phone Store - 1 Power Equipment Store - 1 Anyone out there try locating boxes in the following types of places? Chiropractic Offices? Doctor Offices? Exercise/Gyms? Other Ideas?
  10. AngryChris, Why am I here? Yes, ultimately for me, this is just about making some money on the side short-term and to potentially supplement my income in retirement. I am a high school teacher and could retire with full benefits in five years. Full benefits here in Iowa means I would be receiving 60% of the average of my five highest paid years. If I choose to stay longer, it goes up by 1% each year. Quitting in five years and looking for an extra 40% from somewhere is looking pretty attractive right now. Unfortunately, the fly in the ointment is health insurance. I currently receive health insurance for free, which I know is a huge benefit and will be a huge cost to take on while going down in income by 40%. My wife also works full-time as an accountant. We make good money between the two of us, but have six kids and two grand kids. Five of our children are grown and out of the house. We've had some college expenses over the years to help with. Our last is going on ten years old. So, ultimately, who couldn't use a little extra income. I must admit that I came upon vending by watching those Youtube wannabes. I'd like to think I am smart enough though to not throw a ton of money into an industry I know little about. I did much research throughout the summer and ultimately landed on the candy/mint honor boxes since they seemed to be the lowest cost and provided some immediate revenue streams combined with a relatively short period of time before experiencing profitability.
  11. Flint, I am running a charity mint/pops/candy honor box route. Also, I understand what you are saying about using the exact figure purchased when it comes to gas, but isn't that much simpler if you run full-time routes, have vehicles that are solely used for business purposes? In my case, I'm using a family car that also goes to my full-time job every day, takes a kid to soccer, etc. I'm keeping track of mileage and then will ultimately use the IRS mileage deduction on my personal taxes. I do appreciate your breakdown of the accounting side of the business. I'm lucky in that I am married to a wonderful wife who has been an accountant for 33 years. She has volunteered her services in this endeavor to help out. Any misrepresentations on here are merely my incompetence in being able to clearly state her methods within this forum. Also, I understand that you mostly do snack box routes. Have you also done the mint/pop/candy side, and if so, what were your results and how do you feel about it? After having read extensively on here throughout the summer, I chose mint/pop/candy since I only plan to ever do it part-time and am not available M-F, 9-5 to service those types of businesses. I am exclusively operating evenings/Saturdays. AngryChris, Why am I here? I am here to both gain valuable information and share valuable information. I truly do appreciate expert opinions/experiences and want to contribute what I can. I read extensively on this site prior to committing any money to this endeavor. I found Bryan Humphrey's information and the exchange to be quite informative and motivating, however, his information was solely for the snack box side. It's my hope that this might become the mint/pop/candy version of that thread. One of the things you added recently that I totally agree with is the fact that the money/time ratio is critical. I want newcomers to understand that, while some describe this industry as passive income, it requires much time, much effort, and attention to detail. VendingDude, Excellent information. I've seen on here where some people swear by mints and others do not. I didn't start with mints, but have added them to the inventory and am looking forward to seeing how they do for me. I can't imagine not putting pops out. They account for 32% of product sold for me so far and I've only put out tootsie and blow pops, haven't even touched jolly rancher pops yet which are apparently quite popular, but a bit more expensive (.11 per unit). I have put out just a few sour apple/caramel pops for fall and to grab attention, but I can't find them cheaper than .14 per unit. I am currently doing 3/$1 or .50 and I do stick to the fun size candy. I've been getting the mars variety pack from Sam's 155 ct for $13.95 at my Sam's. I have added laffy taffy, now and laters, and a few other less expensive candy's to keep the cost per piece at about .09 I do have a competitor in my community who is putting out boxes at the same price point, but putting bite size candy in his boxes. His boxes are also affiliated with his own local charity which is a local version of a boys/girls club to get kids active and keep them off the streets. I believe he is Asian and seems to have only targeted Asian run businesses in the nail salon and restaurant sectors. I have probably 3-4 locations where my boxes are sitting right next to his and mine seem to be doing fine. I believe I have a better looking box and obviously offer a better deal. Finally, why switch from this to bulk? Well, I kind of see bulk as being more passive than this, especially gumballs, and see that as possibly allowing for a higher number of locations, serviced less often and with no worry about theft. I do understand that where you gain on theft, you may lose on spoilage/shrink on the bulk end. I plan to begin to inquire about the possibility of putting gumball machines in a few of my locations. Specifically, I have two martial arts clubs located in strip malls that have started out fine. I could easily see adding a gumball machine in each for variety, higher profitability, and perhaps more long-term stability. I do worry about the fact that some bulk vendors are seeing .25 vends as no longer acceptable from a profit margin perspective, but that is probably a discussion for the bulk threads. Finally, I agree that counting money/counting candy is turning out to be both very tedious and time consuming. For every hour of running the route/collecting boxes, I am spending as much if not double that amount of tim e counting money and refilling and I'm not even considering the amount of time to consider logistics. I am currently running boxes on 7 day, 10 day, and 14 day cycles and probably need to even spread that out further to cut down on time. I have a very dense collection area though, which is lucky. Also, I have no good answer for ensuring the turnover of inventory to try and prevent spoilage and would appreciate insight as well.
  12. Chris and Flint, I do understand what you are saying about having to look at this business as "an entire route". My original post and numbers were mostly put up here as an estimate or best guess prior to actually doing business. It was what we were figuring as a part of our business plan before going into business. With that said, here are some "overall" numbers for everyone to see: Number of candy boxes owned: 50 Currently placed boxes: 43 (trying to keep 6 to 8 in reserve to switch out each time I run the route) Placed 10 boxes September 4, Placed 10 boxes September 6, Placed 12 boxes September 7, Placed 10 boxes September 10. Placed 2 boxes September 14. Lost 6 of the original locations and relocated 2 immediately. Relocated the other 4 on September 20. Here is an update as of the end of our first month, September; Gross Income: $605 Expenses Boxes and Supplies: $540 (Sheridan Systems Pink Ribbon candy boxes) Candy (Cogs😞 $650 Sam's Membership: $25 Office Supplies: $83 (Fliers, business cards, labels) LLC Setup: $89 Estimated Sales Tax on Gross Income: $40 Mileage: 307 miles (estimate of 20 mpg at $2.60/gal) $38 Total Expenses: $1465 Current Loss: $860 At current rate, I should cross into the black about 10-11 weeks from original placement of boxes Current estimated monthly gross income per box: $27 Current estimated monthly gross income: $1161 Even though this was for the "month of September", since boxes weren't all on location at the beginning of the month and since we don't collect every box on the last day of the month. The average amount of days each box was on location and collected was 14.5 days per box.
  13. FlyGuy: Does your State require you to pay sales tax? I'm in Iowa, unfortunately, Iowa has a 6% Statewide sales tax which includes candy/pop and local communities can add a 1% local option sales tax (most have). I purchase tax free from Sams, but then have to pay between 6-7% on each dollar collected based on where the box is located. It's a pain in the arse to keep track of which localities boxes are in to figure the correct tax, but necessary. I do understand your point that you will only pay income taxes on profit. Having started in late August/early September, I'm most likely won't show a profit in 2019 as I'll use any profit on 2020 cost in December. Also, my .06 theft calculation was based on the actual cost of candy to me, not the potential lost revenue. My Cogs is 30% and 30% of 20% of Gross sales is 6% of Gross sales = .06 of every $1. AngryChris: We really didn't have a clue of how to predict depreciation. When figuring it, we figured a cardboard box for candy would last about a year. We also figured each box would have average sales of $20 per month. Therefore, we took the cost of a box (approximately $8) and the total revenue for a box for a year ($240) and came up with 3% depreciation. The boxes could possibly last much longer, of course, some will not. Again, we have no clue as we have no experience and were just simply trying to make a projection. Also, my boxes are not snack boxes and understand that they may be built differently, handled differently, hold up differently. How long does a typical cardboard snack box hold up on a route? Anybody out there that can give me an idea of the life expectancy for the typical candy honor box? Flint: I think you were misunderstanding. I was not trying to break down the numbers per individual item sold. I was simply trying to present the numbers as a percentage stated as per dollar sold. Also, I do understand that it's all about volume but have/had no historic data for a context of what to expect for sales per box per month. My only way of doing research for that was to read this discussion board and watch others who have been posting videos on candy honor box routes to create an estimate. Shout out to the Mercado Channel for inspiration and data. Between those two areas of research, I concluded that a typical candy honor box could potentially average $20 per month of sales. With almost one month in the books, I am actually averaging closer to $24. I will make a collection this weekend and be able to provide better numbers early next week. My hope is to be able to provide historical data going forward similar to that Bryan H. is providing on the snack box side of things, only this data would be for the candy boxes. Of course, I have no plan to make this a full-time endeavor so will not be able to show the growth over time that he has shown or whether this side of the honor box business is a viable full-time endeavor.
  14. Vending Dude, I've done the same, but with 50 boxes. Would be interested in where you are located, how long it took you to locate the boxes (did you locate on your own?), and what your numbers look like so far. Also, what types of candies are you putting in your boxes?
  15. Jackpot, See the rather lengthy (sorry) I just started about partnering with Sheridan and putting out 50 boxes. I think it would be impossible to "make a living" off of a couple of hundred boxes. My 50 boxes project to 12k gross a year at most and my net profit will only run 20-25% after COGS/taxes/Gas/etc. Given my projections, you'd only be bringing home 12-15k on 200 boxes. This is just a side gig for me as my wife and I both work full-time. I'm using it as a way to get a foot in the door and get some bulk/gumball locations. I live in one of the fastest growing urban/suburban areas in the midwest and I'm finding my area to be worked over pretty good by the bulk/gumball people. I do realize there is always room for more though.
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