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Two Rivers last won the day on November 10 2019

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  1. Happy New Year Everyone! Sorry I’ve been gone so long, but I’ve been crazy/busy with the Holidays along with everyone else. Also, I’ve seen a real downturn in sales and a continuance of the uptick in shrinkage/theft as you can see below. Quite frankly, it’s been a bit disappointing. I’m chalking it up to three things, two of which are rather basic. First, I believe people simply weren’t taking as much candy as they had plenty of sweet options to choose from throughout the month of December. Second, I think people probably had less discretionary money to put in my boxes throughout the month of December. Third, I think my business is showing the effects of the Law of Diminishing Returns as spelled out by Dominick Barbato in the youtube video linked here; Now, for a bit of good news. Even though sales are down and shrink is up, I have a relatively stable route of 43 boxes that have been in place at their current locations for at least 6 weeks and some of them since September 4. I’ve been collecting boxes on 7 day, 10 day, 14 day, and 28 day cycles. Now that sales are diminishing a bit and we’re in the middle of winter, I am going to condense the collections to just 14 and 28 day cycles which will mean less time driving, collecting, and refilling boxes. New Totals since last posting on December 8, 2019: Expected Gross Sales: $603 Actual Gross Sales: $448 58 boxes Collected Shrinkage 26% Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $4305 Actual Gross sales $3298 Overall Shrinkage 23% 43 total boxes out.
  2. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $314 Actual Gross Sales: $244 29 boxes Collected Shrinkage $70 22% Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $3702 Actual Gross sales $2851 Overall Shrinkage 23% 43 total boxes out. Theft/shrinkage is down a bit over the past two weeks, however, sales have also slowed. I now have three accounts where I am placing pops-only boxes in an attempt to slow shrinkage. I've made one collection on two of those boxes and it did seem to work, however, overall sales from one of the boxes also significantly dwindled. I should probably pull at least a half dozen low-performing boxes, but have decided to wait until after the holidays are over. Also, I'm currently picking up boxes on either 7,10, or 14 day cycles except for the six or so I mentioned above as low-performers which I am picking up every 3 or 4 weeks. I'm considering moving all boxes to a two week schedule for ease of convenience. That would allow me to create 7 routes of 6 boxes a piece since I'm currently going out with the 6 boxes I have in reserve each time to replace boxes. I would say I am currently spending about 8 man hours a week on this side business. Going to a 14 day cycle on all boxes could significantly reduce the amount of time.
  3. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $179 Actual Gross Sales: $131 20 boxes Collected Shrinkage 27%
  4. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $410 Actual Gross Sales: $291 28 boxes Collected Theft $119 29% Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $3209 Actual Gross sales $2475 Overall Theft 23% As you can see, theft is still continuing to rise. I do appreciate the comments by Flint on the theft issue. I guess I have been operating under the assumption that it is not a good idea to leave notes with candy/lollipop boxes since it is difficult for management/ownership to influence theft due to not knowing whether the theft is employee driven or customer driven. Also, I've either been told or read that once you get into that discussion with management/ownership, you will often be told to simply remove the box. I do know that others in the candy/lollipop honor box side of things attempt to control theft by placing pops-only boxes. Apparently, since pops are not as enticing as chocolates, it tends to reduce the theft. So, as of this past weekend, I have placed pops-only boxes in two of my highest theft locations. Angry Chris, I agree, having others run routes for you would certainly make it a very passive income. I have not heard of or seen anyone out there who is on this side of the honor box business successfully running multiple routes with employees the way Flint is doing with the snack boxes. If there is someone out there doing it, I would love to hear from them. As of now, I simply don't have the time to place the boxes, build the routes in the first place. Also, the turnover is constant and I would think you would almost need to train your route drivers to place boxes as well just due to constant turnover. Of course, at that point I don't know why they wouldn't simply go into business for themselves given the low cost of starting this business. Thoughts?
  5. New Weekly Totals: Expected Gross Sales: $209 Actual Gross Sales: $159 23 boxes Collected Theft $50 24% Overall totals: Exptected Gross Sales: $2799 Actual Gross sales $2184 Theft 22% I placed four boxes on Monday, November 4. I went back to check those boxes on Tuesday, November 12. Two out of the four had never put the box out and gave it back. In both cases it was somewhat expected since the person I'd left the box with admitted to not being the final decision maker. It's just a part of the business. So, I located each of these two boxes on Saturday, the 16th while out running the route. Sales are a bit down, which I somewhat expected coming out of the Halloween holiday. It will be interesting to see if sales pick up over the next 6 weeks as people are out shopping for the upcoming holiday season. Theft was up once again, but not as much as the past couple of weeks. Overall theft has crept up to 22% from 20% a month ago.
  6. 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.
  7. 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%.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. 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?
  14. 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?
  15. 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.
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