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About Vending Dude

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  1. I don't do bulk, but I do honor boxes which are candy. My best locations are restaurants. I've never had a restaurant say they didn't want candy because they were worried about customer's appetites. I don't think a handful of M&Ms is competition for the restaurant. By the time they get to your candy they've already decided whether to have dessert. Candy is a good option at restaurants because many diners want a small amount of something sweet after a meal without buying a dessert.
  2. I wouldn't expect anyone to call you about not wanting to keep your box out, or for any other reason. They did you a courtesy by allowing you to place it in the first place. Expecting a business to go out of their way to call you to come pick it up is asking a lot. Look at the big picture. Your boxes should net you about $12 per month. If that box did no business at all for a week you lost out on maybe $3. Is that worth being upset over? The second situation sucks but I wouldn't send a letter asking for reimbursement. Businesses and employees talk to each other, and they're doing you a favor letting you place your boxes. I wouldn't want to get a reputation as someone who causes trouble or complains. They don't owe you anything, and though they shouldn't have thrown away your box they were within their right to do so,, and they're not going to pay you anything more. This business is an eye opener as to how much people steal, and how little regard they have for others. You really need to scale up and look at the big picture and not worry about individual boxes. You should view the situation as the boxes are basically free. Each box, on average, should have paid for itself in less than 2 months. An occasional loss is meaningless. A box sitting in the backroom for a week is meaningless. It's not like that box wasn't earning either. The employees knew where it was and it was probably still earning. I've had locations that decided they don't want the box out so they put it in the backroom or break room, or in a file cabinet, and the employees continue to buy candy. If you want to purchase more boxes in small lots send me a private message. If you live in the city I think you do I'm there frequently for family. I've been buying boxes in large lots and will sell you basically whatever amount you might want for less than what you're paying now. Whether or not to keep your low producing boxes all depends on the shrinkage. If you're only getting $4-$8 and there's much theft then I'd definitely pull them, assuming you don't have any boxes sitting in your garage you haven't placed. If the boxes have little or no theft, and they're close to other locations you have then I'd definitely keep them. Most businesses have steady employee turnover and it only takes one employee with a sweet tooth to turn a $4 location into a $30 location.
  3. Missouri collects sales tax based on 135% of the wholesale cost for vending machine sales, not on gross sales. A slightly different, but similar, circumstance is that some places don't collect sales tax at all for a vended service such as a coin operated washing machine.
  4. Why is it poor etiquette to post in an old thread, if it's on topic? This is a strange forum. When newbies arrive with questions they're told by regulars to stop making new threads and read the old content. When newbies read the old content and post in those threads they're told it's poor etiquette. This forum has so little participation, why not encourage people to participate instead of chasing everyone off? There are states where sales tax is not "paid on gross sales, period". Your statement is incorrect.
  5. I have some optometrist eye care centers that do well. Tattoo parlors do well and always let you place a box.
  6. Two Rivers, I haven't been online here for a while and just now saw this post. I actually posted in your other thread, and I think I answered all those questions there. If you have any other questions I'll try to help.
  7. That brings up an interesting idea I haven't seen discussed here. Does anyone mount a fake or unconnected camera to the top of their machines in riskier areas as a deterrent?
  8. I'm curious why you would want to transition to bulk machines? I don't have personal experience with bulk machines but from what I've read here they're lower profit margin than charity honor boxes. Bulk machines almost have to be harder to locate too. Add to that having to lug the machines around, maintain them, and the much higher initial cost. What's the upside?
  9. Here's a few things I've learned after starting a candy/mint charity honor box route recently. I'm also in the midwest. 1. Peppermints don't do as well as small candy bars. I have a lot of boxes that will be completely empty when I go to service them except for the peppermint patties. Suckers don't do that well either. I do put 4-6 suckers in each box because I can simply stand them up against the back wall of the box and they don't really take any space from the other candy. 2. I'm now doing primarily a mix of different candy bars, after I quit buying york peppermints. A mix of things like Snickers, kit kats, almond Joy, peanut butter cups, hershey bars, and similar sell the best for me. Be careful to look at the size of candy you're buying. You want individual pieces that weigh 14-17 grams each. Do not try to sell smaller pieces than that. People will simply not buy them. 3. What is your sales price? Are you doing the 3 for a dollar option? If so, I would stop doing that and just use $0.50 each. I've had zero problems with the $.50 price and it makes shrinkage calculations easier. The 3 for a dollar pricing has been around for years and years and just isn't practical with today's costs and shrinkage. It also means you can afford to buy a little better candy. My cost is $0.13 - $0.16 per piece. 4. Shorten your sales pitch. The less detailed info you give them the better. Once they say yes, stop talking. You're correct about placing the boxes yourself. I'd never pay anyone to do it. The boxes really do almost place themselves. I've placed 11 boxes in an hour before. My retention rate is about 95% plus for at least 3 months or more. 5. You're estimated monthly gross per box seems about right. I've been averaging $24.58 but I haven't pulled a single bad location yet. I have several locations that are doing $5 per month or less gross, and a few that are running negative. I haven't pulled them yet because I want to focus on building out my entire route and getting all boxes located first. I also want to give all the boxes at least 3 months before deciding to relocate. 6. As others have mentioned this really is a volume game. I decided early on there was no way I'm going to count the number of pieces of candy going in the box or leftover. That would take forever. I know that I put an average of 85 pieces of candy in each box. When I collect the boxes I just eyeball what's left as a fraction such as 1/4 gone, 1/2 gone, 3/4 gone, empty. I'm actually giving serious thought to not even counting how much money comes out of each individual box, once I have a little more experience, and have my full route built out. It takes a lot of time to count the money that comes out of each box. I think after a while I can just eyeball the candy leftover, and eyeball the money to know whether the box is profitable. That would allow me to simply take all the money to the bank without counting every box. Does anyone else do it that way? A question for others: One thing I'm looking for input on is how do you prevent having old candy? I try to rotate the candy in the boxes, and put some new candy on the bottom of the boxes and then put the old candy on the tops but it seems likely that in several months I'm going to wind up with some old candy floating around in some of the boxes. Does anyone have a good solution?
  10. The info does exist here about how much you can make but it does take a lot of research. I'd advise going thru each of the subforums and reading the guides which most of them have. Asking "how much can I make" kind of seems like the wrong question though. After reading about all of the various forms of vending I think you can make a good income with most of them. What type of vending interests you? Which type of vending can you see yourself going out and doing? How much time are you willing to invest? Ask yourself those questions. I did a lot of research on this site before recently starting my own vending route. Here are a few of my takeaways. 1. Do something mainstream that's been proven profitable by others, and has plenty of startup information available. 2. Stay away from oddball vending such as bathroom vending, cigarette machines, healthy vending, and biz ops 3. Atm vending sounds profitable but requires a lot of capitol to keep the machines full of cash. 4. Bulk machines seem profitable but take a decent amount of money for equipment and lots of locations. 5. Drink and snack machines sound like where it's ultimately at but takes a lot of startup money to buy machines. 6. Honor box vending is low startup costs but requires a lot of locations. I went the honor box/ mint & candy route because it's really inexpensive to start out. So far it's working really well. I eventually plan to reinvest my profits into buying drink and snack machines and slowly transitioning to full line vending.
  11. Neither of those sound particularly great. Smoking continues to decline so you have an ever shrinking (already small) pool of customers, and you're very limited on where you can place the machines. The fact that they're already illegal in most places means they run some risk of becoming illegal in Texas. The resale value of the machines has to be almost zero. Cigarettes are highly regulated, heavily taxed, and subject to increasingly stringent laws. If you're new to vending why not start out with an easy product that's sure to work?
  12. Good point. I recently started a route after researching here. Researching and reading old content takes a lot of time and effort. The information is there but takes a lot of digging thru posts going back more than 5 years to find most of what I was looking for. It's not like this forum is overrun with too much content, or posters, so just telling people to research, or being rude, doesn't really help the forum. Forum growth would help even the most experienced long time posters here as well. When much of the content needed exists here, but is 5 yrs old, it wouldn't hurt to offer updated information to newbies. That said, I recently started a candy/mint box route and put out 100 boxes to start so if anyone has questions I can help with I'll be happy to help. If anyone has adviceI'd appreciate it.
  13. I'd like to start out by thanking everyone here who's contributed over the years. I've spent months and months reading this forum and read years worth of posts. It's led to me finally starting my own vending route. I decided to start a mint and candy route using the boxes which contribute to charity. Today was my 2nd day placing boxes and I've placed 35 in 2 days. I spent about 3 hrs each day. I was surprised to find placing the boxes was very easy. Putting the boxes together, putting the labels on and filling them took longer than placing them. I'm anxious to service them next week and see if they actually make any money. Thanks to everyone.
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