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gumball guy last won the day on October 1

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  1. No typo I test every location and keep track as to when product is changed out. In the last year or two (started before Covid) I noticed that Dubble Bubble was often harder than normal right out of the box. The expiration dates were always fine but some cases seemed semi stale. Sam's will take it back but I don't have time to fool with that especially when it's a reoccurring issue. So I will take my business to Ford because I can buy a pallet of their gumballs for very close to the same price these days and I am reducing the amount of gumballs that I am throwing out as stales. It doesn't break my heart either to reduce my dependency on Sam's Club for another staple item in my business. Sam's pricing is usually the best but their lack of consistency with product availability and poor customer support is really frustrating. I have indeed lost locations through the years due to hard gumballs. The problem with hard shells is that if a customer chomps down on it they can hurt their teeth and much to my surprise there are people out there who bite them with their front teeth. I found this out about 3 years ago when a kid lost a front tooth doing just that. Hard shells are a complaint generator for me and frankly fresh always sells better. I am sticking with Ford going forward and have already moved all of my slower locations to that brand.
  2. I test all of my Dubble Bubble locations because anymore the gumballs are coming in with a harder shell. Really hard shells can be a liability and they hurt sales. Generally they are good for 9 months to 1 year then they are too hard. I am transitioning more and more to Ford gumballs because they never get hard. I will continue to move away from Dubble Bubble especially in my slower locations. The only downside to the Ford gumball is that it is not as stable as Dubble Bubble in really hot or cold conditions.
  3. The fact that the motor is still turning indicates that the wheels are not getting traction on the rail. Check the wheels that travel on the gantry and make sure they all move freely. Smart used to put a grease on those wheels and it would become sticky over the years causing the problem you are describing. I had the same problem with the up/down pulley wheel on the claw. If they are indeed sticky you will need to remove them and clean them with isopropyl alcohol. I use one drop of 3 and 1 oil (or nothing) and replace. If it is not that then it may be a stripped gear (highly unlikely with that Smart crane) and honestly a stripped gear wouldn't stop at the same place every time. If the motor is turning then it rules out a short and pretty much points to something physically stopping the trolley.
  4. Lots of things to consider here. Do they already have a bulk vendor? I would expect a 17 store chain to already have a vendor but based on what you are saying maybe not. Grocery stores are great for racks (candy, toys, stickers/tats). If you are not operating racks you have to ask yourself if you want to go down that road (investing in new equipment). If you do want to add that type of equipment search out used. If you are basically operating singles, doubles & triples that will work fine as well. Most chain retailers are getting a commission of at least 30- 40 percent of gross. You start getting higher than 40 percent and it is tough to make a decent profit. You then use a standard vending vending contract (maybe one in the downloads area here) that states commission, when/how it's paid, exclusivity clause so you don't have 5 other vendors showing up and sitting on you, contract length and stipulations on how the contract can be terminated. You can also go in and pitch your charity vending to them from the get go if you prefer that. Just make sure you have all of your paperwork and be able to verify that you have been paying the charity. Most of the time charity vending doesn't give you the protections that a commission based contract does for obvious reasons so if you are going to do racks you really need to have a contract. If they already have a vendor then they may tell you no dice for the front end but you could still ask to place machines in all of their break rooms. I have had pretty good luck in grocery store break rooms over the years and those would be strictly under a charity. The key is going in knowing what vending you want to put in there and being prepared to answer questions like what product you would offer, the price point, what will the equipment look like/dimensions etc... . Be prepared to pivot to break rooms if they have already have a vendor for the front end.
  5. Call Ford directly for current pricing. Barb Deleon is who you talk to when ordering products, 847 955-0003 extension 2858. They sell other products like Skittles etc... so that may help you reach your case count.
  6. Have you contacted Sam's Club to see why they are not shipping? I have seen this happen once before and contacted them via their 1-800 number. They were able to get them again almost immediately but provided me with no reason for removing the item from the website. I have been using Dubble Bubble for years, basically because of it's price point and it's accessibility, since my local Sam's has always carried it. That said, in the last two years I have become very unhappy with the quality and freshness of Dubble Bubble. They seem to have more and more gnarled, defective gumballs that really look disgusting and it turns off customers. I have also received lots of cases that have "harder than normal" shells and get stale within 6 months. Those issues have driven me to start buying Ford gumballs which are not as shiny but are really soft and stay that way a long,long time. The problem with Ford is you need to buy pallet of product to get competitive shipping and case deals. I actually have a few competitors that I combine orders with so we can all take advantage of the price breaks.
  7. I still sell them but I am upfront with my locations prior to putting them in that you are only getting 5-7 pieces per vend. I will only run them in locations where I can turn the product fast because the last thing I want is to have to stale out an item with a razor thin margin. Generally I run them in break rooms where they have no other vending and people want something with a bit more sustenance than what the average pan candy provides.
  8. I run alot of generic mixes. A & A has a good one: https://www.aaglobal.com/toys-games/PL-FCP-TREACV-treasure-chest-bulk-vending.asp The display card is sold separately. Look around at other mixes on the site. Lots of good stuff.
  9. Yes it will work fine. I've done them for years. One thing to consider. Basketball facilities (I'm assuming youth games on multiple courts) may not like bouncy balls being bounced all over the place or ending up rolling out onto a court during a game. Great way to possibly be shown the door. You may consider using 1.1 inch capsules instead. You could use a double and run two different capsule items. I would expect this type of location to be a home run on sales. Congrats on landing it!
  10. If the claw is closed then it is probably in a claw strength test mode. Once you killed the power to the machine the claw should open up. If the crane is in test mode then that would explain the solenoid overheating because it is constantly sending power to the claw. I have included a manual that I found on the internet. Hope this helps. https://brokensecrets.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/wmh-188-manual.pdf
  11. Down about 30 percent from this time last year. Coin shortage doing us no favors either. I have yet to place a machine in a new location since this mess started. Just when you think things are calming down then the numbers seem to start creeping back up.
  12. Unfortunately the thread you responded to is over 11 years old and neither guy is around anymore so you won't get an answer from them.
  13. Unfortunately I am not a big proponent of these type of learning experiments because it is usually the parent who does most of the work and the child loses interest quickly. Add to it that we are dealing with a pandemic and a coin shortage so things will be a bit tougher for your small endeavor. If you are only going to put one machine out there is a chance that you will make nothing or next to nothing. So ask yourself, is this going to be worth the time and effort if we walk into service the machine after a month and there is only 75 cents in it? We actually had a guy on here years ago that was doing the same thing you want to do. They placed a machine and went back a couple weeks later and there was zero quarters in the machine. The kid was completely dejected. So dad would stop by the location multiple times a week and put quarters into the machine then take the kid back to service the machine later. That's alot of work and expense just so the kid can get bored with the whole scheme in short order. If you still want to do this here are some answers to your questions: 1. Find a location with high traffic, out of the direct sunlight who is willing to let you place the machine without commission. You can also choose a local charity to donate part of the proceeds to and display that on the front of the machine. A charity affiliation generally helps you place the machine as well. If you have any friend, family member or acquaintance who owns a retail business close by you may want to ask them to place the machine in their business and explain why you are doing it. Service cycles are generally 1-3 months. 2. Gumballs, Skittles and Reece’s Pieces or Peanut M & M’s. The profit on Reece’s Pieces and Peanut M & Ms are slim but generally they are good sellers. Using gumballs and Skittles will also help offset the overall product cost. Buy them at Sam’s Club. Mike & Ike, Hot Tamales & regular M & Ms are also options. DO NOT USE PEANUTS as they are a mess, don’t sell well, stale quickly and they will corrode any metal they contact in the machine. If you choose capsules (1") then go to A & A Global online and you can order some there. 3. Buy used Oak, Northwestern or Eagle machines locally so you can test them and save on shipping costs. I would buy a double head so you can increase your odds of selling anything but a single gumball might me easier to place especially if the location is tighter on space. Prices vary. $30 to $75 on a single with a stand or $50 to $100 for a double with a stand. Check Craigslist, Nextdoor or Ebay. If you are doing gumballs, capsuled toys or bouncy balls you will need a gumball wheel. Candy needs a candy wheel. If you do decide to go this route remember that the location did you a solid by letting you in there so once you son loses interest in this business lesson, and he will, please maintain the machine or remove it from the location so they aren't stuck with a machine full of rotting candy. Either way good luck and kudos to you for being a good dad who is trying to raise a child to be self sufficient and productive.
  14. Just looked at your ad on Craigslist and it looks pretty good. I would drop the lines about "there is no such thing as guaranteed income" and "I would prefer someone already in the business so they know how the business works, what to expect." I think everyone will know that there is no guaranteed income so no need to drive that point home....kind of de-incentivizes the sales pitch. I understand why you want to sell to an existing vendor but spinning it that way could run off potential customers. 60 locations with an opportunity to grow to 100 is a nice number for a beginner in the vending business. It is also a viable "side gig" for someone who has never been in the business. I would be honest with them when they ask questions and let them know they will get out of it what they put in to it and the biggest challenge will be locating. Finally you may need to be prepared to come down on your price to move it. I think your asking price is reasonable but don't be surprised if you get alot of lower offers. I've seen people sit on vending routes and allow them to deteriorate because they didn't have time to service them but wouldn't come down on the selling price. Don't make that mistake. Today's bulk vending climate is a bit challenging so getting top dollar for the route may be a little tough. Good luck!
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