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gumball guy last won the day on January 23

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  1. I didn't candy coat anything and gave a very simple overview of what the business entails and some of it's challenges. You know there are alot more things to cover for beginners than what I touched on and that's why I encouraged them to research this site. That said, I completely agree with your earlier post and if you notice I didn't touch on the pitfalls you noted but simply added to it. I ranted about this situation on here not long ago. People start a bulk vending business, put a bunch of equipment out, lose interest and abandon the route leaving derelict machines all over the place. This behavior, to your point, really hurts our industry because alot of prospective locations don't want another bad experience with an abandoned machine. Bottom line is if you decide to quit the business be professional enough to sell your route to a responsible person or pick up the equipment. Don't just leave it there for the location to deal with. Your other point is true as well. Locations will buy their own vending equipment because they think we are getting rich off of their location. Years ago this wasn't a widespread problem but once wholesale clubs appeared and the internet took off, vending machines and product became easy for anyone to get. Most legitimate businesses understand that it is not worth their time to fool with managing their own vending. I tend to see it alot more with start ups where owners need every penny they can scrounge up. Regardless if their machine is maintained or not, the result is generally the same....one less available vending spot for you. No one is going to get rich off of 10-20 machines and if they think they will they are in for a rude awakening. It all boils down to what you want. If you want a manageable side gig bulk vending can be that but even at a part time level success still requires organization, hard work and vigilance. If you are looking to make it a career then be prepared for a large financial and time commitment no different than any other business.
  2. Some very basic advice: If you are not a people person find another business venture. That may seem abrupt but the huge spectrum of personalities you will face in this business can be overwhelming if you are offended easily or quick to anger. Be ready to work hard and overcome frustration. Contrary to the sales pitches you read everywhere this is not the lazy man's business. Like any other business it has a lot of challenges and demands. Buy good equipment (Eagle, Oak, Northwestern, Beaver). Buy it used when you can and if you MUST buy new then buy Eagle machines. They are well built, attractive, dependable and reasonably priced. Investing in inferior Chinese equipment will cost you alot more in the long run. Try to build a small route (10-20 machines) in as tight a geographic area as possible. A small route like this will give you a good idea what it is like to operate a bulk vending business without over committing yourself financially. Run it for a while and learn how to deal with service calls, machine repairs, product management, location loss and replacement etc... . After 6 months or a year if you don't want it you can put it up for sale or if you like it then continue to build it. One of the leading causes of bulk vending business failures is the inability to replace lost locations immediately. Failure to quickly redeploy machines after you lose a location can quickly escalate into garage full of idle machines. Next you're completely dejected because you don't want to drop another wad of money to have them located again and doing so yourself seems daunting so don't let idle machines accumulate. Remember they aren't making you any money in the garage. The transient state of bulk vending today makes it tough to rely solely on 3rd party locators to get you locations. If you want to be successful for the long term in bulk vending you must be able to locate yourself. Self locating is intimidating for most people but once you get out there and start pounding the pavement it will get easier. Sure it's tough to get 10 NOs in a row but when you get that first yes you feel like Dale Carnegie incarnate! So give it a shot. 3rd party locators are helpful if time is a real issue or if you are targeting controlled access locations like factories, warehouses etc... . I have used them with varying degrees of success over the years. The cost involved with it will also significantly delay your initial ROI. Just remember that they aren't magicians and the ultimate success of any new location is a crap shoot. Finally take the time to continue reading as much as you can on here. I really believe this website is one of the best resources available anywhere for new and seasoned vending operators. Hope this helps and good luck.
  3. See if this helps: http://www.nentraining.com/uploads/3/7/9/7/37973463/thebook.pdf
  4. I don't own any Beavers but I would encourage you to take it apart piece by piece to learn how to do it. That's how I learned with Oak & Northwestern machines (among other brands). You can video or take pictures of each step so you know where everything goes for reassembly. There are also plenty of videos on YouTube to help give you an idea how to disassemble. You can always call Beaver and get a diagram of the coin mech as well (it maybe out on the internet). Don't use mineral spirits on the gum. I would dissemble it since the gum sounds like it is really in there, scrape as much as you can off the affected parts then use isopropyl alcohol to clean up the rest of the sticky residue. Alcohol is great for cleaning sticker residue off globes as well and it is safe to use on food surfaces. In regards to the other coin mech that is free spinning you will probably need a replacement part so having a manufactures diagram and part list will be very helpful. It is intimidating to work on these things at first because they seem so precise and have alot of moving parts but over time it will get easier. It feels good to get in there and conquer it and it will definitely save you money in the long run. Look at it this way...those mechs are unusable in their current state so you have nothing to lose trying to fix them yourself. Good luck.
  5. It should tell you what size the gumballs are on the box. Generally 1" come 850 to a case and .92 come 1080 to a case. I'm guessing these are .92. Vending smaller gumballs out of a 1 inch setup often results in two or more gumballs coming out per vend. I believe you said you run Rhinos so I couldn't tell you on those. I would definitely run some quarters through and see if it is vending correctly.
  6. Sorry to see you leaving but I completely understand. The Northwestern Super 60 is a workhorse and will appeal to a wider audience because of it's quality so hopefully that helps you sell off a little quicker. Rehabbing machines on a large scale is indeed no fun and time consuming but as long as the machines aren't filthy, horribly scratched or clogged up with melted candy you still should be able to move them "as is". Just be ready to negotiate a bit on price if it becomes an issue.
  7. I have used Craigslist in the past with success. I will list it in my area and then in several surrounding cities in order to cast a wider net. I have also used a flea market booth in conjunction with the Craigslist ad. The flea markets I have used don't require me to be there and I just direct Craigslist customers to that location. You price the inventory, people shop your booth and take items they want up to the check out. I like this method because you aren't constantly fooling around with tire kickers calling, you can sell some machines to impulse buyers shopping the flea market and ultimately it is safer as you don't have a steady stream of unknown people coming by your home or shop. I always make it clear in the ad and booth that I have alot of equipment to sell and volume deals are available. Another option available is https://www.usedvending.com/ I have never used them but they have been around for a long time. It is free to use and another avenue to get the attention of possible buyers. It is a non shipping site and makes it clear that it is the buyers responsibility to arrange pick up. Clean, route ready machines with locks sell much quicker and can fetch a better price. That's why you often see people buying new, inferior Chinese equipment because they like the idea of getting a machine and immediately putting it on the street without the hassle of cleaning, painting or repairing. Are you downsizing or leaving the business?
  8. This is not the new owner of Northwestern but a great place to buy new and used Northwestern (and other brands) parts/equipment; https://www.gumballstuff.com/ Phone number is 574-935-4800 The owner is a member here (Heritage Vending). Great guy. I have bought alot of parts from him over the years.
  9. Don't feel bad.....it is a legitimate question that I bet many people have. We all learn by asking questions and I have no doubt people will learn from this question as well. I'm glad you asked about it. Happy New Year!
  10. Are the bars that the bridge travels on bent or loose? Sometimes even a slight wide/tight spot can cause it to jump off. If the whole set up seems loose then tighten the screws at each end of the gantry. Once the screws are tight and you can see a wide or tight spot between the two rails then gently squeeze or pull it in or to straighten it out.
  11. I understand your point and it sounds like you are getting good results which is great to hear. For me, running a good-sized operation, the single head gumball machine has always been a cornerstone in a successful business model. I have a process that I have followed for years and it all starts with single head gumball machines. I'll place 15 - 18 gumball machines in one day going door to door and have found that people tend to be more accepting of a small single head machine than a double or a triple (we literately carry the machine into every business). Basically, the single head gets me in the door and honestly, I am good if it stays that way as I will explain in a moment. Sometimes people will ask for candy or a bigger machine when I initially place the gumball machine and we go from there. I'll make a note if I feel the new location may need a bigger set up in the future especially to ward off other vendors and I will make it happen if space allows. I completely understand the concept that more selection is better especially from a similar footprint. The old Fordway route guys swore by the two-machine set up for a reason…it increased profits. Nowadays things have changed for me and running candy is getting tougher and tougher as margins shrink. M & M’s or Reese's Pieces for 25 cents will soon become untenable and I have no interest in converting loads of coin mechs to 50 cents at this point in my career. Do I gross more from my candy locations? Generally, yes, but I am also paying a lot more for the product so selling candy doesn’t improve my net overall especially when I factor in a higher level of shrink/cost from stales (candy vs gumballs). There is definitely an argument to be made that pressed candies can help combat these challenges but they rarely sell as good as gum products or name brand candy for me. Nevertheless I have expanded my pressed candy selections in the past two years. I like simplicity and profitability. Single head gumball machines are a big part of that game plan for me and has been for years. Going forward I believe that the cost of gumballs will remain manageable for the next 8-10 years and I can’t say that about candy so that is why i don't push hard for all locations to expand to candy. Just my take. The great thing about vending is that there are multiple paths to success. You can tailor it to fit into your life and choose how much money you want to make if you are willing to work at it so there is really no wrong approach if you are making a profit.
  12. We have several bounce places but most are franchised and have their own vending. Haven't seen any indoor playgrounds other than in malls so I'll have to keep my eyes open for them.
  13. I really don't hesitate to try any location where I think my machine will be safe. I have had duds in every type of location over the years so excluding a whole category of locations based on the poor results of a handful of places is something I never do. It only takes one gumball/candy enthusiast who buys from the machine daily to make a location successful so I'm always in search of about anywhere that will let me in the door. If gumballs don't move I switch to candy and if that doesn't work I am usually out the door but I give it some time before that happens. The reason you are seeing better sales with your Jiffy Lube locations is because they have high foot traffic and the customers sit and wait for their vehicle to be serviced (half hour or less type of places). Full service repair shops may have a car for hours/days so alot of their customers just drop the car off and go. Your best customers in those locations are the mechanics so that is why I will talk to them or just try different things to increase sales. It still may not work but sometimes it does and before you know it a loser becomes a winner. Kids do love gumballs but it is not easy finding vending friendly locations where they congregate. Kids no longer "hang out" at places like they did when I was young so if you are able to find a silver bullet to that issue please share it with us lol. I think when you are starting out it is important to be more selective about locations because you are trying to get your ROI as quickly as you can. When you have been in the game for several years and have accumulated alot of equipment it can afford you more opportunities to roll the dice on locations. Bottom line is you never really know how good a location will be until you try it.
  14. These days I only buy routes based on asset value. Bulk locations are just too transient anymore to take a chance on a sales based purchase. An example.....I buy a strong location that does $100 per month for $1200.00. Six months after I buy it a new owner acquires the location and they want all vending out. Good luck trying to get my investment back in a reasonable amount of time now. Conversely when I buy routes based on asset value and I lose a location 5 minutes after I buy the route I won't get hurt. If a seller doesn't understand that concept then I respectfully move on down the road but 9 times out of 10 they call me back eventually. Not sure specifically how much equipment you are dealing with here. I am assuming the Oaks are smaller 25 cent machines (300s or Vistas with 1"in capsules). I would pay $25 to $50 per head based on condition. Oak is an excellent machine but alot of the equipment that is on the street today is 20-30 years old. That is a real testament to the quality of the machine but eventually they need parts replaced. You can factor a little more into the price for the stand/rack it is sitting on as well ($10-$15). I am also going to assume the Triple Play machines are from Northwestern. Great machine that is built like a tank. My biggest gripe is since it is not a pod system like a 1-800 machine or like the Oak singular heads so changing candy varieties is a hassle. $75 to $90 each for these. If you do decide to buy based on sales make sure you see the sellers tax returns to verify the amount he is claiming. If he doesn't want to share that with you then that is a red flag.
  15. From Sam's Club: Tootsie Tarts, Crybaby Tears, Oh Baby Pacifiers, Pucker Ups, Flowers, Cotton Candy, Bleeps (1in), & Space Ships. From Oak Leak: Lotsa Sours, Super Sours (1in), Oak leak has alot of other selections that are similar to what Sam's carry. I have used all of these and all are generally stable for a long,long time unless in direct sunlight. One final word of advice......Always stick with "coated" pressed candy. You will see things like "uncoated Oh Baby Pacifiers" on Sam's website. These "uncoated products don't have the Dextrose coating that makes them shiny. The uncoated products actually create dust inside the machine and it looks pretty unsavory after a while. Also in locations with higher humidity this uncoated candy will have a tendency clump and the candy will look like it has had water sprinkled on it.
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