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gumball guy

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gumball guy last won the day on October 8

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  1. I will assume you already asked the location if the guy picked up his equipment that week (or if they noticed anyone taking your equipment). If they have no pertinent info then I would call the other operator and ask him directly if he removed the machines. Tell him that you are filing a police report (even if you aren't) and just wanted to make sure he or one of his employees didn't accidentally take the machine before you get the authorities involved. He may get indignant with you, he may say "yeah my guy accidentally grabbed the wrong machines and I meant to call you" (unlikely to happen) or he may just say he had nothing to do with it. Regardless of his response, he will know that you have him on your radar and unless he is a total psycho, he will in all likelihood leave your equipment alone going forward (assuming he had anything to do with it's theft in the first place). I had a similar situation occur several years back when a location kicked out all bulk vending after a remodel. The location looked at another operator's machine first and only called him to ask for pick up. I came into service my machine about a month after it was swiped, saw it was gone and the location said it had already been picked up. I told the manager at the location that we are all different vendors and my contact info was on the front and back of the machine and she said "Well I didn't know.". Apparently the other operator came in to pull the machine and took his equipment along with another vendor's and mine (an Oak double). I was pissed to say the least. The location even gave me his number so I called the dude like 50 times but he never answered. I left messages (varying degrees of veiled threats because I didn't want have the cops show up on my doorstep) and I even went to the guy's house, knocked on the door (no answer) and left a note for him to call me. Never heard a peep from him. Ultimately after two weeks of fooling with this in my spare time I made the decision to cut bait and move on. Sure I could have called the cops but I have been down that road and it is not a priority for them. Furthermore, many police departments will advise you that they consider it a civil matter (been down this road in the past too). Honestly I'm just too busy to waste my time on going to small claims court over a $100.00 vending machine knowing that I may not win or may get a default judgement which is often fruitless. I do know this....the guy has never touched one of my machines again. Unfortunately theft of equipment in bulk vending happens occasionally. Anymore, when it happens to me, I will initially run down whatever leads are available, if any, then I replace the machine making sure it is in a safer spot or secured. I just accept that losing an occasional machine is the cost of doing business in bulk vending. In your case I would definitely secure the equipment in that location because if it was just a random criminal from the area he may come back again. As for the GPS tracking device....it seems like a lot of time and hassle for a moral victory. Remember........Karma never loses an address and it will eventually visit the person who stole your equipment. Good luck with the situation.
  2. I agree that $2.00 per play seems high but if you can get away with running them at that price anywhere, a theater (captive audience) may be the venue. You could consider starting at $2.00 per play and see how it goes. If the numbers are disappointing you can always drop it to a $1.00 and work on integrating some cheaper product into the duck mix to increase your margin. Personally, I would probably run it at $1.00 per play and as I said earlier I would work on getting some cheaper stuff into that mix. Even with a straight duck mix, you are still turning a decent profit 90% of the time and you will probably get a heck of a lot more plays at the lower price point. Like you, I am not a fan of the $1.50 vend for various reasons. Either way you go....good luck!!!
  3. Congratulations and good luck with the new locations! Keep us updated on how they do.
  4. You should pass on this for several reasons. The main reason is your age. As a minor, entering into contracts, obtaining liability insurance, creating a valid corporation or LLC, paying business taxes (sales & income), obtaining the proper vehicle insurance (or a driver's license at 15 for that matter) are just a few challenges that lie ahead for you until you turn 18. I am no lawyer and have no idea what the law is in Massachusetts but in most states minors are extremely limited as to what kind of contractual agreements they can enter in to. So, if you can't enter into a legal contract, then you have no protection if you acquire a bunch of equipment, place it in this restaurant and then the guy finds another amusement operator a month later an kicks you out. In my opinion it is a red flag that an established and responsible restaurant owner is looking to a 15 year old who lives an hour away to outfit a full arcade for his business. I would worry about the stability of the business in general based on that decision alone. If the restaurant is indeed on the level and a good location that is even more reason to make sure you have protections afforded to you by liability insurance and a proper sole proprietorship, llc or incorporation. Without those protections your parents and you could be directly liable in the case of a fire started by one of your machines of if someone is injured by your equipment. You are obviously motivated and a go getter and I applaud you for that. That said, start slow and build your business as close to home as possible. Bulk vending is indeed a better way to try out the business on a budget. Thirty (the number you used) bulk vending machines are a lot cheaper to purchase, transport, operate and maintain than 12-14 amusement machines especially when you take into consideration that you will need to have at least a couple of claw machines and other prize merchandiser games to really make some money. Keep in mind that at 15 years old it is highly likely that you will become interested in a lot of different business opportunities in the coming years so don't overload yourself with a bunch of old vending equipment that you may not want in a couple years.
  5. A VendMaster bulk vending machine appears to be a new version of the the old 1-800 machines of the past. The 1-800s were good machines so hopefully this one works well for you. Since there are no foreign objects or hands inside the canister you don't need to clean and sanitize it frequently unless you are changing from a nut based candy to a non nut based candy or for some reason it just starts to look dusty or dirty. You can use a food grade sanitizer like such as Purell Food Service Surface Sanitizer after you remove all of the product. Just wipe down the insides. let it dry thoroughly and put in the new candy. I use the Purell on the outside of the machine as well especially to clean the chutes. If more substantial cleaning is needed swap out the canister, take it home, remove the 4 screws at the bottom of the canister, and hand wash all of the parts with warm water and Dawn dish washing soap. Dry thoroughly, reassemble and your back in business. Over the years I have had a few locations out of thousands ask me for proof of liability insurance. If they do just call your insurance agent and he can fax a certificate to them to keep on file. It is impossible to keep anything in public "sanitized". People who are freaked out by germs generally don't use bulk vending machines and people who do use them accept the risk. As I said before I use Purell on the outside as well. The key to better consumer confidence in your machine (and better sales) is to keep it as clean as possible. Make sure you are thoroughly cleaning the outside of the machine including the base every visit. Good luck to your daughter and you on the new endeavor.
  6. You probably need a baffle or an agitator especially if you are filling the machine all the way up but unfortunately there is no baffle (that I know of) for Vendstars because they have no center post. Vendstars were specifically designed for pan candies and that's why people have issues trying to vend gumballs of any size from them. I'm not sure how busy the location is but if you can get away with only filling the machine 1/4 to 1/2 way full it should reduce the product from bridging over the wheel but may not stop it completely. You may want to consider upgrading to a better machine if these mini gumballs are big sellers for you.
  7. If they are the the same brand and model of machine they should be interchangeable.
  8. I always pull and replace equipment after a fire. There are always a lot of chemicals, smoke and debris in the air during a fire and it will all end up on/in your machine....especially if it has been sitting in that environment for over a year. You absolutely need to pull all the existing product out (especially candy) and replace with new product (into a new or thoroughly cleaned machine). I know you don't want to replace the machines but moving equipment is just part of the vending business and you owe it to your customers to have clean and sanitary equipment in their businesses. You can bet that if you don't clean it or replace it you'll be moving it when he shows you the door. If you absolutely are not willing to swap the equipment out then, depending on how badly they are damaged, dissemble and clean it on site. If you have other machines in storage just swap out the cabinets with clean ones and take the fire damaged ones home to clean. I would completely disassemble and clean them using Dawn detergent and warm water. If the only thing you are vending are 2 inch capsules and you want to clean it on site just use 409 spray cleaner or anything like that. If you are vending candy you can look for a food grade cleaner and finish off with Purell Food Grade Surface Spray Sanitizer. You will still need to disassemble and clean each part thoroughly if you are cleaning on site. I'm telling you all of this but I really don't know how bad the machines have been damaged so realize that they maybe too damaged to even clean up. The professional approach would be to remove the machines and replace with other equipment. Either way, good luck.
  9. What happens if you remove the 4 bolts on the plate that the wheel and brush off plate are sitting on? Any access to the coin mech that way? If you can't gain access through the top you may need to drill out the four corners of the plate that the coin mech is mounted on but I would really be surprised if you couldn't get to it through the top.
  10. First step (after making sure there are no obvious physical defects in the connection) I would suggest is to check the switch with a meter. If it's good check the contact points on the board (where it connects to the board). If those both show continuity then it may be a board issue.
  11. Here is a link to a Plush Bus manual at the Ice website. Page 11 seems to layout the steps for programming and accounting mode. You may already have this (or it is a different version).
  12. What brand of machine/coin mech? Pictures?
  13. They have never been a great seller for me. Peanut M & Ms tend to out sell them 4 to 1 overall but I have always carried Plain M & Ms for the sake of variety. That said I continue to reduce the number of locations that I use M & M products in because they are just too expensive. I don't suggest them as options to new or prospective locations anymore and if I currently have them in a location and they are not selling I pull them quickly. In regards to making a better margin I think it may be tough because both products are the same cost per ounce. Generally I vend 5-7 Peanut M & Ms per turn and 10-12 plain M & Ms per turn so I am not seeing a lot of difference in profitability between the two. If you set your wheel to only vend 5-7 Plain M & Ms you would definitely see a better margin but I think it may cost you sales as people may think they are not getting enough product each vend. If you have some higher volume locations where you don't have a bunch of repeat customers that strategy could be more successful.
  14. It all boils down to how much time (like orsd said) and effort you want to put forth and how much of a loss are you willing to take on the original investment. If you have been sitting on this equipment for 5 years I will assume the financial loss on this investment isn't going to be devastating to you. As previously mentioned by orsd, Ebay is one way to sell but it does take time and effort, especially if you have a lot of equipment to sell/ship. As a possible alternative I would suggest going around to retailers in the area and get numbers off of existing bulk vending machines then reach out to those operators to see if they may be interested in the equipment. Odds are they won't be but you never know....especially if the price is right. If no luck there then you can go to Craigslist, Offer Up or any other online selling app and try selling them there but if you do that be prepared for a fair amount of tire kickers. You can also use those apps and set it up like a garage sale (since it's already in your garage). The hard truth is that the bulk vending industry is drying up and so is the demand for bulk equipment. As far as valuing equipment you can also use all of the above mentioned apps to get an idea what used vending equipment is selling for in your area then go from there. I'm in the Midwest and sell Oak and Northwestern singles for between $50-60 bucks each. I get pretty good movement on them at that price but it's all cash & carry and I don't ship. Which every way you go good luck!
  15. Starting out I would definitely avoid M & M products. Skittles don't sell as well but at least they provide a profit
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