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gumball guy

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gumball guy last won the day on April 20

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About gumball guy

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  • Vending Type
    Bulk

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  1. gumball guy

    Convert Quarters to Cash

    I use a coin scale on the road to save time when paying commissions. At the shop I use a coin counter that kicks out everything except quarters and it goes into these bags for deposit: https://www.usbanksupply.com/index.cfm/go2/view/pID/573/n/coinlok-tamper-evident-coin-bag-10qmark-x-19qmark-__-#hb7391012 You can deposit up to $1000.00 per bag. In my opinion this is the quickest way to handle bulk change. Keep in mind that all banks will not accept bulk coin so make sure your bank does before you try to go this route. Some banks will only accept rolled coin but that is alot of labor for you if you choose to go that direction. In regards to fast cash most banks will allow you to take in rolled quarters for exchange if you have an account with them. Some will make you actually deposit then withdrawal for tracking purposes and some will just allow you to swap out a roll for a ten spot. Every bank is different.
  2. gumball guy

    Ridiculous Competition

    Guerilla vending or "slamming" as it is also called on these boards seems to happen geographically in cycles. Sometimes a new vendor will hire an unscrupulous locator who will just go out and drop machines in locations without permission then report back that all the equipment has been successfully placed. The vendor pays them and then finds out the what they actually got from the locator when they go to service the location later. There are also vendors (guerillas) who just walk in and drop machines in really busy locations like big box stores, hospitals, city hall etc... knowing they are on borrowed time but willing to take the chance for a quick return. Not exactly a solid business plan but someone who does this isn't usually in it for the long haul anyway. I think the most prevalent cause of the problem are locators and vendors who don't speak to the decision maker but instead whoever is available. They will talk to an employee and the employee says "Sure that would be great put it over there" and there it stays until someone finally questions who green lighted it's placement which maybe never. Like I said earlier in this thread people setting on me in locations really doesn't bother me because that's business. I'm in it for the long haul and I can handle the competition. Losing equipment, losing locations, being set on, being moved, broken into and the list goes on. I may get a little bent for a minute but I deal with it and move on. The larger your business gets the more frequently you will encounter these situations. I will offer a word of caution. Be careful taking other people's equipment even if the location says take it. Every jurisdiction is different but you potentially could face criminal charges or a lawsuit if the machine's owner does show up eventually. Locations may tell you "that guy hasn't been here in years" but all that means is they haven't personally seen the vendor but he may have actually been there in recent months. I have plenty of derelict machines that I share locations with and I bring it to the location owners attention when possible. If they want to take the machine, break into it or throw it away that is their call but I tell them that I can't touch it. The last thing I want is to get a call from a vendor who had an extended illness or a route list error that caused delayed servicing and have to explain why I felt it was my right to take his machine. Not a good situation. Ultimately it is someone else's property and I have no legal right to take it even if it appears to be abandoned, Just my 2 cents.
  3. gumball guy

    Oak branded key needed

    I bought a route a few years ago that had alot of those locks. I ran into the same problem.....1 key that was deteriorating. I called Oak and they told me those were very old lock sets that were made exclusively through Fort Lock Company. It was a proprietary situation where you could only order the keys/locks through Oak at the time they were being used. Oak no longer carried them and Fort Lock was bought out so no luck there. I was unable to find a locksmith with those blanks and as you know they are almost non existent online. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did but ultimately I ended up replacing the locks before the key failed.
  4. gumball guy

    Ridiculous Competition

    This is normal in the bulk vending business just as it is in most business. Walgreens builds right across the street from CVS all of the time. Walmart, Target, Kroger build on the same block. It’s all about competition. You say the location only does $15-$20 but when a new vendor comes in they have no idea how the place will do so that’s why they try it. Now I think it is silly for them to run the same product you do but who knows why they are. Does the location think your portions are too small and the new guy offered more product for their money? Who knows? Maybe they pre-loaded the machines prior to locating and are changing out product next time they service. Again who knows? All they care is that they got their foot in the door. I’m in tons of locations that are shared by other vendors but I don’t run the same items they do and most of them are solid performers. I also have no problems putting a machine in a location with other vending equipment there. If it doesn’t do well then I move it but I have no obligation to avoid the location because there is already a machine there. If the location is willing to accept it then it’s worth a try. These days it is a lot tougher to locate then it was ten years ago. If you are limiting yourself to locations with no existing vending equipment (or limited vending equipment) then you could be missing the next gold mine. Sure it can be frustrating if someone sits on you but I just try to figure out a way to pull more of the business than they do through variety, portions and great service.
  5. gumball guy

    Build your own?

    Why don't you hold off and save your money until you can really make a run at this endeavor? Everyone here has made it clear that plywood boxes are not the way to go so why even try it? Just because you have the materials available does not make it a prudent decision. It will be a real challenge to avoid stales with so few locations not to mention you can barely afford to adequately stock the boxes in the first place. Take into consideration that product theft from the locations could quickly put you in a bad spot with such limited operating funds. I understand the idea of starting small but like the old saying goes "It takes money to make money". If you are definitely in the "DO IT" category as you say you are then save up some money, heed the advice these guys are giving you and do it right the first time.
  6. gumball guy

    Skittles gone from all of SE Michigan SAms Club

    You can also try Vistar. I have never used them but I know some vendors on here do. There is one in Belleville, Michigan and 2 just outside Chicago.
  7. gumball guy

    Skittles gone from all of SE Michigan SAms Club

    Did you talk to the store manager because that seems a lousy answer even for their inept management staff. If that is the best you can do at the store then call Sam's customer service number (via their website) and ask them why you can't get them in your store any longer. If they quit carrying them at your local stores you may have to go to direct delivery from them or search for another local wholesaler. BJ's or Costco are also options.
  8. gumball guy

    Sites

    I have always bought Oak & Northwestern equipment but acquired lots of other equipment over the years buying out competitors. If the equipment worked and did not detract from sales I always kept it in place until I had to switch it out with an Oak, Northwestern or Eagle. I have been able to buy used Oak equipment for years cheaper than it was to buy it new so I'm not going to apologize for making a prudent business move there. As I stated earlier, the outstanding quality of these machines did not help them when it came to new equipment sales because when a machine lasts for decades you just won't need to buy new ones. Furthermore I think Oak & Northwestern are culpable in their own demise based on exactly what T & T stated above...."There’s always going to be change in any business that you’re in, the bulk vending business is no different.". Well as the industry started to change Oak & Northwestern didn't respond by putting out lower cost products to compete with the imports. They could have still sold the great machines at the higher price but also offered cheaper equipment for much less. Just think if Oak or Northwestern would have manufactured a version of the Vendstar or LYPC machine???? They would probably still be in business today. They had the engineering and know how to do it but I don't think they ever took the import threat seriously until it was too late. As for parts there are still tons out on the market that fit Oak & Northwestern. If no other manufacturer steps up to provide new 50 cent mechs for Oak Vistas/300s and NW Super 60s then it will be time to start transitioning to a manufacturer like Beaver. Time will tell.
  9. gumball guy

    Sites

    Odds are the United States will never move to a new coin. The cost would probably be prohibitive plus banks/retailers in this country have no interest in handling coin anymore than they already have to. I imagine that the United States has designs on going completely cashless sometime in the next 25 to 50 years though I don't know if they will be able to do it. I believe gumball vending and candy vending still has a viable long term future as long as cash is still around. The cost of gumballs is low and will be for some time barring some unforeseen event. Bulk candy vending is an alternative for locations that cannot support full line vending and still does well in most traditional locations. Down the road certain candies like peanut M & Ms will need to push up to 50 cent vends but that is not the end of the world. Even though it still makes money today I agree bulk toy vending is headed for rough seas. It's tight profit margin will continue (as Rodney said) to get even tighter. Competition with multi state operators, floor space concerns, retailers wanting higher commissions, difficulty placing equipment, limited customer base and dealing with ever changing, fickle retail management personnel who can make your life miserable with a split second decision also creates concern. I don't think the sector is on the way out but it will take close cost monitoring, reasonable commissions, and a strong locating program to keep it making money down the road.
  10. gumball guy

    Sites

    Charity bulk is still chugging along fine. Like Sweetstop said the business is changing. The money is still out there but you always need to be locating and willing to think outside the box at times when assessing possible locations. If you are going to be successful you need to be willing and able to try all demographics and push out geographically when necessary. Cash isn't going away anytime soon so I really don't see that as a business killer in the short term. Sure alot more people use credit cards today than ever before but there is still a huge section of society that uses cash. As far as Northwestern, Oak and A & A go the high quality of their products hurt them in the long run. Those machines last for decades and there seems to be a limitless supply of used ones still available everywhere so that doesn't help new machine sales. Add in all of the Chinese junk that has flooded the market in recent years and it spelled trouble for the aforementioned manufacturers. As of right now I don't know what the status of Oak Manufacturing is. Obviously they have been scaled back for years and basically only selling refurbs (another testament to the high quality of their original equipment) but when I talked to Jim several months ago and he said they had suffered significant losses in the California fires last year. He had no idea when or if they would be back up an running normally anytime soon. I am not sure who told you Eagle is barely hanging on but they are a subsidiary of a much larger manufacturing company so they apparently have deeper pockets now. I talked to them about 6 months ago and they told me they were back ordered because of demand. Maybe things have changed since then.
  11. gumball guy

    Sites

    The banter on the site may not be as consistent as it once was but as AZ pointed out there is now so much accumulated information archived here that people don't need to ask as many questions as they once did. Answers to most vending questions can be found using the search function and If you are interested in vending there is no other site that gives such a comprehensive sampling of the industry. It is truly a great resource and I encourage all of you to throw a few bucks to the website to keep it up and running for years to come.
  12. gumball guy

    Got this for free today

    Those Astros are a version of the Oak Acorn machine. I have added a link to a post T-Bird Johnny posted back in 2010 about the history of Oak Vending machines. Interesting read.
  13. gumball guy

    Lost machine

    You have the right attitude and (like you said) see the big picture. That is why you've been successful in this business. It is truly frustrating when these type of situations occur but in the long run it is just not cost effective to drag these idiots into court or legal to drag them into the parking lot for what they really deserve. Sure it would feel good to win a judgement but even with that you may never get paid. Unfortunately this situation falls into the "cost of doing business" category. Like you said "write it off" and move forward towards your goal because that is the winning strategy in this business.
  14. gumball guy

    2 for .25 Gumballs

    i use them all of the time against competition and when to trying to jump start slow locations.
  15. gumball guy

    Called a locater today

    They are deeper and taller than many traditional single, double, triple set ups. I have a competitor that runs that setup in some locations (actually 4 heads) and they are pretty imposing in smaller venues that are tight on space. He actually got kicked from one location because of space and my single head got to stay. They are awkward to move and have a larger footprint than a 1-800 triple or even a Northwestern Triple Play. It all comes down to personal preference. The Beavers are very good looking machines and that is a big plus but customers could care less what brand they are as long as they get their candy. The capacity of the big barrel globes is not really a selling point and honestly if you fill them all the way up you will be throwing away ALOT of candy. I know you like these machines and have alot of money invested in them but you would probably fare better with the Beaver doubles. I guarantee doubles would be easier to place.
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