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Things I've Learned So Far


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I figured this might be a fun topic that might generate some discussion.


  • Yes this business model works!
  • It's not brain surgery, don't over think it.
  • With slow growth and a two year plan I can transition into this business full time.
  • Always test your machines at home, and then again when you place them. There are small pieces that can get jarred upon transport.

  • It is hard work. OK, not exactly hard but not easy either. Still it is a business, and it does require work.
  • I got a little overextended financially. Nothing too painful but it was a little scary. Make sure you have a little financial cushion.
  • I bought used machines and now have too many models. This allowed me to grow faster but there is a down side. I can see that one brand of machine is the way to go if you are going to do this as a long term career prospect. I would recommend to someone starting out though to buy a couple cheap off Craig's and see if you like the business.

  • My living room looks like a used machine showroom. I now work on a  washable blanket so I don't tear up my rug.
  • I spilled a whole canister of peanuts on my floor because I couldn't figure out how to secure the head. I'm just grateful I didn't do this on location.
Happy Vending





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Good luck getting back on the upside of the financial end...I know you will.

I am also new, and I made the concious decision up front to attempt to stay with one type of machine until I learned the ropes(unless I bought out a route) then I would obviously have to take what came with it.

When I started I used the "locater" yeah..placed 16 machines and then after he left..I moved 10 of them to new locations...expensive lesson for the newbie..

My head ache came when I purchased some "used" machines off of e-bay..the seller was a little, shall we say..less than honest...His used machines came with some broken pieces..cannisters that were damaged..etc...in the long run, i ended up with 3 good machines and a machine for parts...although I paid way to much for them...

All in all this has been a fairly smooth run into this business...Now I get to figure out how to grow this to pay the mortgage and the retirement...I figure I need another 100 machines to make that happen...

keep the smile on :D

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Hey Jay, Thanks for the reply. I was hoping others would post some serious or silly things they've learned.

I've had both locator and used machine problems, so I know exactly where you're coming from. There is a learning curve, thankfully it's not too bad. 


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I've learned quite a lot in the year I've been doing business. I bought some cheap, ugly machines off of craigslist. After driving 5 hours up to Chicago (would've been 3 but got lost during rush hour), I wasn't about to go home empty handed. I should have. Those machines were pulled from the route for a reason. I no longer purchase used machines. Somehow, I thought I would be able to hide the machines from my wife. I was so embarassed that I actually spent money on them. I only use one type of machine now. I also listen to my wife more.  

I have one location where I gave away a bunch of free candy when I first placed, now all the employess always seem to gather near the the vending machine whenever I service it. It is so funny...like a pack of wolves salivating for food. I now give them quarters to put in the machine. I want them get used to putting money in my machine.   

I do have to say I am always "dweeby" whenever I get a new machine. I have to play with it and call over my wife and get her to look at the machine with me. I'm a true mechanic and amazed by how things function, so I always try to figure out how to take things apart and fix them if they ever break. I always feel like a little kid again with a new toy.


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Geez...........for me it has been a learning experience from day one.  The one important thing I learned was how to adjust and replace a candy wheel on location the right way so that all of the candy does not come out of the shoot after inserting one quarter.  I learned that lesson the hard way.
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This has been a very successful venture for us. We have had some headaches but for the most part we have been very blessed with getting good deals on used / free / new (some for cents on the dollar) machines. It has taken a long time to build up our fleet but it has been a great learning experience. I had to do a lot of work to repair, clean and sort machines and parts but it has been a lot of fun. We had to put things on the back burner for several months when we were dealing with our nightmare legal messes but we are back on track and my wife is being very helpful and supportive with the business. I am really hoping to grow the business over the next 6 mos.

I am enjoying having "business meetings" with my kids, it is a lot of fun and my 6 year old actually has some good ideas.

I will say that becoming a member of this forum has been the best thing for our business growth. I have learned a ton of stuff here and I have enjoyed getting to know many of you.

(And yes my living room looks like a showroom too) :)


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Been doing vending since March, started out with a $4000 full line machine I put in a small location, looking back now I should have bought a used smaller machine for that location, but It got me another location that now spends around $150 a week in my full line machine, since the begining my business view has changed many times, to begin we thought we would place toy crane machines, found out that was not gonna work sao we got into full line a bit, expensive, so then I got a good deal on bulk machines, got them placed, and found out that might be the best way to go. The ups and downs of this business are great, but in the long run this will end up being a full time bussiness for both me and my partner within 2 years, and I can't wait till I can quit my factory job LOL. This fourm was the best thing I found for my bussines, as you guy gave me alot of great information I might not ever of though of. Thanks Everyone.


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I agree with 99% of your good and 100% of your bad and ugly.

I'm also a bit behind the finical 8 ball lately. My locations are doing well but could be better and I over extended myself on our last expansion of machines. I'm getting back on course though.

One thing that's helped me is getting out of nuts. I've still got one location that insists on nuts and I've got more trying to get rid of my stock but the cost is way too high for me.

What I really need more than anything else is a bit more time to get machines placed.

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I like this post! :D

I can add,

Good...  This business is fun!

Bad...  Dealing with the walnut brained state. First, extracting information from them is like pulling teeth out of a giraffe. Second, getting double taxed on the money we make from our vending business. (Tax Stamps for each machine, and income tax at years end.) Sweet huh?

Ugly...  Getting yelled at by a business owner for, "wasting their time". Gee makes me soooo sorry I couldn't place a machine there. I would have loved dealing with that location owner every time I serviced their machine. :?

Still, it's all good, and we're makin money!



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The good:  Lots of quarters. Meet lots of people. The smiles on kids faces. (I see these every Saturday as I have a triple "placed" at our booth at the Farmer's Market and other events.

The Bad:  The used machine off of Ebay. :(

the Ugly:

When you forget to tie down your brand new triple and hit a bump with your truck and watch it fall over,,, face down.   I thought I would cry...

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