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Working up to full-time


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So I've got this idea in my head that I may want to make vending my full-time job, but as it is, I'm pretty sure that it'd take me a couple of years to build up my own route.


I've got a couple questions that I'm hoping everyone here would help me answer so I can get a feel for whether this is something I'd like to commit to:


First of all, what is a reasonable income to expect from bulk vending? I figure that if I wanted to make a comfortable income of around $40k a year I'd need something like 300 machines making at least  $10/month. Is this accurate? I heard somewhere that national average per unit is something like $30/month, but I've also read on this forum that people tend to relocate any machine that's making less  than $10-12 each month, so I'm not sure what a good, practical estimation would be.


Second, how many machines can you service alone before you streatch yourself too thin? Could I hypothetically service 800 or more machines in a couple of months without sacrificing quality service?


Finally, If anyone has some advice on how to grow incredibly fast with minimal out-of-pocket expense, or if there's already a topic out there with this info, I'd love to hear it.


Thanks for all your input, I'm excited to hear what you have to say.

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Please keep in mind that we're only talking about averages and you'll probably get as many different answers to this question as responses.  I'm only talking about my personal experiences.  First, we need to define what you mean by "make $10 a month".  I define "make", as money I can make a car payment and buy groceries with...at that number is usually MUCH less a percentage of gross than most people just starting out prepare themselves for.  

I net approximately 40% of my gross after cost of goods, gas, machine depreciation, taxes, insurance and vending licenses.  So at those numbers, a location needs to gross approximately $25/month before you "make" $10.  You would need 300 locations grossing $7500/month before you "made" approximately $40,000/yr.  


Regarding your other questions, I'll keep a location at $10+/month gross but my personal policy is I don't service my triples for less than $20, so $10-$18 a month locations get put on a 60 day service cycle.  $20-$60/month locations get put on a monthly cycle and I have a couple of $100/month locations that are serviced every 2-3 weeks.  If you were doing this full-time a single person could stay on top of 800 locations if they were in a 3-4 hour radius.  That's 20 stops a day, 5 days a week servicing everything once every 2 months.  And 20 stops a day isn't that tough.


And finally, sorry to burst your bubble but growing incredibly fast at minimal expense in this business generally do not go hand in hand.  Once way to do it scour craigslist and ebay for routes for sale, but I would NOT recommend doing that until you have run your own route for awhile and start to get an understanding of equipment values, what a $10/month location looks like vs. a $40/month and get comfortable fixing equipment, refurbishing and performing routine maintainance.  My advice - take a breath.  You have plenty of time here.  Start small, decide on one or two quality, muti-purpose machines (NW,Oak,Beaver) keyed alike and start honing your locating skills.  Supplement your locating with hiring 1-2 locators for a couple locations a week.  


I know you want it to happen overnight, but there's still so much to learn.  By taking a little more time and growing slowly you'll build a better route (and honestly become a better vendor) in the long run.  Everything else I have to tell you - you won't believe until you experience it for yourself.  This is HARD work.  This is frustrating work.  This WILL cause friction between you and family members.  Many days will feel like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.  Without meticulously detailed record keeping and a good accountant, you probably won't last.  If you weather the first 18 months your chances of someday doing this full time probably increase 4-fold.  You'll often feel like giving up but if you keep grinding it really is possible to build your dream of working for yourself.  

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Have you seen this thread?


It has a few threads that talk about full time

Personally I think bulk vending is an excellent second income. Part time job that you control the hours. my opinion for full time is you would need to get in to some higher grossing things. Like racks, cranes or full line.

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