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Hello from Chicago!


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I have a few years of experience in full-line vending, and grew my first vending route into something I was very proud of, but ultimately a route larger than I was able to properly manage myself. At its peak, my vending route comprised 30 machines on 21 locations, which I serviced over several days every week before my regular, full-time job. Not interested in full-time vending, I reluctantly sold the route in 2013 to a larger operation I had been competing with and moved on to other ventures. 


Vending has remained something I am interested in because I still believe it has the potential of consistently providing income. With lessons I learned from my past experience with vending, I have made the decision to build another route--this time with a focus on bulk vending machines--with an open mind of adding snack or soda machines to good locations if the right opportunity presents itself. 


I have a lot to learn about bulk vending, but have been reading this forum for years, and am hopeful this new venture is rewarding, while also not requiring so many hours of my time every week. 


I'm planning on becoming a more active participant here, asking questions and otherwise engaging with bulk vending veterans, as well as sharing any news or successes I may find. 



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Hello from the Southwest!


I wish all the best in your new venture. I'm starting on the road you have been. I appreciate new help/advise you can provide me with. How did you kept track of the profit of each machine?



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How did you kept track of the profit of each machine?

I searched and searched for (free and paid) software or an application (my preference was an iPhone app) that would help me keep track of machine inventory and cash flow, but didn't like how any of them worked, especially while on the road.

I also didn't like the idea of spending hours and hours AFTER servicing my machines counting and keeping track of everything. This was a huge time suck, especially for people like me that want every detail to be as close to perfect as possible.

After much trial and error, here's what worked best for me:

I bought an iPad mini and the "Numbers" app by Apple (similar idea to MS Excel).

I spent some time setting up the columns and labels and whatnot, each machine had a separate worksheet tab. Each machine tab tracked each spiral or soda column, allowing me to easily track performance visit to visit.

This also saved me a considerable amount of time while pulling supplies from my van. Go into each location with just the iPad. Open the machines up, count up what product needs to be replaced, put it into the corresponding cell on the machine tab.

Then, lock up the machine and head to the van. The iPad is now a perfectly organized list of what each machine needs--fill up the tub and fill up the machines. Pull the cash, clean and lock up the machines and you're on the road to the next location.

Each tab also tracked things like fuel expenses and similar costs, as well as what each machine pulled on each date.

I'd take the iPad mini with me everywhere (it fits in a back pocket). It was either in the tub with all the chips and snacks, on top of soda crates while waking into a location or in my pocket. I'd also take to the bank, and as each location bag got counted, I'd type in how much that pull made since the last visit.

It exports to CSV and PDF, too, if anyone else ever needs to review your numbers like your accountant or a prospective buyer of the route when you sell it.

Also--with Apple iCloud, the spreadsheet would update to the cloud as soon as I got back home to wifi, so I could check it on my phone while at work if I ever needed to.

I'm currently building a less detailed version of this with the same approach to track my spirals and bulk machines, which all fits in one tab at the present time.

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