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are you doing full line vending full time or side job?


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I was running 25 machines on my days away from work, just took retirement Feb 4th.

 

I was working shift work of two days on and two days off, work every other weekend. twelve hour days.

 

cajun

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I work full-time (about 40 hours) With roughly 40 accounts (about 70 machines). I also have honor boxes in addition to the vending machines.

You work full time AND have 70 machines? I need to quit complaining...
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You work full time AND have 70 machines? I need to quit complaining...

The business IS my full time job. I quit my previous job when I could no longer service my accounts in 2 working days. Then, I added about 60 honor boxes after buying a company out, and about 20 more vending accounts.

Prior to this, I was a full time college student with a full time job that was simultaneously managing about 15 accounts.

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I have 22 accounts, and work a full time job. It's pretty tough to keep up with sometimes, but I seem to always get through it. I work 4 10 hr days on my "job" so that gives me 3 days (if i need them) for vending. I will eventually quit my job when i feel that i can no longer do both. Right now, i am stockpiling capital to make a big growth push when I decide to quit my regular job. 

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about how many locations will you need before vending will be like a full time thing?

It's not just about how many locations you have, it's about how much they gross.  You can have a ton of locations but if they only gross a $100 a month each then you'd need to be servicing about 50 machines just to make a living.  On the other hand,  if you have a lesser amount of quality accounts you can probably work the same hours and make much more money with far less equipment.  I run 30 machines and clear 3K a month, it's all I do and I'm not looking for any more accounts.  Vending can be any size you want it to be.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I was curious, is it possible to service 3-4 locations in 1 day with just using a car?just for a little while.

I actually use a Ford Escape to do eight machines a day and it gets a little tight.  I doubt you could do it in a sedan as the snacks tend to be very bulky.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I was curious, is it possible to service 3-4 locations in 1 day with just using a car?just for a little while.

 

I used my car for a long time before getting a small (ice cream truck size) stepvan to help out.  The stepvan eventually quit on me so I have a cube van now.

 

My car is a Scion xB so.. not only is it a hatchback but it's a large hatchback.  It's significantly smaller than a minivan which people like Allen and Cajun use, but it can do quite a bit.  The MOST I ever collected in a day was just over $700 out of my car... but I promise you, I beat the crap out of my car that day and I beat the crap out of myself just trying to work out of it.

 

Here are some things for you to know:  If your car is a sedan, you'll have a hell of a time trying to find places to put your product.  Doing 3-4 accounts in a day doesn't sound unreasonable if they are only cans and snacks, but you'll be stuck using variety packs for chips, candy, and any other kind of snacks... I had to do that for a long time.

 

In the end, it can be done and you'll learn how to figure it all out, but you'll also get frustrated when the product that you need is buried beneath a bunch of other product.  There's nothing worse than handling the same product multiple times in a day just to get it out of the way of the things you need.

 

Here are some very important tips:  If your area gets hot summers, think about how HOT it gets in your car.  Now, consider that being warm is one thing... but having sunlight on chocolate in a warm car = chocolate SOUP.  It will cost you a fortune if your candy melts up and there isn't much space for a cooler but you may have to use one.  One thing I would do would be to heavily stock-up my snack machines with candy during the mornings only (and I had to run my routes in different ways so I could fill each machine with chocolate in the morning).  Once it starts getting warm outside, dump your remaining chocolate at an account just so that it doesn't melt.  I have even taken boxes out of accounts where I had left them last time.. and taken them to the next account.  Just DON'T let the chocolate melt!  The floorboard can often be the coolest place to store chocolate if need be but a cooler is what you really need.

 

Stick to variety packs if you don't use a lot of snacks yet.  You may end up throwing a lot of them away as they expire.... but you won't have the space for 50-ct boxes and you won't be able to sell an entire box anyway... so stick with variety packs.  For 3-4 snack machines, you probably only need about 5 variety packs of chips, 5 variety packs of candy, and a couple of variety packs of pastries.  Add in some assorted stuff like crackers, cookies, etc... and you'll have enough to take care of business without overly stocking your car.

 

Keep the soda in an area where it won't easily fall over or spill, causing cans to burst and make a huge mess.  Also try to make things somewhat organized so that you can get to different varieties of soda easily.  I often pile my oddball things in front of my mountain dew (with some access to a few cases of mountain dew) because I know I won't need the additional cases of mountain dew until later... but I might need the oddball stuff at any stop.

 

Also, you could really use a dolly, and I bought a dolly at Home Depot about 5 years ago for $20-$40.  I don't remember how much it was... but it's small enough that I can put it on the passenger-side floorboard and it stands up in my car, barely much taller than the dash.  It's not very comfortable to use this dolly as I have to hunch over a little to use it (I'm 6'1) but it is WAY better than hand-carrying cases of soda.

 

For regular soda (cans only) such as Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew, the shelf-life is anywhere from 6-10 months depending on where you get it from (and how long they've had it on the shelf).  If you're tight on space, stock up your soda machines way fuller than you need with regular soda so that you don't have to keep refilling them every time you go.

 

Diet sodas last about 4 months maximum.. so be more careful about it.  However, if you can stock a machine completely full and sell enough that the selection never sells out, do it!!!!  It will save you a lot of time and effort if you can simply stock things up full every time you go.  If a column holds 48 cans of soda, and it has sold 10 cans since last service cycle.. leave it alone!!!.. you can fill it next time.  If a selection holds 48 cans and it has sold 35 cans since last cycle, fill it completely full!!!  Ideally, you only want to take entire cases of soda with you at each stop, but sometimes you have to top things off when you're working out of a small vehicle because there isn't enough space to carry everything you need at once... so you end up selling partial cases at various accounts just to make room for more product.

 

It may sound complicated... and it is... but it's probably the cheapest way to get started and you'll be in the comfort of your own car.  Just don't leave your money where people can see it.  The snacks and soda will draw enough of their attention.

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I used my car for a long time before getting a small (ice cream truck size) stepvan to help out.  The stepvan eventually quit on me so I have a cube van now.

 

My car is a Scion xB so.. not only is it a hatchback but it's a large hatchback.  It's significantly smaller than a minivan which people like Allen and Cajun use, but it can do quite a bit.  The MOST I ever collected in a day was just over $700 out of my car... but I promise you, I beat the crap out of my car that day and I beat the crap out of myself just trying to work out of it.

 

Here are some things for you to know:  If your car is a sedan, you'll have a hell of a time trying to find places to put your product.  Doing 3-4 accounts in a day doesn't sound unreasonable if they are only cans and snacks, but you'll be stuck using variety packs for chips, candy, and any other kind of snacks... I had to do that for a long time.

 

In the end, it can be done and you'll learn how to figure it all out, but you'll also get frustrated when the product that you need is buried beneath a bunch of other product.  There's nothing worse than handling the same product multiple times in a day just to get it out of the way of the things you need.

 

Here are some very important tips:  If your area gets hot summers, think about how HOT it gets in your car.  Now, consider that being warm is one thing... but having sunlight on chocolate in a warm car = chocolate SOUP.  It will cost you a fortune if your candy melts up and there isn't much space for a cooler but you may have to use one.  One thing I would do would be to heavily stock-up my snack machines with candy during the mornings only (and I had to run my routes in different ways so I could fill each machine with chocolate in the morning).  Once it starts getting warm outside, dump your remaining chocolate at an account just so that it doesn't melt.  I have even taken boxes out of accounts where I had left them last time.. and taken them to the next account.  Just DON'T let the chocolate melt!  The floorboard can often be the coolest place to store chocolate if need be but a cooler is what you really need.

 

Stick to variety packs if you don't use a lot of snacks yet.  You may end up throwing a lot of them away as they expire.... but you won't have the space for 50-ct boxes and you won't be able to sell an entire box anyway... so stick with variety packs.  For 3-4 snack machines, you probably only need about 5 variety packs of chips, 5 variety packs of candy, and a couple of variety packs of pastries.  Add in some assorted stuff like crackers, cookies, etc... and you'll have enough to take care of business without overly stocking your car.

 

Keep the soda in an area where it won't easily fall over or spill, causing cans to burst and make a huge mess.  Also try to make things somewhat organized so that you can get to different varieties of soda easily.  I often pile my oddball things in front of my mountain dew (with some access to a few cases of mountain dew) because I know I won't need the additional cases of mountain dew until later... but I might need the oddball stuff at any stop.

 

Also, you could really use a dolly, and I bought a dolly at Home Depot about 5 years ago for $20-$40.  I don't remember how much it was... but it's small enough that I can put it on the passenger-side floorboard and it stands up in my car, barely much taller than the dash.  It's not very comfortable to use this dolly as I have to hunch over a little to use it (I'm 6'1) but it is WAY better than hand-carrying cases of soda.

 

For regular soda (cans only) such as Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew, the shelf-life is anywhere from 6-10 months depending on where you get it from (and how long they've had it on the shelf).  If you're tight on space, stock up your soda machines way fuller than you need with regular soda so that you don't have to keep refilling them every time you go.

 

Diet sodas last about 4 months maximum.. so be more careful about it.  However, if you can stock a machine completely full and sell enough that the selection never sells out, do it!!!!  It will save you a lot of time and effort if you can simply stock things up full every time you go.  If a column holds 48 cans of soda, and it has sold 10 cans since last service cycle.. leave it alone!!!.. you can fill it next time.  If a selection holds 48 cans and it has sold 35 cans since last cycle, fill it completely full!!!  Ideally, you only want to take entire cases of soda with you at each stop, but sometimes you have to top things off when you're working out of a small vehicle because there isn't enough space to carry everything you need at once... so you end up selling partial cases at various accounts just to make room for more product.

 

It may sound complicated... and it is... but it's probably the cheapest way to get started and you'll be in the comfort of your own car.  Just don't leave your money where people can see it.  The snacks and soda will draw enough of their attention.

As an addendum to what Chris has said, you'll probably need to prekit your snacks as you won't have the space for any full cases of anything.  I use a hybrid system since I don't have telemetry and load the under bed style storage boxes with enough product to easily handle my snack machines for that day.  These boxes are very handy as they are only 7 inches high and can stack easily in the back seat.  I have 6 main sellers which I buy by the case (64 packs per) and augment that with some combo packs for the slower sellers like Lays Potato chips, BBQ chips and Doritos Cool Ranch.  I just can't stock enough of the Cheestos Crunchies and Doritos Nacho Cheese and after about 4 years I have my system down to where I only see about 2% waste on my snack items which is considered low.  Another good idea Chris had was to stockpile your chocolate at a good half way point - there's a good amount of space in the bottom of any snack machine, that way you can use a small cooler to run your route.

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As an addendum to what Chris has said, you'll probably need to prekit your snacks as you won't have the space for any full cases of anything.  I use a hybrid system since I don't have telemetry and load the under bed style storage boxes with enough product to easily handle my snack machines for that day.  These boxes are very handy as they are only 7 inches high and can stack easily in the back seat.  I have 6 main sellers which I buy by the case (64 packs per) and augment that with some combo packs for the slower sellers like Lays Potato chips, BBQ chips and Doritos Cool Ranch.  I just can't stock enough of the Cheestos Crunchies and Doritos Nacho Cheese and after about 4 years I have my system down to where I only see about 2% waste on my snack items which is considered low.  Another good idea Chris had was to stockpile your chocolate at a good half way point - there's a good amount of space in the bottom of any snack machine, that way you can use a small cooler to run your route.

 

It's good to see your waste is really low.  I had struggled with chips AND pastries until I grew my route enough and got a cube van.  Now I hold full cases of pretty much everything so I rarely need to go to Sam's Club more than 2x a week (for product OR fuel!) and full cases generally have far better expiration dates than variety packs.

 

Managing your products out of a car in a way that things don't expire is tough to do.. and like orsd said.. you have to be careful about not leaving things at the bottom of a machine where they will expire!!

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Thanks for the replies guys. I was curious, is it possible to service 3-4 locations in 1 day with just using a car?just for a little while.

I'd say absolutely. I used to service 37 accounts with my car. I was going to 6-8 per day.

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 I run 30 machines and clear 3K a month, it's all I do and I'm not looking for any more accounts.  Vending can be any size you want it to be.

I am sure you must have another business outside of vending...3K a month would only just cover your monthly beer bill wouldn't it! 

 

;D  ;D  ;D

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Full-time vendor. I have around 50 locations, with right around 100 machines. I've been downsizing my route to work 5 days.

To remain profitable in time and money you should always be reevaluating the bottom 10% of your accounts.  Moving those machines can improve your sales and profits.  You should also evaluate marginal accounts from a service schedule perspective to see if you can double or triple the more popular items so that you can move them to a much longer service cycle.  This then allows you to collect much more money from the same account with a longer service interval.

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