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Growth, Upgrade, and Business Questions


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Hey All,

I am going through aggressive growth in snack and soda vending and am coming across a few questions.  I am just going to fire away!

Credit Card Readers - I am working with USATech on adding credit card readers.   I have upgraded 4 machines with the InOne boards and added the credit card readers(yesterday I did an upgrade of a AP4000 in record time and just in time before I threw it in the businesses dumpster).  My question is regarding the G10 vs. G9.  I initially bought two g10's but then was able to get a $50 discount to by G9's which I bought 18 of.  I am also working to put the MEI Cashflow equipment in all upgraded machines.  My question is regarding putting a 3 in 1 or 4 in 1 bill validator on a G9 vs. a G10.  For the G9 I know it takes a couple adapters through USATech.  What about the g10?  Can it connect directly a 3 in one validator(I have two VN 27h2r's in my garage).   

Second Credit Card Reader - I have 4(maybe 5) Dixie Narco soda machines with the SIID board in them.  I also have 2 with the SII board(501's).  I want to add my G9's to two of these machines.  I did some reading and it obviously needs the MDB connection.  However, there is comments of a Epron(I think) upgrade.   Can somebody explain what that is and if it is needed(or how to tell if it is needed)?  I believe it is some sort of memory upgrade but am lost beyond that. 

Technology/Repair - I want to do 90% or more of my own upgrades/repairs.  I was shocked how easy a Cooling Deck was to replace.  The employees thought I was doing a open heart surgery until I showed them the 6 screws and two bolts I put in - ha.   Anyways I also want to at least generally be able to manage bill validators and coin mechs.  My question is regarding flashing bill validators.  I am focusing on buying generally VN2512 bill validators off ebay.  I am buying anyone that has "new 5" capability at a good price - $80-120.  I had three Conlux bill validators and two didn't work so they are dead to me and I will never use them by choice again.   I have been tinkering with changing belts on a bad Mars and think I am good there.  My question is regarding "upgrading" to new $5's.  Is there a process to update?  How is that done?  Only "certified" tech's?  Just curious to better understand these.  

Employee - In the coming months I am planning to explore hiring a part time driver/stocker.   They will likely be 16 hours per week with me making the difference.   My question is regarding wages.  I have figured out taxes and what not but want to find a good starting wage.  I met a local truck driver at one of my warehouses that was saying he is getting 20 hours with that company.  I think I am going to discuss with him on hiring him for 16 hours a week.   What is a good starting wage for this?   He does not have stocking/vending experience so there will be a learning curve.  I live in the Denver market(super hot wages).  Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Edited by MrVendAlot
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Oh, I just thought of one more.  

I have two machines that I put G9 credit card readers on.  One is a AP Studio 2 and the other a combo USI(where the soda and snack are separate but only the snack has a coin mech/bill/board).   They both work for credit cards but I can't get cash reporting.  They don't have the mars bill validator and coin mech but wanted to see if anybody knows why I don't get cash reporting.  I was going to call USA Tech and see if they know if the answer isn't easy.  

 

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Congrats on the growth!  1) Yes, the G10 requires the power supply and adaptor just like the G9 for the validator bezels.  2) The MEI validators that have a flashport can be upgraded in the field.  I believe that Vendors Exchange can sell you the device to load the upgrade on unlimited units.  Units without a flashport I think can be upgraded by a service center but I am not sure, and it may not be worth the expense.  3) Older DN boards do need an upgraded EPROM to work with cashless, I am not sure about the version numbers required.  The EPROM (programmed read only memory) is a chip that plugs into the control board, and there is usually a version number sticker on the board cover or the chip itself.   Check with VE or D&S vending about the cost to upgrade the chip and if it can be done in the field. 

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You can't upgrade MEI validators unless they are flashport or have a red dotted i on the side MEI logo.  Any others can't be upgraded.  The DN eproms can be replaced in the field if you know what you're doing and are very careful.  Email me at rbepic4gatgmaildotcom if you need the parts. 

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2 hours ago, vendcobros said:

There's some machines that are too old to track cash even with an eprom upgrade (I think) - we moved away from AP4000 and had a lot better luck with AP7600 and AP6600.

I don't think this makes sense since both the AP 4000/5000 and the AP 7000/6000 all need board upgrades to ever take credit cards in the first place.  Once you upgrade the board, you should be able to track cash and card sales no problem.  A stock AP 7000 shouldn't be able to take cards without an upgrade.

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11 hours ago, AngryChris said:

I don't think this makes sense since both the AP 4000/5000 and the AP 7000/6000 all need board upgrades to ever take credit cards in the first place.  Once you upgrade the board, you should be able to track cash and card sales no problem.  A stock AP 7000 shouldn't be able to take cards without an upgrade.

I guess we never used the inone upgrade board bimut the vendors exchange universal control board doesn't work in AP4000. We had used greenwich (sp?) kits on the 4000 before and it wouldn't count cash.

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1 hour ago, vendcobros said:

I guess we never used the inone upgrade board bimut the vendors exchange universal control board doesn't work in AP4000. We had used greenwich (sp?) kits on the 4000 before and it wouldn't count cash.

So to clarify.  I have 4 inone boards that I placed on AP6000's and AP7000's.  These DO report cash and credit transactions.  I am also assuming that the AP4000 with the InOne upgrade(its different than the 6000/7000 upgrade) will track also(I am waiting on my Eport Adapter to 3 in 1 MEI bill validator and credit card to be able to test this).     

The problem one is a Studio 2 that had MDB already(i didnt change or upgrade).  That one will show me the credit card transactions but not the cash.  I verified it was all active through eport so I am assuming its the older machine causing it.   It may be a long shot but I will likely change the bill validator to Mars and and CF7000 coin mech, just in case that makes a difference.  

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3 hours ago, flintflash said:

I'm not sure what State you are in, but you will need to look at some different things beside payroll taxes for an employee.  Here in Michigan, we HAVE to provide Work Comp insurance (which is something you will WANT to do).  Also, if they are driving your vehicle, you'll need to add them to your Auto insurance or look at getting a fleet policy with them listed as an employee.  You'll definitely want a decent Liability policy (if you don't have one already, which you should).  As far as a wage, I would start them out hourly (I start at $11-12/hour) and if they pick it up and perform well, eventually move them to a commission plan to give incentive to do more and increase productivity.  I know some states have a higher minimum wage, so try to stay a few dollars above minimum wage to start.  Just my 2 cents. :) 

Thanks for the reply that helps.  I am looking at a 13-15 hourly wage to start.  I have accounted for the worker's comp with the taxes.  In Colorado it comes out to roughly an additional 10% on top of wages(for all those pieces).  I think for the van I am going to purchase a previously used fleet van and modify it(add insulation, shelves, safe, etc).   I am targeting a 10k investment there(8k for vehicle and 2k to modify).  

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13 hours ago, AngryChris said:

I don't think this makes sense since both the AP 4000/5000 and the AP 7000/6000 all need board upgrades to ever take credit cards in the first place.  Once you upgrade the board, you should be able to track cash and card sales no problem.  A stock AP 7000 shouldn't be able to take cards without an upgrade.

Yes - all of these machines have to be upgraded for MDB/Credit Card.  I have only done the InOne(mainly because they had a AP4000 upgrade and I didn't have a way to get the AP4000 out of the warehouse and place one of my spare machines in).   I will say that I am impressed with the InOne upgrades(I am not affiliated with InOne).   For ~$300 you can upgrade without drop sensor or for ~$450 with the drop.  So far I have had a lot of positives by doing this.  I am also narrowing in on Mars coin mechs and Bill validators.  It will likely take a year plus but eventually, I will only have upgraded equipment with Mars equipment and higher traffic locations with credit cards on them.   This will open up to have 2-3 bill validators, 1-2 credit card equipment and 2-3 coin mechs in the van ready for a 5 minute swap out.   

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Another question to the group in regards to USA Tech Eport's.   Is there a way to map the "Item" to an actual name?  I am trying to universalize my beverages and way I stock my food.   So, in other words, I will make the top left slot of all snack machines "Salsista Spicy chips".   Ideally, I would like to be able to update USA Live to have a name that says "Location - Car Dealership Name" and them "Item - A1 Salsita Spicy Chips".   This will allow me to be able to to pull a report since last stock and quickly load the product that is needed into the totes.   

Is that possible with USA Tech?  Does anybody do that?

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1 hour ago, MrVendAlot said:

Another question to the group in regards to USA Tech Eport's.   Is there a way to map the "Item" to an actual name?  I am trying to universalize my beverages and way I stock my food.   So, in other words, I will make the top left slot of all snack machines "Salsista Spicy chips".   Ideally, I would like to be able to update USA Live to have a name that says "Location - Car Dealership Name" and them "Item - A1 Salsita Spicy Chips".   This will allow me to be able to to pull a report since last stock and quickly load the product that is needed into the totes.   

Is that possible with USA Tech?  Does anybody do that?

Yes you can use the mdb output to map each column or give it an item name.

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Being MDB does not mean that the machine will report cash sales.  The InOne and VE UCB should both be newer technology than the AP studio to my knowledge. So yes, the InOne board on an AP 4000 should make it able to report cash sales. That information is controlled by the board. Having an InOne or VE UCB essentially makes the machine new on the programming level. The greenwicks may have not been designed for that but I don't know.

One rule to know is that you need MDB connectivity to connect a card reader, but that doesn't mean the machine can report cash sales.  It seems like you need a machine newer than 10 years old or an upgraded board for cash sales. I have considered upgrading all of my AP 7000's rather than replacing them.

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On 7/2/2017 at 5:07 PM, MrVendAlot said:

What is the process to add a custom name to field so that reporting will show that?

In the USA tech admin there's a section called column mapping - you should have a preset list of machine types to choose from but if not you can request USA tech to add them. L

You'll need to choose each telemetry unit and designate the machine type. Once that's done it will give you an output of all the mdb codes for each machine and you can assign names to them.

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