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Oh boy! I'm getting my first customer!


MVS
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OK, so I -a total greenhorn- am likely getting my first customer, and I am so nervous!

It is a large real estate office full of uppity people in an uppity part of town.

Currently, it has a bills/coins snack and pop machine (i.e., 2 machines), from a vendor who has been there for several years.

Told them I could get them credit card machines, and more of their customers would be able to take advantage, and they are actually going to take me up on it (uh-oh)!

Little concerned about a couple things though:

1) They asked about fruit and yogurt (i.e., health food/perishables), and I have no way of knowing whether there is enough business there for that.

2) Also asked about frozen treats: But even if I buy brand new machines for these things, how do I transport frozen goods from the store to the machines without it all melting (i.e., Do I need to buy a refrigerated truck in order to do this kind of business?

Any thing else I am not thinking of?  

I can always back them off, and say, "Well lets see how things go with the pop (can) and snack machine before getting into health food and ice cream."

Edited by MVS
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When you say a large office--- how many people?  Fruits and yogurt would need to be sold from a refrigerated machine. The frozen would require a machine designed to sell frozen products. Neither of those machines are inexpensive. As for transporting frozen goods to your location, a cooler and dry ice would be you best bet. Just don't buy more than you can fit into your frozen machine. You don't want to ride around with that all day. 

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Wow...I think you just saved me from making a mistake.

I am guessing there are 60 realtors in the building, but no more than 25 on site at any given time.

They have had a vendor n there for many years who has a pop and snack machine, and he leaves them all the expired stuff.

Wonder how much was expired.

Thank you AC!

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22 minutes ago, MVS said:

Wow...I think you just saved me from making a mistake.

I am guessing there are 60 realtors in the building, but no more than 25 on site at any given time.

They have had a vendor n there for many years who has a pop and snack machine, and he leaves them all the expired stuff.

Wonder how much was expired.

Thank you AC!

As a seasoned vendor, what you have just told me about leaving them expired stuff and having no more than about 25 realtors on site at any time.. that tells me that you should give them a call and say hey... things came up and I can't provide these machines to you.

Fortunately, from the sounds of it, you didn't really lose anything from this experience.  If anything, you gained some valuable knowledge yourself -- knowledge that I touched upon a bit.  Sometimes, you look at a place and you think it's good for vending machines simply because the size of the building or their "status" as being higher-up in the world (subjectively) when, in reality, it could be an absolute dud account.  

My gut feeling is that you could have found yourself spending THOUSANDS of dollars on a few machines for this location only to regret every moment of it.  Now, hopefully with a little insight into things, you can go on and look for some blue-collar accounts.

We will all tell you to look for certain accounts.. like accounts with 50+ people in it, but don't be afraid to start off in accounts that are less intimidating, such as tool shops with 20+ workers or a small factory with 20+ workers.  These can be great places where you can more easily sway them to allow you to place machines and learn the ropes.  In a blue collar account with 50+ people, it can be a challenge when you start getting odd requests or issues with the machines that you don't know how to fix.  Accounts of these size have often dealt with seasoned vending companies before and they won't hesitate to kick you out if you can't keep up with the issues.  When I went into business, I had already had almost 4 years of experience as a route driver, so I was accustomed to filling machines, taking requests, and doing very minor repairs.  Now, I do almost all on-site repairs myself.  There's nothing wrong with going after some of the slower accounts (but better than that realtor office) and throwing some good refurbished machines in it and learning from there.  The one thing I do recommend, however, is trying to get everything MDB from the beginning.  You can do that by buying equipment that was already designed that way OR getting equipment that is very popular for upgrading, such as AP 7000's, AP 112/113's, National 157's, etc...  I have become a big fan of AP 112/113's when they come with dual spirals.  They are very reliable machines and they look nice despite their age, and upgrading them is pretty easy.  I have gotten some for less than $500 and it would only require about $700 in parts and my own time to make them look and work much like newer machines.  Plus, if they get beat up at blue-collar locations, it won't hurt my feelings.  I got a call today from one of my best customers saying they think someone hit the machine (AP 7600) because some buttons won't work.  I get there and all that happened was the keypad connector came undone.  It was a very easy fix and it appeared that no one had done anything to the machine.  Even if they had, I wouldn't have been too upset.  For $150/week in snack sales, I'll let them beat on an AP 7600 occasionally.  It is upgraded too.

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Bingo! Exactly Angry Chris.

I took over another girls route of 9 machines, 2 were at 2 realty offices, and one at a bank. She had her product priced at .65cents, and there was still expired product in it. 

When I took over I pulled the machines telling them they needed to be  thoroughly cleaned and they were getting updated with card readers. Which they were promptly relocated to hotels. 

I stay away from businesses that close at 5pm and closed on the weekends, the machine are automatically cut big exposure times when locked in a office. 

Also, yogurt is not a big seller. I have sold far far more seaweed wafers than yogurt. Its crazy. 

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