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1925

So we hate Seaga, Genesis...is there anything good?

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Laundromat owner here.  I've been lurking on this forum for a while and it's almost as if every time I find a machine, I read here that it's junk.  

We bought the store and it came with a Pepsi-owned Narco bottle machine.  It was gross and stole money, we sent it back to Pepsi with the intent to get a Coke machine from Coke.  Unfortunately, Coke apparently (am I correct?) won't let you self-fill machines anymore, they wouldn't even return my calls. 

We'll be filling it ourselves and we're leaning toward replacing with a combo snack/soda.  But I research here and the $1,700 Seaga is "crap", the machine my equipment vendor is trying to sell me, a Selectivend Commander is $4k+ and a "clone of a clone of a clone"...I've gone through Piranha Vending's site and their Piranha machines are hated here as well.

It's not worth it for me to spend $6k or $9k for this, so I'd like to buy used.  I worry about expiration dates, so I don't need too huge a machine, but I also don't want to shoot myself in the foot by buying too small a machine that won't make money....

So, experts.  I'm done lurking and now I have to ask.  If you were me, what would you purchase for a 4,000 square foot laundromat with a mostly low-income female Mexican/latina clientele with kids.   Bonus question:  do I do gum-ball machines for the extra quarters?  

Below is a Piranha machine I kinda liked, but got bad reviews here.  

 

1. Do I buy a combo?  If so, what?

2.  If I buy a soda and a snack machine, how difficult is it to have stuff not expire?  And will my energy use eat up any profit?

 

-1925

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 6.44.47 PM.png

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Just get a used AP LCM4 combo machine that will have 10 sel of 12oz cans, 10 candy sel and 10 snack selections.  But make sure you have a supervised place or you will get broken into.

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OK, if you are doing this yourself, focus on can drinks.  Snacks will be too much to manage and you will have lots of stales with only one location.  Cans have a good shelf life - usually 8 to 10 months - except diet drinks which are only about 3 months tops. 

Buy a good used Dixie Narco 501E with MDB changer and validator.  Plan to spend about 1,000 to 1,500.  The MDB equipment is the current standard and will be for a long time to come.  You can tell if it has 6 pin molex (plastic) connectors and is low voltage (24 to 34 volts), that is MDB.   If you buy from a refurbisher, ask them to set it up for cans for you.  The only big setup issue is having the proper shims for cans or bottles. 

That machine will give you usually 9 selections; and is multi price if you decide to do some energy drinks like Monster, for example.  The MDB components are easily swapped and replacements are plentiful.  If you don't have a local repair service you can swap and send the bad unit out for repair without losing sales time.

Pay good attention to the cooling system and keep the fins on the front clean to reduce problems with the compressor.  The cooling deck can also be swapped if you do have problems and those are readily available as well.  Usually, compressors last a long time but in a laundry you will have to pay attention at least monthly to keeping it clean to prevent overheating.  

Your other option is to keep your capital and time for your main business and find a local vendor who will put in drinks and snacks for you and pay you a reasonable commission.  Remember, he is taking all the capital expense. repairs, and labor off your back, so it needs to be a good deal for both of you. 

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Yep, get a rebuilt 501E. Simplest, most reliable machine for a non-vendor. Plan on spending 1500.

Bulk machines are a good idea, but require constant rotation of stock. Products are very seasonal and are often fads.

May be worth getting local vending operators to do it for you.

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Considering the time you would use stocking, shopping, cleaning, checking change and small fixes, I would try to find a local vending company to handle it and get commission.

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These suggestions really have me thinking.   I have a couple of goals here:  We're a "quarter" store, which means we still dispense quarters and don't use electronic cards so we'd prefer every bill that went in the changer gave out quarters that didn't leave the store.  I probably need some quarter M&M dispensers and such as well.

I have thought about having a vendor contractor, but my colleagues have had bad experiences with getting paid an honest commission, so their "15%" expectation is cut to 1/3 when it comes time to get the check.  I'm sure there are ways around it, but it's a pretty common story.  

I have workers at the store all day; the marginal cost of stocking and collecting is zero for me.  Buying the soda and such is a hassle, but we have a good supply house that I can stock up with every couple of months.

 

I hadn't really thought about cans, I figured the bottles were the only way to go today.  Are cans really that much better?  

And does anyone have any idea of what the snack vs soda sales breakdown would be?   If it isn't worth selling snacks, what is that "not worth" it number?  Do snacks sell at  50% the rate of sodas?

THanks for all the help.  This machine (or machines) will probably be with me until I sell the store.

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snack/soda ratio:  I don't know if there is a magic number, every location is different... the issue would be how much product would you throw out as stale? 

Cans/bottles:  The distributors are pushing bottles, but especially in a store where you are trying to capture incremental sales I think the less expensive cans would capture more impulse sales, as well as having longer shelf life and higher capacity in most machines (about double the bottle capacity) meaning less restocking. 

Commissions: There is often an unclear explanation of how commissions will be computed, and unrealistic expectations of sales numbers.  The Dixie and Royal machines both have unresettable sales meters built in that can be tracked and compared to the vendors' commission reporting.  That needs to be understood in advance and tracked by both parties.  Clearly setting out the commission in writing is critical.  Vague promises of large percentages without knowing the basis and what expenses are involved are no good. 

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If you are not using a vendor to stock your machine, I would try to keep it simple.

Soda - Cans, longest shelf life, highest capacity. If I was using bottles at all it would be for water.

Snacks - Stick to candy and chips. Much longer shelf life than pastry. If I was using any pastry it would be honeybuns and/or cookies. Again longer shelf life.

Good luck.

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