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Refinishing 30 year old machines with 2019 looks and tech

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Anyone have some Vend Porn on how they took old machines with wood paneling and suped it up to look like a 2019 machine with new tech?

Let's see pics and prices!

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I don't have any pictures but I will tell you this (if you want to know).  Upgrading 30 year old machines to look like something "new" would pretty much limit you to maybe AP 7000's, AP 110s and National 147+.  The thing is.. to look like 2019 would pretty much mean using a revision door or InOne door.  For the cost of the doors + all necessary components, you would be close to the cost of a decent late-model machine that is much newer and probably has more longevity as far as parts are concerned.  So you have to ask yourself if it's worth it to invest the money... Plus, to upgrade a machine with parts means using up time to do so.  I don't have much time anymore and I question whether I should put that kind of money into older machines whereas I could just replace the front, trim, board, mech, val, and add a card reader for maybe $1400 in all.  It would save me a bit of money vs. buying a revision door (or buying refurbished) and I can write everything off the same tax year.  Or, I can just buy refurbished and have it delivered and save me a lot of time and trouble.

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That makes a lot of sense Chris! I'm literally 2 days into vending. This forum is so great learning the ropes. I was just wondering because i bought a 30y old machine and wanted to see what others did.

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Dang that looks amazing lacanteen!! Do you have more? Is that a InOne Door?

Edited by Invento

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The wrap in the top came from VE. I got one large  sheet but after cutting, had enough for 2 machines. That cost $225 because it is also laminated. The center panel is left over Tuffront panel, the bottom is Bison Black Supro film. 

I now have Graphics that Pop custom cut the left and right to my exact size (+1/2") and I am experimenting with carbon fiber for the center, but still use leftover stuff for now. I can't disclose my cost but I buy 25 sets at a time along with at least 20 platinum precut panel kits to make it worth their while. We also buy our micromarket setups from GTP as well so we spend a lot of money there and get good consideration. It also helps that we are a Canteen franchise. 

I believe the platinum precut kits have an MSRP of $175.00. 

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Thanks so much. I just talked to them today, I'm looking at doing the tuff sheet. How are the corners done so they look nice? Do they slide into each other? 

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34 minutes ago, Invento said:

Thanks so much. I just talked to them today, I'm looking at doing the tuff sheet. How are the corners done so they look nice? Do they slide into each other? 

I'm not exactly sure what you mean but you take the trim off (and many other parts such as the delivery bucket, lock assembly, etc...) and replace the front.  Then you put everything back on.  I did it with a National 168 and the front looked so good that it made things like the keypad and lock assembly look worse than they did before (but the machine does look much better now).  I did it on-location and it took me several hours but that's mostly because it was hard to get to all of the screws for the trim and I didn't replace the bottom panel below the delivery bucket because I didn't want to run into a situation where I had trouble putting it back on.  Plus, I really struggled to get it under the plastic strip by the glass.  It simply didn't want to go in there and I didn't know what to do to be honest.

Maybe LACanteen can confirm this, but I think replacing a vinyl front may be as much if not MORE work than replacing the entire door with a retrofitted door (but LOT less expensive).  Perhaps my National adventure was an exception, but I think a novice would need at least 2 hours to replace the front.  You'll need a minimum of some screw drivers and a socket driver set to get it all and you might need some pliers and scissors.

P.S.  I didn't like doing it at all!!!

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Standard black Tuffront Kit MSRP $60-$75. Add another $5 for pushbutton lenses. Add control board upgrade $400. Time, 1.5 hours or less. 

Replacement door: MSRP $1100-$1300. Time, 30 minutes or less. 

We spend an average of 7 hours per machine (in shop) stripping the door and most of the cabinet, removing the shelves, washing, sanding, painting. The entire machine is clean and fresh including shelves, buttons, plastics, etc. 

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Ok. Looks like I'll go with the tuff front, for the push button lenses, mime are a little cliudy but work well. I have a lekrto vend vs99. Where would i get new ones? Could I just buff these with a dremel? Same question for the trim, there is about 2 scratches on the trim about 1/8 and a 1/4 of an inch, the rest looks fine. I'm just trying to get rid of the wood paneling and make it look good.

I'll take a picture and post in a minute.

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Junk the VS99. There are no parts available for them.

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7 hours ago, AZVendor said:

Junk the VS99. There are no parts available for them.

Unfortunately the VS99 is probably the worst machine you could have chosen to upgrade. No one really has parts for them, no upgraded boards are available, and they are kinda orphans.

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Haha. It seems so. Well i attribute this to learning the tradecraft. For $200+ plus gas I think its a cheap lesson. I just scored a 5 location contract today! I need 5 soda machines and 4 snack machines. They estimate $10-15k a year they received with their 15% prodit share. What machines would do well in laundry mats? These are in pretty nice locations. 40-80 machines, refinished with calm customers. Just visited all of them today in 3hrs. I would imagine the vs99 in my home town would be fine right? 

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1 hour ago, Invento said:

Haha. It seems so. Well i attribute this to learning the tradecraft. For $200+ plus gas I think its a cheap lesson. I just scored a 5 location contract today! I need 5 soda machines and 4 snack machines. They estimate $10-15k a year they received with their 15% prodit share. What machines would do well in laundry mats? These are in pretty nice locations. 40-80 machines, refinished with calm customers. Just visited all of them today in 3hrs. I would imagine the vs99 in my home town would be fine right? 

It will be much better to cut your losses on the vs99.  There are many other good old machines out there if you want cheap.  And 10-15k each year sounds good but it's not that good if it's spread across 9 machines with a15% commission.  AP 7000's with new boards would be a good fit here with some good 501e's.  Regardless, landing accounts on your own is good and hopefully it will be enough to spread sales out and reduce stale product.

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Thanks so much AngryChris. Do you think this revenue is a good projection, this was from the owner saying he got about $1500-2000/yr in commissions. I checked out the locations, there are 3 busy locations and 2 in smaller towns. All were in great shape and some of the nicest laundry mats I've ever seen. I didn't see any damage to anything, machines were 10 years old but in nice shape. Patrons were calm and bored. Here are the stats, 

They have 3 locations with 40 washer/dryers and 2 with 80 washer/dryers.

I have found some AP 7000 and crane 167 for $500 and tracking down soda machines. Combos was an option but man they are expensive! I can't find them for less that $2000. I can find single price for $250 and Multi for $800-1000. What would you suggest?

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I can't give you anything for income projections because I have no clue.  I would guess that sales are pretty volatile and they don't have much to do with the number of washers and dryers and have far more to do with traffic, proximity to convenience stores/fast food, and demographics.

The national 167, if for $500, is a keeper.  The 7600 is a good machine but much older than the 167.  Still, if you need a snack, I think you can justify the $500 if it has a Mars validator in it and it's in good shape.

Skip single price.  As for multiprice, it depends on the model.  A 501e for $1000 in good shape is a good deal (they can go for higher).  A rockola is multiprice but you won't want that (even though they are great machines for their age).

Combos should only be used when space is an issue, but if you have room for one machine in a laundromat, stick with a soda machine.

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Chris you are amazing man. Thank you for helping me through this. I have one more question for another location. They have a large vending company, Evergreen Vending, they have new machines but aren't stocked well. They are brand new and honestly pretty sexy with CC's. Can I compete with old machines if I have great service as they are 2 miles from me?

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26 minutes ago, Invento said:

Chris you are amazing man. Thank you for helping me through this. I have one more question for another location. They have a large vending company, Evergreen Vending, they have new machines but aren't stocked well. They are brand new and honestly pretty sexy with CC's. Can I compete with old machines if I have great service as they are 2 miles from me?

That's difficult to answer.  The short answer is "yes".  You CAN compete with old machines but you would be doing so at a huge disadvantage in my opinion.  Think about it from the customer's perspective.  If you went to two different restaurants serving the SAME EXACT FOOD, but one restaurant looked dated and the other one looked brand new, which restaurant do you think would give the allure of being better quality?  The answer is the new restaurant.  It's a known, studied fact that customers are willing to pay higher prices for the SAME products when the *perceived value* seems higher.  That means that a customer is totally okay paying $2.00 for a 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi from a nice clean gas station with nice coolers and a clean environment but they feel ripped off when they have to pay $1.75 for the SAME 20 oz bottle of Pepsi from a vending machine that looks "old".  That studied fact is not something that has been shown solely in vending.  It is true across the board for all businesses.  You name the company, the service, the product, etc..  Looking "nicer" and "newer" means people will pay more even when the service or product are no different.

Having said that, I will tell you that, unless you KNOW that those machines at the location in question are brand new, there's a great chance that they could actually be refurbished and not brand new at all.  An AP 113 with a revision curve door paired with a DN 501e can look totally brand new despite the fact that the 501e could easily be 10-20 years old (I am not exactly sure on their production timeline) and the AP 113 is probably 20-25 years old (again, not sure on production).  Either way, the pair could look almost like brand new to the untrained eye.  A seasoned vendor can usually spot a 501e instantly and many of us can tell you what kind of machine it is just by looking at the shelves, spirals, and some other clues even though the door has been completely replaced.  Most people just don't know that though.  My point is that you could very possibly get yourself a pair of refurbished machines for $3,000-$4,000, add card readers, and compete perfectly.  With that, you will have made the playing field MUCH more even in terms of equipment and now you can allow your service to be what separates you from the bigger guy.

I will say this though.. I have no idea how much vending experience you have.  Having a machine close to you does not mean you'll give better service.  And the worst thing you can do is try to sell yourself on better service and offer poor service.  Vending is not that hard from a restocking perspective but some repairs can be a bit difficult your first time around.  But one thing is true though... sticking with old machines is a poor choice unless you are going to upgrade them (at a minimum).  You can get lucky and find locations where they don't care about card readers or taking $5's or thing like that and you can make good money at some locations, but cash sales are slowing down and cashless sales are picking up.  As time goes, cashless will be the primary form of payment acceptance and you could easily get kicked out simply because you won't take credit cards and the other company will.  On top of that, you could be missing out on a lot of money...

Just so you are aware, I have been upgrading machines pretty regularly for the last 2+ years and there seems to be no end in sight for me.  I have also begun raising prices everywhere, starting with my slowest accounts first (they just get a notice of the price increases with a date of when they will take place) and then onto my better locations last (I discuss with my contacts first).  My mentality is that... if they see that I am willing to invest money back into them, they won't mind price increases as much.  So far, in the last 10 years, I cannot remember a customer kicking me out for raising prices.  The only issue I can remember was questioning if I would replace equipment if I raised the prices.

Provide good equipment, good service, get good locations, and charge fair prices and you'll do fine.  If a location is happy with their vendor but they will gladly switch for lower pricing, then you have almost no room to negotiate without hurting yourself.  If a location is unhappy with their service, then that's when you have to sell them on the idea that you'll offer better service.  Sometimes, you may have to let them know that you'll have to charge more if you are dealing with a poor vendor with low-ball pricing who provides poor service.  Do NOT be the guy who sells everything cheaper just to get accounts. You'll lose in the long run.

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Man I love this, you are so thorough. How long have I been doing this? 1 week. I bought a machine on Saturday and found 7 locations this week. I am quickly trying to fill them, who knew the need was so high?!

To take the National 167 and AP 7000 to the level you are talking about, do I just do a new door for $1200 and call it a day, wrap it with health fending (and stock what sells) or something slick or just tuff coat/paint it. What about replacing the dated looking buttons, are there a way to update these? I have a bus depot that has 200+ hungry drivers that had a line of 10 people waiting on BOTH machines when I went in on a wednesday afternoon. They seem very interested but wanted to make sure to put my best foot forward.

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1 hour ago, Invento said:

Man I love this, you are so thorough. How long have I been doing this? 1 week. I bought a machine on Saturday and found 7 locations this week. I am quickly trying to fill them, who knew the need was so high?!

To take the National 167 and AP 7000 to the level you are talking about, do I just do a new door for $1200 and call it a day, wrap it with health fending (and stock what sells) or something slick or just tuff coat/paint it. What about replacing the dated looking buttons, are there a way to update these? I have a bus depot that has 200+ hungry drivers that had a line of 10 people waiting on BOTH machines when I went in on a wednesday afternoon. They seem very interested but wanted to make sure to put my best foot forward.

The 167, as long as it's clean and working, then the most you should ever have to do (to add a card reader) is to update the e-prom (not necessarily though) and, of course, add the card reader.  If it needs cleaned up and/or repaired, then there's more work but that applies to any machine.

For the AP 7000, you can either add a revision door or just replace the front and trim.  Replacing the front and trim takes more time as LACanteen showed (takes his guys 1.5 hours and they know what they are doing) but it will still look nice.  You can also replace the buttons but that's a bit of an advanced explanation.  Whether you add the revision door (which comes with the board, drop sensor, and LED lights), then you should only need to follow the directions for its installation, replace the mech and validator, add a card reader if you have it, and clean up the machine and paint if necessary.  You want the shelves and coils to look nice because that's the main part the customer will see (and the outside of course) but cleaning everything is important.  If you want to go the cheaper route and add just a new board, you will save at least $500 in the end.  An AP 7000 can still look pretty decent once its cleaned up and has a new front, new trim, new paint, and a card reader.  I don't recommend wrapping it with anything, especially healthy vending, unless you plan on having that as your niche... but why would you want to limit yourself to healthy stuff? Honestly, I wouldn't expect people at a laundromat to care about how healthy everything is.  Just leave a few good options.  front + trim + paint will really make it look a lot better but not as much as a revision door.

For you, my recommendation is to definitely get the National 167 (as long as it doesn't look like it fell off a truck), get it priced (and add new price scrolls if necessary), possibly paint the outside if it needs it (not the front, just the sides/top and maybe back) and replace the vinyl front/trim if it really could use it.  For the AP 7000, I recommend replacing the vinyl front, new trim, new VE UCB or InOne board with drop sensors, refurbished mars MDB validator and refurbished MDB coin mechanism (ideally a mars CF 7512 and mars 2702/2712), and clean it up as needed.  You may also need a price sheet so you can price everything since I don't think there's anyway to make an AP 7000 use scrolls.  Alternatively, you can buy a label maker if you don't already own one and make your own labels for pricing.

If I were in your situation and I thought I would make good money at a laundromat location (like $2,500+ per year PER MACHINE), then I would buy a refurbished snack with a 501e and have it delivered by the refurbisher.  It would cost me more than what you are getting machines for but my time is limited and I wouldn't settle for slow locations anyway.  Vendors larger than me can get away with it because they have enough employees to have at least one employee refurbish machines in-house.  If you have the time though, refurbish it yourself and save a lot of money.  The only downside is that you might get confused on how to put parts back on after you've had to take them off.

I think your path is good for learning so as long as you feel good about it and you have a little cash to burn, you should feel optimistic because you should be able to recover quickly even if you make mistakes early on.  You are doing things kind of a harder method but you'll be more prepared for future events in my opinion.

Edit: Just so you know, the AP 7000 was one of the best machines made in its day, but it is not suitable for good locations in today's market (unless you live in the middle of nowhere and you can't get anything else) unless it gets some upgrades.  So, why many of us will say good things about it, that doesn't mean you should buy every AP 7000 you see.  The National 167 is a far better machine for today's standards.  If you found two 167's it would be 100 times better for you to buy both of them, even if they were $1,000/each and the AP 7000 was $200.  The AP 7000 is okay once it's been upgraded but I just want to make it clear that the National 167 is a far better deal at $500 than the AP 7000 is.

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This is awesome Chris! Thank you. I dont have anything else to ask now except follow your advice and ask what is accepting "scroll"?

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When I say scrolls, I am referring to price scrolls.  Some machines can have price scrolls installed which are just long rolls of label that you can quickly adjust to display the price.  They are just small rolls with pricing on it.  If y our price is $1.00 and you want to change it to $1.10, you just scroll it over to display that.  You still have to program the machine for the actual price but the scrolls just make it easier for you to quickly change it so the customer can see it next to the selection number. 

Some machines (older machines) used a "price sheet" which was just a sheet with a lot of little "tabs" as I will call them.  Each one had a price on it and a sheet might have about 100 per sheet.  You'll only need a couple sheets and you can reuse them except you might not need certain prices for a long time.  So if your prices are $1.00 for LSS chips now, and you change to $1.10 in the future, then you'll have to replace them with $1.10 "tabs".  If nothing in your machine is going to $1.00, then your $1.00 tabs are pretty much useless for a while.  With the scrolls, they often go in increments of 5 cents up to $1.00 higher (ie. $1.00 - $2.00) and sometimes you can use 2 separate scrolls, one for dollars and one for cents... so you the cents goes from .00 to .95 and the dollars may go up to $10 or more.  So if you want to go from $1.00 to $2.50, you just change one scroll from $1 to $2 and the other scroll from .00 to .50.

The catch?  Scrolls get bent up over time and, once damaged, they become the biggest pain in the golpher to deal with.  A label maker will make labels pretty fast but cutting them and pasting them is a bit time consuming.  New price scrolls (the National 167 will use them) are cheap but the cost adds up a bit when you add a lot. They are about $1 each but each selection should really have 2 scrolls to make it easy in the long run because you would probably never have to buy them again as long as they don't get damaged.  You can probably get by for a while if you get the scrolls that go from $0.55 - $1.50.  It will just be a pain once you go beyond $1.50, and believe me.. it won't take long to need to go above $1.50 especially if you will be paying commission.

I am convinced myself that I should stop using the label maker for most machines and just pay up for new scrolls and tabs.  If someone has an opinion on price scrolls/tabs vs. using a label maker, fill me in.  

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Totally makes sense. Reminds me of playing D&D with those HP wheels vs having to erase and rewrite it all the time. I feel so much more confident now. I know exactly what I am doing monday. I am taking Sunday off! Thanks again!

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