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I figure that one way I can pay back all the help that I have received here is to post some information about revenue so that others can get an idea of how things are going and compare with some of their accounts. 

My first full line machines went into action on the Tuesday before the 4th of July. 

I got two 20 oz soda machines from Coca Cola.  They each went into gas stations by my house in outdoor locations. 

They were delivered without locks and I being the newbie I was, did not have any ready to place in my machines.  I ordered them from a locksmith and got them the next day for $17 each.  (I have since found cheaper and realized I overpaid, but not horribly since I needed the locks to get these machines operating.)  The locks came in Wednesday afternoon and I went out to stock my new machines.  Upon stocking, I found out that one machine was not vending properly and called Coke support.  He arrived late on Thursday and adjusted the vend mechanism for me so that it vended properly.  He also gave me several pointers and some contacts in the area for support and purchase of used machines I was looking for.  All in all a great guy. 

Monday, July 6th I returned to each location and found that my locations were doing pretty good for the short 'week' they had been operating.

Gas station 1 had $49.50 and number 2 had $53.  Tomorrow I return to see how they do after my first full week in operation. 

Last week I also got a snack machine and another soda can machine in place in my 3rd and 4th full line locations.  Stocking them up tomorrow and we will see how they do this week.  I have to say that I am quite excited since I have 2 more locations that I just need to follow up with in order to get the go ahead to place snack and soda machines in their businesses as well.  I also have a large 200 person office location that is very unhappy with his current vendor and deciding if he will give me the go ahead this week as well. 

I anticipate that my biggest problem will be managing to get the equipment in place as cheaply as possible as my capital is certainly not unlimited.  However, I will be placing as many Coke and Pepsi 20 oz machines (free) as possible in order to keep my costs low.  I am also looking at buying AP 6600 snack machines if possible for $750 or less.  My first AP 6600 was purchased for $400 and my first Pepsi can machine also for $400 from a vendor who had the locations go bankrupt.  I am finding self locating relatively easy, I just want to keep having locations waiting for machines!  Should not be too hard with lots of office parks and warehouses within 15-30 minutes driving distance from my house.  And when I say lots I mean LOTS.  I am located right at the junction of I-95 and the Garden State Parkway and US-287.  Within 3-4 exits along any of these highways are huge warehouse parks.  Also many industrial and office locations.  I could locate every day in this area and probably NEVER get to every business within 30 minutes of where I live.    I really think I am only going to be limited by my access to capital.  Ideally I would build this whole business entirely out of Coke and Pepsi 20oz machines in order to have no capital costs.  My COG will be higher, but avoiding capital costs will be key going forward.  Additionally, as I get bigger, I can get my 20oz COG down much lower as I order more product. 

I will be back tomorrow with my first full week revenue numbers...

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That is a great start. Can you fill in the picture a little bit more.

Are the coke amchines can or bottle?

what is the vend price?

what is the product cost?

what commission are you paying?

I have been in contact with coke here and I am working to get setup. Nows that I have a route guy, I am to place as many coke machines machines as I can.

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Coke pretty much will only place bottle machines here in my area of NJ.  The vend price is $1.50 and I get product for an average cost of just over $.75  The coke is expensive, but the other items like tea, water and DP are cheaper to make the average come out to $.75.  The price will fall as I order more product from them.  I am paying a 25% of net profit at the gas stations.    Going forward I am using another members suggestion on commission.  $0-100 no commission.  $100-500  10% of gross.  Over $500 -15%.  Sounds like a very fair system and no arguments over 'net'.  I am using 50% as my COG at my gas stations and the owners are not quibbling. 

Today was my 2nd collection week and I am a bit disappointed.  I guess a cold week that doesnt include the travel produced by a 4th of July type weekend hurts sales.  I only collected $33 from station 1 and $32 from station 2.  I am amazed that even though they are a couple miles apart, the sales are tracking very closely.

I will be collecting next week one last time and then move to two week servicing on these accounts and they will probably eventually go to monthly.  If I had more locations, I would start monthly servicing on these two stations now.

Soda machine and snack machine were placed with no commission in a warehouse for the can machine and an office for the snack machine.  The office could support drinks, but they have them for free from management.  They used to have snacks for free as well, but I am the beginning of the 'weaning' effort by management.  The company has grown from 10 to 30 employees and thats what created my opportunity.  The warehouse has about 30 warehouse/office employees.  Next week will tell if these two spots do well or not. 

This week should also be the go sign on two more snack and soda locations that are in a pair of assissted living homes.  Each has about 100 residents and staff.  One is geared to 25-50 yr olds that are disabled.  I expect that spot to do well, but not sure how the assissted living facility will do.  I will put machines from Pepsi in both places to get the relationship started with them since my first two machines are Coke machines.    I will hopefully find a pair of cheap used AP 6600s for these two spots.

I am hopeful cause my contacts tell me that there plenty of other vendors losing spots and they will be willing to part with machines cheap.

I finally get back on the locating trail  this week as I spent the last three days hunting for the equipment and placing it for these last two spots.  Being a rookie, it took me 2 hours to clean and 'set up' the AP 6600 with product.  The can machine took about that long as well.  The AP worked perfectly, but the can machine (Dixie narco circa 1987 with 8 one price can selections) coin mechanism proved to be faulty.  I had tested the bill acceptor and it worked fine when I bought it but didn't test the coin slots.  (Lesson learned.)  I got lucky because my coke machine mechanic had told me I could call him if I ever had a problem.  He came and replaced the coin mech AND the bill acceptor for a total of $150.  I feel like I got very lucky.

Now off to locating the rest of this week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Short collection week on the soda machines yielded good results.  (Had to refill water because it sold out during the hot week.)

4 days at Station 1, $35.5 and Station 2, $46

First week at Office snack 1, $45.55

First week at Soda Can Warehouse , $8.45  :-[

Going to refill the service stations locations to the top this week and see how a two week collection goes.  Only thing not selling is Diet Coke.  Gonna take it out and sell it at a small loss before it goes bad.  Gonna replace with a gatorade type product or juice maybe.  Looking at competitors to see what they are offering.

Warehouse was big disappointment.

Office snack was a happy surprise.  Getting office to suggest new snacks and put them in the machine.  They recommended Grandma's Cookies and placed them there with this weeks service.  Hopefully they do well. 

Have several spots that just need a final go ahead and I will be busy procuring equipment again soon!

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One cold week here in NJ and amazing how much it impacts soda sales on these outside machines.  Station 1 had $33 and 2 had $34.50.  Also amazing how closely they track each other's sales.    That makes $151 for station 1 in just under a month and $164.50 for station 2 in just under a month.  I was hoping for at least $200, but I think I need a hot month in order to achieve that.  God forbid that sales fall off a cliff when it gets to be wintertime.  That is why I have focused more on large office and warehouse accounts lately and hope to see some more payoff on that focus soon.

Filled the machines full of product and will service no earlier than two weeks barring any problems.  Can probably stretch to three weeks, I just want to make sure that  I not go too long, too soon.  The only thing not selling is diet coke and will replace with Powerade when I reorder.

On other fronts, I got my first account that will entail both a soda and a snack machine.  It is a critical care facility specializing in disabled folks aged 25-55.  90 patients and a staff of 30.  The facility has never had a soda or snack machine before and mine are going in the day/gathering room they have.  Best location inside the facility I could hope for I think.  Ordered the coke machine for them today and we will see how long it takes to get this one installed.

My snack facility says they want a 'sleeker, modern' snack machine.  They want a modern machine to match their modern image and they have a little bit of a point since they do lots of tours there as well.  I have an AP 6600 in there that seems to be working great.  Alas this one will move to the new location while I scout out a 'sleeker, modern' machine.  I showed them refurbed AP 7000s and they were not impressed.  Same goes for the National 147.  Gonna ask the regular full line forum what machine I should suggest next that isn't a brand new bank breaker!

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I did not fill the units entirely at any time during the month until today so I don't have a good answer to your question but I guess I could figure it out.  A better question is the one my wife asked me tonight.  "Honey, how much are we making on every bottle we sell."  (I love the way she says we, like she goes out and fills the machines too, but she does not.  Can't complain too much though since she has a full time nursing job to pay the bills while I build up this business.)

My average cost per bottle in the first 18 cases came in at $.69/bottle.  I also pay 25% commission on the net on these two accounts which costs me $.19/bottle.  So my total cost is $.88/bottle and my profit is $.62/bottle.  Not great, but not bad for a first full line account with no capital investment since Coke owns the machines.  My 3rd and 4th accounts have no commission and we will see what they generate in a month. 

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Serviced the snack account Monday and the take was only $34.  Did not service the soda account in the warehouse.  I have found a replacement machine for them that they will accept.  It is a newer AP LCM2.  Getting it 2nd hand from a gym that no longer wants it.  In good shape and the owner is willing to part with it for $500. 

Additionally I got a go ahead on my second snack and soda spot which is the Public Works building close to my home.  I walked in there on Thursday last week and the lady at the front desk asked, "Did someone call you?'  I replied, 'No, why?'  She said, 'Because we want to fire our current snack vendor!'  I spoke to the director almost immediately.  However, I didn't get a warm, fuzzy feeling when speaking with the director.  He was very noncommital and not a 'warm' person.  He really made me feel like he was going to call other vendors.  I tried to follow up with a phone call on Monday and did not reach him.  Today, he called me and said, 'I just kicked the other vendor out and you can put your machines in by the end of the week!' 

I expect this account to do very well and am thrilled at getting it!  (About 40 full time,blue collar employees and 20 summertime only temps should pump up sales for at least another month.)  They only want a can vendor for $.65 cans and a snack machine that doesn't break down.  Supposedly requires weekly refilling of the snack machine. I sure hope so. 

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Today was a relatively 'big' day for me.  I had a replacement AP 113 that had been refurbished and put in to replace the AP 6600 that the one office location did not want.  I also had an AP 6600 and a Vendo soda machine going in at the Public Works department.    The delivery guy showed up about 2 hours later than was scheduled for at the office.  I had long since emptied the machine and had been waiting for the delivery. 

The count for last week was $54 at the office snack location!  I also just realized that I did not count the complete revenue for the last two weeks at this location.  I had initially only filled the change machine halfway and so I have about $20 extra in change that is sitting in the machine but not reported here.  Thus, my average for 3 weeks is over $50/wk which was about what I expected. 

That good news was overshadowed by a bill acceptor that refused to work on the refurbed machine.  It would not accept bills or even try to accept bills.  I got advice on restarting the machine, etc from the seller to no avail.  He has given me a warranty on the machine so he will be out first thing in the morning to fix the problem.  The AP 113 cost me $750, but it will pay for itself if the office remains happy and keeps giving me $50 plus/week.  This office will eventually want a soda machine for their 30 employees and will definitely boost the income there. 

Because the first delivery was so late and the bill validator refused to work, I was unable to do the initial service on the Public Works location.  The machines were delivered there no problem, but they close early and I was unable to get there to service them today since I was hung up with the bad bill validator at my other account.

I spoke to them and will be servicing it bright and early in the morning to get this location going. 

Some things that I have learned as a 'new guy' that others may find helpful:

Machines don't normally come with locks, make sure you get some or make arrangements to have the seller provide them.  The same type of cylindrical locks fit in both snack and soda machines.  If you only buy a couple expect to pay $15-$20.  A dozen can be had for under $10 each.  50 or so will bring the price down under $8 and I remember hearing that you can get them for $4 if you buy enough at the right place.  I have yet to find that place.

Each snack or soda machine holds a LOT of coins.  (as much as $40, maybe more)  Make sure you have enough when you initially service any machine.  Filling them half full is sufficient, but then remember that it will 'lower' the amount your machine makes until the coin holders are full and start to send excess to your count box.

Make sure you get price tags for your snack machines from the seller, or make your own, or purchase them online.  Between putting on the price tags, filling the product and setting the prices, expect your initial service to take 2 hours or so as a newbie.  I am sure oldtimers could do it much faster, but ALL of this is relatively new to me.  This has been my experience with my first two initial servicings of new snack machines. 

The first time servicing on a soda machine is MUCH quicker.  However, the shims may move while the machine is in transit.  If you leave or place 4 sodas in each slot in the machine, it will help to hold the shims in place during transport.  Be prepared to adjust the shims during your first servicing as they can shift during transport.  Also prepare labels ahead of time to be able to place them in the machine when you do the first servicing.  The hard way is to look for them online and try to print them.  Hard to get the right size if you are not a graphics internet guru.  Or again, you can order them ahead of time for a few bucks.  Your Coke or Pepsi guys usually have them already installed if you are doing 3rd party, but get extras so you can change your offerings. 

Soda cans nowadays are very fragile.  Respect them while placing in your machine or you WILL get an unpleasant 'baptism'. 

People are people and you should expect them to run late if you are not the first stop on the delivery guys service schedule.  This is especially true if you are in an area like mine close to NYC where traffic is heavy and unpredictable.  I learned long ago in NYC that people are often late.  Instead of complaining vociferously, I try to plan it into my day because 'chit' happens. 

If you are delivering the machines yourself, I hope you have all the right equipment because I can't imagine wrestling these machines by hand into some of the locations I have.  At 44 years of age, I wouldn't DREAM of trying to move REAL size soda or snack machines myself.  Big time recipe for a hernia or worse I think.  With help I think I could manage a snack machine, but 20 oz soda machines weigh like 800 lbs!  I pay my guy $85 per machine delivered and its well worth the cost of not 'wrestling' the machines or renting the trucks, etc myself. 

Later this week I will do a two week service on my soda machines and see how they have done.  (I hope the weather stays hot here!)  I also have the assisted living home to set up on Friday when Coke delivers my 3rd party machine there. 

  See you all then.

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Serviced both of my can machines at service stations at the ten day mark.  $72 and $79 respectively which puts them on pace to continue at $50 gross per week per machine.  In another couple weeks I will publish a consolidated report listing all locations and collections that will put the information in better perspective.

My 5th and 6th locations both went into operation this week and I am anxious to see how well the first one did in its first week on Monday.  The Public Works is full of blue collar guys and should do very well.  I will let you know tomorrow.  Friday was the install of a snack and soda machine at an assisted living center.  Other than having both machines delivered late, I got them set up without too much problem.    Needless to say I am pretty stoked and look forward to servicing next week and hopefully winning approval for a new location or two. 

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Serviced my new snack and soda location today.

$47 from snacks and $30 for sodas.  Considering $.65 sodas, I guess it wasn't too bad, but I was hoping for more.

My 30 person office did $42.50 for snacks only.

30 person warehouse only did $18 for the last two weeks.  :(  This machine will move when I can find a new home for it. 

End of the week will be the first week service at my other new snack and soda location.  It only took coke two weeks to locate their soda machine there.  :(  Still, only one dog in my first 6 locations, I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Serviced all the snack locations today.

Snack only had $72 for 8 days operation.

2nd week at the Public works garnered only  $66.75 for snacks and soda.  Ok, but still disappointed.  At least no commission.

Both snack and sodas operating at the disabled care center at last.  $119 collected in  ten days or so of operation.  I say 'or so' since the snack machine gave me problems with jackpotting action going on until 8/15.    Coke gave me a newer Royal machine with dual rows for bottles.  I didn't know to load the back row with top of bottle facing toward back of machine and loaded all bottles with top pointing to front in both rows.  Was told this was the cause of the jackpotting.  Live and learn but  a frustrating experience since I could not find an operating manual for this infernal machine. 

In a couple more weeks I will have a full month of operation on all these locations and can finally evaluate properly.  Early results say I have 5 doing 'ok' out of first 6.  Will post averages for all locations and try to determine COGs to go with it.  Should make a nice profit sheet to post here so you all can let me know how I am doing.

New outdoor service station account with snack and soda going in next week and probably another snack and soda in a factory location.  One location a week being added is not stellar, but I am certainly happy to continue expanding at this pace. 

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I have a bunch of public works locations, I wish I knew why they are on the lower end of performance. They always appear to be superstar locations until I start collecting from them, one bit of advice is to just start moving product through them until you can find the "best" mix to make you the best money. It will take some time but it will be worth it in the end, I was able to bump mine up about 35-45% which allows be to justify keeping them...

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Thanks mxer that is good advice.  I already plan on changing the product mix at my assisted living center because of the many special needs folks residing there.  Since I am small, it easier to pay attention to what product moves and adjust accordingly at those locations that are not doing well.  I plan on doing the same thing at the public works and hopefully will get their sales bumped up as well.  This kind of micromanagement may be hard when I am bigger, but for right now, I think it is the best thing to do.

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your are spot on, it will become just about impossible when you are bigger, when I only had a few machines I became a pro at it but once I got to around 15 it became a lot harder. One suggestion I can make is to use a vend management software such as Vend-Trak and use Plano-grams for each snack machine and leave a copy in them so if a coil is empty you will know what was in it. Let me know if you need a template for one that I use through excel.

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If you would post that sheet here, I am sure others might find it valuable as well.  I know I would appreciate it.  If you can't post it, send it to my email: willisnyc@hotmail.com

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Well, another week and another collection report to post.  Good and bad news here.

First the good news, the assisted living center had a tremendous week.  When I arrived there, the machine had 6 empty rows and many others with only a couple selections left in the row.  I feared the worst and thought I was a victim of vandalism or 'tipping'.  To my completed happiness and surprise the machine was full of dollars and quarters!!!

I collected $80.20 from the snack machine and $36 more from the soda machine. 

My other machines didn't fare as well but at least I had one tremendous winner this week!

Public works had $40.95 for another mediocre week.

My office did only $29.40 this week.

The next day I went to my two service station soda only accounts.

Since 8/4, the first station collected $153 which is right on track for 3 weeks in my experience in this location.

The other service station was an unmitigated disaster!  I drove up and there was an out of order sign posted on the machine!  I opened it up and found that very little product had been vended over the past three weeks.  The machines sodas were also not cold.  Machines plug had LED lights lit, but the machine was not on.  This is the same machine that had problems after a thunderstorm at the beginning of the month.  However I unplugged the machine and then plugged it back in.  The compressor started right up and the lights came on.  I found $2.00 worth of quarters jammed in the coin acceptor inside the machine as well.  I had a t total of $27 in the machine.  The machine must have tripped off well over ten days ago and never restarted!!!  I talked to the attendant and he said it had been down for a 'while'.  He has my number, so I asked why he didn't call.  He said someone cleaned up inside and my card ended up missing so he could not call me.  However he told the manager who told him he would call me.  Of course he had not.  Arggggggggghhhhh!    I was really, really pissed since this machine should have had $150 or more inside of it! 

I gave the attendant more of my cards.  I also gave them to the guys in the garage and I reposted my card on the machine.  Note to self: You really need to get those laminated stickers that you were looking at to post on your machines. 

I am really unhappy, but mostly with myself for not checking on this machine in the last three weeks.  I was purposely avoiding going there since it is out of my way and I was focusing on locating.  Not sure if it is the best solution, but I think a drive out to this location once a week may be worth it just to make sure it is working.    I will also call the manager tomorrow and try to find out why he didn't call me.  I don't trust my temper today to call him and hold my tongue.  Ironic since we are only talking about roughtly $100 but total incompetence annoys me to no end. 

At least I don't have to change the mix of product at the assisted living center in order to bring up the profits there like I planned on doing.  The Public Works still seems to need a revamping of the product mix and I am starting to experiment there while I have a small amount of machines. 

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I am really unhappy, but mostly with myself for not checking on this machine in the last three weeks.  I was purposely avoiding going there since it is out of my way and I was focusing on locating.  Not sure if it is the best solution, but I think a drive out to this location once a week may be worth it just to make sure it is working.    I will also call the manager tomorrow and try to find out why he didn't call me.  I don't trust my temper today to call him and hold my tongue.  Ironic since we are only talking about roughtly $100 but total incompetence annoys me to no end. 

Why not kill two birds with one stone? For the next few weeks, concentrate your locating efforts in this area so that:

1. You end up with more accounts in the same area.

2. While working towards 1, you can check up on this account.

Thanks for the update, and keep on plugging away!


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Monday, Aug 31,2009 and it is time for another collection report:

Public Works- snack and soda cans$39

30person Office snack only- $58.65

Assisted Living-  snack and soda bottle- $149.45 total

My last location is turning into my best one!

Just some monthly numbers for July and August

              Public Works, 30 person office, Assisted Living, Warehouse,  Gas Staton 1, Gas Station 2

July-                                                                                              $223.5                $243.5

Aug-          $208.95----------$202.55-----------------$384.65------------$27----------


I have not done a collection for the service stations to close out their month, but both are down a bit.  The 2nd one because the machine was inoperable for 10 days in the month. 

I have done a COG analysis for the first couple months and I come up with 47% for my snacks and 45% for my soda bottles.

My soda can COG is 38% 

Both service stations have 25% net commissions that amount to 12.5% of gross the way I pay it out.

The assissted living location has a  15% commission attached to it. 

The profit line multiplies results by subtracting COG and then subtracts the commission if any.  I averaged the cost of goods for my 'mixed' locations.  It is a rough estimate and of course does not count the costs of gas, taxes and all those other costs associated with the business.  However it should provide a point of comparison for those of you out there wishing to do so.

I consider a location a success if I am able to net $100/month out of it.  Each of my locations is coming in very close to that or better except for one.  That one is slated to move as soon as I find a new home for that machine.  None of the others is a 'home run' location like I have seen some people get, but $100 per location will pay a lot of bills if I can get up to 50 locations in a year and another 50 next year. 

Somewhere close to 50 locations I will no longer be able to run the show myself.  Sooner if I get some larger locations.  Then I will have to hire help and the real fun begins. 

If I just keep pounding the locating pavement I will get there.

Coke finally gave me a delivery date of next  Monday for my next service station.  I still can't find an outside snack machine for there.  A sense of urgency will get me to focus on that this week in addition to my regular locating.  Several other locations out there just waiting to fall in my lap.....

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Mr. Een,

Thanks for the props, but most of my success stems from research that I did here before I got seriously started in full line.  This site answered many of my questions.  A couple books in the library here I considered to be very helpful and influential too.  Uncle's vending book and his second book both proved very useful.  Thanks to all of you here that answered many of my rookie questions and proved helpful in many ways.


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Hi Merc,

You learn stuff by reading and asking questions here, that is how I learned.  Coke and Pepsi, especially and other big drink manufacturers like Snapple have '3rd party' equipment programs.  If you search here, you will find several threads about how to go about getting 3rd party agreements in place.    Coke and Pepsi will give you machines in exchange for buying your soda product from them.  They also move the machines and repair them for you as part of the program.  It is a good thing to help a guy get started who can't afford to buy the machines out of pocket. 

I buy my snack products and can soda at BJs and Sam's Club here in NJ. 

Tomorrow I get my next service station soda machine installed and next week I get another one.  Servicing everything tomorrow and back out locating the next day to keep the train rolling!

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