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First off, I have to say I'm mighty impressed with the wealth of quality information being shared in this forum, as well as the vending industry as a whole.  What a breath of fresh air.  I'm looking forward to some good participation on this forum.

Without sounding overly confident, or arrogant, my aspirations and drive revolve around my personal goal to exceed $1m per year, net.  I'm guessing I'll need around 280 machines and 5 employees to reach $1m gross.  Oh, and a few good locators :)  It might take me a few years to get there.

I'm new to vending, but not new to running a business.  I'm a full time photographer, and I own membership based websites.  These are online "vending machines" of sorts.  One thing that is very discouraging is that people are very tight-lipped about online businesses.  Perhaps it has something to do with everyone competing within the same space; online.

I'd like to begin by asking this;  Why do many operators focus on either bulk vending or snacks / sodas / coffee?  It would seem, for the benefits of diversification, that one would want to avoid being overly invested in one area or another.

Have you ever heard of a credit card processing unit called the ePort?  Accepting credit cards within the vending space, personally, makes me foam at the mouth.  I found a link suggesting it retailed for $329 but I couldn't find any other retailers selling it that would suggest if this is a good deal or not.

Regarding locating; is it best to scout locations by cold-call or in person?  And if I wanted to become an expert locator, what would be the best resource to study?  I am quite curious how companies like Blue Moose consistently find locations that have 100-150+ employees.  Is it a general consensus that newbies & smaller businesses rely on locators where established operators have locators on staff?

I will likely purchase a couple used / refurb snack machines to start out, and load them with health foods.  I'm quite curious to see the results in a white collar location.  I'm currently debating on whether I should begin testing the waters in Austin, TX or Sacramento, CA.  Costs of operating in CA are obviously higher.


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First, welcome to the forum! As you've already noticed, there is a tremendous amount of info here to help you reach your goals (as those are some pretty impressive goals you have!)

I'll try to answer a few of your questions and let others handle the others.

For $1M gross, 3 employees (assuming you do not want to run a route yourself) should suffice. A decent route person should be able to do around $7000/week gross. This assumes less than 75 miles of driving per day which can be difficult to find enough good locations close enough to each other to accomplish.

Your question about bulk versus full line is probably best answered with MONEY.  Getting started in bulk vending has a low enough cost of entry to permit most people to try it out. Starting out in full line costs at least ten times as much. As you continue reading the forum, you'll see a number of bulk vendors who have expanded into full line as well. I don't think you'll find many full line vendors move into bulk (this is speculative on my part.)

While I have not heard of the ePort, I know my boss (full line) checked into credit card processing on vending machines for a major account we had and the start-up costs were huge (in the $60000 range.)

And finally, even the largest vending company in the country uses locator(s). I assume they also have locators on staff regionally.

Hope that helps some and again, welcome!


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