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Today is the first actual business day since I put my order in, so I will begin the time count (in business days) starting today until a location is found. So far I have had several emails from Kickstart with little tips on what to do when I go to place the machine and stuff like that, plus one email that I am pretty sure was an actual personal email from Rob Patterson that didn't seem to be like the other auto-generated emails. So far, I'm happy with the professional demeanor of the communications I've had with them.

A little detail about the order: I have a Vendstar machine that I have tried in vain to place, and I placed an order with Kickstart last Friday afternoon. We just had a baby daughter three weeks ago, plus we have a 22 month old son (plus my regular full time job), and I'm just running short on time to call around and bang on doors trying to locate the machine. So, I'm paying a locator to spend their time doing it for me. I opted to go with their Gold package and requested bars and restaraunts.

I'll post more when I have a location lead from Kickstart.

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Best of luck. I think most of us who use locators have kids and/or a day job that severely limits our ability to call & visit potential sites. I've been really happy with the results myself considering that I spend more than a month trying in my odd free minutes with no success. Now I've got 1/2 dozen locations that are doing well.

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Below is an email I received from Kickstart that explains why sometimes you might really fast results and other times you might get slow results. I thought it might be useful information to share. I didn't know that they worked in a batch type system, I just figured they filled orders as they came.

One of the most common things our clients want to know is how long it will take

to get their locations. It's difficult to predict exactly and it depends on our

current work load but generally it takes around one week to receive your first

location.

If you're looking to get your machines Located Faster consider these tips:

- We use a process called batching; essentially by putting out hundreds or even

thousands of calls at one time we're able secure locations faster. We can only

do this for larger orders (10 or more locations.)

- When one or two locations are left on your current order go ahead and place

another order. By doing this you are removing a system bottleneck and allowing

us to continue work uninterrupted.

The moral of the story: If you've got 50 machines in the garage it's probably

not best to order locations 1 at a time!

Regards,

Rob

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Below is an email I received from Kickstart that explains why sometimes you might really fast results and other times you might get slow results. I thought it might be useful information to share. I didn't know that they worked in a batch type system, I just figured they filled orders as they came.

One of the most common things our clients want to know is how long it will take

to get their locations. It's difficult to predict exactly and it depends on our

current work load but generally it takes around one week to receive your first

location.

If you're looking to get your machines Located Faster consider these tips:

- We use a process called batching; essentially by putting out hundreds or even

thousands of calls at one time we're able secure locations faster. We can only

do this for larger orders (10 or more locations.)

- When one or two locations are left on your current order go ahead and place

another order. By doing this you are removing a system bottleneck and allowing

us to continue work uninterrupted.

The moral of the story: If you've got 50 machines in the garage it's probably

not best to order locations 1 at a time!

Regards,

Rob

That "batching" process sounds like something I would avoid dealing with.

Sounds like "call center" to me.

Considering no locator on this forum employs hundreds (much less thousands) of sales reps, "batching" can not possibly result in a positive representation of YOUR business to perspective locations.

If "batching" is what it sounds like (to me), any locator using "batching" to make sales calls will:

1. Have no quality control over the employee soliciting a location on your behalf.

2. Have reps with no idea of how the vending industry works (charity or otherwise) representing YOU.

3. Have sales reps willing to say anything to get a location since there would be no accountability.

If "batching" is what I think it is...That email above explains A LOT about my personal experiences.

I may be wrong about "batching".

But, I hope I'm not. It would answer some questions I've had bugging me for a while.

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Sherlock,

I think you make some valid points. At this point I'm committed, and I'll see how the results pan out. Although I could probably request a refund if I were nervous enough about their techniques, I've seen enough positive comments on here that I think I'll wait it out and see what they get for me. On my own, I've acquired zero locations, so if they can do better than that, I'll probably be happy unless its a really lousy location.

I know from reading through other threads on here about Kickstart that there was a problem in the past with a member who found out that Kickstart misrepresented themselves to a location as employees of the charity the memeber was working with. I assume and really hope that this has been addressed; as I'm just getting started with my charity. They did not have a charity vending program and it took a bit of cajoling from me to convince them to let me do this with their charity's name. The reputation of both my business and my charity are riding on their professionalism.

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At this point I'm committed, and I'll see how the results pan out. Although I could probably request a refund if I were nervous enough about their techniques, I've seen enough positive comments on here that I think I'll wait it out and see what they get for me.

That's the wise thing to do.

There are as many success stories as there are horror stories about nearly every locator.

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Kick Start has served me well. If they have a tough time then you must live in a saturated or non-charity supporting area. Also, in some locations people are just not friendly.

Kick Start has found all of my locations very quickly.

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That "batching" process sounds like something I would avoid dealing with.

Sounds like "call center" to me.

Rob says that you've got to order 10 or more for "batching", so that isn't what I've gotten. I just order a few at a time and have had good luck for the most part. They definitely are cold calling these locations, but that is what I'd expect. Unless you pay someone to go onsite for you, but that's going to be a lot more expensive. The main issue I've had are the owners who have a weird idea of what a vending machine is. A few times I've had people look at the machine and say they thought it would be more like a small charity box you put quarters in. I don't think that's Kickstart's fault really but managers who don't listen or pay attention. I do request that Kickstart always tell the manager that it's "on a stand" so they at least are warned that they cannot sit it on top of the cash register (as one manager was hoping to do).

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A little googling around on the internet has led me to believe that "batching" is exactly what you think. Ive found several instances where Rob is seeking outsourced telemarketing services from companies in India.

His profile on one fairly popular social site confirms this.

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Rob says that you've got to order 10 or more for "batching", so that isn't what I've gotten. I just order a few at a time and have had good luck for the most part. They definitely are cold calling these locations, but that is what I'd expect. Unless you pay someone to go onsite for you, but that's going to be a lot more expensive. The main issue I've had are the owners who have a weird idea of what a vending machine is. A few times I've had people look at the machine and say they thought it would be more like a small charity box you put quarters in. I don't think that's Kickstart's fault really but managers who don't listen or pay attention. I do request that Kickstart always tell the manager that it's "on a stand" so they at least are warned that they cannot sit it on top of the cash register (as one manager was hoping to do).

Of course they are cold calling.

The issue is not the method of call --- it's the people doing the calling and the way in which they appear to be managed.

If locators finding my locations have no vending industry knowledge AND are not held accountable for their negative words/actions (as is likely the case in sales call centers where the "sale" is the only goal), how could they possibly represent my business in a good light?

And as far as owners having a weird idea of what a vending machine is, it's the locator's job to make sure owners/managers are clear on what it is you are delivering.

If they have gotten you a location but failed to set proper expectations with the owner/manager, then the locator has not done their job.

If it's a call center rep making the call for you -- the caller himself probably doesn't even know much about the kind of machine you will be delivering.

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Last Tuesday would have been the first business day that Kickstart would have had to work on my order, so today is the one week mark. I am hoping that they find a location this week.

A week's wait isn't too bad.

KSL's website states you can expect your first location within a week, but I don't know of any locators turning things around that quick.

Eddie Bauer was getting locations within a few days under a different business model he tried some month's back.

But, that went away with that specific business model.

Now he's in line with KSL and any other locator I have experience with.

Don't be completely disappointed if you get nothing this 2nd week either.

Just send off a status request email to Rob if you get a little antsy after this 2nd week.

Keeping yourself on a locator's radar is not a bad idea.

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A week's wait isn't too bad.

KSL's website states you can expect your first location within a week, but I don't know of any locators turning things around that quick.

Eddie Bauer was getting locations within a few days under a different business model he tried some month's back.

But, that went away with that specific business model.

Now he's in line with KSL and any other locator I have experience with.

Don't be completely disappointed if you get nothing this 2nd week either.

Just send off a status request email to Rob if you get a little antsy after this 2nd week.

Keeping yourself on a locator's radar is not a bad idea.

Oh, I won't be disappointed yet. If I didn't manage to locate the machine in three weeks' time, then I definitely won't be disappointed if KSL can't do it in one week. I just hope that they find me a location this week because I'm excited about getting the machine out and finally being able to say that my business is up and running. My area isn't particularly saturated with with bulk venders, but its not that receptive either. It takes a strong salesman to convice people around here, and I just don't have enough experience with vending yet to be able to answer objections. When I get a no, and they provide a reason, most of the time I wasn't really able to offer a counter-argument, all I could say was, "Okay, thanks for your time".

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Look Guys

I am going to make one final attempt to explain why it's taking as long as it is for Kick Start to find you a location. Rob may not admit this, but demographics really determines how easy or hard it is for him to find you a location. I submitted an order to Rob this past Saturday evening using Pay Pal. Before my money cleared my checking account he found me a location. He found me a location by Monday afternoon.

If you live in California or New York and surrounding states, the locators will catch hell trying to find you a location. Businesses there get bombarded with BS every day and all day. So the locator may get more hang ups. Also, you may be dealing with saturation.

If you live in a very small town, once Kick Start has called every business that's it. You are on your own. So you need to get out and meet these people one on one to build some trust or make some friends.

So give Rob a break or locate yourself and see how successful you are.

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Shepard,

I pm'd you with the details of my recent experience with KS. As I said, KS will come up with your locations. In my experience it has taken them about a 7 days each time. I am in Indianapolis. Keep us posted on your results.

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Well, good news and not so good news. Kickstart found a location for me late yesterday, but they want 20% commission. I'm already giving 10% to a charity, and giving up another 20% isn't exactly what I had planned on. It's a pita shop, and I don't know how much business it will generate for me. It could be good, but I don't know.

What do you guys think, should I take the location knowing that I might have a very slim profit margin, or tell Kickstart to find another location?

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Well, good news and not so good news. Kickstart found a location for me late yesterday, but they want 20% commission. I'm already giving 10% to a charity, and giving up another 20% isn't exactly what I had planned on. It's a pita shop, and I don't know how much business it will generate for me. It could be good, but I don't know.

What do you guys think, should I take the location knowing that I might have a very slim profit margin, or tell Kickstart to find another location?

If I show up to a location under the pretense of charity and they want a commission I accommodate since I only do the minimum $1 per machine per month. Now if I was paying a larger commission to the charity I would not, I would make the location a commission only spot, I let the owners know that I have 2 different models, one to help support my charity of choice and another to pay shop owners the commission they want for providing you the space in their shop. This is one of those things you just have to feel out as far as there interest in your charity of choice. Now que hav's anti charity comments.

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Well, good news and not so good news. Kickstart found a location for me late yesterday, but they want 20% commission. I'm already giving 10% to a charity, and giving up another 20% isn't exactly what I had planned on. It's a pita shop, and I don't know how much business it will generate for me. It could be good, but I don't know.

What do you guys think, should I take the location knowing that I might have a very slim profit margin, or tell Kickstart to find another location?

Shepherdsflock

I would only do commission if this location is "rack worthy". Unless this location has heavy traffic and they let me place a rack, I'm passing. I would not pay commission from a U-Turn because you may end up loosing money.

If you do not have a rack, call Kickstart and request a new location.

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Once you get the locations, are you sure you even want to keep them? I paid $70 each for 3 toy locations. Got some crappy transmission repair place that did $2 in 3 months. Got another convenience store that did about $10 in 5 months. I figure it will be a waste of money to ask KSL for any more locations.

I can go out and do locating about once a week. I've gotten more quality locations that way in the past two months than any of the locations I paid for from ANY locator.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been 22 business days since the order began. They did find one place that I turned down. I gave them a wishlist with over 35 local businesses and they called all of them, but about half of them have been sitting in the "Call back" status for over a week now. I'm not real impressed with this. I've asked them to call these places back to see if they could get an answer.

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It's been 22 business days since the order began. They did find one place that I turned down. I gave them a wishlist with over 35 local businesses and they called all of them, but about half of them have been sitting in the "Call back" status for over a week now. I'm not real impressed with this. I've asked them to call these places back to see if they could get an answer.

Yeah..I've been waiting almost a month b/c I had to turn down locations that they found outside my search radius. It feels like they "punish" me when I turn down locations...not my fault if you can't listen to directions. I'm exploring the idea of cutting out this middle man and hiring my own telemarketers with my own script (quality control). If I paid them $20/hr and they got me only one location, it would still be cheaper than the other locators, and I wouldn't have to answer to why I'm declining locations.

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