Vending machines have been recorded as early as the first century B.C., but only in the late 1880s did it come to prominence.
During those times these were primarily postcard and gumball machines with one-coin simple mechanisms, a single selection and accepted.
The multi-selection, multiple-coin, change-dispensing type of vending machines we recognize today originated in the 1940s.
These only accepted coins, featured mechanical vend mechanisms and required no power to operate. In the ’40s, of course, these did not dispense change, and were limited to 20 items in its selection.
Earlier soda machines had simple features like required power to refrigerate the product.
The current vending machine design has complex features like spiral dispense, full change capacity, bill acceptance, more than a dozen soda and snack selections. This design came to being in the late 1960s and was further refined in the 1970s.
Current improvements in vending machine technology have since been based on electronics and computer innovation. Todays vending machines accept a variety of payment types – credit cards, large denomination bills, cell phone charges (charging a product to your cell phone bill) plus it can be monitored remotely through the Internet, can produce sales figures to individual unit numbers (e.g.
sold 13 Snickers and 8 Doritos out of this machine last week), log machine entry times, and can even provide surveillance with camera technology. Yes, technology has come a long way.
The same as any innovation, vending machine technology is responding to market need.
The success of vending operators has fuelled this technology with their purchasing habits. Like all businesses, if technology affords a profitable advantage, that product is proven to have a market. The fact that the vending machine manufacturers have continued to produce better vending machines means that the vending business can be a reliable venture.
Like all other businesses, proper operation is the key to success.
Identifying your market, its location, the products you are offering, and the type/s of vending equipment you’ll use, all these are factors in the success of your vending machine business.
Successful vending machine companies in the United States are almost a thousand, and if you think the vending business is for you, then offer to work for a company in for free.
Yes, for free?! The best way to learn it is through invaluable experiences and real-world education.
The business of vending machines is an established industry, so don’t try to be radical and reinvent the wheel immediately. Start with working on a proven system until you achieve profitability, then implement new systems to improve your economies of scale.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the rules of the business do not apply to you.
So what do vending machines cost?
Determining the cost of vending machines depends on the location in which the vending machines will be deployed.
Successful vending operators have a formula to determine the value of the equipment to be placed into a given account.
Surveys show that most operators want to pay off the equipment with 9 months’ profit from the vending machine account. This equates to about half of the gross sales for a 9-month period. If they project an account to do $10,000 in sales in 9 months, then the equipment cost should be $5,000 or less.
The rule is that what is less capital, effectively produces more profit from investment.
Now it’s time to find the vending machine equipment. You can choose between used or brand-new equipment.
New equipment is priced at $2,000 to $10,000 per vending machine and depends on the type of machine, as well as its options.
The choices are snack machines, soda machines, refrigerated machines, frozen food machines, change machines, and more. Options include payment methods, size of vending machine, number of selections, electronics packages, etc.
Used vending machine equipment has also options on pricing, these range from free to several thousand dollars.
Just make sure you have a clear title. Be extremely careful in buying a branded machine, because you may have problems on the ownership rights with the brand that owns it.
You can also find operators selling their vending equipment through advertisements.
Initial costs might be low, the time and repair costs can be excessive, making other alternatives actually less expensive in the long run.
Concentrating on refurbished vending machines is suggested. Select the refurbishment level that the customer needs, and stick to your pre-determined budget.
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