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Here are the vending basics and the requirements for a person who wants to start a legitimate food and beverage vending business. These are in no particular order:

Start with locations and potential locations you can possibly get to put machines in and service.  Find out the hours of operation so you know when you can service the location.  See how many shifts they may run and if they are a 24 hour operation so you can plan accordingly on servicing them.   You also want to find out the quickest and easiest way to get from the delivery truck to your machines.  

A delivery vehicle is extremely important.  You will want to set it up to hold your products and to keep them from moving around.  Obviously, you will need insurance for the vehicle along with a company gas card to make it easy to keep track of mileage, etc.

Usually, the municipality where the machines are located will probably require a yearly license sticker for each machine.  This usually runs between $10-$25.00 per sticker. You will need to apply and register for your factious name to make sure it is available and this can be done on your state's Secretary of State website.  

It will only help your vending sales if you give a product survey to your main contact at your location to let the employees decide what goes into the machines.

Establishing a business relationship at a local bank would be good so you can set up a line of credit to borrow money because the vending business is a capital intensive business.      

Things that you will need or want to have:

  • A safe to keep your money along with good bags to collect the money that are labeled for each machine at each location.   An auto alarm cannot hurt either.  
  • A product dolly, preferably one that folds into a cart to take your product from the delivery vehicle to the machines.
  • Extra coinage to keep the coin mechanisms full and giving refund money back.  
  • Creating a refund system to make people honest and to keep track on this by having refunds slips for the customers to fill out if they lose money.  
  • Always have service manuals for the machines, you should keep these in the machines.
  • Cleaning supplies to keep your machines clean is a must.  For example, lent brushes for keeping the coils clean in your beverage machines and glass cleaner for your glass front snack machines.
  • Inventory accountability system.  If it is just you to start out, that is ok, but when you get an employee you must put checks and balances in place so they do not steal from you.  
  • Good storage for your product, on and off your truck to combat extreme weather as well as a place to keep your vehicle.  
    • You will need to research and find a good product supplier.  You might start with a mass merchandising store so you can get small quantities of products at decent wholesale prices.  
  • Workman's comp insurance if you have employees.    
  • Dependable equipment/parts supplier for your machines along with spare parts to save time, effort, and energy, keeping the machines working at all times.
    • You will want to have vending repair guys at your finger tips in case there is an issue you cannot resolve.  
    • Also, a vending machine mover until your business gets big enough to have the man power to do that internally.  
  • Some sort of written agreement with locations basically stating if you do a good job, they will keep you.  Otherwise, they can cancel your service for no reason at all.  

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American Vending Machines provides vending machines, vending equipment and vending machine parts. With more than 100 years of combined experience in the vending industry, the AVM staff is well positioned to be your "go-to" resource for anything related to vending. AVM goes beyond selling our inventory. We strive to make your business profitable!

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