I live in a suburban area with a lot of new office buildings going up. Driving around the other day, it hit me that as much as I hate urban sprawl, maybe I could make a few bucks off of it by installing soda machines in the buildings? With a few machines, I’d need only spend maybe one day a week maintaining them. Good side money.
So, I picked up a book on starting a vending machine business today. It has a lot of good information, but one thing that is conspiciously absent is: how much could I expect to make? The book says I could expect to kickback 5% of gross sales to the building owner as a comission or rent, and that I might expect to make a 2-4% gross profit margin. However, I’d need to know what my revenue is to figure out the equation. I know that each machine typically holds 400-500 cans (or half as many plastic bottles), so how often are they depleted?
That is what the business person deep within you has to figure out. I worked in supermarkets when I was younger and some of the store machines took in several hundred dollars a week but but you have to take away maybe half of that in total cost to the vendor. Some machines don’t get much traffic and some get a ton of traffic.
I work in a large building on a campus type setting without anywhere else to go. The cafeteria closes at three. We have many vending machines in the building and there is usually a line for every single one of them after 3 pm. That would equal, say 40 sales an hour (because people aren’t always good with those things) multiplied by many machines.
OTOH, machines in crappy locations with competition may not take i much at all.
Not sure if this helps or not but for comparisons sake, here’s the deal with Coke and Pepsi machines. First off there’s self service which means you rent the machine, buy the soda yourself, stock it your self and keep the money. Full service means the ONLY think you have to do is collect your checks from Coke/Pepsi, no stocking, no buying the soda, no rent on the machine.
I believe both Coke and Pepsi for full service give a commison of $2.00 per case (a case being 24 cans or bottles of soda)
As for self service, Coke charges $25 to rent the machine, you can buy the soda ANYWHERE you want (must be a coke product though), you can charge whatever you want for it and you keep all the money it makes.
Peps, you make much less, but I don’t have the numbers in front of me. They set the prices for the machine, and you can ONLY buy the soda from them at a much inflated rate (like $7 or $8 per case). I compared the two before deciding which machine to put out front our store and for self service, coke won, it wasn’t even a close call.
This may be wildly underestimated. Many machines need refilling daily, even more than once a day. And they are balky things requiring much maintenance, especially with people tending to abuse them constantly. If you don’t keep the machines filled, cold, and operating constantly you’ll lose your business in a hurry.
Heh, heh, heh. Your post reminds me of a particular Coke machine in this bus station where I used to work in 1966. The think was so balky, we probably had to make refunds 4-5 times a day. They tried their best to adjust it, but the thing was just…balky.
One day I put a sign on it: “Win a Coke! 25 Cents A Try!”