Setting up a vending machine business

Vending machines have a strange psychological effect on humans, perhaps one of the reasons why they are one of the profitable businesses today. Consider a person walking past a row of combination vending machines displaying all sorts of bottled drinks, snacks in colourful and attractive tins and packs, candies, sandwiches, dairy products – the list goes on and on. It is observed that even if a person is not that hungry, he/she will make a purchase because, for reason’s unknown, people just love to see their money go in and the food coming out. That’s the way the vending machines are designed – attractive and persuasive.

So, starting a a vending machine business may give you very quick returns and you shall be sitting on a pile of profits in no time. You can obtain a license from the government of your country or state, purchase a few vending machines, bid for a few locations where you shall set up the machines and there you go, you are all set with your business. However, there are some pieces of advice which you should keep in mind so that it works out smoothly. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts for you to remember:


Research. This is the secret behind the success of all those big companies and organisations out there. Do your research and analysis and try to find out places with high foot traffic. Find out as much information on the internet as you can. Sometimes, the government conducts certain surveys and the results of these surveys are available for free or for a little fee. Try to find out if there are any relevant surveys for you.

Calculate. You need to calculate your profit margins and plan your costs and expenses so that you are not surprised by any sudden expenses during a cash crunch. Decide the pricings of the vending items so that you can make enough profit to sustain the initial days of your business. Be vary of future expenses like maintenence or repair costs, insurance, etc..

Tie-ups. Imagine the profit you will make if you make an alliance with some organisation. Sure, you might have to share the profits but there is a certain security since incomes are guaranteed. For example, making an alliance with a hospital will assure you that your vending machine will have a busy time.


Know your customers. You don’t want to set up a vending machine selling junk food in a school, do you? Have good business acumen and make sure the right products go to the right places.

Begin small. No huge investments in the initial stages, please. This fact is true for any business, no matter how lucrative the market potential may seem, start small, gain experience, get familiarised with the market and consumer behaviour, and then you may make expansion plans.

The possibilities are limitless in a vending machine business – malls, banks, stadiums, hotel lobbies, large corporations, factories, mills, etc. Just use your imagination and make it a reality.