Do you want to learn how to start a vending machine business?
Lately, I have been hearing a lot about starting a vending machine side hustle and how it may be fairly passive income.
So, I wanted to do some research and see what I could learn on the subject.
Lakinya Francis, from iKrave Vending, is an expert in this area, and earns $7,000 to $10,000 a month from vending machines, and I interviewed Lakinya on how you can start a vending machine business of your own.
Are you wondering questions such as:
- Is there room for new people to have a vending machine business in 2023?
- How much does the average vending machine make in a day?
- What type of vending machines make the most money?
- How much does a vending machine cost?
- How many hours does it take each week to run a vending machine business?
- What are the negatives of owning a vending machine business?
Today’s interview will help you get started and perhaps even introduce you to a new way to make extra income.
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How to start a vending machine business
Please give us a little background on yourself and how you got started.
Hi there, I’m Lakinya from Miami, Florida. My background is quite simple, I went to college in Tampa FL at USF (University of South Florida) upon graduating I moved back home and was a middle and high school teacher for 4 years. I decided to switch gears and land a more secure job with the State government. This is when I got the urge to find something on the side to do!
I did research on many things that were realistic to get started, affordable and wouldn’t compromise my day job. I discovered vending in 2016, vending wasn’t a popular topic at the time. Therefore, I literally just decided one day to purchase some machines and go from there.
Of course, when starting something with no knowledge or guidance you’re then forced to learn from your mistakes.
I started with five used vending machines located at a large manufacturer that produces tile and a mechanic shop located in Downtown Miami. I sold these machines off with the location included after two years. I was able to sell the machines with the location for $2,000 more than what I initially paid for them.
After that, there was a time when I didn’t have any machines until I saw the groundbreaking in my local city of a new entertainment district. This center would be a movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants, family entertainment with indoor amusements.
I did my research and found the project manager and pitched my vending services and just like that I landed this great deal with eight machines. Since this was a large investment up front, I partnered with a family member to help with cost and allow him to maintain the location.
This location consists of a great deal of teenagers every weekend and families of course so it’s always packed with people, these machines generate on average $7,000 to $10,000 a month.
With vending it’s all about having the right location! The key is finding a location where there are always people.
In the next few months, we are looking to maneuver into specialty vending. This is where you can really generate massive opportunities in vending. My brother is an active fisherman and came up with the idea of placing live bait and tackle vending machines throughout Key West, Florida. This is something we are currently working on, of course finding a location is the most important part.
My end goal is to fully transition from snacks and drinks and focus on live bait and tackle vending machines in Key West and other prime fishing locations in South Florida.
What do you like about having a vending machine business?
Having a vending machine is what I like to call a safe investment.
Why? Because people will always eat and drink.
It’s not 100% passive but the best part of a vending machine business is that the machine is your employee! You don’t have to worry about anyone calling out or any of the traditional concerns with having employees.
Vending is a billion-dollar business and will continue to grow, especially with all the automated and contactless features that vending machines have to offer.
Is there room for new people to have a vending machine business in 2023?
Take a moment to think about where you live. Cities are continuing to develop more and more each year.
This means, more schools, more hotels, more shopping plazas, and the list goes on.
Yes, there is room for new people in the vending machine business.
How much does the average vending machine make in a day? How much does a vending machine make a month?
When it comes to how much you can make from a vending machine, the first thing to consider is the machine placed in a location with enough foot traffic.
If the machine is in a location that has good foot traffic you should make between $500 to $600 a month. That’s average.
There are some locations that can produce that weekly. It’s all about foot traffic where the machine is located.
How profitable is owning a vending machine?
You can literally make thousands a month with vending machines selling the right products in the right location!
What type of vending machines make the most money?
When people think of vending machines they often think of snacks and drinks. While this traditional type of vending is always going to be around there are many other options to really tap into some good money.
Imagine this, you’re on vacation on South Beach and you forgot your flat iron. The first thought would be to find a beauty supply store and purchase one. However, what if the hotel had a beauty supply vending machine? Selling items such as flat irons, hair extensions, combs, brushes, hair gel etc. You would just purchase from the machine, right? Now, think about how hotels in certain cities are always occupied like Miami Beach. You could easily make at least $1,500 a month from one beauty supply vending machine.
Another ideal place to put a beauty supply vending machine is on a college campus in the dormitories. You could even add beauty supply items for males. Think about the number of students that don’t have cars.
Some other options can be laundry products, live bait and tackle, CBD, school supplies and so much more.
How much does the average vending machine cost? Where do you buy a vending machine?
Vending machine prices do vary, depending on if you want a refurbished machine or brand new.
Do you want it to have a credit card reader on it or not?
Let’s say you want to sell beauty products from a machine. You can get a used snack machine and add a credit card reader on it for about $2,000.
Now if you want to brand your machine with your logo or brand colors add an additional $500 to that.
If you want a brand-new machine with all the bells and whistles that will cost you about $5,000 including a credit card reader installed.
Where is the best place to put vending machines?
Anywhere there are people!
Office buildings, apartment complexes, laundromats, churches, summer camps, boys and girls clubs, schools, doctors’ offices, break rooms of businesses with at least 50 plus employees.
The name of the game in vending is foot traffic.
What is your typical work schedule? How many hours does it take each week to run a vending machine business?
Most people that own vending machines have 9 to 5’s and this is a side hustle. The great part about it is that it can be maintained with just a few hours weekly.
Example, to maintain five machines in two separate locations would take a total of about 2 to 3 hours. That’s traveling to the locations and stocking the machines.
Something to consider when looking for a location is, does this location work with your work schedule. So, if you work from 9 to 5 and the location operations are 8 to 6 this might not be a location that is compatible, unless you have someone to help you stock the machines.
What are the negatives of owning a vending machine business?
Vending can be fun, but it is also work.
You must consider your schedule and ask yourself, if you have the time to go and stock a machine weekly? Sometimes, you put forth effort to place your machine into a location and it underperforms.
This means you aren’t making the money you expected to.
In a situation like this, you will need to find another location for the machine.
Depending on where the machine is located it may be a high risk for vandalism. Although it’s not a common thing it does happen. But that is what insurance is for.
Another con is that you may have to share a portion of your profits if the location asks. Some places you will have to pay rent, such as a mall.
Vending machines make money from day one, but it does take some time to make your investment back. Realistically, it can take six months to a year.
Overall, the vending machine business is like any other business with the right location and proper preparation you can have success.
Can you list the steps needed to get started with a vending machine business?
The first thing would be to determine what type of vending you want to get started with.
Then based on that type of vending you want to focus on securing a location that is aligned with that type of vending.
The most important part of the business is putting a machine in a location that has high foot traffic.
You will also need to determine what products you will sell and where you will buy them from.
Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to start a vending machine business?
Don’t wait for the opportunity, create the opportunity.
Vending can fit into anyone’s lifestyle regardless of age, economic status or location. If this business model interests you, the biggest tip would be to start looking at potential locations to place a vending machine.
Can you tell me more about the course you offer?
Yes, I offer packages to help people get started. I have three packages, starter, standard and ultimate.
The Starter package includes a course about getting started in the vending machine business. A course on how to find a location with a location proposal and agreement template. I included a 30 day startup plan to help with goal setting while getting started. There is a document listing where to buy vending machines including direct contact with distributors who build the machines in the U.S. and offers financing to those who are looking to finance. In addition, included is a document on how to price your product with over fifty product samples and where to purchase the product. There is a document also that links to vending requirements in all States and how to form a business in each State.
The Standard package includes everything from the starter package, but it also includes a onetime one-on-one consultation. Most people like to have a conversation to put all these things in place.
Finally, the Ultimate package is the most popular because it just makes sense to go with this one. The Ultimate package includes everything from the Starter package, but it also includes additional courses on how to start a school supply vending machine business, beauty supply vending and CBD vending. It also includes location proposals and agreement templates for these specialty vending types. I assist with helping find a machine and offer 30 days of mentoring. During the 30 days the individual has access to my calendar to book calls, text and email support.
Just to highlight some of the individuals that have worked with me have successfully started and placed machines in many different locations. Such as, schools, malls, apartment complexes, gyms, colleges, banks, amusement parks, barbershops, hair salons, laundromats, outlet shopping centers, assisted living facilities, manufacturers, construction sites and many more.
Are you interested in learning how to start a vending machine business? Why or why not?