How To Start A Vending Machine Business - 7 Things To Keep In Mind

How To Start A Vending Machine Business – 7 Things To Keep In Mind

If you’re thinking about how to start a vending machine business, you’re not the only one.


Vending machines are a great outlet for densely populated areas, such as cities.

The hassle of walking into a store and purchasing a packet of chips or some simple stationery can easily be cut down with a vending machine. 

Japan, for example, is all into the vending machine hype and has over 5 million vending machines! That’s one for every 23 people.

In cities like Tokyo, a busy commute or a fast walk back home can be complemented by a quick purchase from a nearby vending machine. 

In this article, we talk about just that: how to start a vending machine business, with seven things to keep in mind.

1. Choose An Appropriate Location

If you want to learn about how to start a vending machine business, the first thing you’ll have to consider is location.

It might not be the wisest idea to open up a vending machine inside a suburban neighborhood.

Neighborhood rules, a lack of density, and not too many people moving around can and will make your vending machine not so profitable.

On the other hand, densely populated areas such as city centers, downtown, and malls might be your best bet.

You can even target college campuses. Campus buildings, especially the bigger ones are a hub for students rushing between classes. And they’re always in need of either snacks or stationary, or both.

TLDR; think about areas that attract a lot of footsteps, those are your best bets.

2. Go Cashless

Cash is slowly being eliminated from our daily lives. As more vendors get comfortable with accepting cards, more people favor them over cash. 

However, if you’re thinking about how to start a vending machine in 2020, you need to go a step further. Along with cards, also offer e-wallet options. 

By purchasing vending machines that support Venmo, PayPal, and others along with cards, you’ll be attracting a younger consumer base to come aboard and use your vending machine.


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3. Think Out Of The Box With Items For Sale

You can always go the traditional route and sell soda and candies. But, those types of vending machines are way too common. Instead, try thinking of unique items for sale. 

You can sell: 

The list doesn’t stop here. You can sell novels, video games, toys, and much more. You can even start a series of vending machines that complement each other with the items for sale.

You have to do research about items that people purchase quickly and without too much thought. 

However, if your aim is to learn about how to start a vending machine business and be different, that extra bit of research is a must. It’ll help you stand apart from the competition. 

4. Restock, Regularly

Vending machines, especially the ones with digital screens, are most annoying when they can’t dispense your favorite items. 

Don’t be the entrepreneur who owns such vending machines. 

In order to get regular business, you must restock on time. 

  • If a product isn’t selling over a period of time, replace it with something else. 
  • If a product is a best-seller, maybe increase its quantity.  
  • Do not sell products past their ‘Use By’ or ‘Expiration’ dates. 

Even if sales isn’t an issue, research local marts, and supermarkets to understand what people are purchasing and how you can implement those items in your vending machine. 

It’s very easy to learn about how to start a vending machine business. But, you’ll have to put in a lot of work after starting it, to succeed.

5. Conduct Routine Check-Ups & Repairs

Much like restocking, conducting routine repairs and check-ups are vital to ensuring regular sales. It’s never a pretty sight when you pay for an item, but the machine freezes while trying to dispense it. 

To increase efficiency, you can hire a restocker/ supplier who can also conduct superficial check-ups. They can inform you if a thorough look is required. 


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Vending machines are built to be used by a plethora of people and are built to last. However, like with every machine, they also need to undergo maintenance. 

This is one thing to consider when thinking about how to start a vending machine business.

6. Think About Being A Franchisee

While the lure of starting a vending machine business on your own is fantastic, becoming a franchisee offers an easier and tried-and-tested route to success. 

Franchises already have a customer base, a look, a stock, and a vast wealth of research.

They also offer a great opportunity to learn about the vending machine business that starting on your own may not offer. 

There is a multitude of companies available to the franchise. When thinking about how to start a vending machine business, a franchise might just be attractive in the industry. 

7. Make Your Vending Machine Look Good

Often an underrated point, but looks matter when it comes to retail stores and vending machines.

Consumers might make product inferences based on the condition of your vending machine and how good it looks in comparison to others.

Therefore, it is never a bad idea to make your vending machine look presentable.

Adding LED lights, graphics, and other bells and whistles to your vending machine might just prove useful.

101+ Business Name Ideas For Your Vending Machine Business

Listed below are 101+ business and domain name suggestions for your new and existing vending machine business.

In Conclusion

Learning about how to start a vending machine business makes it very attractive. It is a low investment business compared to starting an entire retail store, for example.

However, its ease of use is translated to the end consumer, and therefore it is a business that requires regular vigilance on the entrepreneur’s part to offer great returns.

Part of the learning also includes regular maintenance, restocking, researching, and implementing tech-upgrades to stay competitive and appealing.

The reward for the successful implementation of all of these above-mentioned points is a business with a great cash flow and regular stock sell-outs. What’s not to like about that?

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