vending machine business

Does a Vending Machine Business Make a Good Side Hustle?

Running a vending machine seems like a no-brainer when it comes to making extra income. After all, you just have to find a convenient location where you can put your machine and you can start making money. Right?

Well, the reality is, starting and running a vending machine business can be a great way to increase your income, but it may not be as easy at seems. Read on to find out more about what is involved in this potentially money-making venture. 

What Does it Take to Start a Vending Machine Business? 

If you are considering starting a vending machine business, the first thing you will want to look at is your start up costs. A vending machine can cost anywhere from $1000-2500 and it is best to start out with one or two machines. That way, you will be able to get a feel for the best locations for your machines and see how much you stand to make.

If you are successful, you can start buying more machines to increase your income. 

And speaking of locations, it’s a good idea to put your vending machines inside of businesses. Here are some that make great vending machine locations: 

  • Apartment communities
  • Hotels
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Offices 
  • Retail shops
  • Auto stores

How Much Can You Make from Your Vending Machine Business?

A vending machine that is in a prime location can stand to bring in anywhere from $50 – $100 per day. However, there are expenses involved other than the upfront cost of the machine.

You also need to consider that you have to buy supplies to keep your machines filled. If you have many machines, you may not be able to maintain them yourself so you will have to hire someone to visit them each day to make sure they are clean, filled and in working order. 

Finally, if you have a vending machine located in someone else’s business, you may have to pay them a commission of your sales. This is typically within the 5-10% range but it can be as high as 20%. 

How Soon Can I Expect to Start Seeing Income Coming in From My Vending Machine Business?

The amount of money you make and the amount of time it takes to begin turning a profit is contingent on several factors. These include the following:

  • The location of the machine: Machines should be located in an area where there is a lot of foot traffic. They should also be visible, and they should be stocked with products that people in the area are likely to enjoy. 
  • The Maintenance of the Machine: To maximize sales, the machine should be fully stocked and in proper working order.

What are the Best Vending Machine Items? 

If you are wondering what items you can sell in your vending machine that are most likely to turn a profit, the following are recommended.

  • Branded Sodas: Branded sodas are always a popular item and business will boom when the weather is hot. Vendors who choose to stock their machines with branded sodas can also limit their selection to just a few brands which is a lower maintenance route to take. 
  • Snacks: Snacks are another popular vending item. A glass case machine is typically used so the snacks can advertise themselves. Chocolate bars, chips, granola bars, beef jerky, pretzels, cookies and rice crispy treats are all vending machine best sellers. Be sure to include some healthy choices alongside delectable treats.
  • Cold Food: Cold food vending machines are ideal for people looking for more substantial fare. Cold food can include sandwiches, burritos, breakfast items and complete frozen meals that can be microwaved. Food in these machines should be ready to eat.

    Cold food vending machines are often turret style featuring a display unit inside that can be turned by customers so they can view available items making for a more personable experience. One downside of selling cold foods is that it can go bad so owners should avoid buying anything with a short shelf life. If the cold food does run out, the frozen food can make a good alternative.
  • Ice: An ice machine can do very well if it is located in a prime location like next to a gas station or supermarket. This is a low maintenance option as you are selling only one item. Ice is also pretty cheap to purchase. Refrigeration will lead to added costs that will vary depending on the utility rates in the area. Ice vending machines are also more expensive than other types of vending machines, but you may be able to get a deal on a used one.

Installing a Vending Machine in Your Business

If you already have your own business, installing a vending machine can be a great option for bringing in extra income. You don’t have to pay an owner commissions and you can come in and tend the machine when you are in the office or add it to the responsibilities of the employees that already work there. 

A vending machine business can be a great money-making opportunity, but there are risks and expenses involved. Research carefully in advance to decide if this is the best avenue for you to pursue. Now go out and get started, make the dream come true!