An easy way to get into business for yourself or to start a side hustle is to create a vending machine business. It’s a business that essentially takes care of itself. Once the machine is placed, you just fill it up with needed items and let them sell to passers-by. Then you just check on the machines periodically to restock them, collect your profits, and repeat the process.
The vending machine business pros and cons show that this could be a great opportunity, but it may not be for everyone. Here’s why.
What Are the Pros of a Vending Machine Business?
1. It is a very easy business to run.
A vending machine business is fairly basic. Put a machine somewhere that has high traffic patterns. Stock it with inventory that is popular. Then collect your money on a regular basis while making sure your inventories are replenished on a regular basis. There are virtually no customer interactions that need to take place.
2. You can get sales 24/7 with a vending machine business.
Vending machines are always operating. This means you have the potential for a sale at all times of day. There are very few retail sources of income that allow for such an experience without having a much higher level of work tied to it.
3. It is possible to sell almost anything with a vending machine.
From Apple products to fresh apples from the produce section, it is possible to sell almost anything you’re passionate about through a vending machine. This allows you to have fun with your job while providing your community with a resource that they may need.
4. You get to be your own boss.
When you run a vending machine business, you can pretty much set whatever hours you want. You can let your vending machines be unattended for a day or two so you can take a mini-vacation. You can work as much or as little as you want to earn as much or as little as you need. Although this is true for most personal businesses, the vending machine industry offers high income potential for a relatively small time investment.
5. It is really easy to get started.
Like most businesses, you’ll likely need a license to operate a vending machine. You may also be required to have your machines inspected from time to time. Otherwise you can run this business as a sole proprietor if you wish, assuming you have insurance protections in case something should happen.
What Are the Cons of a Vending Machine Business?
1. You have high capital costs when first getting started.
Vending machines that are a high quality machine with decent security generally start at $3,000. If you need a cooling unit with your vending machine to serve chilled drinks, pricing generally begins at $3,600. Then you’ll need to purchase inventory for the machines before you can make a sale.
2. You’ll need to create leasing agreements.
Most business owners will require some sort of leasing agreement for vending machines that are allowed to be on their property. This may mean offering a portion of each sale to the business as a royalty, a monthly flat fee no matter how much is sold, or some other financial arrangement.
3. There is no ongoing security.
Even with cameras watching the vending machines, there is no active prevention against theft. This is why some vending machine businesses lock up their machines behind gates so that only the money slots and the choice area can be accessed by a potential customer.
4. You are often dealing with a heavy cash business.
Some vending machines come equipped with credit card readers, but many are cash-only machines. If you’re dealing with products that can be purchased with pocket change, you’ll end up having large coin deposits at your local bank and counting this form of money sometimes has a surcharge associated with it.
5. There are transportation and service costs to consider.
If you have several vending machines that are serviced every day, you’ll need a reliable vehicle. There will be daily transportation costs. And, if a vending machine breaks, you’ll have maintenance costs that must happen before the machine can be put back into service again.
The vending machine business pros and cons show that if there is a market that needs to be served in your community, this is an easy way to meet those needs. Although the investment is initially high, over time, you’ll be able to potentially make some good money with this type of opportunity.