How to Start a Vending Machine Business (a comprehensive guide) 2022

How to start a vending machine business
Vending machine business

Are you in dire need of profitable business idea and opportunity but can’t think of one? If yes, this article will carefully discuss the comprehensive guide on how to start a vending machine business successfully in 2020 and even beyond.

Interestingly, the time now is entrepreneur 0’clock and everyone is putting in their best to become their own master. Hence, starting a vending machine business with little or no intensive capital could be an interesting business in the long run.

While this business is lucrative and profitable, it doesn’t require any special training than having a basic knowledge about the varieties of vending machines, ranging from the ones designed for serving drinks and beverages down to toys and dummies.

Vending machine business

The vending machine business could be started as small or medium scale business; and if there is huge startup capital, the business can be taken to the next level as a large business enterprise.

This is so because vending machines are not in any way a novel business idea, the business is basically present everywhere, after all. However, if you have interest in the business and wouldn’t mind to start out as a vendor, there are many things to like in the vending industry.

Statistically, there are millions of vending machines (of all varieties) in the United States alone and the booming vending machine industry is generating more than $23 billion annually as revenue.

This fact alone is enough to boost your morale in exploring this industry and to do that, you’ll definitely need this guide on how to start a vending machine business without stress.

Vending machine business

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What is vending machine?

Vending machines can be literally defined as machines that dispense items or merchandise automatically. While it can be technically define as an automatic machine designed to accept certain amounts as a payment before it could dispense the bought item or merchandise.

Accordingly, there are several types of vending machines out there that are helping people to manage their small business while away. Being one of the products of technological advancement, a vending machine will never dispense unless the programmed amount or value is being meet.

While the business has become the other of day these days, you need to think of a perfect location where to put the vending machines, connections to user-friendly vending machine suppliers, etc., before joining the league.

What is vending machine business?

A vending machine business is a lucrative business enterprise that deals with an automated machine in accepting offers, money and in dispensing the bought item or merchandise.

More so, this business has to do with a programmed machine monitoring your business while you’re away or committed elsewhere. You may venture into vending machine industry for a weekend side hustle or for a low investment capital business.

Similarly, the vending machine industry has become an attractive center for both new and seasonal entrepreneurs. Apart from its surprising profitability, the big task of how to start a vending machine business successfully will definitely come to your mind for another reason.

Who is a vendor?

The word “vendor” can be used as a different verbiage and to mean different things depending on the context one is using it. Literally, a vendor is a person, a company or a business enterprises that vends or sells.

Types of vending machines

There are different types of vending machines base on nature or purpose of the business. Hence, we’ll be highlighting the most patronized business in the vending industry. They include:

Food and Beverage Vending Machines

The food and beverage vending machines are the type of machines meant for serving soda, candy and snacks and it is the most used in the United States vending machine market.

Since, food, drinks and beverages market is on the high side, the business is accounting for almost one-third of the vending sales.

Thus, if you’re here to learn how to start a vending machine business with ease, you possibly can’t go wrong venturing into the food and beverage; it’s such a wonderful old standard.

Bulk Vending Machines

This type of vending machines serves items like the rubber balls, stickers, gumballs, etc. It requires a little amount to purchase and maintenance is relatively low.

Accordingly, the right market for this type of machine is the school area or an amusement park. This modest vending machine business investment stands the chance to a potential, reliable and passive income source.

Lastly, majority of the bulk vending machines are built with mechanical devices that doesn’t require electricity power or battery to operate. That is to say, the cost of maintaining it is low to zero.

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Specialty Vending Machines

The specialty vending machines is the type of machines designed for several purposes. These vending machines are often found in public places like malls, arenas, airports, etc., offering goods like beauty products, tech accessories, or other specialty items.

However, it’s to be noted that some of the specialty vending machines have the same technology as the standard vending equipment, while others are known as the Automated Retail Machines.

Best location to set up a vending machine

Talking of the best location to set up a vending machine business, there are some things that need to be considered. You need to look at the nature of the items you’ll be selling and where your target audience resides the most.

That is to say, you don’t just set up a vending machine business anywhere you feel like. Consider places and locations that suit your purpose and you feel motivated making use of the vending machine.

So if you’ll be selling drinks and beverages, setting up a Cocoa cola vending machine in malls, sport arenas and the likes wouldn’t be a bad choice. For beauty products or toys, school and colleges might be your perfect location.

All in all, knowing the nature of the merchandise you’ll be selling and where to find your target audience matter the most before setting up a vending machine business.

Things to know before starting a vending machine business

Since you’re determined to make some fortune off the lucrative vending machine business, here are some important things you need to know on how to start a vending machine business successfully.

  • The business may seems to be full of fun, but the truth is that it’s not always true. There are some financial highs and lows in the business which sometimes makes it difficult to cope in the long run.
  • Regardless of how much you invested in the vending industry, have it in mind that the business could take a year or thereabouts before it become a profitable venture.
  • As entrepreneur who is starting from the scratch in the vending machine business, you must be determined on how you want to be known in your local market.
  • Starting a vending machine business has to do with relatively low upfront investment capital, but running it into a profitable business will require a lot of commitment, time and energy into servicing, stocking and collecting money out of the machines every now and then.

Vending machine business plan

The importance of a working business plan to any new business venture cannot be overemphasized and as such, it is equally necessary to have an efficient vending machine business plan ready before going into the business proper.

While there is no any special way to write a vending business plan other than the known ways, it’s just important to make sure that a plan on how to run the proposed business is on ground.

Being the foundation of the business, the vending machine business plan must be carefully drafted with some vital information at hand. Information about the target audience must be fully known and more.

Also, the financial projection, future goals, marketing strategies and how to solve any unforeseen circumstances must be diligently taken care of in the plan.

Vending machine business startup costs

In the same vein, to understand this article on how to start a vending machine business well, you need to get yourself acquainted with the business required startup costs.

Even though there is nothing like fixed investment capital in the vending machines industry.

A lot has been said about vending machine business being one of the cheapest business to start. It requires little investment capital as lucrative as it is depends on the kind of items you’ll be selling with the vending machines.

While there is no fixed amount of money for the business as a startup cost, you can actually start the business up with as low as $1000. If you have a financial budget that is way more than that too, you can start the vending business in large quantity then.

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Note that the amount mentioned above is estimated for a vending machine alone without stocking. You’ll therefore need like $500 for the vending machine inventory.

How to start a vending machine business

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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Without further ado, the following are the simple tricks to follow on how to start a vending machine business and make some money doing it well.

1. Define Your Vending Machine niche

There is more to the vending machine business than the popular snack and soda variety market, thus since you’re here reading how to start a vending machine business, you must have come across some other options above.

Generally, there are three major categories of vending machines and you need to consider which of the three would be a perfect hit should you adopt it in your target market.

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2. Choose the perfect location

Location is of essence if you really want to establish a free flow of wages with vending machines. Although the type of vending machines you’ll be prioritize is crucial, what is important the most is how to make profit out of the vending business.

Thus, your ability to earn massively with the vending machine lies in where you situate the machine. If the location is not ideal for the business, you’ll hardly make sales. For example, a beverage vending machines that are placed in a mall full of restaurants might fail woefully and same machines might be a success in an amusement park.

So before starting a vending machine business, endeavor to think about an ideal location that is suitable for the item or merchandise you’ll be selling.

The lists of perfect locations for vending machines include:

  • Schools;
  • Hospitals or health centers;
  • Sport arenas;
  • Grocery stores;
  • Airports;
  • Laundromats;
  • Shopping malls;
  • Apartment complexes;
  • Market squares;
  • Manufacturing plants; etc.

Read also: How to start a bakery business from home

3. Obtain Your Ideal Vending Machine

Since you can’t start the vending business in isolation you’ll have to obtain the needed machines for vending business. Thanks to the internet, finding a machine that suits your taste can be easier with few searches online.

Search locally and nationally to get a vest idea on different categories of vending machine offerings, price, etc. Also, make sure you consider the inventory cost when surfing the net for vending machine prices.

4. Stock Your Vending Machine

Now that you’ve gotten your own vending machines, what next is stocking the machines with inventories. With this, you’re one step away to a profitable vending machine business.

Be informed that one of the brilliant opportunities to enhance sales is product selection. So pay adequate attention to your local audience and offer a site-specific needs. Most importantly, don’t over-stock in the beginning, let your offerings be adjusted based on demand.

If you are passionate about offering a combined food and beverage in your vending machine business, then drinks should be your major priority. The refreshments market is growing from soda to coffee, beverages such as coconut water and flavoured water.

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5. Invest in Vending Management System

Haven get an ideal location in place, obtained the needed machine and stock the inventory, then your journey on how to start a vending machine business is heading to an end and now is the right time to make the vending business a profitable venture.

There are numerous vending management system you can invest in depending on your equipment model. There are some that are pre-programmed with a perfect management software capable of streamline operations, track revenue and record inventory.

You may equally want to invest in customer service too. Most importantly, make sure that your vending machine is well stocked and functioning every now and then. You may want to consider offering a service number for requests and comments.


The vending machine business has taken over the commercial areas now and following the moving train to establish a steady stream of income is not a bad idea.

Thus, all the above discussed on how to start a vending machine business is very important and they must be taken as such. Never leave any stone untouched in this your sojourn to start a successful vending business.

About Soliu Jamiu Ishola 95 Articles
Soliu Jamiu Ishola is a Law student at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto. He's a seasoned content writer with years of experience. His love for online entrepreneurship gave birth to Bizideas4beginners.

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