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Vending machines – Buying guide

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Vending machines: a new source of revenues... and savings for your business

Vending machines have become ubiquitous in our lives: at the office, on the streets or even in schools, they are everywhere and provide all sorts of drinks and food at low prices, any time of the day. Some businesses see them as an additional source of revenue, and some entrepreneurs can even make them their sole source of income: it just requires an initial investment, and careful planning before profits come tickling in.

But vending machines are now also considered as a source of savings, helping select businesses to cut operating costs - chiefly through a reduction of inventory spend with industrial vending machines. Which vending machine is the right one for your plans, how much do they cost, and how much revenue - or savings - can you expect to achieve with them?

Choosing the right vending machine

There are a few things prospective operators need to know when planning their business strategy: different machine types will cover different needs.

Vending machines can be grouped into three categories: cold drinks machines, hot drinks machines and snacks machines.

Different vending machine suppliers compete on the market. The key decision will be to choose between directly buying from the manufacturer, and buying or leasing the machine and services from a multi-brand reseller.

Managers can monitor all data collected by the vending machines so as to know exactly what supplies were taken off inventories, when, and by which employee. If the data doesn’t match planned values, documented investigations can be enforced.

Costs, revenues and financing: vending machines business basics

While these benefits are a reality, some companies will enjoy them more than others. It usually depends on the economic sector where the company is doing business, and the company size. You can find different vending machine types such as bulk machines, refrigerated soda machines or large floor standing machines and they represent significantly different investments. But they also mean very different amounts of revenues.

Operators do not always need to buy the machine, as machine rental or machine leasing plans are now widely available. Depending on the needs and scale of the planned operations, these options are not equal.

Vending machines are now a common sight in schools, high schools, colleges and universities. But because of specific economic and ethical issues, all pros and cons should be carefully weighed. There are also industrial vending machines that are not used to generate additional revenues, but to cut costs. In this case, the machines do not actually “sell” anything, they track and record who used what supplies, at what time, on the workplace, so as to make sure nothing is wasted.