Most people have used a vending machine at one time or another. They come in a variety of sizes and types and can be placed in a wide range of locations. They provide another way for some businesses to make some extra cash. They also provide a whole new business idea for those willing to buy some machines and find places to situate them so they can split the profits with the site owner. But how much do vending machines cost?
How much do you have to spend on vending machines?
It depends on a number of factors. For example while you can buy them brand new you can also seek out second-hand machines from sites like eBay and from newspaper ads. You can also rent machines in some instances. The size of the machine will also have a direct bearing on price. A table-top version will be much cheaper owing to the smaller size than a floor-standing machine.
Vending machines can cost in the region of several hundred pounds to several thousand depending on what they dispense and where they are bought from. A table-top machine may only set you back a couple of hundred pounds, whereas a small toy machine may be less than £100. Reconditioned and used machines will be cheaper than new ones but they may come without a guarantee, depending on where you purchase them from.
You also have to bear in mind the cost of restocking your vending machines. However you will only restock once you have sold some of the contents, so you can do this from your profits (aside from the first time you buy stock of course).
Is rental better than purchasing outright?
Rental prices are usually charged per week. Typical prices are anything from about £8 to £20 per week with VAT payable on top. These prices apply to large machines serving drinks and snacks. The smallest machines – such as those intended to dispense small sweets for children – are usually only available to buy outright.
Rental terms vary but they do offer the advantage of not having to find a large sum upfront to pay for your own vending machines. They also often include servicing although it may not be provided indefinitely – it depends on the company you rent or lease your machine from.
Servicing and maintenance
Every machine needs to be serviced and maintained so it continues to work properly. Many companies will deliver these machines to your premises and give you basic training in how to operate and maintain them. They will also have to be restocked whenever required.
However not all companies offer this service. Some merely sell the machines and if you buy second-hand you will only get the advice and paperwork provided to you by the seller. If you only have one or two machines in your workplace you won’t have to spend long maintaining them on a regular basis. However if you run a business supplying vending machines to a variety of locations you will have to factor in regular servicing and maintenance on every single machine you own.
Examples of different vending machines in different environments
Canteens often have vending machines for hot drinks, cans and snacks. Railway stations and other areas where people might want a quick drink or snack are also good for these types of machines.
Smaller vending machines can dispense sweets or toys for children, or a combination of both in a plastic container. These sometimes have the advantage of offering a series of different toys to collect, so there is the potential for more sales.
You can even get small vending machines for public WCs that stock women’s personal products, condoms and sometimes even travel toothpaste and soap. It just goes to show how many different options exist.
What are the benefits of vending machines?
A vending machine is capable of bringing in an additional stream of income in many situations. A garage could enjoy extra small sales made through these machines while people are waiting to pick up their cars. An arcade could enjoy extra sales from every machine positioned in the premises. As such they are ideal for all kinds of businesses in many different situations.
As we have already seen, it is also possible to start a business offering vending machines to various outlets. You own the machines and split the profits made from each machine 50/50 with the person agreeing to have the machine in their premises.
In many cases you are also providing an additional and convenient service for people using your business. This can lead to more customer satisfaction, especially if they have to wait to be served or to collect their goods (such as in a garage for example).
As you can see vending machines certainly give you a lot to think about. However with the potential for additional streams of income to be made, it’s worth thinking about in depth.