1) Everyone wants more money, but few are willing to earn it
Everyone would like more money. Some of us are willing to start a side business to get it. But let’s get one thing straight – starting a passive income “side hustle” is starting a second job.
I started the vending machine business because I wanted passive income. And it is passive once you get everything set up. Well, it’s mostly passive. You still have to monitor your machines, buy products, stock your machines, file taxes, etc.
But compared to most business models, the vending business is passive. That’s because all the work is mostly on the front end. You have to learn a lot up front. Here’s a list of things you can expect to encounter if you want to start a vending business:
- Get a business website built
- Get marketing materials like brochures, business cards, etc.
- Get your LLC or S-corp formed
- Learn about which machines to buy
- Learn about which products to buy
- Learn about where to buy products
- Learn about how to secure locations for your machines
- Learning a Vending Management System
- The list goes on…
But once you get the foundation laid, vending is pretty straight forward. You can sum up the business like this:
- Get good locations
- Get good machines
- Give great customer service
All in that order.
2) Vending machines + Locations + Customer service = Success
You might think great machines are the key to the business. But a great machine won’t do you any good if it’s not in a great location. Worse, it will do great harm sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting to get placed. You don’t want inventory on hand in this business.
You might think great locations are the key. Well, without vending machine locations you don’t have a business. But you will quickly learn (if you do your research) that a bad machine in a good location is a headache too! That’s why I recommend Federal or USI machines (Same manufacturer).
You might think the formula goes like this: great machine + great location = happily place where I make tons of money. Wrong. Customer service is the key to keeping locations. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. And if they don’t know, like, and trust you, your competitor can walk in and take your location away.
If I walk into a location to talk about vending, and they have a machine that’s half full – I can take that location from my competition every time. Why? Because Joe the vending machine guy is nowhere to be found. People get frustrated with vendors who are non-responsive. That’s how it goes.
Vending machines are everywhere. Customer service is not. We have to make sure we communicate often and build strong relationships, otherwise someone with a greater offering can take our place.
3) Entrepreneurship takes time…
Aside from the typical challenges of securing locations, building a business, and keeping your family life in tact – the vending business will take your time. Entrepreneurship takes time. This infographic demonstrates the process well:
Think about it. Time. The one key ingredient to becoming very successful. You have to study. You have to learn. You have to take the time to figure out which products sell at that new location you secured and which products don’t. You have to learn how to persevere when that machine you just paid thousands of dollars for only makes you $100 per month! Think it won’t happen?
Here’s some straight talk. Vending is like any other business. The real learning begins when you place your first machine. Entrepreneurship is the school of hard knocks. No one is going to make it easy. There’s no red carpet. You have to take the plunge, think strategically, and put your money on the line.
If you choose wisely with locations and machines, you’ll be happy. If you settle for poor locations and low quality machines – get ready for a tough road ahead. You have to deal with set backs, break downs, disappointments. You even have to deal with vending machine vandalism. Why? Because guys like the one’s in this video are in a neighborhood near you:
But there’s a positive payoff if you stick with it. Good machines in good locations bring steady income month after month. And if you get up to 10 or more machines, you could have several thousand in net income added to your bank account each month. It’s worth it!
4) Don’t launch your vending machine business alone
But you can’t go it alone. We all stand on the shoulders of others. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Just like learning the piano, you could learn on your own, or you could learn from an experienced teacher.
That’s why I’m launching a Vending Business online course called Vending Mastery Online. Starting a vending business is like going on a backpacking trip into the mountains of North Africa (which I’ve done). Having the wrong gear can really make you miserable. But with the right gear and a little experience, you can have the time of your life.
But it’s not easy. And remember – a side hustle is a second job. Just make sure you want to put in the time. I’m glad I did. It’s been worth it.
Got questions? Just ask! I’ll answer asap.
Also, check out my Vending Mastery podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or any major podcast app. I’ll give you a behind the scenes look at the vending business I launched in Dallas Texas.