|Now that I have my vending machines, where do I put them?|
|The Do's and The Don'ts Of Locating Vending Machines!|
Location, Location, Location..... You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again and again. It is the most important ingredient to having a successful vending business.... locating your vending machine. We have put together, with the help of a professional vending machine locator, a few tips to help you make wise choices in vending machine locating and the placement of your vending equipment. Follow these few simple tips and you should do fine.
1. Use Common Sense! More often than not, this is overlooked more than anything else. If a location doesn't look right, or feel right to you, it most likely isn't. Confront the locating company or locator who is placing your equipment. Always ask questions before you spend any money and make sure that you understand the contract completely. If you're not clear on a point then let them explain it to you completely and to your satisfaction. There is no such thing as a stupid question in the vending industry. A good vending machine locator will take the time to explain every detail to your understanding.
2. Getting Ready: Once you have decided to go ahead with your vending purchase, you will become acutely aware of vending machines in your area. You will notice machines where you’ve never noticed them before. You will also begin to notice places that have no vending machines at all! Give a list of these locations to your vending machine locator and let him try to try secure these locations for you. Foot traffic is the name of the game. You could be selling Diamonds for $0.25 each, but if you have no traffic you will not sell anything. Common Sense.
3. Bulk - Gumball Vending: What you may like, someone else may not. Everyone has their own tastes. A good vending machine locator will explain the pro's and cons of each location. What might sell at one location, may not sell at another. Starting out is a hit and miss situation. You have to try different products and see what sells best. Typically, M&M’s, M&M Peanuts, Skittles, Mike & Ike’s, Red Hots, Gummy Bears, and Gumballs sell best. Never run out and buy 50 or 60 pounds of one kind of candy because it is on sale. It could be on sale because nobody wants to buy it! Common sense?
If you have Bulk machines buy 1 or 2 pounds of candy and see how it sells. This way you can test different candies without making a major commitment to only one kind of candy. Once you find the one that sells best, then you can buy accordingly.
While we are talking about bulk a little useful tip to the new vendors. Place 1 pound of candy in your machine. See how many quarters it takes to empty the machine of that pound. Now you know your profit margin per pound. You can always adjust your wheel to vend more or less. All vending is an impulse buy. I have never heard of anybody waking up, jumping out of bed and grabbing a quarter off the dresser and yelling; "I got to find a vending machine!"
It is important to have your bulk machines placed as close to the cash register as possible. The reason for this, to coin a phrase from Willie Sutton "That's where the money is"! Here comes a grownup paying the bill. All of a sudden the kids are yelling; "Daddy give me a quarter" 500 times in 2 seconds. Let's face it, Parent has the money in his hand (from the change of the bill) - Parent gives out the quarters just to shut them up. I have done this and I am sure you have too. My kid is 23!
4. Soda, Snack and Combination Vending: Soda, snack and combination machines require completely different type locations than the bulk machines do. A good professional vending machine locating company will take the time to explain in detail the specifics for locating larger vending machines. A soda, snack or combo unit needs a location of at least 20 employees to make a nice profit. Please, I am talking about full time employees not foot traffic! The bigger the machine, the more employees are needed! Basically, you have two different types of locations. One is White collar and the other Blue collar. They can be as different as night and day.
Most blue-collar workers are out in the field or in an industrial building. They are working hard and want a snack to give them a boost. Candy and salted nuts do well. Also drinks high in sugar or Gatorade type drinks. White-collar workers are not as active. Like me, a desk jockey. They seem to go more for low calorie, non-fat products. Juices and canned gourmet water. Chips, Pretzels, Cookies, Coffee Cakes and Sports Bars are very popular. Here is an easy tip. Put a clipboard on the side of the machine with the heading "What would you like me to carry?" They will tell you. What they are really telling you is what they will SPEND MONEY on! That is half your battle.
5. In Person Locators: Once you’re happy with a location company and all the paperwork has been taken care of, a locator will be assigned to your job. I always insist that your locator calls you to introduce himself or herself to confirm the job order and just to talk to you. In the vending machine locating process I feel it is very important for a client to feel comfortable with his locator. If for some reason you're not sure of a locator, speak up! Tell the Locating Company you want someone else.
In most cases your vending locator is from your area or has been there before. The locator may have very good advice as to where to go. Listen to this advice, but also give the locator an idea where you would like to secure locations. You do not want your locations on the Eastside if you live 20 miles on the Westside.
Go with the locator! I can't stress this enough. Learn how to secure locations for yourself. Make this very clear with the locator and the company right up front. If a locator or company says no, get another company or locator. You have the right to say yes or no to any and all locations. Don't be pushed around. This is your business. Act like a boss.
The locator should have a "sign off sheet" or the Location Company has sent one to you in their package. Make sure it is filled out with all your locations on it and the vending locator signs it. Make a copy and do not lose it.
6. Last But Not Least: Locating vending machines is an art that is easy to learn. Most location companies will try and explain as much as possible to you if you ask. I hope the above will help you ask the right questions. They have no Crystal Balls or any direct lines to the Physic Hotline. They have no idea how much you're going to make. They can give guidelines and also get you new locations if you lose or you are unhappy with the performance of a location.