People in busy offices always get hungry and most businesses or companies are not willing to take the time and expense of installing a vending machine. Therefore, you can invest in food vending machines and pop machines.



A vending machine business is a retail business that does not require face to face interaction with customers, and can be run for 24 hours a day depending on the location.



You can either choose to install the machines for a small fee or for free to the property owner and you get to keep all the profits from the machine. This business idea has a lot of potential hence it can scale to grow throughout your town or city.



This business (just like the milk and salad oil vending machines business) is one that offers operators flexibility, because it can be tailored to suit the lifestyle of the owner, thereby creating a balance between work, life and family. Entrepreneurs can also go into other businesses, while others can decide to make it a part-time business venture.



So far, I have come across only 3 people doing this kind of business here in Kenya which means you can make it big now when the competition is very low.



You simply need to import a vending machine that dispenses healthy bitings and beverages. Then you will need to look for a prime location either in town or some busy offices.



A vending machine dispenses items such as beverages, snacks, lottery tickets, alcohol, cigarettes, tattoos, toys, candy and so much more.



There are very strict laws regarding the sale of alcohol and cigarettes through vending machines due to concerns regarding underage buyers.



Before starting a vending machine business, there are certain questions you would need to answer, so as to get an idea of what you intend to achieve. The questions are:



*Do you intend to go into the business as a part or full time owner?



*Will you be a sole operator or get into partnership with someone?



*How much capital is needed and how much is available and where you would need to source for finances for the business?



*What your goals are, short, medium and long term?



*What kind of machines would you need to get? Would they be new or used?



The demographic and psychographic of vending machine users depends on the location of the machine, and the products offered by the machine.



For example; gumballs vending machines are likely to cater to the needs of children and young adults. Coffee vending machines will cater to young adults and adults of whatever gender, while that of generic snack and drinks will likely cater to almost all age groups except those who are extra health conscious.



*Finding and securing the right location* for your vending machine is important in building a successful vending machine business. Most successful vending machines are located in areas where there is high foot traffic such as, movie theaters, shopping malls, community centers, hotel and bank lobbies, restaurants, medical centers or hospitals, schools, public farms and office complex.



Another key factor to consider while seeking for a suitable location for your vending machine business is the products you intend to dispense from your machine, for instance, it wouldn’t make any sense if you place vending machines that dispense hot coffee in restaurants, as you won’t get much people using your vending machine, or if your vending machine dispenses toys in a college setting.


If you sell the wrong products, your vending machine business might struggle.



Another thing is the purchasing power of the clients where your vending machine is placed. You cannot hope to sell premium goods in a low priced mall or shopping center, especially as the people that would patronize such places are the low income earners.



Thankfully, you can operate from home for this kind of business, especially as the vending machines need to be placed in places of high traffic, therefore working for you even when you aren’t there, but once you begin to employ people to help monitor the machine, you would need an office facility, where your employees can report to, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big facility but it should be at a central point to the location of your vending machines.



*Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network*



Regardless of whether you own just one or several vending machines, you would need a network of suppliers or distributors that will make your job of sourcing for products, or getting the available products on time for your customers.



This means being in a good business relationship with these distributors as it will help you be more reliable to your customers especially in regards to filling the machine immediately the products have finished.



If the right relationship is cultivated, the distributors might not only help in the timely delivery of products but might also pass along certain information that might be beneficial to your business and help retain customers.



*Tips for Running a Vending Machine Business Successfully*


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Running a vending machine might look like an easy business but it can be a quicksand for entrepreneurs that run the business badly.



The first thing to always remember is that customer is king, and to give them the best treatment by not getting lazy at filling the machine on time. The easiest way for the business to fail is not to bother about whether your machine is empty or filled.



Also ensure that the machine is kept clean, and well maintained. If it has got a problem, it shouldn’t be out of order for a long period. Another tip at running a vending machine successfully is to ensure that the machines are kept at the best and most accessible locations, a location that doesn’t inconvenience the customer when they intend to use the machine.



*Finally,*As fewer and fewer people managing to carry food to work, your food vending business would definitely be a big hit in this part of the world.



Justine Nyachieo
Business Man & Mentor

Timothy Angwenyi
Business Consultant

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