How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Vending machines are now more popular than ever. What’s good about starting a vending machine business is that it doesn’t require a huge startup cost.
Anyone can start a successful vending machine business after simple research and scouting. You don't even need to acquire any special skills or training.
That makes it a perfect side-hustle. It can also end up being an extremely profitable business.
If you plan it right, you’ll be expanding your vending machine business in no time. So, you might wonder about how to start a vending machine business.
In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about starting a successful vending machine business.

Is Starting a Vending Machine Business Worth It?

The simple answer is yes. Starting a vending machine business is worth it because it’s an excellent source of passive income.
The business model for vending machines is quite simple: the company owns and stocks its vending machines. The machines offer products to consumers at a set price or profit margin.
The cost of starting the business is simply the cost of buying the vending machine and the products you’ll be putting in it. If you do enough research and pick the right location, there’s a good chance you’ll be making a surprising profit.
Additionally, starting a vending machine business doesn’t require any special skills or experience. All you need to do is maintain the machines, restock them from time to time, and collect your earnings.

Starting Your Vending Machine Business in 6 Easy Steps

Doing your research is the most crucial part of starting your vending machine business. Conducting market research will help you make the right decisions.
You’ll need to determine your start-up cost, the time you’re willing to put into this business, and an estimation of the profits.
It’s a low-risk business. You just need to find a suitable location and pick the right products for that location.
Finding the Right Location
Technically, you can place a vending machine in any location. However, there are a few factors that you should take into account.
Firstly, you need legal permission to place vending machines in most places. Secondly, you need to consider the ideal location to maximize your profits.
So, choosing a good location is crucial to your business. Unlike other businesses, there’s a low chance that anyone would go out of their way to get to a specific vending machine. You need a location with existing visitors and potential customers.
You can place your vending machine on a busy street with plenty of shops or high foot traffic. Passers-by will definitely appreciate an ice-cold beverage or a snack on their way.
You can also pick a location on a private business property. You’ll need to pay a rental fee in most cases, though. Yet, you’ll be making more profit if it’s a busy place.
Here are some of the best locations you can place a vending machine and get the best revenue:
  • Shopping malls
  • Motels
  • Amusement parks
  • Bus stations/Train stations
  • Gyms
  • Airports
  • Hospitals
  • Laundromats
  • Universities
  • Schools
Checking the Competition
The vending machine business has been vastly growing in recent years. So, most busy areas already have food and beverage vendors available. It’s best if you study your location carefully and consider how to win the competition.
Additionally, it’s not the best idea to place your vending machine in a food court or by a supermarket. However, you can place it in a parking lot where there are typically no other vendors.
Getting Legal Permissions
Ideally, you would be able to plug your vending machine anywhere and start earning money. However, in most cases, you need legal permissions from property owners and a seller's permit to place your vending machine.
Choosing the Right Vending Machine
There are many choices when it comes to vending machine types. It's crucial that you pick the right type of machine that fits the needs of your business.
You should take account of a few factors. For starters, you need to take customers' needs into consideration.
A good idea would be to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would you need if you’re passing by this location or working near it?
For instance, snack vending machines would be ideal in a university or a laundromat, while a water cooler is best found in an office.
In addition to food and beverages, you can now find almost anything in a vending machine. So, pick what you think the customer would need around that location. For example:
  • OTC medications
  • Electronics (chargers, power banks, earphones)
  • Toiletries and hygiene products
  • Fitness products (protein shakes, supplements, towels)
  • Books
It’s best if you stay up-to-date with the trends. A product going viral? Add it to your vending machine.
Additionally, instead of buying multiple vending machines, you should think of a combo machine that offers both snacks and cold beverages. You should also consider how convenient the machine is for the customer.
Another great example is coffee machines. Instant coffee machines offer fast service and a fresh drink. That’s perfect for healthcare workers or just anybody on the run.
Regular Maintenance
In addition to collecting your revenues, you’ll need to do some regular maintenance on your vending machine. When buying the vending machine, it’s best if you do your homework.
A good idea would be to do some research to find out the average cost of regular maintenance for that specific model. Some vending machine companies offer a regular maintenance option done by their technicians.
Additionally, it’s best to check if the model you’re buying has specific issues that you need to keep an eye on.
Restocking Your Products
Finding bulk suppliers is recommended to make sure the restocking process goes smoothly and your profit increases. It’s important that you find a reputable supplier with good prices.
You also need to set up a stocking system to keep track of the items. So, you’ll be able to reorder and restock items without running out of them.


Starting a successful vending machine business is easily achievable. It's a low-risk, profitable side-business.
It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to start your vending machine business. However, you need to do your thorough research to ensure the best revenue.
What's more, you don't need much in terms of funds to start your business. All you have to do is make informed decisions about the location, type, and products of your vending machine, and you're set to collect your profits.