Industry Information

The Players
Vending Operator:
The Vending Operating Company will source and site the machine for you and be able to provide a service/maintenance contract for cleaning, filling and cash collecting as well as any necessary maintenance.

Vending Operators who are members of the VASA will have VASA Assured Status and run their businesses in accordance with the VASA's Code of Ethics and Customer Charter.

The individuals who attend to the cleaning and filling of the machines are also called operators or sometimes merchandisers. Those who maintain and repair the machines are field service engineers. Machine and Service Providers distribute machines and offer maintenance and repair service but do not necessarily operate machines.

Machine Suppliers:
Most machines are imported into South Africa.
Machine Suppliers normally sell, lease or rent to Vending Operators or Distributors and direct to vending "end" users.

Product Suppliers:
These are Companies that either manufacture or distribute products suitable for use in vending machines.

Finance House:
The Finance House (sometimes referred to as the leasing company) provides the finance for the purchase of vending machines.

Selecting Equipment
Questions to consider include:
  • How many people ongoing or in groups will be using the machine, during what hours?
  • What products will they want?
  • Do you want users to pay by cash, token, card or are you providing products free at the point of delivery?
  • How much will they be prepared to pay?
  • Will there be long periods when the machine is not in use (for example school holidays)?
  • What other sources of supply are available locally, what do they charge and what do they offer?
  • Where will the machine be located and will it be secure?
  • Is it readily accessible to all those who want to use it?
  • Is there a convenient supply of electricity nearby?
  • If required, is there a convenient supply of water nearby?
  • What is your budget for the machine?

Machine suppliers, operators and product suppliers will be happy to talk to you and recommend those which best suit your needs. One of the options you could be offered is new or used machines. Should you decide not to opt for a new machine you need to be aware of what is being offered?

  • Refurbished Machine: A used vending machine, which having been refurbished, retains materially unchanged the design and function contained in the original manufacturer's specification.
  • Remanufactured Machine: Any used vending machine which has its original design or function significantly changed is classified as a remanufactured machine. Whether new, refurbished or remanufactured machines offered for sale, lease rent or otherwise should be safe, hygienic, reliable and fit for the purpose for which they are offered.

The products and ingredients you want to offer also need discussion and again there is a wide choice with both specialist vending ingredient suppliers and major international brands offering their products.

DIY (Do it Yourself) or Contract Operation?
Maintaining and servicing your vending machines efficiently and cost-effectively is vital. There are two main options to consider:

Contract Operation:
Contract operation is a popular option. Taking this route with a VASA operator removes all day-to-day concerns about the vending operation.

Machines are normally supplied and installed by the operator, who then maintains and services them under contract. All ingredients and products are supplied by the operator, who fills and cleans the machine and collects and accounts for the cash takings.

The prices to be charged for vended products will be decided jointly by the vending specifier (site owner) and the operator, and will depend on whether the operator is to be paid entirely from the cash proceeds of sales or by means of a separate service charge.

The level of service required will vary depending on type of machine, types of products and consumption patterns, etc.

DIY Operation:
An organisation may decide to fill, collect cash and service its own vending machines, referred to as "DIY"

This DIY option may also be suitable for an organisation that has catering staff, or one that has enough machines to warrant employing someone direct to control ordering and storage, cleaning and servicing, as well as accounting for and banking the cash takings.

Checklist List
Vending provides you with the ideal means of having the drinks, food and products you need readily available whenever you want them day or night. We want you to enjoy the vending experience from the very beginning so to help you when discussing the detail of your vending provision VASA has prepared a checklist.

  • Is your vending service to be provided by a VASA member?
  • Are you clear what machine (or machines) is to be provided?
  • Have you checked whether they are new and that the length of lease or contract is appropriate?
  • Do you know what ingredients are to be used to make fresh hot and cold drinks?
  • Will you, and your staff, have a chance to taste test the drinks?
  • Are you leasing the machine?
  • Is it being provided free on loan with a contract for the supply of ingredients and service?
  • Is it an outright purchase?
  • Do you know what will happen to the machine at the end of the lease?
  • Do you fully understand the payment details, how much you will pay each month and over what period?
  • Do you know how much of your payment is for the machine, for the ingredients and for service?
  • If the price for a beverage machine is based on a cost per cup, are you sure the number of drinks is realistic, have weekends, holidays and sickness been taken into account?
  • Have you discussed the vend prices for the products to be provided by the vending machine?
  • Do you know how VAT on the products sold through the machine is to be handled?
  • What will happen at the end of the contract period?
  • If there is a lease or contract are the leasing company's details on the page you sign?
  • Is there a service or maintenance agreement and does it cover all parts? If not, are you content with the arrangements and likely cost for the supply of parts and labour?
  • Do you know if you will need to take out any insurance for the equipment and what your obligations are for any loss, damage or injury to people or property caused by the machine(s)?

Published in the interests of the Vending Industry of South Africa