Vending Tips


When considering going into the Vending Business and becoming an Operator, newcomers must consider three very important points when intending to place a Vending machine on a site.

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

The potential site needs to be thoroughly examined to determine its’ viability.
Although there are no hard and fast rules the following very basic guideline can be used:
  • Approximately 10% of all the people on a site will use a vending machine. These clients will not necessarily only buy one item, such as a can of a soft drink, but also a packet of crisps and maybe even a chocolate... generating 3 sales.
  • Thus a site of 100 people may generate anything from 10 to 30 sales per day. This once again is not a hard and fast rule. There may and will be sites with 50 people that generate 100 sales per day, while there may be sites with 200 people that only generate 30 sales per day.
  • These differences may explained by looking at the demographics of the earnings or income of the customer base (and the availability of similar products or services in the vicinity e.g. a canteen or forecourt shop or shopping centre).

Another very important aspect to consider is where the Vending Machine will be sited so that it’s easily accessible (visible for sales and security reasons) and secure.

As a vending operator you must provide a service and the right product range that your clientele for that location wants and needs. Machines must be fully stocked, regularly visited, technically serviced and cleaned.

Be aware of some of the “sales talk” advertisements that could be found....
  • "Part Time Business"
  • "Work only 1 or 2 days a week"
  • "Work in your spare time and make a fortune"
  • "Spare Time Income, No Selling"
  • "An automatic vending machine that does it all for you"
  • "Your silent salesman that works when you play"
  • "A vending machine that sells on your behalf and you do not even have to be there"
  • "Do very little and pay your machine back within a year"

Of course some advertisements setting these terms out are genuine opportunities, but some maybe not. Check them out thoroughly.

Some advertisers state that they are very selective in their appointment of "suitable applicants", they can supply "easy finance" and find you "lucrative sites", etc. Once again check this out thoroughly.

What is also important is Always Deal with a VASA member!

All VASA members subscribe to VASA’s Constitution, Customer Charter and Code of Ethics.

Tips for New Operators

What is required to become a Vending Operator?
Almost everywhere you go, whether in South Africa or overseas, you are bound to see them: coin operated vending machines dispensing food, beverages, snacks, cigarettes, personal care items, chewing gum, etc. To some this looks like an easy way to make money. Why not let the machines do the work? All I'll have to do is fill them up and collect the money!

Well, like everything else in this world, it's not quite that easy. Automatic Vending is a BUSINESS and like all other businesses, it needs a professional and business-like approach.

  • "Part Time Business" as we have all seen in the papers at one time or another. You know the kind of advertisement referred to....
  • “Work only 1 or 2 days a week in your spare time and make a fortune"
  • "Spare Time Income, No Selling".

Of course some ads set out in these terms are genuine opportunities, but some maybe not.
It's up to you to sort them out.
Some advertisers state that they are very selective in their appointment of "suitable applicants", can supply easy finance, etc...
Once again, it's up to you to decide which advertiser offers a genuine opportunity to improve your financial situation and which one only seeks to get your cash - one way or another.

As a general rule, no genuine company or individual will object to you making a few enquiries about them from VASA or other users of their product.

Before we go any further, ask yourself these questions.
  1. Are you willing to work long hours, day or night and at weekends, mostly on short notice, if required?
  2. Are you thorough?
  3. Can you handle money matters efficiently (both your own and others)?
  4. Do you have or can you arrange credit at your bank?
  5. Can you organise yourself and stick to a schedule?
  6. Do you remain calm when things go wrong?
  7. Do you really want to be your own boss?
  8. Can you "handle people"?

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, don't go any further!.

Points to Consider
  1. Critical to the profitability of the business.
  2. Who is/will be responsible for finding the sites?
  3. What happens if sites are unsatisfactory? Who pays the cost of the machine relocation?
  4. Be wary of inflated volume projections.
  5. Depending on products vended, most quality sites have already been taken by existing vending companies. 

  1. Will the availability of machines be consistent?
  2. Should machines be leased or purchased?
  3. Can one supplier meet the demand?
  4. What technology is/will be available?
  5. How will this affect the business? (i.e. credit card or notes readers).
  6. Obtain quotes from different suppliers to gauge pricing parameters. 

  1. Does supplier provide filling, general maintenance and clean training free of charge?
  2. How do I find sites, promote service, handle enquiries and/or complaints.

  1. Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance?
  2. How complicated is the work? (i.e. electronics, mechanical, refrigeration).
  3. Is there a requirement for qualified technicians?
  4. Who pays for the technical support?
  5. What is the level of service required at sites? (i.e. 7 days per week 24 hours per day).
  6. What is the Warranty period?
  7. What is the expected operational life of the machine?

  1. Will the availability of product be consistent?
  2. Obtain several quotes from suppliers where possible. 

  1. Conduct a proper, full P & L on figures available.
  2. Check financial authenticity if possible.
  3. Consult accountant and legal expert before commitment.
  4. Vending can be a profitable cash-only business.
  5. Beware of inflated profit projections.

  1. You may need to understand your equipment, products, market and customer to be successful. (Do your homework).
  2. Be wary of "Get Rich Quick" or "Work Part Time" offers. (Generally as in all businesses, you get back what you put in).
  3. Ask for proof and authenticity of any figures presented.
  4. Ensure continued supply of machines and product where ever possible.
  5. Ascertain quality of machine sites.
  6. Ascertain how technical support is serviced and at who's cost.

What is also important is Always Deal with a VASA member!

All VASA members subscribe to VASA’s Constitution, Customer Charter and Code of Ethics.