Vending Operator Tools Basic Security

Vending Operator Tools Basic Security  The route man with a bad habit can result in a theft… The basic problem in dealing with cash is… people want it.

Your habits are part of your security:

  • Have your head on a swivel; pay attention to your surroundings, be aware of what’s happening in your environment.
  • Don’t do the same things every time you go to an account. Criminals will watch you and know how long you go into that stop so they can get to your money.
  • Make sure people in your account know who services them.
  • Don’t put all your money in one place.

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series

Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers:Vending Operator Tools Basic Security  I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here with Larry Towner, the Vending Business Consultant with Service Group International, and we’re finishing up a series on vending business tools, only this is more about tips.

Tom Shivers: Tell us what we’re going to be talking about today, Larry.

Larry Towner: Tom, you and I were just talking and we decided we were going to talk about Vending Operator Tools Basic Security so I wanted to tell a quick story here because I’m a storyteller at heart, what can I say?

Larry Towner: I had a routeman one time who used to have a really bad habit. His habit was he would take the money out of the machines, put it in the bags, and then he would take and put it in a box and set it on the table. Then turn it around and service his machines.

Larry Towner: One day he did that, and of course, there’s a couple people in the room, and he turns around and his box with the money has taken a vacation on him. It’s gone out the door with somebody that we never did figure out who took it.

Larry Towner: So we wanted to talk to you a little bit about security. That seems like an exaggerated story, but there’s plenty of stories in fact that go on in the vending industry because after all, we do deal in cash. The basic problem in dealing with cash is people want it. They really want it, and they’ll just take it because they think it’s great. Besides you, the Mr. Vending Man, “You make all that money. Oh my God, help me, so you can spare some of that money.”

Larry Towner: Anyway, the biggest thing I want to talk about has to do with your habits and how you do things. One of the big things that I always did, and I have my head on a swivel all the time. I’m forever looking to the sides and looking backwards. I look around. I pay attention to what goes on in my surroundings.

Larry Towner: You pull into a place and it’s late at night. You’re alone or you’ve got very few people there, you really need to have your head on a swivel. You’ve got to be very careful of who’s around and things like that, and that even goes for the daytime. You’ve got to be aware of what’s happening in your environment, especially when you’re dealing with money.

Larry Towner: One of the other habits is, don’t do what my routeman did. Don’t take the money out of the machine until the very last part of the service cycle. It makes sense, but I see people do it. I’ve ridden with other vending men and they’ll do it, vending people, whatever, and they’ll do it before they’re done.

Larry Towner: One of the things that I always say is, “Keep your head on a swivel.” Look around a lot and really pay attention to what’s going on around you, what’s going on around your truck. Get out of bad habits. Don’t do the same thing every time when you go to an account. Don’t go to an account the same time every day.

Larry Towner: The criminals, if you want to call them that, the real criminals, somebody that intentionally comes to steal from you, will be watching you, and they will watch you, and they will know how long you go into work in that stop. They’ll break into your truck, and they’ll take stuff. Or try to find money, but they’ll take your stuff too. If you get in the way, they tend to not be very nice so it’s a lot about safety and a lot about things like that.

Larry Towner: One of the other things, another tip that you can do to stay secure is make sure people in your account know who services that account, be it you or one of your route men. Give them an idea of who’s there, and if you can, get them to challenge anybody that comes in to work on the machines.

Larry Towner: This comes from, I believe, it was Automatic Merchandiser or Vending Times, it doesn’t matter, but there are people out there that have picks for locks. They have the round key lock picks. They will actually follow vending people around about half the time between your service intervals. They go in and help themselves to the money. They don’t take it all so it can take you quite a long time before you figure out that you’re actually having a theft problem.

Larry Towner: I’m reminded of this because in this one particular case that they mentioned, this particular criminal got caught because the person at the front desk challenged him. He said, “Oh, I work for the vending company.” She didn’t recognize him. She called the vending company. Vending company said, “We don’t have anybody working out there right now.” They called the police. That guy got put in jail, but he said he took $67,000 from that company in the two week period following their vending man around and picking the locks, and they never knew. They never knew what was going on.

Larry Towner: He got caught because somebody in the account said, “You don’t work for that company.” He was dressed like a vending man. He had the uniform on, the whole deal, but he was very crafty, but somebody knew him. So that’s a good tip.

Larry Towner: The other tip, I can’t stress enough-

Tom Shivers: Hold on to that one.

Tom Shivers: What can a vending company do to help the front office sniff that kind of thing out?

Larry Towner: Really, if you introduce yourself to somebody in the front office or wherever you enter the building and even at the machines, if you get to be friendly with some of the people there, they’ll get to know you.

Larry Towner: Somebody goes up to the machine, and if you change personnel or if somebody different’s working the account say, “Oh yeah, I work with so and so.” If they don’t know who what is like … Let’s just say, “Tom, you work with me, and you’re in servicing an account while I have to go do it for you one day, and somebody comes up to me and they say, “Oh, where’s Tom tonight?” You go, “Oh yeah, Tom, yeah. He’s a good guy.”

Larry Towner: They suspect it after a while. People aren’t … They pay attention too. So you just have to let people know, and if you as a routeman are out there talking, you say, “We’ve only got two guys that work in the company. I’ve got a service guy.” Or he’s going to say, “I’ve got a service guy and 15 other guys, but they all know me.”

Larry Towner: It’s just that kind of thing. If you just let people know, they’ll keep an eye on your stuff because you’re doing them a service. If you’ve been in vending awhile, you’ll find out that they really depend on you a lot, or at least they did in my accounts. They really depended on me for their snacks because they were hungry, and they wanted to eat so they wanted to make sure that they were being taken care of. That’s one way to do it.

Larry Towner: Stay observant. Get out of patterns. Don’t do the same thing at the same times every week. Make sure that you don’t … Don’t put all your money in one place or get a safe, and put it all in the safe. Now they’ll work on the safe too, and they’ll steal the safe or they’ll steal the truck and steal the [inaudible 00:06:37].

Larry Towner: But either way, you can do a bunch of things. So that’s just a couple of ideas, but the biggest thing is pay attention. Just keep your head on a swivel. Don’t get locked stepped into anything. Don’t flash the money around. Don’t stick it in the bags behind your back so people don’t see you. Things like that, and just don’t show how much is there, and it will greatly reduce your chances of being stolen from.

Tom Shivers: Excellent tips. Thanks so much, Larry.

Tom Shivers: If you want more good vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching Vending Operator Tools Basic Security at  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

You can see another Vending tip at Vending Operator Tools: Money Handling

Vending Operator Tools: Money Handling

Vending Operator Tools Money Handling Tips and tools to get your money from the vending machine to the bank:

  • Inventory money from each machine using money bags
  • Money goes into the truck
  • Decide on a truck security plan
  • Count money by purchasing a counter for coins and bills
  • Talk to your bank about moving money from your counter to the bank about their requirements

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series



Tom Shivers: It’s Tom with the Vending Business Show and I’m here again with Larry Towner a vending business consultant with Service Group International and we’re continuing this series on vending business tools. So which tool are we talking about today Larry?

Larry Towner,: Let’s talk about Vending Operator Tools money handling and how you handle your money and what you’re gonna need to actually get your money from the machine to the bank.

Tom Shivers: Okay.

Larry Towner,: So of course we all know that money just magically, they put the money in and the best part of the vending business is actually counting the money, at least that’s what I was always led to believe. But you do find that counting money tends to be not all that much fun when you do large quantities of it and it starts to actually become kinda drudgery in a job.

Larry Towner,: So what we’re gonna give you are some tips here onVending Operator Tools Handling Money and how to handle your money and make it efficient and make it fast. From the machines we always like to, and we found in our research around and talking to vendors around the company, that it’s best to inventory money from each machine so you’re going to need to have some kind of a system where you pick up money from each machine which means you’re gonna need a container to carry money from each machine. There’s a variety of money bags that are available out there. There are zippered bags, there are canvas bags, there are all kinds of different containers. I know one guy that uses paper bags and uses them very effectively, buys lunch bags and that’s what he uses. He writes the account on the outside, the machine number on the outside of the bag, puts the money in it, sticks it in his box. Works great for him, everybody’s got a different system but you’re gonna need a individual way to handle money from each machine that you get out there in the world.

Larry Towner,: So with that again, there’s all kinds of different bags, zipper bags and things like that. Money needs to go into the truck. There’s a couple of different things, money of course is a very, what do we wanna say, a highly desired item and some of the bad guys might try to steal it from you so from a security standpoint you’re gonna have to have some kind of system where you can make your money somewhat secure or make it completely secure. There’s safes available, there’s all kinds of things that you can do. There’s Deceit, we placed our money all around the trucks in different locations so that if somebody did break into a truck and wanted to steal the money from us, they would get some of it but not all of it.

Larry Towner,: How you handle that is your business, but I want you to be cognizant of the fact that that kind of thing happens out there. So you get your money and you get it back into your office or your warehouse or wherever it is that you handle your money. Where do you go from there? A couple of things, you’re gonna need some kind of a mechanical counter for both coin and for bills.

Larry Towner,: There’s many many different kinds of coin counters that are available. Anything from hand rail counter systems that you crank by hand to fully electronic visions where you just poor the bag in and it sorts and separates and gives you a total, knows exactly what you’ve got in every different denomination. These are fantastic tools. You’re going to have to have one.

Larry Towner,: Plenty different manufactures of this equipment out there, do a little research on the internet and expect to spend some money. The least expensive ones you’re gonna find are gonna be about $500, and that’s in a used situation for a rail sorter, you’re gonna find something in about the $500 range that’s worth having I wanna say.

Larry Towner,: And the most expensive side you can spend into the $20,000 range to get a really really good, new coin counter that’ll do six, 7,000 coins a minute and sort and separate and give you very low rates. Starting off obviously, gonna start on the lower end of that but eventually you’ll find you’re gonna need to move up into better things. Great problems to have.

Larry Towner,: Same thing with bill counters. You can go down to the local warehouse club and you can buy yourself a bill counter that will work. It will count all of your bills and all it does is what they call piece counting, it does no counterfeit detection and it will not pick up anything that has to do with if you’ve got a $5 bill in there it does not sort and separate out the five’s. That’s about 200 bucks. You can go up to almost an unlimited amount of money depending on speed and how much counterfeit detection they have and also how much sort and separates because there’s bill counters out there that’ll separate your fives off into a different bin, your 10s, your 20s, your 50s, all of that exists out there. Most vendors usually only handle fives and ones but if you’re dealing with a lot of fives you’re gonna wanna have something that’ll automatically sort out the fives or you’re gonna have to do it by hand. Because you really don’t wanna count a five dollar bill as a one dollar bill. It’s a pretty big loss.

Larry Towner,: Really important, lots of research to do on that kind of stuff and many many different manufactures of this kind of equipment but you’re gonna have to have one. Getting money from your coin counters to the bank. How do you move your money from the counter to the bank? Coin is very very heavy. You’re gonna need … You need to talk to your bank. You need to see what their requirements are. My bank would take money in federal reserve bags so we took a $1,000 worth of quarters at one time and that weighed 52 pounds. Our bags actually came from the bank, they supplied us with the bags, our coin counter loaded bulk into those bags and we took whole bags down to the bank.

Larry Towner,: There’s other systems that are available. They’re starting to do partial bags now because of your bank. It depends on how you wanna do it but all of these are issues that you’re gonna have to worry about and going to the bank with a hand truck having to carry several thousands dollars is always a very fun and exciting experience. Remember folks keep it safe, make sure your people are aware they become a target. Don’t go at the same time. We’ll do a show on security, on basic security measures coming up in the future.

Larry Towner,: Tom do you have any questions on Vending Operator Tools Money Handling?

Tom Shivers: Did your equipment help you sort these out beforehand or no?

Larry Towner,: Yes, you’re gonna want a machine that does what’s called sort and separate. Meaning it takes the various different coins, if you dump a bag of mixed coin in there it splits it out in to each individual bag. There’s a couple of different designs that do that. One’s called a rail sorter where the coin runs down a rail and it falls in by size because coins are all different sizes and that works really well. The other is an actual spinning system and that does the same thing only it does it on a [inaudible 00:06:39] and it’s a lot faster.

Larry Towner,: But again, your research on the internet will show you the different kinds. There’s a big variation on cost on all of these different programs so it all depends on your budget also.

Tom Shivers: All right, great. Thanks Larry. If you want more good vending business tips like these then be sure to subscribe. And you’ve been watching Vending Operator Tools Handling Money at  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M equipment sales.

Vending Operator Basic Tools

Vending Operator Basic Tools   When servicing an account and before leaving, that machine needs to be clean and looking good! There are many different cleaning supplies to carry with you:

  • Glass cleaner
  • Squeegee
  • Paper towels
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Dow scrubbing bubbles
  • General purpose cleaner
  • Small vacuum cleaner

Vending operator Basic Tools  The basic tools you need to service a vending machine:

  • Phillips head screwdriver, #2
  • Flat Head screwdriver, #1, #2
  • ¼” socket set
  • 11/32” Nut Driver, Deep
  • 5/16” Nut Driver, Deep
  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • Vice Grips
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Electrical Tester
  • Strip and Crimp tool
  • Scissors
  • Clear Tape, 4” wide
  • Business Cards
  • Money Bags
  • Hand Truck
  • Coin and Bill Counters
  • Planograms
  • Brochures

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series

Episode Transcript:


Vending operator basic tools Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show here again with Larry Towner, the vending business consultant with Service Group International and we are continuing in this series of vending business tools. Thanks for being here Larry. What are we gonna be talking about today?

Larry: Well, today we’re gonna talk about the basic toolkit for a route man and/or a basic toolkit for an owner/operator.

Tom: What’s first?

Larry: Well, let’s talk about a route man’s basic toolkit. You’re all, if you’re an owner/operator, you’re running route anyway so you’re gonna need these things but one of the big mantras in the vending business is clean, filled, and working and so we’re gonna talk first about cleaning vending machines. There are, it’s really, really important when you go into a, into one of your accounts and you’re servicing an account, that when you leave, that machine is clean. You want it to be clean but at the same time, you wanna be very efficient in how you clean and how you get things done because you want it to be, you want it, it’s your place of business. It needs to look good.

Larry: The first thing that I always like to carry, there’s several different things in cleaning supplies that I always like to carry, but the biggest that most vending companies have is glass because of course, the front of a vending machine is a large piece of glass so I always carried some kind of a glass cleaner. I just used basically Windex or any kinda multipurpose glass cleaner is what I use but I also always carried a squeegee and I’m gonna tell you why I carried a squeegee. The squeegee allows you to take that glass cleaner and clean it much faster and much more efficiently than if you tried to use paper towels all the time. So I always carried glass cleaner and a squeegee, along with paper towels, I would use the paper towels to clean the edges and I would also rub the front of the machine down if it was particularly dirty with the paper towels and then use the squeegee to liquid off.

Larry: There’s all kinds of cleaning techniques but in my opinion, you definitely have to have a squeegee. It makes things go much, much, much faster. I also always carried a soft bristle brush because I would take, and in a dusty location, you can take a soft bristle brush and you can just brush the dust right off the tops and fronts of the machine and you just brush that stuff off and it takes that dust off. Then I would actually brush it first and then I would go clean the glass from there.

Larry: I also found, had great success with one particular product. It’s rare that I support one particular product but I got a tip from a guy one time to use Dow Scrubbing bubbles and what he told me to use Dow Scrubbing bubbles for was that Dow Scrubbing bubbles will remove scuff marks from the fronts of your machines down at the bottom. Now, we all know Tom that nobody ever kicks a vending machine. We all know this to be the self-evident truth but every [inaudible 00:02:55] like in a lot of my locations, I would go in and find black shoe marks on the fronts of my machine.

Larry: Now I don’t when that was happening but it seems like that people must have tripped or something. That’s had to be what it was.

Tom: Yeah, there’s no way they were kicking it.

Larry: No, there’s no way they were kicking it. But anyway, so in their tripping, and they tripped and they happened to scuff the machines up, I found that Dow Scrubbing bubbles, you spray it on there, you let it sit for a minute and then you take the paper towels off, and it really, really works really well at getting those scuff marks off the fronts of the machine. I suppose there’s a generic brand of something like it, but I just had such good luck with that Dow Scrubbing bubbles that I always had Dow Scrubbing bubbles with me to get scuff marks and it’s also a good general purpose cleaner, but it really works well on scuff marks. There’s other products out there. There’s some products called Spray Nine that I know people use. Joe at A & M Equipment uses Spray Nine all the time. It’s a great cleaner for inside your machine. You need some kind of a general cleaner also to use, besides the Dow Scrubbing bubbles, just some kind of water and type mix to clean with.

Larry: But those are the big things. You gotta have the ability to clean the fronts of the machines. And the fronts and the insides too. I used to carry, I also carried a small vacuum with me that I would have in the truck if I needed it to go vacuum out a machine. If a package broke open inside a machine and it spilled contents into the vend tray or did something like that, I would have a small vacuum with me and I could vacuum out the insides of the machines. So those are some of the real basic cleaning tools that you need.

Larry: Let’s go into just the real, actual tools you need if you’re gonna do basic service on a vending machine and the tools are very, very simple. You need a number two Philips head screwdriver. You need a number two flat head screwdriver. I always carried a number one screwdriver that would clip on my pocket, in my pocket with me all the time. I had a quarter inch socket set. I always had an 11/32 nut driver D, and I always had a 5/16 nut driver D also. You’re gonna use both of those if you’re gonna do anything on a vending machine, you are gonna run into those two things. I always carry Cannalocks. I always carry vice scripts. Needle nosed pliers. Electrical tools, I had an electrical tester with me, a voltage tester. I had a strip and crimp tool with me also. Usually, had some electrical tape. Things like that. That’s the basic toolkit that you’re gonna need to do any kind of basic maintenance on a vending machine that does not have to do with doing installations. I mean, just talking about basic maintenance.

Larry: Then I always carried a marketing kit with me as well. And in that marketing kit was like a four inch wide clear tape. I had scissors. I had business cards. I had brochures. I had everything for contact information that somebody, if they asked me, and they needed to get a hold of me or get ahold of the company, I had a piece of information there for ’em. I think that route men should always have business cards of some sort that they can hand out to customers for contact information.

Larry: And then we have money handling tools. So you have money bags and then bill and coin counters. Those are kinda issues for the office to handle but money bags are critical for a route man, he’s gotta have money bags, gotta have a way to count out each machine and put it into his bags.

Larry: Those are the basic tools that you’re gonna need to run a vending a route actually, to actually service accounts. So we’ve talked about hand trucks in a previous show and how we got a basic tool kit. Tom, do you have any questions.

Tom: No, that’s a lot of tools there but I know those are all necessary so is there anything else we’ll be discussing in the next show?

Larry: We’ll probably talk about money handling next.

Tom: All right. Getting more good tips about the vending business. Be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching  Vending operator Basic Tools  at The Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.  More Vending Business Blogs  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

Vending In Schools




Larry Towner

Vending Guru

Vending in Schools is an up and coming Vending Opportunity   In this episode of the Vending Business Show, we interview Larry Towner, a successful vending operator, and vending business consultant. He shares valuable tips about  Vending in Schools, .


Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers Vending in Schools    I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, and today, we’re here with Larry Towner, of course, who is a vending business consultant with Service Group International. We’ve got a interesting topic today, which is kind of unique for this particular year, about  Vending in Schools so tell us what we’re going to talk about today, Larry.

Larry Towner: Well, today we’re going to talk about everybody favorite topic, that’s vending in schools. We all know that healthy vending in schools  is coming, whether we want to believe it or not, there is now legislation. It’s early July here, and we are … Well, we originally were talking about impending events in our last video, and so we were discussing this concept, Tom and I were, and we decided we needed to do some impending events that’ll affect you right now that you can take out and use today, and that will be able to be used year after year and month after month, for that matter.

We came up with this concept of doing this, the healthy vending in schools, due to the recent legislation put into place by the Obama administration, saying that healthy vendors, there’s going to be certain healthy vending aspects that need to be done in school. The reason that we’re presenting it at this time is we know in the future that healthy vending is going to be an increasing part of our product mix as we go forward through time.

If we don’t get it legislated into our business, we’re going to end up … our customers are going to end up demanding it. Whether they really will eat it or not is another story, but they will demand it eventually, so you need to be preparing for that concept of healthy vending, and so we decided we would talk about … we would kind of wrap the school vending together with the healthy vending, and make it Healthy Vending in Schools because they really go hand in hand. That was one of the things that came out in our impending events. We know this is going to happen. Well, right now, you have to do it if you’re going to do vending in schools, and you know it’s going to be an increasing amount of our business as time goes on.

So, some of the challenge that we think are showing up in healthy vending really has a lot to do with product selection. It’s been difficult to identify the products that meet these requirements that the government has put down upon us, and so what we found is … I sort of had an idea that this might happen because we didn’t see a whole lot of push back from the various big companies like Frito Lay or Coca-Cola or Pepsi, and so what happened is, is they had products basically ready to go. They just didn’t launch them until this healthy vending initiative got passed through the legislation.

We wanted to give you a couple of resources, because we’re here about … At A&M Equipment Sales, and when we do these things, we want to give you the resources that you can go out and do the kind of work that you need to do. I’m going to take the screen that I have here and I’m just going to show you all some screen shots that we’ve taken off the internet. They give you a couple of resources that are available to you out there, as far as for healthy vending resources.

One of them is a website called Actually, if you go to their home page, which I’ll scoot back to their home page, and I’ll show you how to kind of run through this program if I can find their home page. Well, I had it, anyway. Maybe it’s here. But they offer up a couple of products, or a couple of services, I want to say, that are really, really good services. I’m going to type in the There it is right there. Let’s pull that up.

Yeah, this is the home page for the website, and what we wanted to do was kind of walk you through which screens, as it were, are really the important ones. We go to here to Eat to Live Healthier, and we click on Eat Healthier. In this Eat Healthier screen, as you can see, there’s a lot of information about making your diet better, but the things that really matter to us in the vending business are these two right here.

There’s product calculator and product navigator. The product calculator, if you click on that, will take you to this screen right here, and this screen is all about figuring out if your products actually meet the requirements for the school vending. It gives all kinds of different things, and it’s basically … It walks you through the things, and it’ll tell you if it works.

One of the other things that’s here on this website is the product navigator. What the product navigator does is it actually gives you lists of products that meet these requirements, so we click on that. We go down here to Smart Snacks, and of course, then you go back here to Snacks again, and it’ll give you a complete … Here’s a menu of items that it shows: bars, cereals, cookies, brownies, pastries, chips. If we just click on chips, it brings you up a whole bunch of things, and who makes them, and what the skews are, and all that kind of thing. This is a really tremendous website that you can use. It’s called Really good one.

One of the other ones is, if you’re in the vending business, you already know about Vistar, but Vistar now has a whole series of products. As you can see on their home page, they have healthier snacks for a healthy life, and they have a whole section and a whole bunch of products dedicated to healthy vending, and getting you in the products that you need in school.

These are the kinds of things that we wanted to give to you out there so that y’all know what you’ve got coming up, because adding healthy products into your mix is going to be important as we go forward.

Tom, anything that you have to add?

Tom Shivers: That’s great stuff there, Larry. Now, we’ll have links to both of those resources below the video, so anything else we’re going to be talking about later?

Larry Towner: Well, we always have lots to talk about on the Vending Show, but we’re going to do, coming up is impending … Any of these impending events, we’re going to start doing a series on what we’re calling impending events. These aren’t necessarily doom and gloom things, but they’re things that are going to happen to you as you run your business, and we know, just because we’ve done this for a long time, there’s going to be certain things that we know we’re going to do.

We’re going to try to leave the seasons a little bit, which means we’re going to start into a fall program, because it’s dead of summer right now, but these things happen year after year after year at this time, so we’re going to do a series of events that are going to come up that you can do a little pre-planning for, get yourself prepared for it, and be ready to go. All of that’s going to come up in future Vending Shows.

Tom Shivers: Awesome. And of course, subscribe to get in on all these new shows that are coming, and you’ve been watching the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Whether you are doing school vending or not, healthy vending is going to be an increasing part of your product mix in the future because customers are going to begin demanding it. So you need to begin preparing for it if you haven’t already.

Some of the challenges with vending in schoolsg are identifying products that meet the government requirements. Here are resources that will help in this area:  We have AMS Healthy Vending Machines

Subscribe to get the next issue of the Vending Business Show.

Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks

Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks
Transporting soda and drinks is very physical to move but with the right hand truck it’s relatively easy.

Traditional hand trucks work just fine for both soda and snack routes.

Convertible hand trucks work better for volume accounts. Convertibles allow you to convert the hand truck into a cart.

Make sure you consider wheels: hard, pneumatic or no flat wheels. Hard wheels are great on concrete surfaces; pneumatic wheels are great for off road surfaces like going across grass.

No flat wheels are the best of both hard and pneumatic wheels; if you need to change out the wheels on your hand trucks try the no flat wheels.

I recommend buying a good quality aluminum hand truck from Magliner, Westco…
Steel hand trucks work fine but at the end of the day they are heavy and wear you down.

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series


Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks   Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with The Vending Business Show. Here again, with Larry Towner, who is part of Service Group International, and a vending business consultant. And we’re continuing our series on vending operator tools  choosing hand trucks, both conceptual and physical, as well as .. well, there are actually more tools to it than that. So, what are we going to be talking about today, Larry?

Larry Towner,: I think we’ll talk about one of the most important Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks the biggest tool you’ll use every single day when you’re in the vending business, that’s going to be your hand truck. Tom, what do you know about hand trucks?

Tom Shivers: They’re made for handling big pieces of heavy stuff, and big things.

Larry Towner,: Yep, and that’s part of it. They’re designed in general to move a lot of weight, but also in the vending side, remember we deal in two different kinds of products. We deal largely in sodas and then in snacks and/or coffee, and products like that. While coffee is kind of a medium weight item, although it never gets really heavy by soda standards. Soda, on the other hand, is a very, very heavy product and very difficult to move, or very physical to move, I guess I should say. It’s not difficult. When you have a good hand truck it’s quite easy. But we generally run in combinations of both soda and snacks. So what we’re going to talk about is, how do you choose the particular hand truck that you are interested in using? We have used all kinds of hand trucks through the years. I mean, I’ve run many, many different kind of hand trucks. And basically, hand trucks break down into two common types. You have what’s called a traditional hand truck, which is a frame, with two wheels on the bottom, and some kind of a plate.

Larry Towner,: And then there are the convertible hand trucks, which are hand trucks that, while they have the two wheels and a plate, they also can pull out into a cart style hand truck. Or more like a cart. They have four wheels that slide up [inaudible 00:02:04]. Hand truck selection is largely a matter of what you really like, and also what the majority of what you’re going to be carrying is. If you have very heavy things a traditional hand truck works just fine. If you’re going to run a soda route a traditional hand truck, not the convertible style, will work just fine. If you’re going to do largely soda you’re fine with that. And you can stack snacks on top of it, too, because the boxes will stack up on top of each other and you can just pull it over. And I ran for years, and years, and years using a traditional hand truck and had great success with it. I was very efficient. When you’re running in and out of buildings you want to move one time. You don’t want to have to make multiple trips if you can help it.

Larry Towner,: That really eats into your time, because every time you have to go back to the truck it takes you about 10 minutes. Anyway, with that said, I ended up converting over to a convertible hand truck, and that’s largely because my operational situation changed. We started doing pre pulls on accounts, and we had a lot more volume that we were taking in. So we converted over to a convertible hand truck and we had really good success with that, too. And the choice, again it’s a lot of what you’re going to have to when you’re planning as to what you’re going to look for. Convertible hand trucks allow you to make it into a cart. If you have nice even ground, or concrete, you can do it with a convertible hand truck. You can put a lot of weight on it, about 1000 pounds they’re rated for, which is going to be almost anytime you’re servicing a vending account you won’t go quite that high. Unless you’ve got a very, very large account. Then you’re probably going to make multiple stops anyway.

Larry Towner,: One thing I always want to tell people about is, make sure you think about wheels. The wheels that you choose for your hand truck can make the difference between having an easy run and a difficult run. Years ago you had a choice of pneumatic wheels, or you had a choice of hard wheels. Hard wheels were great if you were on hard surfaces all the time, on asphalt or concrete. And pneumatic wheels were great if you were off road at all. If you went across grass at all you generally wanted pneumatic wheels. Today there’s also these never flat wheels. And the no flat wheels are kind of the best of both worlds. They work like a hard wheel, and they work like a soft pneumatic wheel as well. They’re relatively expensive compared to a traditional wheel, but folks, if you need to change the wheels on your hand trucks try those out, the never flat styles. And there’s many, many available at many different retail sources. Tom, to you have any questions about hand trucks?

Tom Shivers: Yeah, I mean there’s so many different ones. Are there any in particular that you like or recommend?

Larry Towner,: I recommend you buy a good quality aluminum hand truck. Either a Magliner or Wesco. There are some other brands that are just as fine, some of them have interchangeable parts with either of those two. But you want a good quality aluminum one. You want an aluminum hand cart largely because, on a day-in, and day-out basis you have to move that hand truck a lot. You’re going to be pulling it in and out of the vehicle all the time. I’ve run with steel ones, I’ve done it. I’m going to tell you, it works. They work just fine. End of the day, they’re heavy, they’ll tire you out. An aluminum one is light, it will pull off [inaudible 00:05:14]. A couple of things to be aware, aluminum does wear so be careful scraping it on concrete and things like that. As far as actually dragging the metal on the concrete. But I always say buy an aluminum hand truck. Handle choices? I’ve used rings, I’ve used handles. I personally like rings, or a loop style. But then again, it’s a personal choice. If you like the handles, get the handles. Other questions?

Tom Shivers: No, that’s great. Well, I guess that’s all the time we have for now. We’re going to talk about a basic toolkit next.

Larry Towner,: Yes, we’re going to do a discussion on what your basic tools for a vending operator or going to be as far as, if you’re going to be a single owner/operator there are certain tools you’re going to need to have with you all the time, and we’ll go over a basic toolkit for that application in the next show.

Tom Shivers: All right, if you want to get more good vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. And you’ve been watching Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks  on The Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Vending Operator Tools Planogram

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram


Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    Download the sample planogram: pdf or Word doc

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram  A planogram is used in retail stores to arrange certain items in specific locations to get the maximum number of sales. In a vending machine we use planograms similarly:  Once the items are put in a planogram  items that sell in that particular location thus making more money.  In the planogram  we can then track what sells and what doesn’t.  If an item is selling real well you might want to put two rows of the same item.  This is a win for you and a win for the customer.  An item that isn’t don’t run it.  With a planogram you should be able to lower your stales or out of date merchandise in the machine thus saving money.  You can then change out your next planogram to what is actually selling in the machine.  Remember people get tired of the same old thing so change some items in your planogram every week.

  1. Have all products arranged in the same place which will help with operations, continuity through all machines, helps with efficiency and profits.
  2. Par levels are set to reflect the rate of sales for a product in the machine so that product does not run out but there are few left when the route man shows up.

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Most manufacturers of vending machines will show you where to place items for better sales.

Download the form or create your own, then post it inside your machines so you can see it when you open the door of the machine.

The important thing is that you use this concept in your business.  Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    More Vending Business Blogs  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series

 Episode transcript:

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show. Here with Larry Towner of Service Group International. He’s a vending business consultant. Today, we’re talking about tools. Both conceptual tools that will help you be more efficient, and also, physical tools. Thanks for being here Larry. What are we going to start with?

Larry: Well, I thought today, that we would start with a conceptual tool.  Vending Operator Tools Planogram One that has a lot to do with marketing and things like that. It’s called a planogram. What a planogram is, is a planogram is how you arrange your machines in the vending business. The concept comes from planogram, if you been in retail, you know what planogram is. You work in a retail environment, planograms are used all through grocery stores and almost any retail business has a planogram. It has certain items in certain places so that you get the maximum number of sales.

Larry: In a vending machine, what that is, is that there’s a couple of reasons to use a planogram. One is that you have your products all in the same place, which is going to help you operationally, so you’ll know what products go where. In particularly if you have a route man or multiple people servicing your machines. You will have continuity through all of your machines, which subsequently gives you better data as far as what’s selling and what’s not selling, and things like that. It’s a very, very powerful tool. It really wants to, rather, it helps you with how you set your machines up. It helps you with your efficiency. It helps you with your profitability.

Larry: In a previous episode, we had discussed where you could actually do placement of the machines, as far as which products go where, and that information is compiled by most of the manufacturers that tell you were to put things.

Larry: Vending Operator Tools Planogram   So, what we’ve got here, is we’ve put up a picture here of what a planogram looks like. This is a planogram picture that I built a long time ago. We used it extensively when I was running a vending business. We actually have the word product on the top level and the par level below that. So, the product obviously, is what product are you going to put in there. That depends on the conceptual arrangement of your machines. But, you put your product, and you basically write it in there, or in this case, you can type it in there.

Larry: Par level is the other really important thing. Not everything sells all at once. So, different products sell at different rates. Our goal, when we were running a vending company, was to have machines not run out of product, but also not leave a lot of product left in the machine, which is a very bad use of inventory. We always put par levels in there. A par level, on a really popular selling item like a Snickers, or a Dorito product might be 12. You might put 12 items in there. On a real slow selling product, something that just might not sell that well, you might put a par level of four.

Larry: What you do is, when you come back to the machine, you’ll actually know if you had a par level of four and two items are gone, you know you sold two items. If you come back and you had a par level of 12 and all of the column is empty, well maybe you need to take that par level up to a 14 or something like that.

Larry: That’s the basis of what a planogram is. It’s how you’re going to arrange your machines. Again, you need to, with these forms, and we actually printed them out, and we taped them up on the insides of our machines. We put them up above the changers, so every time we opened the door, we knew what was supposed to be in the machine. That’s kind of an old school way to do it, but I’ll tell you what, it works. It’s inexpensive, and it’s very, very simple.

Larry: Tom, do you have any questions on a planogram?

Tom: So, I guess they’re different for every type of machine, perhaps. But, you can modify this anyway you want?

Larry: You can modify this form anyway you need. You can either add columns or subtract columns. You can cross things out. However you need it to work. Or, you can actually get into the program and actually change the form itself. But, the form isn’t what’s really important. What’s important is the concept and that you actually use it. So, take it and put it in your machines and make sure everybody follows it, or put it in a notebook and carry the notebook. That works too. I always found it easier to leave it in each machine. That way, you never had any doubt as to what’s supposed to be where.

Tom: Alright, Larry. Well, thanks so much. We’ll have a link to download this planogram, so you can just print it off or put it on your computer, modify it, use it the way you want.

Tom: Also, if you want more vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching Vending operator Tools Planogram  the Vending Business Show. A publication of A&M Equipment sales.

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two  We’ll be looking at both account sales and retail (product) sales in the Fall season. Fall is a strong time to sell product because you can sell candy and food in the morning and drinks in the afternoon. Remember as the weather changes, you’ll want to change your product mix. You also want to know the over night temperatures in the room where your machines are located. Products sell because things are typically “back to normal” and running smoothly at the location.

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two is in the Fall and is also the best time to make account sales calls because these decisions are usually made in the winter time around New Years or in January. December and through January is also a strong time to make account sales calls since New Years is a demarcation point.

Retail sales tends to fall off after Thanksgiving to about half of what you normally do due to lots of food brought in by employees. Money gets tight for consumers because they are spending on gifts and when January comes they start receiving those bills. So during the sluggish time of Winter it’s a good time to make sales calls.

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.

Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Hi, this is Tom with the Vending Business show here again with Larry Towner where we’ve been discussing vending business seasonal sales in part one we covered spring and summer so what’s next Larry?

Larry Towner,: Well what comes after summer Tom? Fall time right? So we’re gonna continue this conversation about vending business seasonal sales part two and with the fall time on the vending business cycles and here’s one thing about fall time and this largely has to do, when I talk about fall, I’m talking about after Labor Day or more or less in September if you wanna call it that. But it’s essentially fall time encompasses after Labor Day until about Thanksgiving. And the fall time is from, again we’re talking about two different things, we’re talking about retail selling and we’re talking abut account selling. Which are two kind of different sales aspects of the vending business. But if you’re into account generation there’s different concerns than there are on the retail side.

Larry Towner,: So we’ve been discussing the retail side for first. Fall time is a very very strong time like the spring to sell product. You get a great shift in weather. What you have is you have generally cold mornings and warm afternoons and that lends to retail sales really strongly. So because you can sell candy and food in the morning and you seel drinks in the afternoon. So fall is actually the time of the year, in my experience anyway, was always my largest sales volume came ion the fall although the spring, summer and fall were pretty level all the way across, it’s just what happened was is that in the spring and fall you had a perfect mix of products, you had about 50/50 snack to soda. Summer time you sold largely drinks and then int fall time you went back to snack and soda.

Larry Towner,: One thing to is just as tip, is don’t forget that as the weather does change you have to change your product mix. When you =come out of the cold weather, you go into the warm weather, you need to be moving into non-chocolate items, items that don’t mold quite as much, that don’t melt, you need to be asking your accounts do they turn the air conditioning off during the night time or over the weekend because a couple of days in a hot room can ruin the inventory ion your machines or make them unsellable. Chocolate has a bad habit of turning white, it gets crumbly and white and it’s unsaleable at that point.

Larry Towner,: That lends to service calls or service complaints, if you wanna call them that. That opens the door for other vendors to come in and make the sales calls because after all all of your stuff in your machine is old and out of date because it doesn’t matter if it’s one item or all of it, they’re gonna say it’s all of it.

Larry Towner,: With that said, in the fall time it’s a better time to sell than it is in the spring and the summer. Schedules are back to normal, you’re seeing managers and people that are decision makers that are in the accounts, they’re kind of out of their heavy production season, they’ve got everything running smoothly, at least they hope anyway. Everything’s kinda smooths out so it’s a good time to start laying your calls, your sales calls, if you’re gonna go for account generation, in the fall time, that’s the best time because there’s …

Larry Towner,: What happens is is in the winter time is when the decisions area actually made. The best time to go selling in the vending account business is in the winter. It’s right before New Year’s, because New Year’s is a natural point of delineation. A guy’s got his to-do list, he’s had to look at new vending accounts or new vending companies on his to-do list since the summer time, he’s just not gotten around to it, he’s been busy, December comes around, between Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s, it’s real slow in the business cycle and he starts looking at that to-do list. And when you show up or you’ve been there a couple of times over the year and he’s looking at his to-do list, he’s got you up there saying hey, I need to call XYZ vending company, they’ve been calling on me for a couple of months, I wanna see what they have to offer.

Larry Towner,: So December, in particular, is a strong time to be selling accounts because New Year’s is a demarkation point. Even out into January, out to January 31st, out to the first of the year, great time because it’s that New Year’s resolution, they wanna a new vending company.

Larry Towner,: Retail sales on the other hand, generally after Thanksgiving, falls off to about half of that you’ll do the rest of the year. Largely because there’s a tremendous amount of competition that comes in. You’re looking at snacks and sodas and punches and cakes and cookies and turkey’s on the table sin the break rooms, there’s all this outside food that’s coming in, along with that, money starts to get tight for most of our consumers.

Larry Towner,: They are looking at Christmas, they ave huge amounts of money they’re gonna spend on Christmas, they know it’s coming up, and conversely with that come January they start getting their credit card bills. Sales fall off, they remain sluggish through January, they start to come back in February, or Febugly as I like to call it. Bt during this whole time weather can play and issue too because if people get taken out on a weather day they’re not at their place of business to purchase from your vending machines so they tend to be, sales tend to be a little sluggish on the retail side in this time.

Larry Towner,: But at the same time, so you’re not quite so busy doing your route, go make your sales calls. That pretty much wraps up the business cycle. Now if you have particular instances of if you’re =wanting to try to negate those cycles, there’s ways around that, those are tactics we’ll talk about in a future show and that does it for me right now. Tom do you have any questions?

Tom Shivers: Those are some excellent tips there. Thank so much Larry. We’ll be doing some more, like you said, on this topic. So you’ve been watching Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two at  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M …

The Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One A business cycle reflects human nature because people tend to cycle…

Two different business cycles in the vending business: account sales and retail sales of product.

Spring is the time of growth and renewal – more sales and opportunities. Time to sell product sometimes due to the warmer weather. On the account sales side, refrigeration equipment tends to begin showing problems which is a customer service issue but also an account sales opportunity. Any time you have a lot of service calls it’s a good time for account sales.

Summer, retail sales shift from snacks to drinks. As the temperature increases people tend to buy non-carbonated beverages. Summer account sales are tough because people take vacations and their mind isn’t on vending typically.

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.


Episode Transcript:

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant and today we’re talking about vending business cycles in the average vending business over a year, annual basis.

Tom Shivers: So, thanks for being here Larry. How do we get started with this?

Larry Towner: Well, Tom. Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One.  One of the things that we deal with when we’re dealing with a business cycle is it has a little bit to do with human nature and what people’s cycles are throughout the year. So, I’m gonna ask you some questions too, because after all the last time I checked you were a human being.

Larry Towner: I always start with spring, because spring is the time of renewal and things like that. It’s when it’s exciting. For you, in the springtime are you … Do you look forward to spring? I mean, is spring a time that you enjoy as a general rule?

Tom Shivers: Absolutely. Oh, yeah. It’s a great time, because it’s right after a cold winter.

Larry Towner: A long, cold, and dismal winter. We’re gonna talk about wintertime last. Let’s start with spring. But, again it gets back to human nature.

Larry Towner: People tend to cycle. They go through yearly cycles, they go through monthly cycles. There’s a lot of things that affect how people do business, what they purchase, and when.

Larry Towner: It’s simple things like life events, job changes, things like the weather. The weather has a huge amount to do with the Vending business, whether you believe it or not. But, we’ll go into some of those specifics.

Larry Towner: One of the things that … I’m gonna break this out into two areas too, because Tom, do you agree with this? That there’s two different business cycles in the vending business?

Larry Towner: There is the account sales portion of the vending business, which is when you’re selling to actually go achieve accounts. And then, there’s the retail sales portion of it for the actual sales of product and service out there. Does that sound about right to you?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. I can see that.

Larry Towner: Yep. So, I’m gonna address … When we address these issues we’ll address the retail side of it first, and then I’ll talk a little bit about the account sales side of it. Some of these things are cyclical or most of these things have a cycle anyway through them.

Larry Towner: So, let’s start off with spring. Springtime is generally the time of growth and renewal, I like to call it. It’s when your business starts to pick up and you start to start seeing more sales than you do in the wintertime … I’ll get to winter towards the end, but you start to see things picking up.

Larry Towner: It picks up in the vending business. Now, most of my operations I did in the south. Although, I did work in the greater Boston area for a number of years and these cycles work pretty much the same even north and south. They’re somewhat geared more towards the south, but they still work for the north.

Larry Towner: Springtime. Springtime is the time to sell product. In the springtime we tend to have an increase in product sales, largely because of the weather. It’s cold in the morning, it’s warm in the afternoon. That’s lends a great amount of credence to selling snacks in the morning and selling cold drinks in the afternoon.

Larry Towner: And then, of course coffee if you sell coffee. That sells always usually when it’s cold, but good coffee drinkers drink coffee all the time. So, we’ll leave that one out. But, that’s what springtime does for you.

Larry Towner: Spring is time to sell and people … Their money’s loosening up a little bit, and they’re looking forward to warm weather, and it tends to give them a very positive attitude, which in turn helps with your sales.

Larry Towner: It’s gonna help people feel better about themselves and that will lend to your sales on a retail basis. Now, on the account sales side springtime is kind of a tough time to sell. You need to be doing your calls in the spring, but the calls that you do in the spring are gonna be geared until a little later on in the year.

Larry Towner: One thing I always mention about sales calls in the spring is, spring is the time when you start to see some problems with machines. Particularly the refrigeration side of the business. Because, as the machines are coming out of winner they’re not … The machines aren’t cycling on and off a lot.

Larry Towner: And so, what happens is, is when the weather starts to warm up a little bit the refrigeration units start to kick on and off and that’s usually the time that you’ll start seeing some problems with refrigeration equipment. Largely drink machines start to have failures in the springtime, particularly as there’s big changes in humidity.

Larry Towner: What that spurs is that gives you an opportunity to go in and sell from an account standpoint, because if the existing vendor isn’t out there making his service calls and isn’t aware that the springtime is gonna create service problems he’s gonna have a bunch of service calls saying the drinks are hot, this and that.

Larry Towner: Anytime you have service calls it’s a good time to go with selling accounts. That’s the time when you want to sell accounts. Summer time. We’ll go into summertime. Retail sales in summertime your whole product line shifts from snacks over to drink, because as we like to say it’s 80 to 100 degrees out.

Larry Towner: People aren’t really hungry, they want cold drinks and you’d even be surprised they’re gonna drink more … As the temperature increases they drink more and more of the noncarbonated kind of drinks. They’re gonna drink sports drinks, water, things like that. Noncarbonated stuff.

Larry Towner: Nobody wants a lot of sugar when it’s really, really hot. There’s always exceptions to these rules, but as a general rule this is what you’re gonna see from a realistic standpoint. Fall time … Oh. Account sales. Summertime account sale’s really tough and this goes for the retail side too.

Larry Towner: People take a lot of vacations in the summertime, so what you see is your workforce gets diluted a little bit. If you’re in the traditional vending account where you’re within somebody’s business, a lot of people on vacation means your numbers are down, so your sales fall a little bit.

Larry Towner: But, getting to account managers in the summertime is difficult. They’re on vacation, they’re not really … Their mind isn’t really on vending per se, it’s more on production and on getting their business up and running than it is on changing out the vending company.

Larry Towner: Again, service calls. If they have service calls it’s a perfect time to go sell. If they have any issues or they have recurring issues in particular, good time to go sell.

Larry Towner: You got to make your calls, but your chances of success are less so than they are at other times of the year. Fall time. From a retail-

Tom Shivers: Hey, Larry. Can I interrupt right here? I think that’s about all the time we have for this show, can we pick up with fall and go into winter in the next one?

Larry Towner: We certainly can.

Tom Shivers: Okay. Great. You’ve been watching Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  at the Vending Business Show, a production of A&M Equipment Sales.

New Vending machines are available at 

Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized

Servicing New Vending Accounts getting Organized  An interview with Larry Towner
Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized  In the last video, Larry explained how to efficiently load a drink machine. In this video we’ll learn how to organize your truck for efficiency.

When at your warehouse (or Sams Club) or buying product for your accounts, how do you put them in your vehicle? Do you:
A. Throw the boxes in your truck helter skelter,
B. Open the boxes and throw them in your truck helter skelter, or
C. Arrange them in some kind of organized fashion.

Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized is everything – your warehouse and vehicle – so you know where everything is located. We loaded our vehicles like we did our machines.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our video series on how to service a vending account (please share this series with a friend), more videos are on the way.

Subscribe to get more vending business tips.


Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized I’m Tom, with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner, where we’ve been talking about what to do when you land a new account in your vending operation. So last, we talked about to handle snack and drink machines. How to take care of those, stocking them and so now what’s next, Larry?

Larry Towner: Well this is kind of a combination deal. This is what you do before you go to service an account and what to do after you service account. This has to do … We’re gonna talk about how you handle your products, getting them in and out of your vehicles and in and out of your truck.

Larry Towner: Some of the things to think about, Tom, are that, again, we’ve talked about efficiency in the other segments that we did, and back to being efficient, you know. The only thing you really have is your time and we wanna be super, super efficient.

Larry Towner: So I have a question for you. When you’re at your warehouse or you’re at the Sam’s Club and you’re buying the product for your accounts, and you go to put ’em in your vehicle, how do you put ’em in? Do you, A, just throw them in helter-skelter, B, open all the packages and throw them all in helter-skelter, or C, put them in in some kind of an organized fashion?

Tom Shivers: Probably B. But I know that’s wrong.

Larry Towner: Yeah. Well. So here’s the deal right? The way that you would do that is … and I mention this ’cause you wanna be organized. Organization is everything. So when you purchase your products or you go to your warehouse if you have a warehouse, you wanna have your vehicle organized in such a way that you know where your products are. How you choose to do that is your business, but you need to have some sort of a system that organizes your products in a way that you understand, so that you can quickly access those products.

Larry Towner: We worked on a planner-gram, we’ll get into that. That’s an advanced vending concept, so we won’t talk about that right now, we won’t talk about that for some time yet in this series, but we worked on a planner-gram, and basically all our machines were the same. But we used to load our truck just like we loaded our machines, so everything was done by shelf and not so much by column, but definitely by shelf. So all of the shelves were the same, so that when we went to pick a product out of our truck or put product into our truck … it doesn’t matter, it’s one and the same … they went in into specific locations.

Larry Towner: So the top shelf items went in the top shelf, the middle shelf items went in the middle, bottom shelf items went in the bottom. That way … I’m a very simple person. I get confused easily. So if I have ’em all in the same way, very, very simple, the truck looked like the machines. Think that works, Tom?

Tom Shivers: That sounds like you’re cutting down on time there.

Larry Towner: Well we’re cutting down on the time ’cause we wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. So when we would come out of the Sam’s Club or come out of our warehouse … didn’t matter really, was one and the same, they’re all a warehouse … loaded the truck up in that way, and then when we went in to go take our product into the account, came out in the same way.

Larry Towner: And so, critical thing, because you’re not gonna realize how much time you waste if you just walk out and throw the full boxes out into the truck, with no organization, you’re digging and you’re moving and you’re doing this and you’re doing that and you’re moving it. Now, I mentioned that option B, the one you selected, was you open the boxes and just threw everything into the truck. When you go into the account, and you come out of the account, what do you have? You have a lot of open boxes with partial product in it, right?

Tom Shivers: Right.

Larry Towner: ‘Cause you don’t put the whole box out there all the time. You think that’s true, or not?

Tom Shivers: No, probably not. Especially if you have a pick-list.

Larry Towner: Yeah. We talked about a pick-list in one of the previous shows. But you go in, if you take 48 Snickers candy bars in there, you’re not gonna put 48 into the machine. The chances are, unless it’s absolutely their favorite item, you’re not gonna do that.

Larry Towner: So if you just throw the half-full box into the truck when you get done, that box is gonna break open and you’re gonna have Snicker bars all over your truck. Or you’re gonna have bags of potato chips all over your truck. Again, been there, done that, don’t wanna do it again. Terrible waste of time having to pick product up off the floor of your vehicle.

Larry Towner: So have an organizational system for your vehicle. It’s your choice. There’s lots of ways to set your vehicles up. Just know where everything is. That’s what we’ve got for this segment.

Tom Shivers: Excellent stuff there again Larry. Tell us how people can contact you.

Larry Towner: They can get a hold of me, they can contact me at That’s the best way. Send me an email. ServiceGroupInternational, one word,

Tom Shivers: Alright. And you’ve been watching Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.  Some other blogpost to check out Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros


Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros Episode Transcript:
Tom:  Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros is a webinar coming up February 25th, and joining me to talk about it is Larry Tanner, who is a vending business consultant with Service Group, International. So, Larry, what’s this webinar gonna be about?

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros  Larry Tanner: Well, Tom, our goal in this webinar is to help you, or help our audience, to become better sales people in regards to vending, going out and getting new accounts, generating new accounts, and becoming more profitable.

Tom: Okay, and who’s gonna get the most from it? Who’s this webinar designed for?

Larry Tanner: This webinar is really designed for an owner/operator, but it could be designed for a sales manager as well. It’s designed for a guy that needs to go out and generate some accounts, wants to get profitable accounts, wants to learn a couple of new techniques, or maybe, quite a few new techniques, on how to generate leads, how to get good prospects, and how to actually close deals. So, that’s who’s gonna get the most out of it.

Tom: Okay, and what’s your background in the vending industry?

Larry Tanner: I’ve been in the vending business for about 35 years. I owned my own vending company for over 15, finished up with in excess of 500 thousand dollars a year in sales, and in three route guys, and we had about 110 or so accounts, 350 machines. Built that from the ground up, from zero. So, that’s my experience in the vending industry.

Tom: Okay, and who else is gonna be on the webinar?

Larry Tanner: We’re gonna have two other guests; Dan Jordan, who is a professional sales guy. He owns a staffing company right now, but he has been selling for almost all of his professional career. He does sales consulting as well, and we’re also gonna have Joe Nichols, president of A and M Equipment. And Joe is a very seasoned vending professional. He has been in the business for 40 plus years. Grew up in the business, basically, has run all aspects, and currently sells vending equipment.

Tom: Thanks, Larry. You can learn more about the webinar in Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros, at And there should be a link to the registration page somewhere on this, around this video, either below it or somewhere around it. We’ve got room for a hundred people.