Vending Machines: How to Strike a Deal with an Establishment
Vending Machines generate $20 billion to $30 billion annually. Getting an establishment to agree to host your machine can be very profitable. A vending machine’s financial success is tied to its location. The more people visit an establishment, the greater your chances of sales.
Look for locations with lots of employees or pedestrian traffic, such as colleges, auto shops and factories. Stay at least a few blocks away from coffee shops, grocery stores, and bakeries.
Push the Right Buttons
Contact the business owner or the property manager of the building or business where you want to install your machine. Introduce yourself as the owner of a vending machine business in the area and illustrate why a vending machine would be a great fit for the establishment. Explain that a vending machine is beneficial to customers, employers, and employees—especially in that they can access lunch, drinks, and snacks without leaving the building. It can also boost morale and productivity.
Come to Terms
Some businesses may agree to a vending machine only on the condition that they receive a percentage of the net sales. If there is no competition, negotiate a commission of up to 10%. Or, to help to determine the rate, research the local market to find out what other vending machine companies pay.
Expect to answer the business owner’s questions about how much power the machine uses; how it works, runs, and is installed; how, when, how often and by whom it will be monitored, restocked and serviced; and how commission is tracked and payment is sent. Offer to keep the machine stocked with the items that are most popular according to your records.
Seal the Deal
Create a document that details the terms and conditions to which you and the owner of the establishment agree. Review it with him or her a final time before you both sign it.
The vending machine industry can be a lucrative one. If you secure a suitable location that attracts a steady stream of people and keeps the machines fully functioning and stocked with the items customers enjoy most, you can definitely make some serious coin.
Vending Machine Business: Making Profit With An Ice Cream Vending Machine
Starting a vending machine business provides many benefits. Starting a vending machine business offers the luxury of working less than one day per week while receiving those same benefits. The vending machine market has grown exponentially in recent years and allows you to run a business that’s simple to execute with low capital start-up costs and take the initiative margins.
Your customers are looking for convenience, and with busy lives, they’re seeking to satisfy a craving while on the move. You will have a broad target audience when you begin an ice cream vending machine business. There are certain aspects to keep in mind that ensure you achieve the most success through your business venture. Our refurbished machines are an alternative to a franchise, requires no franchise fees or royalties. And the vending machine business offers an abundance of additional benefits that make your next business venture exciting.
When you start your business, we provide you with details that you need to get started, making the process easier. From the machine itself to coolers, compressors, and traditional flavors of ice cream, you can set up and execute a business plan stress-free. You’ll streamline the process by setting up a vending machine, placing it in a lucrative location and watching your earnings pile in.
Location. The most important aspect is location. The more traffic is passing by your vending machine, the better your potential is with the business. Think about the product—delicious ice cream—and choose a location that can provide the most return on investment. With locations available nationwide, you can choose high trafficked areas such as zoos or theme parks, or choose popular shopping destinations like Walmart. The opportunities are endless.
As vending machines are sprouting up in many areas and venues across the country, ice cream has become a popular and profitable vending machine product. Depending on the location of your machine, you can make money around the clock without being present. You can check in and collect your earnings once a week, and re-stock to maintain your operation.
Make sure to get the proper licenses before you set up, and take initiative in your new venture by keeping your equipment in good working order. If you have any questions about our business opportunities or would like to learn more about our proven business model, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Acquiring new vending accounts is easy you just need to have a plan.. You can acquire new vending accounts through contacting a large vendor. Large Vending Companies like to send business they don’t want to someone they can trust usually because they have size limitations. Get to those people by contacting their sales people and the principals of the business such as Canteen or ARA.or any large vending company. You can also tell the principal at the vending company that you will help pay a commission to the sales person for acquiring new vending accounts for your company. Find Vending Companies that might not want to work in the areas that you do. Acquiring new vending accounts is easy this way. I would get accounts with multiple locations around the city and I couldn’t service them all because they were too far away to make it profitable. But if I had a local guy over there that I trusted, he would get the business and we would work as a team, it was an easy way to dominate a few industries.
Tom: Hi I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show and today I’ve got the second part of this little clip from this webinar that’s very good, and it talks a little more about Acquiring New Vending Accounts and extended networking. Larry Towner, Joe Nichols, Dan Jordan, vending professionals and sales professionals, you’re gonna like this segment. These three guys are hilarious, when they get together lots of interesting things come out. So let’s get right to it.
Larry Towner: Customer, I also put down here competitors, I got a tremendous amount of business from competitors. I was a small vendor, I did largely smaller accounts, I got large companies like [inaudible 00:01:01] business to someone they can trust because they have size limitations, and they don’t want to necessarily take smaller accounts.
Larry Towner: They don’t like 50 or 100 or less employees, so they were sending me the accounts that were 50 to 100 people, which for me, if they were close to my service area where tremendous accounts were made. How do you get to those people? Contact the sales people directly. Contact the principals of the large businesses, the managers and things like that.
Larry Towner: For those guys in the vending business, I’m talking about people at Canteen, I’m talking about ARA, I’m talking about the guys in the big, big vending companies in your town or city, wherever you live.
Larry Towner: Just strike up a conversation. Talking to your competitors can also be a source of equipment. You can find out things about where they’re buying from, what kind of pricing they’re getting, and all that kind of thing. It all starts by contacting some of your larger competitors that you’re not necessarily competing with.
Larry Towner: Even if you’re a large vendor, you still can do that, and contact the other large vendors and see who’s trading accounts, and who’s doing this, and who’s doing that.
Larry Towner: Joe, what do you have to say about that?
Joe Nichols: Acquiring new vending accounts is easy for a new vendor. I always sent the leads to the new vendors that I knew were gonna do a good job. A lot of these smaller locations… The vendor has a larger location that is affiliated with it, and the vendor must know that the small vendor is gonna do a good job with the account he’s sending you.
Joe Nichols: You always wanna go out there, and if you don’t take the account, you contact a large vendor that you’re not gonna take the account, so he knows about it.
Joe Nichols: Always do what you say you’re gonna do, and do a good job, and you’ll get all the leads you want from the big vendors.
Larry Towner: Correct, correct. All right. Other things are geographic considerations when it comes to competitors. I had great working relationships with several competitors of mine that work in geographically different areas than I did, meaning I worked the north side of Atlanta, I had several people from the east, south, and west side of Atlanta, and I even had one guy who worked the north side of Atlanta, and we would get leads in areas that worked in our geographic area, or our area of operations is I guess what I wanna say.
Larry Towner: We were largely running route on the north side and I would get an account down on the south side. I had couple of competitors, friendly competitors I guess I wanna call them, and I would send them leads. We got tremendous leads from people like that. The ability to… They would get a phone call from somebody, ‘Oh, we’ve got this, we’ve got that.’ Lots of times, I know in my business, I had accounts with multiples locations, where they would have five, ten locations around the city, and I couldn’t service all of them. They were just all too far away to really make any money. I would spend more time driving and then there were service considerations, all of the things that go into running vending business.
Larry Towner: But if I had a local guy over there who I trusted, man, he’d get the business, and we’d work as a team, and it was fantastic, and we dominated a couple industries that way, by working as a team in the geographic areas. And we very rarely walked on each other, occasionally, every once in a while.
Larry Towner: But we would talk and kind of laugh ’cause half the time, we knew it was coming anyway, and things like that, so it really wasn’t a big deal.
Larry Towner: Dan, do you see that? You don’t really do anything like that in your business now, do you? Or do you anything like that?
Dan Jordan: I used to, a lot, and what happens is the smaller guys, they’re real protective about everything. They wanna grab everything. They’re not really paying attention, and they think any account is a good account.
Dan Jordan: The ones that are more established, people that have been around a while, they’re much better with their competition than new people, which is ironic not to be that way. But I have some relationships like that with people, and it’s because I don’t care.
Dan Jordan: At the end of the day, there’s so much business out there. All the stuff we’re talking about right now, and Joe knows this, the reason why people succeed or not succeed in getting new clients is… Those who are succeeding in getting new clients are actively trying to get new clients.
Dan Jordan: The ones that aren’t succeeding are the ones sitting at home thinking about ways to get new clients.
Larry Towner: And the way to get new clients is go call on people.
Dan Jordan: That’s it! I mean, that’s everything we’re talking about right now. We’re talking about either calling them on the phone, or either go visit them in person, either calling someone a competitor, either doing some networking, but you’re actively going out making the effort to do something. Ninety percent of the people are sitting at home, waiting for stuff to happen.
Larry Towner: Yeah. I agree with that one.
Tom: You’ve been watching Acquiring New Vending Accounts from the vending business show, a publication of A&M equipment sales, and if you’d like to get access to the entire webinar, there should be a Subscribe link or button below this video, and you just send your email to me, and I’ll send you the link to the entire webinar.
Intuition and vending sales. If you think you need to go talk to somebody on your prospect list, you probably ought to. Intuition and vending sales go hand and hand.
Listen to that small voice that nudges you to contact someone even if you don’t know why, there’s usually a good reason for it. Listen to yourself. Remember intuition and vending sales go hand and hand.
Just today while driving back from a sales call and I’m thinking, “I think I need to go see this guy.” And sure enough when I go to see him, what was a cold call turned out to be a 3 hour full presentation and I’ll be taking a piece of the product out to show him next week.
It was just on a whim. I don’t know why I decided to do it, but I decided to do it. It’s called listening to that voice in the back of your head that says, “Do it, do it.”
Tom Shivers: Hi, I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner and we’re talking about a different concept here for your vending business. Tell us about that, Larry.
Larry Towner,: Today, Tom, we’re talking about the Twilight Zone. No, we’re not. Actually, today we’re gonna talk a little bit- … You said, “Keep it light!” What can I say? Today, we’re gonna talk about something that really has worked for me over the years in my business adventures. And it doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I call it intuition, or business intuition, or whatever you want to call it, and it’s been put forth intuition and vending sales … Tom and I had a conversation. It’s been put forth in some success literature and this, that, and the other thing, but I’ve really found it to be true, and it kinda works like this.
Larry Towner,: If you think you need to go talk to somebody, you probably ought to, because most of the time there’s just something in the back of your head that says, “You know, I haven’t talked to so and so in a while.” And you decide that you need to. And then the next thing you know, you find out there’s some traumatic event in their life or in the business sense you go in and you have a situation … I had a situation just today where I was out marketing the product that I’m marketing now, and I’m driving back from this one sales call and I’m going, “I think I need to go see this guy.” And sure enough, I go to see him, we go in, we get … From what turned out to be a cold call turned out to be about a three hour full presentation and actually have to take a piece of product out to show him next week. And it was just on a whim, I guess I wanna say.
Larry Towner,: I don’t know why I decided to do it. I just decided to do it. Its called listening to that little thing in the back of your head saying, “Do it, do it.” It’s the devil on this shoulder and the angel on this shoulder. Get that angel off there. Just do it, right? Listen to what he says. Have you ever experienced anything like that, Tom?
Tom Shivers: From time to time, yes. It’s not something that happens often to me, but I’m very familiar with what you’re talking about.
Larry Towner,: Yeah. I’ve just found in my vending businesses, I just found that if you go for whatever reason … You’re in a break, you’re servicing your machines, somebody is there talking to you and for whatever reason you decide you need to turn around and really devote some time to them. You really don’t know why. Come to find out it’s the multinational conglomerate president and he says, “Do you do this anywhere else?” And you go, “Yeah! I probably could do it at all your locations.” And he goes, “Yeah, you probably could.” And the next thing you know you’re moving into 15 locations throughout your location and you don’t really know why all of the sudden you decide to turn around to talk to this guy who is wearing jeans and a cut off T-shirt, right? Or whatever. But he happened to be in the facility working, doing something, and the next thing you know, you’re talking to him and you just do it.
Larry Towner,: One of the experiences that I’ve had is another experience, is I can walk into a crowded room and within about two minutes, I can tell who the boss is. I don’t know how, but I just know. I can tell by … It’s either his posture or … His or her. It doesn’t … Make that sound like it’s always a man. It’s not. But I can always tell whose in charge and it’s not necessarily the one pointing, making things happen. It’s just a presence. It’s just listen to yourself. That voice in the back of your head will tell you things.
Larry Towner,: I was reading on the internet the other day, Tom. Somebody sent me this email and it said to me, it said if I just sent them $250,000 to Nigeria, they would guarantee me a 5 billon dollar return. And boy, I was about to send that money off to them, and then I decided, “You know, it just doesn’t seem right to me to do that.” I know you’ve never had that experience either.
Tom Shivers: No. I was gonna find out how I could get in on that.
Larry Towner,: See? There you go. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. So, it’s that kind of thing. It’s the old thing. Things are rarely as great as they are presented to be. But listen to that bit of intuition in the back of your head and you might be surprised. You might be amazed at the things that come to you when you just tune into what’s happening around you. So what do you think?
Tom Shivers: Great tips, Larry, as always. And we’ll be coming up with some intuitive ideas here in the next video.
Larry Towner,: Next stop, the Twilight Zone.
Tom Shivers: All right, you been watching Intuition and Vending Sales at the Vending Business Show, and be sure to subscribe so you can get all this cool stuff we’re doing here. This is an A&M equipment sales production.
Take Your Vending Business To The Next Level Part 2 Tom Shivers: Hi, I’m Tom with The Vending Business Show. I’m here with Larry Towner. When we talk about going to the next level with your business and getting new accounts, tell us the story of how you got one of your early accounts, Larry?
Larry Towner,: Well, yeah, we’ll bring it into perspective here. It was early on in my vending career and I was frantically out, driving around looking for accounts. One day I’m sitting in the convenience store and I see this guy come out, he happened to be driving a truck. No big deal. But he’s driving a truck. I noticed he had a whole bag full of vending type food. He had bags of potato chips, and sodas, and this and that. So, you know, being that I was hunting I went up and I talked to him. I knew his place wasn’t too far away from there so I said, “Hey, you guys have vending at your place?” And he said, “Yeah, we’ve got vending. But that thing never works.” And I’ll leave the expletives out of it. I said, “Well, I run a local company. Here, let me give you my card. And if you could, pass it on to your manager.” Man, I had a phone call within like a day. I went down there and I met with him, and out that guy went, that other vendor that was there.
Larry Towner,: And we put our equipment in there, and we took good care of him. Well, the next thing you know I’m getting phone calls, they had multiple facilities all over the place. I’m getting phone calls from every facility they had, and it was just kind of a way to do some networking, as it were, that I really wasn’t planning on. And so we were talking earlier, Tom. Are you a fisherman, Tom?
Tom Shivers: Yeah.
Larry Towner,: Do ever go down into they Keys where they throw a cast net? You know, a big net like they’re trying to catch bait?
Tom Shivers: I’ve seen those. I’ve not done that, but yeah, I know what you’re talking about.
Larry Towner,: [inaudible 00:01:59]. So this is my concept. I call it throwing a wide net. Because you see a lot of bait out there in the water, which are your potential accounts, right? So how do you get into those accounts? Well, the way you get into those accounts, and it doesn’t matter what account it is, you’ve got to find somebody that works there. And how do you do that? You start talking to people, and talk to as many people as you can, until you find somebody that works there. And then you ask them the same old qualification questions you always ask, “Are you happy with your vending?” Or, “Do you have vending?” That’s the one I always start with, “Do you have vending?” And then, are they happy? And that gives you an in. And the other side to that is that they will know who to talk to, who’s the boss, who actually pulls the trigger. And we were talking too about, sometimes you don’t really know who pulls the trigger. Where the owner ultimately pulls the trigger, as I like to tell, this is one of my favorite stories.
Larry Towner,: There’s the janitor, and he’s in there cleaning the boss’ desk and he goes, “Well, boss, I sure would’ve like that candy bar, but that machine [inaudible 00:03:04] me again.” And the boss goes, “ReallY? Tommy I’ve known you for 25 years, and you’ve done a good job. Would you like a new vending company?” And Tommy goes, “I think that’d be pretty good, boss.” And so the boss says to Tommy, “You know what? We’ll get a new vending company tomorrow.” “Oh, boss. You’re the best. Can I empty your trash can while we’re at it, boss? That sounds good, man.” You think that’s a joke, right? But it’s really true when you think about it. That, sometimes you just don’t know who really makes the decisions. That’s why you have to take care of, who, Tom? Everybody.
Tom Shivers: Everybody. Yep.
Larry Towner,: Everybody. You don’t know. And you don’t really ever know anyway. In some of my other ventures, I always like to laugh, the guy that makes the decisions, squirreled away in a little cubbyhole, you know, he’s right in the bowels of the building and it’s like, “Where are we going here? This looks like the basement.” It is. That’s where he works. [inaudible 00:04:07] in the corner office, and we’re going to the basement, right? But that’s part of it. Do you have any questions, Tom?
Tom Shivers: Hey, that’s some excellent tips. I guess we’re going to be continuing this next level with some new ideas, some additional stories and everything. So, I guess we’ll have to stay tuned until next time. You’ve been watching Take Your Vending Business To The Next Level Part 2 at The Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales. More Vending Business Blogs New To The Vending Business?
Larry shares a story about Vending Sales Large Accounts
Vending Sales Large Accounts or taking it to the next level involves persistence because big accounts get called on by most sales people.usually once or twice a month. Vending Sales Large Accounts is just as easy as small accounts just take longer to get usually. Persistence Persistence is the only way. Vending Sales large accounts – make sure they remember you. Drop off a few boxes of donuts every time you go by. Who doesn’t like free donuts Once they know you and like you they will contact you first to be their next vendor. Vending Sales Large Accounts – Make sure you have great references that can back up your great service. Vending Sales Large Accounts – See if there are some employees in the account you service now that know someone in the large account you want. Have them give you a good word. Friends buy from friends.
Sometimes big accounts get frustrated with their current vending operator over something small, that’s when they look for a replacement. So, stay in front of them consistently and call on them. Do you like to work with people who want your business? Most people do, so prove it to them. Big vending operators get big because they take care of their accounts. but sometimes they are too big and can’t take care of their accounts
TOM: Hi, I’m Tom, with the vending business show, and I’m here with Larry Towner, a vending business consultant. He’s been in the vending business for a few decades and has sold his own business. We’re just talking about how to talk about Vending Sales Large Accounts.
TOM: So, can you help us with that Larry?
Larry Towner: Well, I might be able to. We were discussing earlier about just telling some stories about how you go and get new vending businesses. So I was just going to tell some stories about a phone call that I received one day, and here is the phone call. A guys says, he picks up the phone and he says, “Is this Larry Towner?” I said, “Yeah, it’s Larry Towner. How can I be of assistance?” And he goes, “Well.” He says, “You know I got a folder here. In this folder is, oh I don’t know, there’s gotta be 40 cards and brochures from your company here in this business. I’ve decided I guess I want to talk to you and see what you have to offer.”
Larry Towner: So I kind of said to him, I said, “Well, what company is it?” And he told me what company it was, I said “Oh, yeah, I come by your place all the time.” And he goes, “Yeah, I’m aware of that. Like I said, I’ve got about 40 of your cards here.” Blah, blah, blah. We went on, we set an appointment, we came down and we looked at his facility, and we closed an account, right. You know, a nice big sized account. One of those good things.
Larry Towner: So, you and I were talking earlier, it’s just kind of one of those things that we were talking about persistence, we’re talking about taking it to the next level. So I was going to ask you Tomas, on your big accounts, do your big accounts just call you up and they say, “Hi, this is IBM, Tom, we’ve heard you do good things, we want to talk to you.” No, has that deal ever worked for you? Has that ever happened to you?
TOM: No that doesn’t come very easily, or very often, either.
Larry Towner: Yeah, and it rarely comes to you in the vending business, too. Just because you’ve got your vending business, and you’re driving around in your truck, generally people in big accounts don’t come seek you out, and there’s a reason for that.
Larry Towner: Largely it’s because they get called on by people over and over and over again. People like me, you know, pesky salesmen like me, that are stopping in and saying, “Hey, you know, we’d like to earn your business, here’s my card.” And they figure after all, if we put this guy off, and we just take his card, eventually he’ll go away, or he’ll go out of business, or whatever, right. And largely that’s what happened to most of my competitors, it still happens even today.
Larry Towner: But eventually, something will change in their organization, and the guy will open up his file, and there’s, of course in my case, there’s a large number of brochures, cards, whatever. And he gets an email from me once a month, and he’s like, I wish this guy would go away. One of the great ways they they’ll make me go away, is “I’ll put him to work, prove him that he can’t do the job, then I’ll be able to get rid of him.”
Larry Towner: Right? That’s what happens, you know. So the next thing you know, they’re going like, “Yeah, my guy, he just doesn’t. I was wanting a Snickers the other day, and there wasn’t one in the machine. I’m just pissed, so I’m getting rid of him.” You know, out he goes. “I’m calling this guy that calls me every day, because I know he’s going to -” Not every day, but, “Calls me on an regular basis, because I know he wants my business.”
Larry Towner: That’s how you get big accounts. Big accounts rarely are out going, “Well, we’re going through the yellow pages looking for..” You know, yellow pages, going on the internet, whatever. “Oh, I think we’ll take, oh, this company.” It just doesn’t happen that way. And that spans all industries, and all sales prospects. The really good accounts, you have to go get them. They’re not going to come to you.
Larry Towner: Occasionally, once in a blue moon, you’ll get a phone call from one of those accounts. That’s usually because of some other marketing method that you’ve done, and somebody’s referred you to them. They’re buddies with somebody at church or whatever and they say. “You know, this guy takes really good care of us, give him a call.” That kind of thing, but that’s the only way you get those big account references. They just don’t … You have to go call on them because it’s just like that.
Larry Towner: Tom, let me ask you a question. Do you like to do business with people that want your business?
TOM: Absolutely, I know they … If I check them out and they’re good, usually that’s a sign that they’re good.
Larry Towner: Yeah, how do they prove to you that they want your business?
TOM: They don’t give up, they keep after me.
Larry Towner: Stay in contact with you, they’re not too obnoxious. Sometimes. They say sales guys are obnoxious, it’s not really that way. They’re just forever just looking for that chance that maybe we can give you a better opportunity than what you have with your current provider. Everybody’s got somebody, right? For something.
Larry Towner: If you look the big three phone providers, you’ve got At&t, you’ve got Verizon, you’ve got Sprint, all those guys are doing is trading back and forth. There’s no new business, they’re 100% saturated in the business. It’s not like I … If I go after dogs and cats now, I’m going to get more business. There’s no more dogs and cats to get really.
Larry Towner: And it’s the same thing in vending. There are thousands and thousands of vending providers. Right? We all know this, and how to the big guys get big? They take care of their customers and they sell. You’ve got to sell.
Larry Towner: What questions do you have for me, Tom?
TOM: That’s good stuff, we’ll be continuing the series on taking it to the next level, and what topic do you think we should tackle next, Larry?
Larry Towner: Well, we need to get back and kind of round up the circle and say once you get a bigger account, what do you really need to do? What do you determine your … The situation is not as it was when you get the larger accounts, so you have to look at some of the logistical concerns, and how do you serve those customers, and what are their expectations. We’ll talk about that in the next show.
Vending Sales Networking is a company that already sells a service or product to a potential customers to a potential account that you might want? Uniform Companies, Office Supply Companies . Office Coffee Services, Staffing Companies, and janitorial companies. If you just sit down and think about it I can name a few more such as landscaping companies, the Chamber of commerce and how about architectural firms?. When staffing companies are providing more employees, it may mean you need to service that account more frequently or if you don’t have that account with more employees might be worth pursuing. .Give all your network buddies leads as well and it will be a win win situation. Vending Sales Networking is a lot easier than beating the bushes by yourself. Vending Sales networking is that extra set of eyes that might see a new customer just coming to town or just moving in. Remember the first company that talks to the potential customer usually gets the business.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT :
Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show here with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant. He’s been actually run his own operation in the vending business for quite a while, a couple of decades and recently sold his vending business in 2012. So we’re happy to have him on the show today. Thanks for being here, Larry.
Larry Towner: Oh, I appreciate it, Tom.
Tom: Today we’re talking about Vending Sales Networking and how the vending business works. A lot of times, people that are new to the vending business think they have to buy a vending machine first. But, what’s the most important thing to start with, Larry?
Larry Towner: Well, Tom, I always like to say that the first thing that’s most important in any business venture that you undertake is to do a little bit of planning, number one . The second thing is before you go and buy equipment, how about have a place to put it? When I say that, what I mean is go out and do some sales and actually get an account first. This is where Vending Sales Networking is important.
Tom: Yeah. So, yeah, let’s say, what are some of the good places to find or to locate … What are some of the better places?
Larry Towner: Well, there’s all kinds of places. I mean, you see vending machines out there in the world, you see them everywhere from on street corners into businesses, retail shops. Some vending machines are becoming retail shops. This is kind of where we have to get into a little bit of the planning thing like we were just talking about. You can go into a planning situation, you kind of decide what do you think is going to be best for the for the business and to help you make money. Perhaps the reason you’re actually watching this video is just to find out that kind of information. So we’re here, you and I, we have these discussions on a fairly regular basis to discuss some of these things.
Larry Towner: So when we get into that planning thing, you should sort of develop an idea of what you want to do and then you decide what businesses or what the vending types of locations are going to do to do your best. That’s kind of a roundabout way around your question there, Tom. But in effect it’s the same thing. I can answer what the best locations are for me, but that’s not necessarily what the best locations are for you as one of our potential viewers.
Tom: Well, that’s a good point, Larry. So let’s just say if you were starting a vending business today, where would you … How would you go about finding locations? What would you go for?
Larry Towner: Well look, what would I go for? I’d be looking for areas where there’s growth in business and to that, while that sounds broad, it’s where you’re looking for. There’s less competition and growing businesses and things like that. In business cycle, they come in and out. They go through various different stages of growth. Right now we’re in a somewhat depressed real estate market or at least the construction industry and real estate is off a little bit, but it’s going to, it’s starting to make its motions back. So some of the things that I would be particularly looking for would be into accounts that might supply the construction industry and things like that, in the current, this is 2013 under the current environment. So those might be some things that I would be looking at. A lot of it’s going to depend on what are your particular ideas. Do you want to be in schools? Well, school vending is going to be there for quite some time as long as there’s school. So really depends on what your particular goals and objectives are.
Tom: Okay. Now let’s say you land a placement, you get a deal with the business or organization that wants your vending machines. What’s next?
Larry Towner: Well, you get this business, now you need to actually go out and it sounds like you need to go buy the equipment. Of course there’s probably a thousand choices on equipment. One thing that people need to understand in vending is is that you have to keep your expenses low. So if you’re new to vending, my suggestion is you go for refurbished equipment and you go to a quality supplier, someone that’s been doing refurbished equipment for quite some time. My particular choice is A&M Equipment Sales, which is probably where you’re looking at this video from.
Tom: Okay. So after you’ve gotten your equipment, then what?
Larry Towner: Well, then it actually comes time to actually install the equipment, that be a simple or difficult job just depending on the location. Usually, there are several people in a [inaudible 00:04:55] area or actually anywhere that can actually move equipment for you. I would suggest if you’re starting that you have someone that knows what they’re doing, move equipment, vending machines are heavy. There’s a lot of real tricks and moving vending machines that if you’ve been doing it for unfortunately 30 years, like I have, you know all of the tips and tricks to actually getting them through doors, how to do it without taking them apart and so forth and so on, but I suggest you just hire somebody to do it. There’s plenty of qualified people in any given market that’ll move things for you. You move it in, you’re going to set it up. At that point, it doesn’t walk into that account completely filled and completely working and completely priced out. Now, again, depending on where you purchased your equipment from, some of those issues might be done for you, but you will eventually have to learn how to do those things anyway, so.
Tom: Right. So yeah, I guess, supplying your whatever products fit that particular business, you’ll have to find out what those are and find a way to learn what works in that particular machine, right?
Larry Towner: Well, one of the great things about that, Tom, is I think we’re going to do another video on that in a future installment, aren’t we?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. We will get to that one.
Larry Towner: So say that so that you all come back and take a look, but we’ve got all kinds of tips and tricks that are going to come on to teach you what products you should be considering when you go and put them into a machine because a lot of it, it’s its own topic, but there’s lots of variety and lots of choices. So we’ll do that in another one.
Tom: Okay, great. Tell us a little more about what you do, Larry, and then we’ll sign off.
Larry Towner: Well, we do vending consulting for particularly for startups and also, but for people that are looking to maximize their operations, get the most money out of their operation that they have now and try to help them, give them some consulting services. We’re available at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you care to contact us, that’s all one word. Servicegroupinternational@gmail.com.
Tom: You’ve been watching Vending Sales Networking at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.
If you are interested in finding the best refurbished vending machine, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions; watch the video. Let’s assume you want a reliable machine that’s easy to maintain with little trouble and customers will be happy with it.
Does the refurbished vending machine look brand new?
How was the machine painted?
Was it sanded and smoothed down before the paint was applied?
What do the trim strips look like?
Is the glass scratch free and clean?
Do the lights work? Are they LED or regular lights?
What do the spirals and trays look like?
Does the refurbished vending machine work perfectly?
Has the machine been taken apart and inspected?
Has the machine been tested with money?
Has the pricing been setup?
Has the pricing been checked for proper operation?
Can the machine be customized with specific visual fronts and graphics?
Can a cashless payment system be included?
What kind of recourse do you have if there’s a problem with the machine when you receive it?
Are you dealing with someone who has been in business for a long time?
Is the company solution oriented with additional upgrades?
Does the company you are buying from have a good reputation?
Here’s a look at A&M Equipment Sales refurbishment process from receiving the worn machine to the completely refurbished vending machine with all the steps in between. See A&M Equipment Sales current refurbished vending machines.
Vending Business December Slow Season The problem with December is cash flow. During the holidays people are getting ready for Christmas and are a little tighter with their money. Another problem is competition with food in the break room. Here are two saving strategies and one income strategy:
Saving strategy 1 Vending Business December Slow Season You know your sales are going to be off in December so save some money up over the year.
Saving strategy 2 Vending Business December Slow season If you have a slow account consider waiting until December to pick up the money from that account.
Income strategy Go after accounts that are very busy during the holiday season like the travel industry and retail. If you land a good size department store account, you will likely find that December will really pick up in a magnitude of one to two times as much business as normal. You don’t need a lot of those kinds of accounts to get you through the holiday season. Retail accounts typically don’t do much during the rest of the year, but can be nice for 6-8 weeks of the year. This just happens to be the opposite of how most of the traditional and industrial accounts perform during the year.
So get yourself some retail or travel industry accounts. Share any tips or ideas you have discovered in the comments below.
Tom Shivers: Hi. I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner, Vending Business consultant. Today, we’re talking about Vending Business December Slow Season vending opportunities, especially in a slow season like December. Thanks for being here, Larry.
Larry Towner,: It’s good to be here, Tom. We decided we would do this show because, for lack of a better word, the problems with December have to do with cash flow, right? In your world, Tom, do you have cash flow problems in December?
Tom Shivers: Sometimes.
Larry Towner,: Yeah, usually it’s an excess of cash going out and no cash coming in.
Tom Shivers: Yeah.
Larry Towner,: Essentially, in the vending business, that’s really where the problem comes from. The problem in the vending business is that during the holidays, there’s a couple of things at play. One of them is that people’s money is tight. They’re getting ready for Christmas and they’ve got the families coming in. They’re planning a big meal and all this kind of stuff, so people are a little tighter with their money. Most vending is considered disposable income. It’s kind of excess money, so money gets tight that way.
Larry Towner,: The other problem with December is that we have a lot of competition from Grandma’s cakes and pies, and everything gets put out on the break-room tables. We’re just gonna present a couple of strategies, I guess, on how to deal with the cash flow issues that come in the vending business during December.
Larry Towner,: One of them is … and the simplest one to do is just basically set some money aside for December. It’s a strategy. It’s kind of a savings strategy. I’m gonna present two saving strategies and one income strategy. The one way to do it is just set some money back. You know your sales are gonna be off because for most vendors, your sales are gonna be off. We just don’t have the kinds of accounts that do well in December, from traditional vending standpoint. Save some money. Put it away.
Larry Towner,: I came up with a savings strategy. I did it by accident, actually. I had a very, very slow account. I just never picked the money up in that account. It was so slow that I … It was a single-drink machine. I would go to the account and I’d put a case of drinks in about once a month, so I just never really picked up the money. One day, I went to pick the money up and it happened to be towards the end of November. I took just a big old wad of bills out of that machine and I said to myself, “Huh. You know, I think next year we’re just not gonna pick up the money until December, when we actually need it.” Sure enough, it really carried us over through the next year because what happened was, you’re putting the drinks in and they would come out of inventory, but they came out of inventory kind of slow through the whole year. Then you ended up with this big chunk of change that you had at the end of the year. It worked out really well and you didn’t really miss it from the standpoint of your accounts. Your inventory was a little screwed-up, but not really all that much. It’s just another savings strategy.
Larry Towner,: One other thing that we used to do a lot of is we would actually go after accounts that were very busy during the holiday season. You might ask, “What are those accounts?” Tom, ask me what are those accounts?
Tom Shivers: Hey, Larry.
Larry Towner,: Yes?
Tom Shivers: What are those accounts?
Larry Towner,: There you go. There’s two things that come to mind here, too, as well. One is, we were doing a show with the Association for the Blind … a show very much like this. We had a round table discussion that we were doing with them. The blind guys all do vending, also. We were doing these things with one of the State Associations for the Blind. They told me, they go, “We’re talking about how December’s so slow.” They’re all like, “Hey, wait a minute. December’s our busiest month of the year.” I’m going, like, “Really?” They go, “Yeah.” I go, “So what gives? Tell me what makes December so busy for you?” They all go, “We have rest areas. We have all the rest areas on the highways.” I thought that was really, really interesting because, of course, during the holiday season, people are traveling. They stop at the rest areas. They get drinks, snacks, sodas, coffee, all that stuff. Those guys are just jamming during the holidays.
Larry Towner,: Even before that … and I thought that was interesting. Maybe something in the travel industry is a potential account that gets busy during the holidays. The other thing that traditionally always gets busy during the holidays is retail. The regular retail shops are drawing in tons and tons of people. If you get a good stand-alone retail shop, say, a good-sized department store or something like that, December can really pick up. I’m talking about in a magnitude of one to two times as much business as they do normally. You don’t need a lot of those accounts to carry you through the time, ’cause your vending doesn’t stop, of course. It just slows down, so go out and get yourself some retail stuff.
Larry Towner,: I will say this on the retail stuff. It doesn’t do very much for the rest of the year in general. You’ve got about a six to eight week period where it really does something, but it happens to be exactly opposite of what all your traditional industrial accounts do.
Larry Towner,: Those are a couple of strategies that we had discussed about working during the December doldrums. If you guys have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to send us some emails, because we love to learn this kind of stuff and we’ll do whatever we need to … We’ll add that into these shows coming up in the future or something. Tom, what else do we have?
Tom Shivers: Yeah, absolutely. Just right below there, put a comment about what your experience is for December and any questions, and be glad to respond to those. We’ll be continuing on with these vending opportunities, vending business opportunities, in future shows, so subscribe.
Tom Shivers: You’re been watching Vending Business December Slow season at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment SalesOther Vending Blogs at the Vending Business Show Vending Business Opportunities: Buyer Beware
Power of the Free Honeybun Use a food giveaway as an information gathering device to learn what’s happening in your accounts and the people you are working with that might impact your business:
Pulse of the management
Business expanding or contracting
Builds personal relationships
Makes you more valuable
Power of the Free Honeybun When you have a new product, introduce it with a giveaway to get feedback. It starts a conversation that can reveal important info to better understand their wants, needs and desires.
Tom Shivers: Hi I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, and I’m her with Larry Towner of Service Group International, and we’re talking about a concept called the power of the free honeybun. You may have heard Larry talk about this before, but tell us more about that Larry.
Larry Towner: When we talk about the power of the free honeybun, first off we’re talking about just the caloric intake of a honeybun. A good honeybun is at least 600 calories. Don’t tell anybody that. You don’t want to know what the fat level is either. With that being put aside. When I talk about the power of the honeybun, what we’re talking about is using a giveaway, as it were, a food giveaway, as a marketing tool or as an information gathering device for a way for you to get good information on what’s happening in your accounts in getting people to work with you. Tom is it important to have people work with you when you’re running a small business?
Tom Shivers: Yes, and incentives can really do the trick sometimes.
Larry Towner: Yeah, and that’s kind of what it is. In vending you’re working within another company generally, and you just want to know what the pulse of the management, the pulse of what’s happening in the business, what’s going on that might affect your business. Are the expanding? Are they contracting? Is the manager mad at you? Does the manager like honeybuns? If he liked honeybuns, drop one on his desk every once in a while when he least expects it.
Larry Towner: Essentially what I’m talking about is, is that I used to do, not a huge amount of giveaways, but I would od a number of giveaways. I always had a few people in an account that I would try to use as a good sounding board for a lot of different issues. One, and I was telling you this earlier, one thing is, when you have a new product, I always would take one of my new products, if I had a brand new introduction, say something that was just brand new to the market, and we really didn’t know if it was good or bad. Whether it was, a new flavor of Doritos or something like that. And I’d take one, and I’d say, “Hey, if you would give this a try and tell me what you think and tell me if you like it or don’t like it. I’m going to put a few in the machine, and if you can, just listen to what people say about them, and see what they say. Is it good or is it bad?”
Larry Towner: It’s that kind of thing. That allows you to start a conversation with somebody, and in that conversation you can find out all kinds of things about how your machines aren’t working right, the manager’s getting pissed off or, “Gosh you guys are doing a great job, did you know we’re opening another location in the next town over?” All of this information comes about from doing a free giveaway every once in a while, and just getting a personal relationship built with a couple of people that work within your accounts, because, gosh, it’s like any business, it’s understanding what their wants, needs and desires are, and then satisfying those wants, needs and desires, and doing a good job for them. It builds to business growth. It helps you grow your business. Is that how you built your business Tom, I bet it is?
Tom Shivers: Oh yeah. Yeah, there’s all kinds of ways to do incentives. I’m certainly involved in that one. I like it.
Larry Towner: So it works really good. We call it the power of the honeybun ’cause the honeybun of course is our most popular selling item as far as a pastry goes, and very few people turn them down unless they’re watching their weight. ‘Cause they’re a little caloric. It’s like eating a Big Mac if you really want to read the package, but that’s okay.
Tom Shivers: It can work with any kind of healthy item as well.
Larry Towner: Yeah, it works with anything. Whatever your particular contact likes. If they’re a granola bar person, give them a granola bar. Snickers bar, whatever. M&Ms are really good. They work really, really well because, the of course, they don’t melt and they stay for a while. Just depends on what the specific of the account are. We like to call that the power of the honeybun or the power of the free giveaway. It really, really can do wonders for your business. Like I say, it gets a little conversation going. Gets you in the loop. Gets you working with your people. Makes you more valuable, basically.
Tom Shivers: Awesome. Thanks Larry. Be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching the power of the free honeybun by A&M Equipment Sales.