How the Vending Business Works with An interview with Larry Towner, vending business consultant
How the Vending Business Works is well first thing that’s most important in any business venture is do a little planning. The second thing is before you go out and buy equipment, how about have a place to put it – go get an account first.
What are some of the better accounts for vending today?
I would look for businesses that are growing. Businesses that supply the construction industry in the current economic environment, but it depends on what you want to do – your goals.
When you land an account, what’s next?
Now it’s time to go buy the equipment and to keep expenses low I would go for refurbished equipment from a quality supplier.
After you buy your equipment, then what?
Have someone who knows what they are doing move your equipment because there are lots of tricks in moving vending machines through doors, etc. Then you’ll need to setup the equipment.
In a future video we’ll be covering what products to include in your vending machines that really sell.
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 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,On How the Vending Business Works 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.
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 [email protected], if you care to contact us, that’s all one word. [email protected].
Tom: You’ve been watching the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.
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