AN INTERVIEW WITH LARRY TOWNER
Larry Towner “Vending Guru”
In this episode of the Vending Business Show,
What kind of things do successful vending operators do?
Successful people plan and set goals. If you want to do well, you have to see and feel yourself in the vending business.
You need realistic goals
You’ve got to be very specific with your goals
You need to be detailed
Larry gives an example of a realistic and specific goal; he goes over a typical day in the vending business.
Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business show. I’m here again with Larry Towner, who is a vending business consultant. He has been in the vending business for a couple of decades. And we’re glad to have him here today to explain a little more about how to make money in the vending business. So, thanks for being here Larry.
Larry Towner: Thanks Tom, it’s a pleasure.
Tom Shivers: Now, I know sometimes people getting started in a business or in particular a vending business have some misconceptions about what it means to make money in the business. What’s one of the common ones you hear?
Larry Towner: Well, you know, the most common thing I hear about business in general is that if you’re in business you’re making money. That’s my number one comment. And then of course you hear it a lot in the vending business. Because after all, everybody knows how much your product costs. You can buy it for a quarter and sell it for fifty cents. And of course, you’re making millions on that! Just millions!
Tom Shivers: So, that’s kind of a misconception. What kind of things do the vending people who are doing well or successful in the vending business. What kind of things are they doing that most of the new people aren’t? Or are not aware of?
Larry Towner: Well, one of the biggest issues that successful people in general do. And again, but, it applies to the vending industry just as much as it does any other businesses. Successful people set goals. They plan, and they set goals. And one of the things if you’re contemplating getting in the vendor business, you want to set some goals. You can make, literally, and I mean, we were just joking about it before. About making millions of dollars. But, you can make millions of dollars in the vending business, if you want.
Larry Towner: It’s just a question of successful planning and successful goal setting. If you think you’re going to get into the vending business and make a million dollars in a year, if you can figure that out, would you please let me know because I’d like to do that. After 20 years, I mean we were very, very successful and no complaints. Liked the vending business but, it’s a lot of hard work.
Larry Towner: So, one of the things when we talk about goal setting. Did you understand that Tom? Did you understand what we’re talking about when we say that?
Tom Shivers: Well, I think I understand that successful people work hard. And that’s a big part of why they are successful. So, I conceptually get that. Yes. But, please go on.
Larry Towner: Well, when we get down to goal setting it’s like, if you want to do well, it doesn’t matter what you want to do. You have to see yourself in the business. You have to feel yourself in the business. So, I’m going to give you a quick description of what a potential goal setting for a new vending operator might be. He’s going to come out and he’s going to say, you need realistic goals. So, you have to say if you’ve never been in the business, you got to say well how many new accounts do I plan on getting this year? What kind of accounts are they going to be? How am I going to service them? And what are they going to look like?
Larry Towner: And to that, I’m going to answer you’ve got to be very, very, very specific. And for example, I want to have four new accounts this year. I want these accounts to have 50-100 people in them. I want the populations of those accounts to be let’s say 50% Hispanic and the rest is a mix. I want it largely in a blue collar operation. I want to have a single snack, and a single soda machine there. And I want these accounts to generate X amount of dollars per year. I plan on servicing these accounts once or twice a week depending on the volume of business that they’re going to do. It’s this kind of detailed planning that helps you understand exactly what you’re going to do. Because the rest of your business can be determined by those parameters, that we just set out. It’s all about planning again. It’s about getting your ducks in a row. And implementing that plan.
Larry Towner: And so, again, we just kind of touched on the fact the vending people work hard. Typical vending day. You’re going to up early in the morning. You’re doing to do one of two things. You’re either going to be up early in the morning or work late at night. I always got up early in the morning. Early in the morning to me is 4:30 in the morning. We would have trucks loaded and be on the road by 6:00 in the morning. Be at our first stop at around 6:30. We’re going to work from 6:30 until whenever.
Larry Towner: We generally sat at accounts during traffic times. Again, a bit of planning. We didn’t want to have our guys driving around in traffic looking at a windshield. When they could be looking at the glass of a machine, filling it. So, that was part of the plan. They would be out and they would work until about 3:30 to 4:00, sometimes 5:00 at night. After which they’d turn in their money, restock their trucks to a certain degree. They restock in the morning as well. And they’re ready to go for the next day. And sometimes on a good day we’d be done by 7:00 at night. As an owner/manager. That’s hard work, when you do it 5 to 7 days a week. Or 6 days a week. But, you have to have that planned out. That’s goal setting. That’s how you get yourself going.
Tom Shivers: Excellent stuff Larry. Thanks so much. Tell us little bit about what you do and how people can contact you.
Larry Towner: Well we do vending consulting. We do it for people that are new in the business. Or if you’ve been in the business awhile and you want your operations streamlined, you want to have any kind of internal audits, anything like that. All kinds of consulting on vending, we’re available at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s one word, it’s email@example.com.
Tom Shivers: You’ve been watching the Vending Business show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.