Tag Archives: vending business planning

Vending Operators Cause Their Own Service Calls

Vending operators cause their own service calls by the actions or in-actions of the route man:

  1. Without a well planned and timed service schedule (or route scheduling system), your machines will run out of product… and cause a service call.
  2. You leave out of date product in your machines… “I bought the product and it’s stale.”
  3. You open the door to your machine. Do you open the door of every machine at every stop even when if it’s only making enough money to open the machine every other stop? (Here’s an alternative) Every time you open the door of the machine, there is a possibility for something to go wrong in the machine. Mechanical and electronic things break over time with use.
  4. You open the door, but you forget to lock it when you leave.
  5. If you open the door make sure you close it, lock it and make sure it accepts money with a coin and bill test before you leave.

What service issues do you deal with? (Share them and any questions you have in the comments below)

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Episode Transcript:

Vending Operators Cause Their Own Service Calls  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner of Service Group International. He’s a vending business consultant and we’ve been discussing some interesting topics lately. What are we going to talk about today, Larry?

Larry Towner: Today I think we’re going to talk about, I know we’re going to talk about Vending Operators Cause their Own Service Calls, and you think it doesn’t happen, but it does.

Tom Shivers: So you’re saying vending operators are causing service calls?

Larry Towner: Yeah, they cause their own service calls, and between an operator and/or a route man, you get service calls that are caused by the actions or inactions that you take, I guess I want to say, so let’s start off with one of my favorites. It’s always the one I usually do.

Larry Towner: It’s called poor planning or a lack of a good schedule. You pretty much know if you don’t have a great schedule out there, you don’t plan your time well. You’re going to get service calls if your machines run out of product. This is a very simple thing, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t have a good route scheduling system so they run out of product or whatever, but they don’t show up at their accounts on a regular basis, so that’s really one of the first reasons why you can cause service calls into your own accounts.

Larry Towner: Another one of my favorites is you leave out-of-date product in your machines. Nothing will generate a service call faster than somebody saying, “I bought the product and it’s stale,” because I’m going to guarantee you, they’re going to call you when that’s the case. “I lost my last 50 cents forever that I ever had in my whole life. You need to come pay me back or send me the money.” Yeah. I would if you’ll send me a self-addressed stamped envelope, so that’s one of the things.

Larry Towner: Here’s a third one. This is one that’s going to surprise a lot of people, and you’ll laugh at this one, Tom. Big reason why you cause your own service calls, you open the door to the machine. Now, that’s sounds funny. You have to open the door to the machine to service it, right, and that’s true, but I guess the question is is do you open the door every time you go to an account or not on every machine. We’ve discussed this in a past show about it gets back to your scheduling and your route things, but if you don’t generate a certain amount out of that machine, like let’s say you’ve got a drink machine and a snack machine. The drink machine generates plenty of money out of it and the snack machine generates enough money for you to open the machine every two weeks, open the machine every two weeks. Don’t open it every week, because every time you open that door, here’s what happens, right? First off, the computer disables because you take the power off, or almost all machines, the interlock switch comes on and the power goes out on the machine. Well, every time you do that, you open the possibility for something to go wrong in the machine. It’s just the way mechanical stuff works. It’s mechanical, electronics, whatever it is. That’s how stuff happens.

Larry Towner: The other thing that you do is there’s cables between the door and the machine. Well, every time you move those cables, you cause to have the potential for pinching a cable or cutting a cable or, shoot man, wire breaks, just after a while, it work hardens and breaks. Anyway, so it sounds funny, but opening the door is one of the reasons why you cause your own service calls.

Larry Towner: Fourth reason why you cause your own service calls, and this has to do with opening that dad gum door again. This is a big problem. You open the door, but you forget to lock it when you leave. If you’ve been in the vending business for a while, you’ve gotten calls where hey, you left the door open, and unless somebody knows how to, on some of the doors, unless somebody knows how to operate it, they’ll lock the door, but they’ll leave the door open, so they might try to help you out, but generally if they say the door’s open, you need to go do it.

Larry Towner: One of the fifth reasons, and this all has to do with opening the door, if you open the door, make sure you close it, number one, make sure you lock it, number two, pull on the door to make sure it’s actually locked, which has always been one of my favorites. I always grab the top corner of the machine and yank on it a little bit, and if it didn’t open, it was good, but before I left every account for a machine that I opened, I coined and bill tested the machines. I made sure that when I shut that door that that machine functioned, at least took money, right, and so … it accepted money, that’s the better thing. It doesn’t take somebody’s money because we don’t want it to take somebody’s money without giving them product, but we make sure that that thing accepts coins and accepts dollar bills because you’d be amazed. Again, when you open those doors and the interlock switches and stuff, and the computers go down, stuff happens. It’s what happens.

Larry Towner: Tom, any questions on that?

Tom Shivers: That’s some great, great tips there. Maybe there’s some questions that people might have about certain service issues that they’ve had that they could add to the comments below.

Larry Towner: Sure.

Tom Shivers: All right.

Larry Towner: [inaudible 00:05:04]

Tom Shivers: Well, yeah, and do subscribe. We have a good time on this show, and we’d like to hear from you, so if you have a question, send it in, and you’ve been watching Vending Operators Cause their own service calls from  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Vending Business Opportunity Proper Data Gathering

Vending Business Opportunity Proper Data Gathering  Impending events are things that we know are coming in the vending business. This is essentially about data gathering to increase accounts or sales.

When you are working in an account be aware of…

  • Any time there’s a change in management, you want to get in and talk to him/her as soon as they are comfortable in their new office.
  • You also want to take advantage of opportunities when a company is getting ready to move, expand or consolidate.

These opportunites are discovered inside the account by keeping up with what is happening or having someone inform you.

While out running your routes, look for opportunities:

  • Construction trailers with a new building going up
  • Leasing agents
  • Leave a business card in an empty door (when someone is moving in)
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Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Hi, I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show. Here again with Larry Towner. We’re talking about Vending Business Opportunity  Proper Data Gathering impending events or planning for profit opportunities in the vending business. So, what are we going to talk about today Larry?

Larry Towner,: I thought we’d talk about pizza. No, I’m just kidding. We’re going to talk about … We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to talk about the vending business opportunity proper data gathering. We’re going to talk about things that are going to happen in your business that you know are going to happen. There’s a few things that we’ve decided we pretty much know that are going to happen in the vending business. We’ve done this for a little while, just a couple of years if you know what I mean. One of the things we want to talk about is things that happen in your accounts. Essentially this is a lot about data gathering. We’re going to talk about this, is how do you gather your data to get yourself to where you can make profits or make … Increase accounts or increase new sales. Things like that.

Larry Towner,: But one of the big things … There’s three big areas when you’re working in an account that you have to really be aware of. One is if there’s a change in management. Any time there’s a change in management, particularly a general manager or something like that, you’re going to want to make sure you get in and talk to that general manager as soon as he’s comfortable in his office. Don’t wait too long. One of the first things new managers like to do is change the vending business. You want to get in, make friends, give him a honey bun. Watch our video on power of the honey bun. You’ll understand what to do. Get in and make friends, things like that.

Larry Towner,: One of the other things that you have to look at is an opportunity in the vending business is if a company is getting ready to move and … It was always my policy that I had a couple of people in the accounts that kind of fed me information about what was going on in the business. I wanted to know how their business was. Was their business good? Was it bad? You know, were they thinking about moving? Were they thinking about expanding? And moving and expanding are two really good opportunities for you to generate more business. Consolidating, are they consolidating two offices into one? And can you get both of those offices in one place?

Larry Towner,: All of that comes from developing some decent relationships inside the accounts. Just go out and talk to people. They’ll have tons of fun. You just learn. You learn about their business. You learn about what they’re doing. If they’re expanding you’ve got another opportunity to get into a new account. If they’re contracting, maybe they’re consolidating. You’ve got more population in an account you can make more money in that account. All of that sort of thing is developed inside the account.

Larry Towner,: We were talking about … We kind of were laughing, Tom and I… We practiced these things beforehand. Believe it or not, we actually practiced before this. We were talking a little bit about, you know, some of the other things that happen when you’re out there in the field. One of the things is, we were kind of talking about one of the great ways to get stuff is … When you’re driving down the road you have an opportunity. You have an opportunity to drive down the road and look straight ahead at the rode like this going, do do do. You don’t see anything straight ahead, right?

Larry Towner,: Or, if you sort of pay attention to what’s going on around you, instead of just going … “I’m at my stop, time to go.” If you’re driving down the road and you happen to see a construction trailer with a new building going up, you might have an opportunity if you’re one to go and stop in and ask the guy what’s going on here. The guy in the construction trailer will tell you ’cause he works for the construction company. He doesn’t care. So they’re putting up a new manufacturing facility, whatever it is, right?

Larry Towner,: It’s been our experience in the vending business, between myself and everybody else I know, first in wins. So folks, if you can get in first and you’re not driving down the road going, “Well, I wonder what’s happening.” Tom and I were laughing. We said, “I know if that were me and I were watching this video, I would say, ‘I knew that’s what my drivers were doing. I knew it.'” “Look at the pretty girl.” Right? There you go.

Larry Towner,: Anyway, so these are all things that … Just pay attention. When you’re doing your thing out there, you’re driving around, you’re looking for new business, look for new construction. Look for … talk to leasing agents, you know? They’ve got new buildings they’re putting people in. Gives you an opportunity to get out there and get a new account. They know who they’re trying to sell to. That gets into networking and all that kind of thing, but it’s all still one and the same.

Larry Towner,: Shoot, go up to an empty door and leave a card on the door. You know, I’ve done that too. You know somebody is getting ready to move in. You start sliding business cards into the door. You’d be amazed how well that works. It’s just one of those little things. If the guy says, “Hey, I want a local vending guy. He dropped a card. It’s got to be local.” Which is generally what the case is. Tom, do you have any questions, any comments?

Tom Shivers: Well, I mean, are you … When are you starting your stand up comedy session?

Larry Towner,: I’ll be here all week. Try the veal and tip your wait staff appropriately. They’re working hard for you out there.

Tom Shivers: All right, well, what are we going to be … Are we going to talk about another impending event later I’m sure.

Larry Towner,: We’ve go so many impending events as it were. We know there’s things that are going to happen. We’re going to … One of these days we’re going to talk about December and some strategies to handle the slow times of the year. And then also some of the other strategies that are just yearly things. Folks, all these things we’re working on are things that you can put on a calendar and you can schedule some of these issues out. We know … Most people in the vending business, with the exception of some of the blind vendors and all who have very busy Decembers because of travel, we know that generally December is going to be slow. We are going to discuss some strategies on that in future shows.

Larry Towner,: We’re also going to discuss other types of events like that that we know are coming. As night follows day, December is coming. We also know that there’s other things that happen that we’re going to discuss. That’s what’s coming up in future shows.

Tom Shivers: All right, well, thanks so much Larry. And you’ve been … Of course you want to subscribe to get more comedy hour here. And you’ve been watching Vending Business Opportunity Proper Data Gathering at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Look at our New Vending Machines  https://www.amequipmentsales.com/prodcat/new-vending-machines/

Vending Business Service Scheduling

Vending Business Service Scheduling Your scheduling will determine how profitable you are when servicing accounts that need attending to on a regular basis. Some of the factors that come into play when managing a vending route:

  • Physical location of the machines – the address of the place and their location within the building
  • Can you service multiple accounts from the place where you park the truck at a stop on the route?

Another factor: is it profitable to service all of the machines at a single stop or not?

There are a few ways to run vending business service scheduling efficiently; one way is scheduling by time (every day we’ll service the machines). Another way is to schedule servicing of machines based on profit for that machine.

Servicing all machines at a location can be unprofitable due to the time it takes to service the machine and the potential of creating a service call due to operator mistakes.

Every time you open the machine up, you open the possibility of creating a service call on that machine: the computer resets, validators and changers cycle, wires get moved, things happen. I’ve received calls, “the guy was just here and now the machine doesn’t work.”

You can service three drink machines in an hour vs. one snack machine and one drink machine. You’ll be thinking about these kind of things when you schedule on profit rather than time.

What is the cost to run the truck for one hour? That’s the cost of a service call.

Ask yourself, how do I get the most money out of those machines on the service schedule? Ask people who are accounting oriented to get an idea of what will work for you.

The benefits of this concept will pay off big when it gets implemented.

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Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Hi, I’m Tom with The Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner, the vending business consultant. And today we’re talking about Vending Business Service Scheduling for profit, so what’s that about, Larry?

Larry Towner: Well, let me ask you a question, Tom, because you know I’m big on questions. Do you like to make profits?

Tom Shivers: Oh, yeah.

Larry Towner: Are profits dependent upon being operationally efficient?

Tom Shivers: Most of the time, yes.

Larry Towner: Most. Probably all of the time. But in the vending business, so this topic of conversation we’re gonna talk about is how you set up Vending Business Service Scheduling , for the aspects of the vending business, which largely has to do with your route scheduling, and also your service scheduling to a lesser degree. But they need to be intertwined together, so I’m gonna kind of put them together.

Larry Towner: As you all know, if you’re in the vending business, you’re gonna have a series of vending accounts, as it were, that are gonna need to be serviced on a regular basis. And your scheduling will determine how profitable you are in your endeavors to go out and service these accounts.

Larry Towner: So Tom, just offhand, you’re associated with the vending business to a degree. What do you think are some of the factors that play into running a vending route?

Tom Shivers: Well the location of the machines from where your operation is located. Ah, how far you have-

Larry Towner: It’s the physical location of the machines. Right? And that would include the address of the place. And I’m gonna throw in there also the fact of where are they in the building? There’s a difference between an operation that has machines that are close to the door, say up on the 30th floor of a building is a bit of a difference. So that’s one of the things.

Larry Towner: What other things do you think matter?

Tom Shivers: Just having the capability of servicing a number of accounts on one route with one shot basically.

Larry Towner: At one stop if you want to call it that. Meaning can you service multiple accounts via one place where you park the truck, right?

Tom Shivers: I got it right.

Larry Towner: Yeah. So that’s one of the things. What about the number of machines in an account? Do you think that that matters?

Tom Shivers: Oh yeah. The more you’re servicing in one stop, the better probably.

Larry Towner: Well that’s, the question is, that’s the interesting part. Is that the truth or not? So let’s go through just some of the ideas. These are great ideas, by the way. And these come from a guy that’s been associated with the vending industry, but is not in it. Because Tom’s not technically in the vending business. He’s never run a route. Just so you all out there in the world know that.

Larry Towner: But Tom’s specialty is Internetesio stuff. So if you need to get ahold of him, you can contact these websites and things like that.

Larry Towner: But anyway, let’s go into the operational things. Now when we run our businesses, we want to be efficient in our operations. There’s a couple of different ways to go about it. Some of our people in the vending business schedule by time. Meaning that they’re gonna go in and they’re gonna service these accounts on a very regular basis, be it every day, twice a day, once a week, every two weeks. Things like that. That’s one concept of how to do your scheduling. And it’s an effective concept for an awful lot of people.

Larry Towner: There are other ways to do it. The way that I always did my scheduling was, I based it on the amount of money on a gross sales figure based on a profit figure, that was determined is that’s when I did my scheduling. And I actually broke that down per machine. And as Tom, you said earlier, you want to go in and you want to service as many machines as possible.

Larry Towner: I found in my research when I did all of my stuff and then talking to a lot of people, that there were times that you only might have serviced one machine at a stop because you were gonna take enough money out of that machine to service, to make that stop profitable.

Larry Towner: But the actual act of opening the other machine and servicing that other machine turned that account into an unprofitable stop because the amount of time it took you to actually open the machine and the amount of service calls that were created by opening the machine.

Larry Towner: Tom, why do I say that? Do you have an idea of what I just said? That opening a machine creates a service call?

Tom Shivers: That’s an interesting one, Larry. I’m not sure what you mean there.

Larry Towner: Well I think if you’re in the vending business and you go out and you look at the number of machines you have. And this information comes through the various different organizations, NAMA and things like that. But it also comes from other advisors and other business people too that are in the vending business. Is that every time you open a machine up, you open the possibility for there being a service call on that machine. Because things happen when you open the door. The computer resets. The validaters and changers cycle. It’s just things happen. Wires get moved. And things get pinched. And stuff happens.

Larry Towner: And sometimes if part of your system isn’t to actually test vend the machine before you leave, which by the way takes time, you might create service calls. I can tell you from personal experience, every time a machine door opened, I got a huge number of service calls where, “The guy was just here and now it doesn’t work.”

Larry Towner: And if you’ve not experience that, you will in time. So it requires a test vending period. Anyway, so you can go and you can service one machine, you take your gross amount out. The other machine now, I’m thinking of one account I had in particular. We serviced the account every week. We only serviced the snack machine every two weeks. Because it just didn’t pay to open that machine every single week.

Larry Towner: These are things that, from a profit standpoint, it was, you have to understand how things work. Plus, just servicing that soda machine was bing, bing, bing, in and out. You could be in and out of that machine in 20 minutes. Where to service the snack machine and the soda machine was gonna take him an hour. He could get to the next drink machine and service that one and be gone. He could do three drink machines in an hour versus one snack machine and one drink machine.

Larry Towner: These are the concepts you have to think about when it goes to scheduling, when you schedule on profit. Or on gross. I did it on gross sales. And I used a figure of, I looked at my local HVAC guy, right? The guy running the heating, ventilating and air conditioning truck, the guy that’s out there running. What’s he charge you?

Larry Towner: Tom, what’s an HVAC guy charge you to make a service call to your house?

Tom Shivers: Maybe 300 dollars.

Larry Towner: What’s a service call? Just showing up.

Tom Shivers: A service call is gonna be at least 75 to 100 dollars.

Larry Towner: Yeah. 75 to 100 dollars. That’s essentially his cost to run the truck for an hour. That’s how I did my figures. Anyway, think about this stuff, folks. Put your scheduling into that kind of mode. How do I get the most money out of those machines on the service schedules? Take a hard look at it. Ask people that are accounting oriented. Ask people that are really numbers oriented. They’ll give you an idea of what really works for you.

Larry Towner: It could be just time. It could be just time. If you’re going to a stop every day, it’s just time. You know, if your accounts are big enough that you can go every day, go every day. But gee, and on big, big accounts sometimes you have to go twice a day. What time of the day do you go? When do you get that maximum amount of money out of it? It’s a concept to think about. It boils into a calendar and you get a lot of pre-planning time out of it. And let me tell you, the benefits will pay off big. Big, big, big, big, big. So.

Larry Towner: Questions, Tom?

Tom Shivers: No. That was excellent, Larry. Thanks for sharing that. I know a lot of people are gonna find this very useful. What’s next? What are we gonna look at next?

Larry Towner: Well I thought we would do, in the future I know we’re gonna do a sales and marketing calendar. We’re gonna do, and there’s a difference between a sales and marketing calendar. We’ll probably do a long term calendar. What are some of your long term prospects? And things like that. There’s so many things that we need to integrate into a calendar, that we’ve got, as I say, this is a series. We’ve got a bunch of things. But we’re gonna talk about some sales and some marketing concepts coming up very soon.

Tom Shivers: Alright. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’ll want to do that. You been watching The Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.

To see some of available equipment go tohttps://www.amequipmentsales.com/prodcat/new-vending-machin

Servicing New Vending Accounts Part One

Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  With a new account you aren’t sure how much product you will sell, but over time you will learn. So when you are new think about these things:

  1. How much extra product do you take?
  2. How do you get your product from your vehicle to the machine – hand truck, platform dolly, etc? (drinks are particularly heavy)
  3. What time of day would be best to service the account?

How to get the products into the machine is next in this series.


Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here with Larry Towner again, who is a vending business consultant and has been in the vending business for 20 or more years. Today, we’re talking about Servicing New Vending Accounts Part One what to do when you’ve got an account. Larry, let’s just role play on this one. I’ve just landed a new account, and by the way, it’s at a gym here by that I go to. What do I do now?

Larry Towner,: Let’s take a step back and let’s think about a lot of things. You’ve got your machines in there already, you’ve chosen your product, I’m assuming you’ve got your product already, you’ve got your idea of what you’re gonna put in there, it’s already in the machine, so from here on out, we’re looking at of you actually having to service the account. Is that a correct statement?

Tom Shivers: That’s right.

Larry Towner,: Okay. All right. These are things, this is kind of what we like to call this part of planning, because you have to think about what you’re doing. The first thing I wanna say is you have an idea of how much you think you’re gonna sell on any given product, but if you have a new account, and you don’t have a lot of experience, you have to be prepared for when you go in. What we’ll do, eventually accounts get to where you know what they’re gonna need, because you’ve been there so much and the clientele doesn’t basically change that, but when you go in new and when you have no experience, there’s a bunch of things you have to think about.

Larry Towner,: The first thing is, how much extra product do you actually take? Do you take 50 bags of chips in? Do you take in 50 candy bars? Pastries? What do expect to take in there? We always used to go in and do, just as a tip, we would go in and do a little recon beforehand. We would walk into an account and see what’s sold a couple of days before we were getting ready to service it, so that we knew what to bring because it’s different account to account.

Larry Towner,: For the new guy, I’m gonna ask a question. Tom, you’ve never run vending route. How do you get the equipment into the account … or get your product into the account?

Tom Shivers: Probably with a hand truck.

Larry Towner,: Okay. Do you have a hand truck first off?

Tom Shivers: Not yet.

Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  Larry Towner,: Not yet. All right. You have a lot of choices when it comes to going out and buying hand trucks and or ways to move your equipment. There’s platform dollies, there’s hand trucks, there’s pallet jacks, things like that. There’s all kinds of things that you’ll see to move product around. Probably the most common is the hand truck, but I do know several vendors that have run very successfully with platform dollies, which is a four wheel dolly with a fold down handle, that you can fold it up and they stack their product up on that. You’re gonna need something to move product, particularly if you’re moving drinks. Drinks are very, very heavy and if you have to move eight to ten cases of drinks, while you can do it by hand, meaning you can take two cases of drinks a time and walk them in there. You’ll certainly … by the way, speaking of your gym membership, you’ll be dropping that, because you’ll get very fit very rapidly.

Larry Towner,: That’s correct. Even if you don’t, you still have to move all that product in there, and if your accounts are good accounts, you’re gonna need to move a pretty good bind of material in. Thinks about how you’re gonna get things from your vehicle into the account. We can go on about vehicles as well, but we’re gonna stick to a single account right now, and just say that somebody’s working out of a car, pick up truck, or a small van, and you’ll be fine running one piece of equipment, I mean one account out of a small vehicle.

Larry Towner,: There’s a concern right away. Tom, when do you think you would wanna be in there servicing that account? These are things you have to think about. What time of day would be the best? Well, there’s a couple of questions. First off is, in the case of your gym, the very first thing you have to think about is when are they open? Right? In your gym’s case, they’re open from when to when?

Tom Shivers: They’re open, I guess, like 6AM until about 10, 11PM, but the thing is, there are a lot people there the very early hours in the morning, and then they’re a lot, the most people there in the evening. Probably the best time is in the afternoons or in the late morning to early afternoons, or something like that.

Larry Towner,: And why would you choose that?

Tom Shivers: There’s fewer people there then.

Larry Towner,: The people do what? They get in your way, don’t they?

Tom Shivers: Of course.

Larry Towner,: Yeah, and so vending is a lot about efficiency. It’s about getting in, getting your machines filled and getting out. We don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just your time is money, you wanna get in there, you wanna be efficient, super fast, fill your machines quick and get out. Little tricks like that, we’ll probably go into it another show, but there’s a whole way to load a machine so that you are super efficient and you can do more stops in a day. More stops in day, these are more advanced concepts and things like that, and we’ll do a lot of this at the vending shows coming up, but there’s all kinds of things where you need to be very, very fast.

Larry Towner,: At this part, we’re gonna stick to that single kind of account. You’ve got your times narrowed down that you’re gonna go in there in the mid-mornings to mid-afternoons, because that’s the time when they’re the least busiest. In a more traditional business type sense, the times that you wanna be there are in the non-break hour type businesses. If you go into a manufacturing plant, they have a generally predetermined breaks on a specific hour of the days, and those are the times you try to stay out of the break room, because that’s the times when everybody’s coming into the break room.

Larry Towner,: You gotta think about those kinds of things first. You gotta think about the ability of how you’re getting your product from point A to point B. Then you have to think about how do you get the product into the machines. Well, it sounds easy, you just put them in and everything works, but reality of that statement is-

Tom Shivers: Let’s stop this right here.

Larry Towner,: Go ahead.

Tom Shivers: And pick that up in the next one, if we can Larry, where we’ll talk about that part of how to get the products into the machine. Is that all right?

Larry Towner,: Operating success tips from a professional, right?

Tom Shivers: Thanks. You’ve been watching Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One at the Vending Business Show

Some of our new vending machines  /www.amequipmentsales.com/prodcat/new-vending-machines

Vending Success Secrets

Vending Success Secrets Episode Transcript:
Tom: vending Success Secrets of  Vending Professional is a webinar coming up in the middle of January. Actually, I think it’s January 14th. And joining me to talk about the webinar is [Larry Towner 00:00:08] who is a vending business consultant with Service Group International and Joe Nichols, owner of A and M Equipment Sales.

Tom: So, Larry, why don’t you start by telling us what the webinar’s about.

Larry Towner: Well, the webinar is about,Vending Success Secrets  we’ve got multiple vendors who are gonna be sharing their success secrets with you all out there. And then, we’ll have a whole series of components on operations and sales and marketing, and equipment purchasing, and all the, really, the things that you need to know, along with a large question and answer section.

Tom: Well, who’s this webinar designed for, and who will get the most out of it?

Larry Towner: The person that’s gonna get the most out of this webinar Vending Success Secrets is gonna be somebody that’s looking to run their own business. They want to get away from, perhaps, a job that they might get laid off from, something like that. They’re looking to get ahead. They’re driven by financial independence. They want to get there as quick and as easily as possible. They’re all want to suck our brains dry as it were, and learn a whole lot of things. Joe, what do you think about the people who want to come to this seminar?

Joe NIchols: Well, I think they need to be self starters. They need to be hard working people. Vending is not rocket science. You just got to, you know, you got to have a little bit of common sense and hard work. And some sort of drive. And the harder you work, the more money you can make.

Tom: Now, I know you two guys have been in the vending business for decades, so, but I want to know, how did you create this vending business training that we’ll be getting on the webinar?

Larry Towner: Well, I’ll take … I started the vending business in 1985. I worked for a fellow in the greater Boston area. He was very, very successful. He taught me everything there was to know. I moved to Atlanta for personal reasons, and I was doing very well in the job I had. But, I was looking for some tax advantage. I was looking to be back to being the captain of my own soul, so I started part time out of my garage. I bought a guy’s assets out. I just bought about 13 sets of equipment from him. Went from that to full time, three trucks, three routes, five employees, about 7,000 customers, 135 accounts.

Larry Towner: Basically, I spent a lot of time training employees. I probably forgotten more about the vending industry than most people will know. So, that’s why we decided to do the training. Joe, what about you?

Joe NIchols: Well, I started in ’73. I’ll tell you how long I’ve been in the vending business; Back when I started, they didn’t even have dollar bill validators on the machines. All you could do was be, put change in the machines and pull a handle. So, I’ve seen the vending industry progress, you know, a lot of different ways. You know, everything’s electronic now, but I’ve seen a lot of change, but you know, a guy that’s just starting out can still make a lot of money.

Tom: All right, well, thanks Joe and Larry. You can learn more about Vending Success secrets at Vending Business Show  webinar at amequipmentsales.com. There should be a link around this video somewhere to the registration page, and we will see you …  Vending Business Blogs  Vending Machine Technology

How To Make Money In Vending




Larry Towner “Vending Guru”

How to Make Money in Vending

In this episode of the Vending Business Show,

What kind of things do successful vending operators do or How to Make Money in Vending?

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.


Episode Transcript:


How to Make Money in Vending  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 Vending. 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 How to Make Money in Vending. 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 but you can learn how to make money in vending. .

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 [email protected] That’s one word, it’s [email protected]

Tom Shivers:   You’ve been watching the Vending Business show on how to make money in vending, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

For a link to a great snack machine check out the Automatic Products 113 Snack Machine.

How The Vending Business Works

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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Is There Money To Make In Healthy Vending?

Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending  An interview with Larry TownerLarry-headshot

Excerpts from the interview: Is There Money to Make In Healthy Vending

“Healthy vending products are hot, they constitute a growing market segment that needs to be capitalized on,but the business opportunities,…Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending  you need to do serious research on any business opportunity before investing in that opportunity.”

Are there ways to offer Healthy vending solutions besides these Business opportunities?

“A business opportunity wants to sell you machines fronted with a healthy promotional sign. They promise to place the machines. They promise fabulous profits.” Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending?

“I always suggest to my clients that they partner with a reputable equipment supplier, someone that has many years of experience in the vending industry, a company that has a reputation of providing excellent equipment at a fair price and provides outstanding customer service after the sale. My choice was Joe Nichols and his staff at A&M Equipment.”

“In regards to Healthy product promotion, he has many options available, from machines fully with Healthy Vend logos, to individual column selections promoted as healthy selections.”

“The opportunities abound, just be smart.  Get help from experienced people.  I can consult, Joe Nichols can consult, talk to other business people, network.  Be wary of someone promising the world.”

Listen to the interview:

Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers:  Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending   Hi, this is Tom Shivers with the Vending Business Show and Larry Towner is on the call here as well. Thanks for joining us, Larry.

Larry Towner,: How are you, Tom?

Tom Shivers: I’m hanging in there. Today we’re going to talk about healthy vending and I know that’s a very hot topic right now. All kinds of things even up in Congress are talking about it. So is there a business opportunity in vending healthy items?

Larry Towner,: Boy, Tom, you’re not kidding. Healthy vending products are hot right now. They really do constitute a growing market segment that needs to be capitalized on. But the business opportunities, I think you need to do some serious research on any business opportunity before investing into that opportunity.

Tom Shivers: Why do you say that?

Larry Towner,: Well, business is business and there’s several ways to approach business. But one thing all businesses have in common is a desire to make profit. Any business opportunity that offers something of value that you cannot get elsewhere, you now, the offering company wants to make a profit too. So if a guy comes to you and says, “You can make a million dollars in healthy vending,” why wouldn’t he be doing it himself? So I guess the question always is, is what are these opportunities offering? What makes them unique and valuable? If you’re going to spend some money on a business opportunity, what makes it unique? What makes it valuable?

Tom Shivers: Well, are there ways to offer healthy vending solutions besides these business opportunities?

Larry Towner,: Well, there’s always alternatives. The first place to start is with the business plan. Write down your business idea, conceptualize it on paper. Be very specific, run numbers, go in and see how many things you have to sell, do a break-even, things like that. It’s very, very important to write a business plan for any business that you get into. This exercise in writing a business plan can either save you or make you thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.

Tom Shivers: Get more specific.

Larry Towner,: Well, let’s just say a business opportunity wants to sell you machines fronted with healthy promotional signs and they promise to place the machine, and they promise fabulous profits and what alternatives might be out there? Well, vending companies invest large amounts of money into their equipment. Vending is a very capital intensive business. I suggest to my clients that they partner with a reputable equipment supplier, someone that’s got lots of years of experience in the vending industry, has a great reputation of providing excellent equipment at fair prices and providing outstanding customer service after the sale. I’m going to tell you, if you don’t have customer service after the sale on your vending equipment, you are really going to be left out in trouble because equipment is equipment and I don’t care what business you’re in, if you have equipment, things are going to happen to it, you’re going to need either a repair source or somebody to help you troubleshoot these things. My choice has always been Joe Nichols and his staff at A&M Equipment. Joe started in the vending businesses and actually his family has been in the vending business for 35 years. He intrinsically understands the wants and needs of vending operators because he’s been one.

Larry Towner,: In regards to healthy product promotion, he has a bunch of options to choose from. You can get a machine that’s fully logoed, that has healthy signs on the front and you can customize those signs, you can do whatever you’d like as far as your own branding concept is on healthy vending. Or it can take you right down the column level, meaning if you just want to vend one or two items, he can do a promotional item up inside the machine that says, “These items are healthy” or whatever it is. But my goal always is, is if you can stay flexible with your promotions, it’s almost a better way to do it. You can promote your healthy selections as a part of your total product instead of the whole machine. But that takes you back to your business plan. You want that whole machine to be healthy products or do you want to mix those product selections? Have you even thought about it? A couple of words of caution, a typical snack machine costs around a thousand to 35 hundred dollars used, and 25 hundred to 5 thousand dollars new, depending on options and your customizations.

Larry Towner,: This snack machine should be fully electronic and have the ability to take credit cards and debit cards, as well as coin and paper currency, as it were, to take actual money. These are all things that, again, a reputable equipment supplier will be able to discuss your options and to give you the kind of information that you need as to whether or not this is going to be valuable to you. That’s always been my take. It’s just stay flexible and understand exactly what you’re trying to do.

Tom Shivers: You didn’t address the placement of machines.

Larry Towner,: Well, machine placement, it’s real common for people to promise they’ll place a machine out there for you and one of the things that we always say in that is is that sales basically is a … Or machine placement, if you want to call it that is a sales prop. It’s just a numbers game. If you call in enough people, you’re going to be able to place your equipment. In vending, placement is relatively easy. My numbers ran, and I’m not a stupendous sales person, but if I called on 10 businesses, I would end up placing one machine. And again, that’s a general average. It always seemed to work out this way. I had to make 50 calls before I got that one placement, but then I got 5 in a row. So when I took my long-term statistics, I knew if I knocked on enough doors, I would get the business.

Larry Towner,: But it depends on a bunch of factors and things like that. But that’s the kind of thing that if you think about it as it’s just a sales process, you need to do it. A lot of these business opportunities promise placement, but usually they provide you with locations that you could obtain by yourself with minimal efforts. I wouldn’t be paying a premium for placement of machines if they’re in marginally profitable locations. If there was so much profit to be made in these accounts, why would you be giving them away? That’s what I always say when it comes to the placement issues.

Tom Shivers: What else can you tell us about healthy vending?

Larry Towner,: Well, opportunities abound right now. As you said, we’ve got legislation going on in congress, we’ve got … It’s really a hot button right now. The big thing is just be smart. Get help from experienced people. I can consult, Joe Nichols can consult the vein of equipment. Talk to other people in the business, network. Just be wary of somebody promising you the world and talking about net profits and how you can place these and make tons and tons and tons of money. So that’s just always my words of advice to anybody that’s considering starting a new business is just be smart. Be patient. The opportunity will be there. The healthy vending opportunities are here now and they’ll continue to be here as our society gets more and more health conscious. And so be smart.

Tom Shivers: Well, thanks for sharing, Larry. Tell us about your business and what you do.

Larry Towner,: Well, we do consulting for the vending industry and we do videos and podcasts just like this. We can be reached at [email protected] That’s S-E-R-V-I-C-E-G-R-O-U-P-I-N-T-E-R-N-A-T-I-O-N-A-L. I don’t know my own spelling. @earthlink.net. Anyway, that’s how you reach us. We would love to consult with you on any of your leads and things like that. We’re extremely reasonably priced and things like that. Or contact Joe at A&M Equipment.

Tom Shivers: You’ve been listening to Is There Money to Make in Healthy Vending at  the Vending Business Show, a production of A&M Equipment sales.

Other Vending Business Show blogs How To Start A Vending Machine Business

Vending Operations Making More Money

Vending Operations Making More Money  Chuck Reed of MEI facilitates a panel of five outstanding vending operators to emphasize the main points:at the Nama show about Vending Operations Making More Money.  Vending Operations Making More Money  These large vending operators are talking about the basics of making money in the vending business and some of the new technology that keeps track of sales and inventory.  There are new inventory controls from the warehouse to the route truck and into the vending machine.  Vending Operations Making More Money a lot of the telemetry  that are on vending machines can now tell if the machine is working or not and send a message when it is not.  Recyclers were a big thing at this conference thus generating more vending profit.  Installing credit card readers and telemetry that goes with it was also a big plus.  To increase your vending business or keeping it at a manageable size.  Good employees make mor profit.  A good route man is worth his weight in gold.  He sees your customer every day and can keep that account for you.  Employee pay make sure some sort of commission.  The better job he does the mmore money he makes and you make.  Listen to some of the great ideas these guys come up with.  You have been listening to Vending Operations Making More Money at The Vending Business Show only at A&M Equipment Sales.  For More information Acquiring New Vending Accounts

  • How to use your payment systems better
  • Right size your operation
  • Start to use cash recyclers
  • Get smarter about cashless
  • Communication and change management

Great discussion and questions from the audience.

Youth Market and Vending Machines

Youth Market and Vending Machines Food and Drink Digital interviewed Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D., who is a NAMA-endowed professor at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business on the topic of the youth market.

Youth Market and Vending Machines Kasavana says a major trend is enhancement of the consumer interface and for vending machines that means a more interactive transaction – one that youth who shop and play games online are used to including payment options available online. “Why can’t you do that at a vending machine?”

Another trend is the products being sold are no longer traditional, but moving toward non-traditional items like energy drinks, trail mixes, things perceived to be more healthy.

Youth Market and Vending Machines  Also product information like nutritional content. The younger generation is watching what they eat. Vending machine manufacturers will soon be required to project the food manufacturer’s nutrition label like you see on most packages.  USA Technologies already has a screen that will retrofit on the vending machine that shows nutritional content.  It is also a credit card reader.  For more information on Usa Technologies  USA TECHNOLOGIES ePORT G9  You are watching the Vending Business show at A&M Vending Machine Sales.  For more videos you can go to www.ameqquipmentsales.com and go to vending business blogs.  Over one hundred vending blogs available.

Read more: Capturing the Youth Market with Vending Machines  

More exciting videos  How to Start a Snack Machine Business