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How to Start a Vending Machine Business

How to Start a Vending Machine Business

Our 9 step guide on starting a vending machine business will get you started. One of the first things that you have to consider is the place where you will setup or establish your machine or machines. First, you have to determine the type of vending machine you’re going to use and the products you’re going to vend. Many times variables such as the space you have or whether or not you have electricity available will help guide you on making a decision. There are variety of machines that you can select before making your decision to establish your business. Here are the types of vending machines that you can choose from

Steps on How to Start a Vending Machine Business

It is really easy to start your vending machine business. Here are the steps to help you get started:

  1. Have a plan – If you are unsure on the steps necessary to create a successful plan, call us @ 800-853-3941 and talk to one of our vending experts.  How many machines do you want to start with? Do you already have locations to place your machines? Are you working with a charity? These are all very important questions.
  2. Purchase your first vending machine. offers the largest selection of vending machines to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for one machine or one thousand, we have the experience you can trust. Call us @ 800-853-3941 and talk to one of your vending machine experts!
  3. Choose the perfect locations to start your business. Location, location, location – you’ve heard it a million times! It couldn’t be more important when starting your business. You want to find a location with high foot traffic that is well-lit. We recommend you start with the business you frequent yourself building on already established relationships in your community.
  4. Negotiate specific sales “Commissions” on the business or place owners. Since the place where you are going to place your vending machine may not be your place of business, you’ll typically need to approach local business owners and negotiate a small percentage that you’ll give to them for allowing you to keep your machine(s) at their place of business. Many small business owners are eager to earn extra income and you may find very willing to negotiate a fair percentage with you.
  5. Match the vending machine products to the place where it will be placed. Choosing the right vending machine and products is a very important step. You want to appeal to the people who frequent that particular establishment. Each location is very different and may find that vending toys may not be the best fit for a place frequented most by adults.
  6. Test the vending machine before starting the business. Test your vending machines to make sure they are dispensing the products properly and the right amount of product. As an example, make sure your adjustable candy wheels are set to dispense the right amount of candy. A misconfigured candy wheel can have a major impact on your profit!
  7. Visit the vending machines twice or more in a week to check. Don’t forget to check your vending machines frequently, especially when first starting. This will help you maintain fresh items and help you learn what is selling well at that particular location. Optimizing your vending machines is an important step in your continued success as a vending operator!
  8. Place a change machine near you machines. Whenever possible, we recommend you place a change machine near your vending machine. Many people these days don’t carry change or may not have exact change. Allowing potential customers quick and easy access to exact change will give you a huge boost in sales!
  9. Properly maintain and repair. Don’t let a repair cause a larger problem because it can really affect your vending business. Cleaning and maintaining your machine is a crucial step in ensuring your machine is functioning as it should. Most candy machines are mechanical and certain products can clog up your machine and cause it to malfunction if you don’t clean and properly maintain. A properly maintained machine also prevents damage to your machines from customers who may bang or hit a machine that did not dispense properly.

A gumball machine can be one of the best ways to get started in vending. Not only do gumballs have one of the highest profit margins, but it's always one of the easiest ways to get started. All our machines can be converted to vend gumballs or candy. Be sure to see our guide on the Most Popular Gumball Machines.

Gumball and Candy Vending Machines are by far one of the most popular vending machines and typically have the lowest start-up cost. The cost of a typical 1 inch gumball is usually 2-4 cents per gumball. Each gumball vends for at least 25 cents making you a huge profit with very little investment. Bulk Candy is also very popular and leads to huge profit margins. All of our candy machines have adjustable candy wheels so you decide exactly how much candy you want to vend.

Toys are also an alternative or even a complement to gumballs or candy. Vending toys also have great profit margins and can vend for up to $2 each! The most popular vending toys are 1 inch toy capsules, which you can vend out of any of our 1 inch gumball machines without any additional adjustments or our 2 inch toy capsules which can vend for up to $1 each.  

Vending stickers and tattoos is one of our most popular vending machines. Many of our combo vending machines offer sticker/tattoo, vending toys, and gum and candy machines all on one rack. Many of the sticker and tattoos are licensed items and highly collectible.  Licensed items such as Disney or the NFL will quickly become one of your top sellers!

The normal vending machine many people think is one that provides snacks, candy, and sodas for extra change. These types of machines can be available in numerous locations, which involve schools, office buildings, and bus or train stations. Other kind of these machines may include the smaller vending machines or gumball machines that only provide certain kind of candies like chocolates, candies containing toy, and hard candies.

Another kind of vending machine that you can consider for your first business is the machines that offer hot chocolates, freshly brewed coffee, or teas. This kind of machine allows the users to select certain kind of coffees in exchange for money, usually in a form or coins and give a cup of coffee, milk, or cream. This vending machine gives wide variety of coffee menu. Similar to other machines, you can also locate them in schools, offices, and even in shopping facilities. 

This machine provides “change” in exchange of bills. This is very significant in some environment like the parking areas and laundry shops. Change-vending machine functions through giving coins or smaller bills in exchange of larger bills or even credit cards. 


Starting your vending machine business should not be stressful. We are here to help! Call us and talk to one of our experts and we’ll help you find the perfect fit for YOU and your budget. Our customer service agents are NOT commission based like many other companies and you will not be pressured. We’ve been in the vending business for more than 40 years, and like many of you, started with a single vending machine and a small vending route. Call us @ 800-853-3941and talk to one of our vending experts!