Whether you are in the vending machine business or are just looking for a solution for snacks and beverages for your office, there are quite a few questions that you need to answer before you jump in and buy the first vending machine that you see.
Below, are the questions that we think are the most important to have in mind before you buy a vending machine in 2021. Once you know the answers to them, you'll be well on your way to choosing the best vending machine to buy for your company.
Where Will the Vending Machines Be Placed?
The answer to this question affects a whole lot of things. Will you be needing an outdoor vending machine or do you have a place in mind inside a building? Most vending machines are not equipped to function outside, so make sure you know whether a vending machine can be only be used indoors if you plan on using it outside a building
Space is also a consideration. Wanting to have a vending machine or two and having the space for them are two different things. Where are you going to put the vending machine? Will it sit on the floor or on a countertop? Countertop vending machines generally only dispense snacks or other dry goods, so if you want to also have beverages available, make sure there is floor space available to accommodate a beverage dispensing machine.
And, of course, vending machines don't run on batteries. They need to be plugged in. Are there electrical outlets near the places you want to put vending machines? You may have to install an extra outlet or two if you are placing vending machines in areas that currently do not have outlets.
How Many People Will Be Using the Vending Machines?
Vending machines that are constantly out of stock get used less and less as people learn they cannot depend on them. If you only plan on having one machine, make sure that it holds enough products so that none of the product selection types are empty before you can refill them again.
If you have the budget and space, having multiple machines will make them much easier to service. Usually, people devote one to sodas and other beverages and the other one to snacks and candies.
If you don't have a lot of space, but still want to provide snacks and beverages, a combo vending machine may be the perfect solution. There are quite a few models available that dispense bottles, cans, snacks and candies - all in the same one-machine smaller footprint.
What Products Will You Fill the Vending Machines With?
Really, before you make a guess as to what type of products you should fill a vending machine with, the best thing to do is to take a poll of the people who will be using the machines. Find out what snacks and beverages they want ahead of time.
Once you know the type of products that will be popular, you just need to make sure that you are buying vending machines that can accommodate those products. Vending machines have different package size requirements so be sure that you know the size of the cans or bottles you will want a vending machine to dispense as well as the dimensions of the snacks that you want it to serve so that you can select a vending machine that meets all of those package size requirements.
One final note about product selection: Snacks have a shorter shelf life than beverages, so it is very important that you get a good read on the types of snacks that will be in high demand. You don't want them getting stale after a long period of time and having to throw them away.
What Types of Payments Do You Want the Vending Machine To Accept?
There are many different payment options available these days for vending machines. Most machines offer credit card readers at a small additional charge and many offer contactless card reading - something especially important in this post-COVID-19 era.
The more types of payments a vending machine can accept, the more money it will make. If you do not want to add a credit card reader to your vending machine and it is limited in the bill denominations it can accept, you might have to add a bill changer machine to your vending area.
Who Will Fill and Service the Vending Machines?
Finally, if you are not operating a vending machine business, you are going to need to figure out how you are going to fill the machine with products and service any vending machines you purchase.
Doing all of that in-house can be a bit of a challenge. You have to establish supplier contracts, make someone responsible for collecting the money from the machines and re-supply the machines with not only products but with coins for change. Unfortunately, you'll also need to have someone who is pretty handy in case something goes wrong with the machine.
Hiring a vending machine service company is the easiest solution. They have access to a wide range of products and they know how to service the machines. Some charge monthly fees, some charge a percentage of the sales from the machine and some do a combination of both.
Still Unsure? Contact Us!
We've tried to do our best at explaining the types of things that can affect the best vending machine to buy for your business. Our product pages provide details on each vending machine that should help you make the right decision.
Still, sometimes people appreciate a helping hand and an insider's perspective. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all or need help selecting the best vending machines for your location. We love helping people!