Whether it is a mall, an office premise, or a train station, vending machines have become ubiquitous. They have become an integral part of the modern-day life. It is also one of the fastest growing businesses today. It offers extra income with a low initial investment, and is a 100% cash-only business. If you are thinking of getting into this field, all you need is a vending machine, along with different products like soft drinks, toys, gum, etc. But like all good things, there are pros and cons to this business as well, which you should be aware of.
The advantages of this business are:
- Be your own boss: It is you who will determine the business plan, and decide which equipment to buy and the location, among the different available options.
- Low initial investment: The initial capital required is small unless you are going in for bigger advanced machines on a large-scale.
- Less time and efforts: Buying the right vending machine and setting it up at a strategic location does not take much of your time or efforts, especially if you have connections with local businesses and stores.
- Flexible working hours: You can very well manage your full-time job and personal life with this business.
- Less stress: Once you set up your machine and start generating revenue, then the only thing you have to look after is its timely maintenance and replenishment of stock.
- Unbound success: This business has an infinite growth rate. There really is no limit to your success.
- Little experience needed: One of the biggest advantages is that no previous experience is required to start this business. One only requires the working knowledge of how to operate the machine and market it.
To make your venture profitable, choose a product that is in demand. Some popular products are soft drinks, gum, chips, candies, toys, etc. Being a complete cash flow business, the need for accounting is limited. Also, you do not need a storefront to keep the stock, you can even keep it in your garage or any other secured space.
It is also essential to understand the nature of problems or issues that you may face while running this business:
- Faulty location: Placing the machine at the right location is the key factor to ensure that your business is profitable. Suppose, you decide to buy a toy dispenser and place it outside a pub. On the other hand, your competitor also buys the same machine and places it outside a children's park. In this case, he would definitely earn more than you. A faulty location may backfire on the owner.
- Increasing competition: The fact that there is a very low initial investment needed, is a major factor that is responsible for increasing competition. This can dent the revenues of a business as the customers may get divided.
- Full liability and responsibility: Being a sole owner, the complete liability of the business lies on you. Also, your responsibilities would include maintenance, stock replenishment, and managing customer feedback. Until you start earning good revenue, you cannot hire people to work for you. Therefore, the risk would be really high initially.
- Operating Costs: Apart from the cost of the machine, there are several other operating costs like license fees, maintenance, insurance, and advertising. If these costs are not factored in correctly during the business planning stage, the business may not take off or go into huge losses.
This is a passive business; the machine generates revenue even when you are not there. But this does not translate into a reprieve from responsibilities on the part of the owner. Ensure that before starting such a business, you understand the pros and cons and think over the business plan properly.