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Making Money With Vending Machines

06/20/09 Update to this post – I wrote this article in 2007 before I started making any money online. I am glad I never pursued trying to make money with vending machines as I am now sure that I can make money easier online. For instance, please see my CashCrate review where I show that I am now making over $800 per month. You may also want to read my 3 part Project Payday review which is another way I make money. Finally you might go to my ways to make money page where I outline different ways to make money online. All in all, making money on the Internet is easier, I believe, than lugging around candy and having a vending machine route. At least for me it is. _______________________________________________________________

Early this year I was looking into different ways to make money and I started looking into candy vending machines as a possibility. At work I had always seen the vending machine guy refill the machines and wondered what it would be like. I knew it would be hard to make a full time income doing it but making money with vending machines seemed like it might be a good part time hobby/job. I found two vending companies on the Internet (1-800 vending and Vendstar) and I actually contacted Vendstar. They had the cooler website and the vending machines I wanted with the triple heads. I got a very large brochure back that was also stuffed with fliers telling me that the “time was right!!!” for me to invest now in my vending future. I soon got a follow-up phone call from them(one of about 3) trying to sell me one of their packages.

The price they were offering always amounted to around $300.00 per triple headed vending machine and they wanted to sell me 30 machines for the first order. They would sell me less but you could tell they were pushing very hard for the 30 machine order. With it came different benefits such as they would set you up with a placing service and other such things. There was no way I was going to spend almost $10,000.00 and never ordered anything through them. If you are ever thinking about buying candy vending machines GO TO EBAY FIRST and type in “vending machines“! I just typed in “Vendstar” into the search and came back with 78 items. Right away the 7th auction down is someone selling 10 Vendstar machine “new in box” for $1000.00! That’s before shipping but significantly cheaper than $300.00 per unit as you would pay from Vendstar. There are many more auctions of new and used machines and I know you can get some for less than $100.00 if you try. In the end I decided the vending machine route thing was too much trouble for not enough profit.  There have to be easier work from home jobs. It is’ hard to imagine a machine pulling in much more than $1.oo a day so I would have to have a lot of machines to make it worthwhile. I could have tried to start with a few machines and slowly built up but I was scared that all the good locations for placement were probably all taken. Also, I am not a good salesman and ultimately I feared that might be a problem. Having a candy vending machine route does sound fun but for me there are too many negatives to deal with. If anyone out there has any experiences with owning vending machines please leave me a comment. Below I have outlined some of the pros and cons as I see it of starting a route and trying to make money with vending machines: PROS


  • You need to place your machines / might involve cold calling
  • There are start up costs of one or more machines.
  • Local business licenses may need to be obtained
  • Candy needs to be bought as cheaply as possible. Costco?
  • Charities may need to be partnered with for placement
  • Machines need to be maintained.
  • Machines could be tampered with and/ or broken in the locations
  • Meticulous records need to be maintained for tax puposes
  • Ways To Rob / Cheat Vending Machines

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  • 1

    Interesting post… but now I’m wondering why you even need a vending machine? At my previous place of work, this guy came in with a box of candy bars and chips – just a box – and we went by an honour system of paying a dollar for what we took. He would come back each week for a refill. I guess he was happy with the system because he kept on refilling.

    In fact, this honour system was talked about in the book Freakonomics. There was a chapter about a guy selling bagels.

    So if you want, just drop a box of candy at small offices and you won’t even need a vending machine 🙂

    mariam on October 29th, 2007
  • 2

    I had to laugh when I read this post… for some reason, my wife for years has pointed at them every time we would go into Walmart and tell me you “make money” doing that.

    We never looked into it, always to busy, but certainly someone does it for a living. Has to be a lot of work.

    chipseo on October 29th, 2007
  • 3

    That’s awesome! I know about eBay, I’ve used eBay, I push eBay to friends and family, but I ALWAYS forget about it when it comes to my own brainstorming.

    Thanks for the anecdote.

    Matt Robison on October 29th, 2007
  • 4

    I once looked into a similar opportunity, but selling phone cards from vending machines. Each machine was $12,000 (they were computerized and fancy). I did some research and found that there wasn’t a market for it in my area. I also found that I had to get a vending machine license from my city and submit a request for it which could take 3 months. Way too much work.

    Chris Jacobson on October 29th, 2007
  • 5

    The honor system probably works but I wouldn’t want to build a business on it. It doesn’t seem “official” enough to be sustained.

    The license thing was a big drawback for me too. I’m not sure I want to get involved with something that requires a license from the state and/or city.

    DayJobNuker on October 29th, 2007
  • 6

    Wow, I couldn’t have thought of something like that. I hope someone will make some money trying this out 🙂

    Sutocu on October 29th, 2007
  • 7

    I heard it takes half a year to break even. Is a lot of hard work if the vending machine allocation are in various places. Best to have it in stores near your home for maximum efficiency.

    david on October 29th, 2007
  • 8

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    Anime on October 30th, 2007
  • 9

    I like this idea and have actually contacted a friend of mine who sells vending machines and lined one up to purchase. The reason isn’t because I think it will make huge money – but because I NEVER want my kids to end up in a lame-o job that they hate. I want to teach them as early as possible to be entrepreneurial and about working smarter rather than harder.

    In my opinion, this is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to get their kids on the right track! What is more appealing to kids than gum balls and quarters?!? Plus, with just one or two machines, they may actually have the attention span to stay interested. I want to show my kids that there is a way to make money without directly trading their time for it. If they see that more quarters have collected while they were away living their life… wow… that’s an awesome lesson.

    Chrisitne OKelly on October 31st, 2007
  • 10

    I know a lot of adults are in this business and it can be lucrative if you have the right locations.

    If you’re not looking to make a lot of money from this project, but rather want to teach some life lessons to kids, this could be a nice side business for them.

    I think Anime is on the right track.

    We once had a chance to see a motivational speaker one time talking about passive income. Although he made a lot of money from this, he wanted to introduce his kids to this as well and hence purchased a couple of vending machines for them. As a family, they fill the machines and count the revenue.

    In fact, he took it a step further and actually wrote a small book on the experience.

    gadgets on November 2nd, 2007
  • 11

    I had a few candy/gumball machines for awhile. I got them wanting to make some extra money and eventually work up to owning many. I started with about 5 that I bought for around $100 each. I didn’t enjoy talking to the places to try to set them out, I’m not a real people person. So I did get them all set out. I even had one at Wal-Mart, back by the layaway dept. It did the best out of all of them, but after about 2 years, I went in one day and they said I and the other machine owners would have to take it out. I didn’t go through the corporate deal like you’re supposed to at Wal-Mart, I just got lucky when I asked the manager and she said yes!
    Well, I ended up getting a job working around 60 hours a week, and didn’t have alot of spare time for the machines. I’ve since left that job and I have one machine left that’s at a restaurant. It does ok, but not that great, I’m wanting to sell it, I want to mainly work online now.

    Elizabeth on November 8th, 2007
  • 12

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