Vending Machine Finance
With the right location and inventory, a vending machine can pay itself off in less than a couple of years.
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Vending machines offer a hands-free business model with low entry costs and scalability. They're also becoming increasingly popular, even during the pandemic, cutting long waiting lines and interaction with people. With low start-up costs, you can get vending machine finance to fund your vending machine business.
Are vending machines popular?
In countries like Japan, vending machines are practically hardcoded into the nation's DNA and they are certainly catching up elsewhere. Even through the COVID-19 period, they have been big business, selling everything from food and snacks to niche items like umbrellas, hot snacks and face masks or hand sanitiser.
Vending machines are generally low cost, ranging from around $2,000 up to $10,000 a machine. They can also generate returns of $100 to $400 per week, and can be profitable. Just as there are pros, there are also cons you should consider when starting a vending machine business.
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Pros and cons of vending machine businesses
- Low start-up costs. Compared to some other business start-up ideas, a vending machine business is relatively inexpensive to start. Depending on the type of machine, new machines can cost around $2,000 to $10,000. There are few other start-up costs associated with a vending machine business. With no office or retail space to rent and low stock levels, it can be an inexpensive way to fund and run your own business.
- Easy to scale. Given the low costs, it's easy to grow and scale your business. You could buy a few new machines at a time and build from there.
- Low ongoing expenses. When you're starting out, you could restock and maintain the machines yourself. This can help you keep costs down. As your business grows with new additions, you could hire someone to help you restock and maintain the machine. Even with a staff member or 2, the ongoing expenses of this type of business are minimal compared to other types of businesses.
- Finding the right location. Location is key when it comes to the success of your business. Public areas like train stations may seem obvious, but private areas like shared office kitchens and hospital cafeterias can house some of the most profitable vending machines. Existing vending machine holders may have already carved out these spaces, making it difficult to secure a prime location.
- Highly competitive. It may be difficult for newcomers to find a foothold in a well-established market. You could mitigate this by purchasing an existing business that has machines in prime locations. If you want to start from scratch, you'll need to bring all your powers of bargaining and persuasion to the table.
- Maintenance and refilling. While vending machines do a lot of the work themselves, taking orders and giving change without human help, you will still need to regularly attend to your machines. They usually need refilling at least once a week, or more at prime locations. You will also need to be on-call to fix broken machines, or miss out on profits.
How can I finance a vending machine?
There are a number of finance options if you're looking for a loan for your vending machine business. These include:
- Unsecured business loans. With this type of loan, you can borrow without using an asset as security. Borrowing amounts aren't as high as secured loans, and the interest rates tend to be higher. But you don't run the risk of losing your asset if you default. There are many unsecured business loan options, including from smaller, independent lenders.
- Secured business loans. This type of loan requires an asset as security, either residential or commercial. In return, you get lower interest rates and longer loan terms.
- Franchise loans. If you want to become a vending machine franchisee, there are franchise loans you can apply for. These loans are capped at the initial length of the franchise agreement, which may not be longer than 5 years.
- Personal loans. If you can't apply for a standard business loan, you could take out a personal loan. You have both secured and unsecured options, with the secured loan having higher borrowing amounts and lower interest rates.
The right finance option for you will depend on your business, eligibility and affordability of the loan.
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