What is the Average Cost of A Vending Machine?
This is a straightforward question but the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. The vending machine business isn’t cookie-cutter. There are a lot of variables that go into the equation for figuring out the average cost of a vending machine. The fact is, you can buy a used, decades-old snack vending machine for a few hundred dollars on the secondary market, or you can spend over $10,000 for a new, high-end machine that dispenses hot food and beverages.
The average cost of a vending machine depends on the type of machine you want, the products you wish to sell, and the technology that the machine uses to accept payment, vend items and keep those items fresh.
We can say the average cost of a vending machine falls below $10,000 but above $1,500, but let’s dig deeper to help you calculate your costs.
What Are the Costs of Running a Vending Machine Business?
These are some of the costs associated with running a vending machine business.
Vending Machine Units
You can’t start a vending machine business without the vending machines, and these will be the largest investment you make into your business. The price ranges for vending machine units can vary significantly based on the type of products you are selling. For example, a snack machine typically costs less than a machine that dispenses ready-to-eat meals. An older model machine that only accepts cash and leverages standard push-button operation will cost less than a modern machine that is more intuitive and accepts credit and debit swipes.
Because the costs can vary significantly, it’s best to estimate anywhere from $1,500 per machine on the low end to $10,000 on the high end, depending on the products and type of vending machine you are buying.
Restocking Vending Machines
Keeping a vending machine well-stocked is necessary. Without food or beverages, people have nothing to buy from you. Restocking vending machines requires an ongoing investment, and it can take a little while to find the right mix of products and inventory you keep on hand.
In the startup phase of your vending business, you will want to be careful about overstocking items. It will take a while to get a feel for your best-selling items and to identify patterns among your customers. Some items will sell well in one location but will be complete duds in others, and you don’t want to buy too much inventory that you cannot move.
If you choose to work with a vending machine company that offers extensive support services, they can typically provide you with some initial data to start out with so that you’re making smart choices for your budget. A vending machine company that offers franchise benefits will also typically sell you products at wholesale or reduced cost, leaving you more room to mark up products and achieve healthy margins. Their advisors can work with you to determine the right pricing model for the machines and locations you secure.