Are you considering buying a vending machine for your business or organisation? This guide is for you! A vending machine can be a great way to provide convenient snacks and drinks to customers or employees.
But how do you go about purchasing a vending machine from a vending operator? With the right research and knowledge, it can be an easy and straightforward process. In this guide, we’ll cover the main steps that will make your vending machine buying experience both stress-free and productive.
Please note – this guide is for businesses looking to buy vending machines, not for individuals wanting to start their own vending business.
Assessing Your Needs
When you are in the market to buy a vending machine, it is important to thoroughly understand your needs before you make any further progress. There are a variety of factors that need to be taken into account when considering the purchase of a vending machine. Some of these include: the type and size of products you want to offer, the location of the vending machine, and the budget you have available for the purchase.
Additionally, you should also consider the size and type of vending machine that best suits your needs, as well as the availability of electricity and other infrastructure at the site where the machine will be placed. Taking all these factors into consideration will help ensure that you select the perfect vending machine for your needs.
It’s also very important at this early stage to ensure that you have a complete view of the buyer for the products in your machines, whether that’s employees, customers visiting your business, or a combination of both. Understanding their demographics will help you identify what sort of food, drinks and other products will be of interest to them, how much they’d be prepared to pay, and what their expectations are for payment methods.
Having all this information researched ahead of speaking with vending operators will help you both streamline the process and minimise the risk that your vending machines will fail to sell products on site.
Researching Vendors Before Buying a Vending Machine
Once you know what your staff or customers want, the next step in how to buy a vending machine, is to researching potential vending operators. As the buyer, you’ll want to ensure that the vending operator you select is dependable, offers quality customer service, and has a great reputation in the market.
You can start your research by searching for vending operators in your area. This will help you get an idea of the different service offerings available and gives you reassurance that operators and engineers will be able to reach you quickly and easily to replenish and fix your vending machines. If you’re looking for a company which has a larger regional presence, odds are that they’ll have the systems and processes in place to ensure that you can receive top level services regardless of how far they geographically are from your premises – but it always pays to ask the question!
Be sure to look at what sort of service the operators you’re considering can offer. Some vending companies will sell you a machine and the supplies to go into the machines, and won’t offer a service for an operator to come and replenish or clean the machinery. In our experience, a fully managed vending service is the best route, so we’d recommend checking that your supplier can offer this package when researching.
Take your time to read up on each vendor, speak with their sales reps, and weigh the pros and cons of each option before making your final choice. This way you’ll be sure to select a quality vending operator with a reputable track record. Part of your due diligence is to check their industry experience and client successes, which you can do by checking several sources:
- Third party review platforms such as Feefo, Trustpilot and Google Reviews
- Vending operator websites, to see whether they take pride in their operation and have client success stories in the form of case studies or testimonials
- Companies House, to check the financial fundamentals of the vending operator and ensure that they employ enough people to manage their customer base
Depending on the vending operators you’ve shortlisted at the previous stage, you’ll likely get a couple of different groups of respondents. There’s those vending operators who will send you across a quote within an email for the exact machines you’ve asked for, and there’s those operators who will want to see the site, meet with you in person, and make sure that they’ve understood everything fully before proposing some options.
It goes without saying that you want your potential vending partners to make the effort, and try their best to come and visit you and the premises as early on as possible. We know from our own experience that building trusting relationships between operators and clients is critical for achieving long term success, and there’s no better way of getting to know you than coming to visit.
There are also important reasons to visit site from a practical standpoint – you’ve likely already specified where the machines will need to be situated and how they’ll get electricity etc, but there are some pieces that only experienced vending operators will know to look out for. Having them on site to conduct an initial site survey is invaluable when you come to the installation later down the line!
When requesting quotes it’s also crucial to ensure that you’re comparing apples with apples. Some vending operators will quote a low price but exclude some parts of service and management that you’d assume would be included. Checking their Ts and Cs and making sure the quotes are completely like-for-like between operators will ensure there’s no nasty surprises once you’ve signed.
At Connect we give complete transparency with our quotes and want you to feel confident and comfortable that all the bases are covered, without any hidden costs.
Consider Vending Machine Finance
The vast majority of vending machine sales in the UK are done through finance agreements, whereby the machinery is leased to an organisation and paid off with on a monthly or quarterly basis. This helps keep upfront costs to a minimum and spreads the total cost over periods typically between three and seven years (how long the machine is likely to be utilised for before it needs upgrading).
Leasing companies will need to be confident that your business is able to make the repayments before stumping up the cost of your machine, though, so if you’re a new business or may have trouble generating consistent cashflow, this option might not be available to you.
Having complete clarity of the agreement durations, termination clauses and how the service and management elements of the agreement will work is vital at this point. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s better to ask the question of the vending operators you’re in discussions with.
Making Your Decision
Once you’ve got all your proposals together and you feel like you’re ready to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. This decision is one that you will have to work with for several years, in all likelihood, so choosing a supplier with exceptional service levels and a great track record is the most important element here, even if it means you’re paying slightly more than a competitor has proposed.
By all means, ask your vending operators to demonstrate their service credentials if you feel you need to be sure of making the right decision. At Connect, we know how important this is to building trust with our clients, and will be happy to show you how we operate, and how well we look after our clients.
If you’re happy and everyone in your business is on board, it’s time to get that contract signed!
Maintaining Your Vending Machine
This is where your hard work pays off and you can sit back, relax and let your brilliant new vending machines be replenished and maintained by your chosen vending operator.
If you’ve taken all the above steps and have found the ideal vending operator, maintenance should be an absolute doddle – a fully managed vending service will mean there’s no sleepless nights from herein!
Buying vending machines from Connect Vending
If you found this guide useful and would like to include Connect Vending in your search for a vending operator to buy vending machines from, we’d love to hear from you.
Our sales team are available on 01865 341011, or if you’d prefer to leave us a message and have someone call you back, you can contact us with details of your enquiry.