How to figure out the best place to put a Vending Machine?
Finding the best places to put vending machines is as easy as evaluating 4 basic criteria:
- What products are you planning to sell from your vending machine?
- What type of business or facility will the vending machine be located in?
- Where in that business or facility gets the most foot traffic? (i.e. the best micro-property located within that business or facility)
- How much of your profits are you willing to pay as rent for the location?
So, since I think this list might grow over time, I’ll break it down by product category and then add locations where I think it is a good idea to sell those products. Give me a shout/comment if there are any locations or product categories you think should be added.
Please note that this list is for what traditional commercial property locations are generally good (like types of businesses) and that I will write another article about specific micro-property locations (e.g. in a bathroom, at the exit, at the entrance, etc.) in the near future.
Hopefully this list either provides you with some creative things to put in a vending machine.
Snacks and Beverages
Snacks are a classic item to vend. There’s the traditional snacks like chips, candy, and healthy snacks like packaged fruit that can be vended from a typical vending machine, and then there are things like pizza that can be vended from a robotic vending machine. For beverages, you could be vending soda and water, or luxury alcohol or beer from your vending machine, or even milkshakes.
Without further ado – the best places to put snack and beverage vending machines of any type are:
- Warehouses with lots of employees
- Office Buildings
- Gyms (Probably healthy snacks and protein bars are best)
- Basketball courts
- Baseball fields
- Soccer Fields
- Parks in general
- Bars – ever seen a mystery box vending machine?
- Gas Stations – think beyond snacks: this might seem crazy, but corn feed vending machines for livestock in rural areas are a thing
- Truck Stops
- Highway Rest Areas
- Schools (Hopefully healthy snacks)
- Government Offices (How long have you waited at a Department of Motor Vehicles?)
- Community Recreation Centers
- Mechanics Shops
- Parking Garages
- Car Dealerships
- Boat Dealerships
- Motorcycle Dealerships
- Art Galleries
- Skate Parks
- Theme Parks
- Paintball Parks
- Golf Courses
Best Places to Put Vending Machines for Games and Toys
Vending of games and toys may seem a little outdated in the era of smartphones, but if you can find an toy that fits with a specific locations theme, you might have some sales. My favorite example is a pool toy vending machine at a pool.
- Pool – Pool toys (including inflatable pool toys)
- Highway Rest Stops
- Pediatrician’s Offices (A fresh deck of cards, perhaps?)
- Train stations
Activity Related Clothing and Accessories
There a tons of activities that are a lot easier to participate in if you have the right clothing and accessories – these are very useful things to sell from a vending machine. My favorite example is hand warmer packets vending machine at a ski mountain.
- Pools – floaties, hair caps, goggles, swimsuits, sunscreen, tanning lotion
- Beaches – floaties, hair caps, goggles, swimsuits, sunscreen, tanning lotion
- Water Parks – floaties, hair caps, goggles, swimsuits, sunscreen, tanning lotion
- Ski Mountains – Hand warmers, gloves, scarves, hats
- Paintball Parks – paintballs, co2 canisters, paint grenades
- Skate parks – Skateboard trucks and wheels, grip tape
- Golf Courses – Spikes and spike tools, hats, sunscreen
Books and Office Supplies
Examples of possible office supplies are: pens, pencils, post-it note pads, staples, small stapler
- Bus Stations
- Train Stations
- Highway Rest Stops
How much are you willing to pay in rent?
Nobody wants to pay rent. Landlords love receiving rent (typically called ancillary income when it is rent from a vending machine or EV charger). So, if you want the very best location for your vending machine, you’ll need to make the landlord happy and give them a cut of your profits each month or quarterly. They may have particular requirement for your machine as well, i.e. the inventory needs to stay well stocked and it needs to have a credit card reader.
Best Places to Put Vending Machines Wrap-Up
That’s all the good locations to put vending machines that seem to make sense from a product/market fit standpoint. There are likely other best locations to put vending machines (and a top notch vending machine locator could help), so this list will continue to be updated. For specific locations, be sure to search the listings on the Micro Real Estate website.
There’s also plenty of cool vending machines that you could check out to get some ideas for specialized places to put them or just put an art machine anywhere! Set up your business, get some vending insurance, a security camera or two, and make sure you have a credit card reader and you are all set.