Micro Real Estate

My Top Five Places to Put Vending Machines

My Top 5 Places to Put Vending Machines are:

  1. Warehouses
  2. Hospitals
  3. Office Buildings
  4. Gas Station Pumps
  5. Public Pools

If you’ve ever wondered to yourself, “Where can I put a vending machine?”, then you are in the right place. These 5 examples are some of the most profitable places to put vending machines that are filled with traditional snacks and drinks. You’ll find that there are a lot of other interesting types of vending machines that could be more profitable in highly specialized locations like parks, beaches, bars, sports arenas and golf courses.

When you’re looking for a location for your vending machines, you’ll need to do a lot of cold calling or hire a locator and I think it is smart to focus on these 5 types of places, because you can’t just buy a vending machine a put it anywhere.

1. Warehouses

Typically, a warehouse is large building for storing a lot of merchandise and a fairly large number of people work in the warehouse to move merchandise, construct/maintain facilities, and manage the operations of the warehouse. If you can find a warehouse with 100+ workers that doesn’t have a snack and beverage vending machine already there, then it is one of many good places to put vending machines. It could bring in $100 a day. Warehouses are often in areas where land is inexpensive, typically somewhat far away from a town and the associated snack food stores.

It’s likely that getting your machine into a warehouse location will be competitive, so the ancillary income percentage that you may have to offer the landlord could be higher than in other types of locations.

2. Hospitals

Hospitals are typically large building that employ a lot of people like an office building might, but there is the added benefit of foot traffic from all the patients who enter the building. Hospitals are a great place to put vending machines, especially if there is the potential for a patient or a patients family to have to wait for a long time after the hospital cafeteria closes.

Coffee and tea are also good things to vend in a hospital. Its kind of the opposite of placing a vending machine in a bar – in a bar there should be some novelty in the alcohol that is vending (maybe it’s luxury alcohol or even hangover cures or a mystery item kit), but a vending machine in a hospital should be purely functional – including things like “get well soon” cards and gifts or other creative things that could fit in a vending machine like Hot Wheels. There’s also the luxuries like milkshakes to cheer someone up or celebrate a birth, or fruit vending machines for when you want a quick, healthy snack.

3. Office Buildings

Of course, office buildings have a high density of people working in them. (Bonus tip: Apartment buildings could all use ice, beverage, and snack vending machines for a similar population density reason.) The office may already have a cafeteria or break room with provided snack, so check that out to determine if you should not place a vending machine in that office building, or if there are some unique items that you could vend to fill the gap in the company’s offerings.

If it’s a very high end office building (like for Blackrock or another big bank), you might even consider placing unique, eye catching machine like a pizzabot or even an art vending machine.

4. Gas Station Pumps

Many gas stations also have convenience stores, but I still think locating a vending machine as close a safely possible to a gas pump is a good idea even if there is a convenience store. If there is not a convenience store at the gas station, then vending machines are a no-brainer. Some gas stations have a little convenience store in the middle of the gas pumps, so make sure not to try to pitch a vending machine to one of those gas stations, because it is probably a waste of your time and theirs.

With a vending machine in such a high foot traffic area, it is important to have vending insurance and a security camera or two for the vending machine – since the machine may be ripe for vandalism by the transient nature of people visiting the location. Big data and AI may be less useful for a vending machine that has such transient foot traffic – there’s likely to be few regular customers at a gas station – but, Augmented Reality (AR) products might be good for impulse buys.

In a rural area, a vending machine for corn feed would make sense a local gas station with a lot of foot traffic. There’s likely to be in-town gas stations, but also some that are off the beaten path that a farmer might want to pick up their corn feed from for their livestock.

5. Public Pools

I’ve always like swimming in public pools, but always get hungry and want a snack. The public pool I went to as a kid had a snack bar, but it was only open for a few hours each day. Someone eventually had the bright idea to place a couple of vending machines next to the snack bar, so there would still be snack options available whenever the snack bar was closed – so it was a highly complementary vending machine business.

And boy, all the kids, teens and lifeguards were super happy for it. Bonus Tip: This also applies to public parks near established snack bars that are only open for short periods of time or short seasons. People playing sports get thirsty and hungry, so it makes perfect sense – a vending machine locator service can help you with some nuances like this.

Also, when selecting machines, remember that ice cream vending machines are great for outdoor public spots like pools and parks that get a lot of traffic during the hot summer months.

Bringing it Together

These are my top five places to put vending machines for the moment, but it’s all about innovating and finding the right product-market fit for your vending machine business. Though, I hope it goes without saying, that no matter where you end up placing a vending machine, please make sure that it has a credit card reader. Cash is used less and less, so be sure to have credit card readers or even app payments available or your will be leaving money on the table. If you’d like a deeper dive into how vending machine credit card readers work, or the different types of cards that are accepted, look no further than our blog.

Leptonic Inc. is poised to help people find the right places for the right machines, since we have developed a marketplace for vending machines and also have listings for brand new vending machines, though it certainly takes longer to get a return on investment for a new machine as opposed to a used machine.

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