Want to start your own vending machine business but still clueless about all the costs involved? If you’re wondering “How much is a vending machine?” and all the other costs that come along with owning a vending machine business, then you’re at just the right place.
Starting an own business is the dream of millions of people across the world. And vending machines provide an excellent business opportunity for people who want to do just that!
It provides aspiring entrepreneurs with a level of flexibility and freedom that many other businesses cannot.
I have researched extensively about all the best vending machines available in the market today and below, we’ll take a look at exactly how much a vending machine costs and all the other expenses involved with owning a vending machine business.
Keep in mind though that a lot of people who own vending machine businesses usually rent the vending machines and don’t necessarily own them. We’ll be taking a look at this and many other important points in the article below.
How Much Does a Vending Machine Cost?
Well, unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are many different factors like the products that you want to sell, the technology used to accept payments or vend items in the machine, usage of heating/cooling mechanisms, etc. that determine the cost of a vending machine.
There are mainly 3 types of primary costs that you need to consider when starting a vending machine business. These are as follows:
Cost No. 1 – Buying or Renting a Vending Machine
A brand-new vending machine typically costs anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000, whereas the more advanced machines available in the market retail for well over $10,000. For example, there are Moët & Chandon vending machines (serving champagne) that cost around an eye-watering $38,000.
You can also find many cheaper vending machines available in the market which can be bought for as little as $200 to $300. There are also mini vending machines available which cost under the $500 price point.
But the best option recommended for people with smaller capital or someone who’s just stepping into the vending business is to buy used or refurbished vending machines. These can be bought for anywhere between $600 to $3000 depending on the type, condition, and age of the machine.
You can buy used or refurbished vending machines from one of the sites listed below:
Apart from these, a quick Google search can help you find other online marketplaces selling used vending machines. You can get a clear idea of how much the different types of used vending machines cost in the video below:
Another great option to consider is to rent or lease vending machines to start your business. You don’t always have to own a vending machine to be able to sell products from one.
This is an extremely popular option that many business owners are taking advantage of across the world. This doesn’t require a lot of initial capital either. Another great advantage of renting a vending machine is that the owner usually takes care of all the repairs and maintenance.
Leasing a vending machine can cost you anywhere between $50 to $200 a month. This also depends on the type of machine. For example, a soda vending machine usually costs more than a snack vending machine as it requires refrigeration to chill the drinks.
Additionally, you also have to regularly refill the vending machines which comes as an added running cost. A lot of vending machine rental companies also require you to purchase the products only from them, usually at a higher price.
Another cost of running vending machines is the electricity used by these machines. The electricity consumption depends again on various factors like the size and the technology used by the machine.
There is also an option of customizing vending machines according to your requirements. This usually comes at a higher price range and can typically cost from $10,000 to anywhere up to $300,000.
Check out the table below that will give you a better idea of how much different types of vending machines can cost:
|Type of Vending Machine||Estimated Market Price|
|Soda Vending Machines||$3,000 – $8,500|
|Snack Vending Machines||$2,600 – $8,000|
|Combination Vending Machines (Snacks & Drinks)||$7,000 – $10,000|
|Candy Vending Machines||$1,500 – $6,500|
|Coffee Vending Machines||$1,300 – $7,000|
|Specialty Vending Machines||$2,400 – $9,200|
Cost No. 2 – Vending Machine Licenses & Taxes
The need for permits and licenses to operate your vending machine business will mainly depend on three factors:
- The location (state or municipality)
- The number of vending machines that you operate
- The products being sold in your vending machines
As a small business owner, you will generally require business licenses to operate your vending machine business, which costs money. In many cases, this license will be a one-time payment that allows vending machine operators to sell from multiple vending machines. But in some cases, you might be required to renew your license at certain intervals (depending on your local regulations).
The cost of this license will vary depending on which state or municipality you operate your business in. So you need to understand all the legal requirements before you start depending on where you’re from. You will be needed to visit your city or county office to procure this license.
In case you are required to collect and pay sales tax, you will also need to get a seller’s permit. Apart from that, food safety and health permits will be needed in case of perishable items.
All the required licenses and other permits for your vending business can cost you anywhere from as low as $10 to several hundred dollars depending on the factors mentioned above.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of vending machine license costs, permits, and taxes in a few different states:
California: You will need a seller’s permit to start selling from vending machines in California with a few exceptions like if you sell food through a vending machine which costs $0.15 or less per item. Or certain groups like parent-teacher associations or equivalent school or library support groups do not need a seller’s permit for vending machine sales. (Source)
New York: You will require a license from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for vending food items in the State of New York. A new license will cost you around $200 for private or $75 for non-private while renewal fees will be $200 for private or $50 for non-private with a renewal cycle of two years. (Source)
Texas: For operating a vending machine business in Texas, you will have to pay for the following taxes and permits:
- Business fee – $400 for up to 50 machines, $800 for up to 200 machines, and $1,000 for over 200 machines.
- Occupation tax permit – $60 annually
- Registration certificate fee – $300 for each machine
- Import license fee (for importing machines from outside Texas) – $1,000 (Source)
Massachusetts: You will need a license from the food protection program to operate a food and/or beverage vending machine business in Massachusetts. The application fee for each vending machine unit is $10. (Source)
Similarly, every state has its own license and permit requirements for vending machines. Please check with your local small business administration for all the required details.
Cost No. 3 – Vending Machine Maintenance
Once you decide to start your own vending machine business, you have to take into account the maintenance costs and operating costs in your business plan for running it successfully. Some of these costs are:
a) Restocking Your Vending Machine With Inventory
Once you’ve completed all the basic steps mentioned above to start your own vending machine business, you will then have to stock and restock your inventory of products regularly.
It might take you some time to figure out the right selection of products and inventory that bring you consistent profits. So don’t go about overstocking items at the beginning.
As you get more experienced with time, you will start identifying patterns of the right selection of profitable items to sell in your vending machine business. Some items may be a complete hit in one location but are absolute flops in another.
So depending on the type and quantity of the products that you sell, restocking can cost you from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars each month.
b) Maintenance and Repairs
On average, the maintenance and repair costs, which include things like servicing, repairs, electricity, and other things will run up to anywhere between $30 to $100 per machine each month.
This also depends on a lot of factors like the age of the machine and the technology used in it. The more technically advanced machines will cost more to maintain or fix than older machines with basic technology.
Keep in mind though that newly bought machines have the advantage of having at least one or two years of warranty on parts and/or servicing. Whereas, older machines tend to break down more frequently.
c) Location Cost
Having the right vending machine business idea can be crucial to your success, but deciding the right location for it is the other important pillar for you to be able to make good profits.
The main thing to know here is that you can’t just install your vending machine anywhere you like. You will need proper permissions from property owners who you’ll have to share a part of your profits with.
Before you take home your profits from your vending machines, you will have to pay a commission to the proprietor who provides you with the location and in some cases even pay for the electricity which is required to operate your machines.
Usually, you will have to pay anywhere between 5% and 25% of your revenue to the property owner of your vending machine locations. It is always a good idea to establish a contract with the proprietor stating all the agreed terms like contract duration, compensation rate, and any other terms.
Important Things to Know About the Vending Machine Business
- The location of your vending machine is the key factor that will determine your success. You need to have your machines installed in places where people might need them the most. For example, vending machines selling candies, chocolate bars, and other sweets will do well near schools and other places with lots of kids. While energy drinks, protein supplements, and other fitness products will do well near gyms and fitness centers.
- The highest-selling and most popular vending machine product category is beverages. According to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, soda, bottled water, soft drinks, and other beverages account for nearly one-third of all vending machine sales in the US.
- The US has the most number of vending machines in the world, while Japan has the highest density of them. (Source)
- Hot food, sandwiches, hot dogs, and other food items sell the best from vending machines in places of business and studying like offices, schools, colleges, and universities.
- When it comes to theft and vandalism, vending machines can be considered easy targets. Always try and install your machines in safe and secure locations. You can also consider getting vending machine business insurance to cover your expenses in the event of any theft or damages. Do note that this will be an added expense to consider in your vending business plan.
How much does a vending machine make (weekly and monthly)?
Vending machine earnings can differ greatly depending on many factors like location and product selection. On average, a vending machine in the US can make around $55 every week, while well-stocked machines in good locations can make over $400 monthly.
Some machines may make well over that amount while others can end up making much lesser. The more well-located and well-stocked a machine is, the more sales it will end up generating, resulting in more profits.
Are vending machines profitable and do they make good money?
Yes, absolutely! With proper product selection and well-researched locations, vending machines can drive regular profits passively. An average vending machine in the US can make anywhere between $40 to $500 of revenue per month.
There are over 5 million vending machines operational in the US currently bringing in over $7 billion in sales annually. And these numbers just keep getting better every year!
Can I put a vending machine anywhere?
No. You cannot just put up your vending machine on someone else’s property without proper permissions or contracts. However, a lot of property owners will allow you to install your machine for a fixed rent or a monthly commission from your sales.
You may also need to get proper selling permits and licenses from the local administration depending on the location of your vending business.
The vending machine industry brings in billions of dollars of revenue every year and you can very well get a piece of the action by investing in your own vending business. It can be a great source of passive income (after initial setup) and you don’t necessarily need a big capital to get started.
Something as little as $1,000 may be enough for you to start your own vending machine business. And you can always grow it (or scale it down) as you get more experienced and understand the market and product demands.
I hope that this article could shed some light on all your questions about vending machine costs and I wish you all the best!
Do you run your own vending machine business and have some more insights to share on numbers related to the vending business? Or do you have any other questions about it? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!