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Passive Income 101 – Vending Machines

Vending Machines

Welcome back!

As I make my way along the different passive income sources we are looking into, I thought it would be nice to revisit one of the first passive income sources I had looked into over 15 years ago. Vending Machines.

Vending machines are definitely more of a passive income source. Once you buy the machine and get it set up in the location, your only job is to make sure it’s stocked and take out the money. So let’s take a look.

Vending Machines 101

I remember every Friday night, I would go to my swimming lessons as a kid. I would rush out of the pool and get dressed as quick as I could to check out what was in the vending machines this week. It was always the same basic stuff, chips, hickory sticks (so good!) and about 20 different types of chocolate bars, all of them my favourites (I’m not picky… if it’s chocolate, it’s good).

Back then, there were your 3 basic types of vending machines

  1. Junk Food
  2. Drinks
  3. Cigarettes. Yes they used to have cigarettes in Vending Machines. Crazy times!

Fast forward 10  I mean 20, (deep sigh) …30 years and vending machines have evolved.

We are way beyond Kit Kats and Doritos people.

Vending machinesToday you can get some amazing things in vending machines.

Movies, Toys, Watches, even iPods. The things in them that you will see around the world is astonishing compared to even 10 years ago.

The concept of a vending machine is straight out of the passive income playbook. You have stuff to sell, people put money in and buy it. There’s no returns to deal with, no customer complaints (I would imagine), it’s literally something making you money when you are not there.

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I used to think that Vending Machines were the way to go. Back in the day, (which is thirty somethings code for when we were cool ) (ok we were never cool, but we were younger)  a friend and I spoke to a few places and had set up to get some machines installed and stocked. Ultimately when we looked at the time involved for what was required we decided to not go ahead with it.

See the problem I had with vending machines at the time was the upfront investment. Once you bought a machine and stocked it, your “shop” was set up. But you still need to check in on it. You will need to restock it, maintain it, fix it, if it’s coin based make sure the float is adequate. It didn’t strike me as something that was going to suit my lifestyle at the time. Now that we are more set up I can see revisiting this idea more, there is something that is very appealing about it.

Who are Vending Machines perfect for?

If you are wondering if vending machines are something right for you here’s somethings to consider.

If you already have a location like a rental, office building or somewhere public that people meet (thinking laundromats), then having vending machines put in there as a way to automate some sales, or to increase your income is a great idea. Like every type of passive income it will depend on who you are and what you are looking for in a revenue vehicle.

Car Washes

I have been trying to figure out how to work car washes into this months passive income ideas. Ultimately I think Vending machines are the right place. You have a location, you can automate the water flow and soap and other features of the DIY car washes. They all take coins and you could even put in more vending aches to dispense other things that people would need like chamois, Armorall, air fresheners etc…

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Laundromats both stand alone and inside rental complexes.

This is another coin operated business that would have some great choices for more vending machines, things that could sell detergent, Mr. Clean Erasers, fabric softener…

In Conclusion

Vending Machines are not going to make you rich on their own (unless you have hundreds or thousands, even then you won’t have a very passive business), but they can be a great addition to your current business or an extra stream of passive income for you.

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    • Reply

      Great question! Yes it could work if you don’t own your location. You would have to run the numbers. Many business may let you set up some machines as a service for their employees. Best thing is to scout of a place you think would be a good fit and ask them about putting vending machines in their location. Some places may want to charge you rent or get a cut of the sales.

  1. Reply

    I’m wondering about the pitch you need to make to the car washes and laundromats. Wouldn’t you have to convince them by offering some sort of incentive to put your vending machine to their stores which cuts into profit margins? Not down playing it, but just curious about the specifics, this is a very novel idea that I hadn’t considered!

    • Reply

      That’s a good point. I think it would be a good fit if they didn’t have the products already. Or if you could take the products they sell off their hand and handle those aspects for them. Maybe they would take a cutoff the sales. It would depend on the situation.

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