One of the most common questions I get asked as a vending distributor is how to find good quality locations. This is the topic I would like to discuss this week. There are basically two ways to obtain vending locations: you can find them yourself, or you can hire a vending locator to do the work for you. I have done it both ways and can tell you that both ways can be right or wrong for you depending on how you approach the task.
1. Do you have a lot of time?
2. Are you a good salesperson?
3. Do you have a lot of friends in your community that would be willing to host your vending machine?
If you answered “no” to two or more of these questions, then locating yourself may not be the right solution for you. Finding good locations takes a good sales pitch, good people skills, self-motivation, and time. Another great tool that many vending guys recommend is having a local charity in which you sponsor. I will discuss this in a future blog posts. For now, I will say that most of my prized locations are ones that I found on my own. I have found locations by making cold phone calls as well as just walking into the business and talking to the manager in person. Both ways can be effective. If you are a regular customer of that business and they know that, then your chances of getting in will increase 10-fold. Don’t be afraid to ask as you are leaving your gym when you are done working out, or when you’re shopping for a new car. Sometimes these impromptu opportunities are the best and take no effort at all. Lastly, you need to hit up your friends. Whether they are the business owner or an employee, they will have the ability to get you into their business and they can keep an eye on your machine for you too.
If you don’t have any friends, don’t like making the cold calls yourself, or if you just don’t have the time for it, then you should consider hiring a vending locator. I have tried this mechanism and there are lots of great vending locators out there. I would Google ‘vending locator’ and call around to find the vending locator that will best serve your needs. Be sure to ask for references so you can find out the quality of their work.
Finding good vending locations is not rocket science, but it is one of the most overlooked aspects of vending. You have to take into consideration your time involvement or make a budget for it- especially if you are in the bulk candy machines since the lifespan of these locations is much smaller than the full size machines. Vending machines in your garage don’t make money. Vending machines in crappy locations also don’t make money, they only make stale candy. However, vending machines found in high traffic businesses with plenty of traffic do make money and you need to get your machines there.