Photo: leks822 (Shutterstock)
You probably think of vending machines as your snack outpost of last resort when stranded in an office or airport. You probably don’t think of them as a cutting-edge, cash-producing business venture–but maybe you should. Did you know that these snack dispensers oases are often independently owned? Rather than being leased by the Coca-Cola Company, they can be lucratively run by individuals like you and me (assuming that you are not the CEO of PepsiCo).
Earlier this year, NerdWallet dug into the costs and benefits of running vending machines like a small business, offering a step-by-step guide to help you judge whether the investment makes sense for you (presumably beyond fulfilling your childhood dream of owning a candy store). Here are the major things to consider if you’re interested in becoming a vending machine tycoon in your neighborhood.
Vending machine trendiness: Are they actually lucrative?
The pandemic significantly boosted interest in the business of individuals owning and maintaining their own vending machines, especially amongst Gen Z-ers watching their peers flaunt their supposed resulting cash flow across TikTok and YouTube. Last year Vox covered how now 20-year-old YouTuber Jamie Ibanez allegedly made six figures from the practice; actually, the piece revealed, most of his income comes from his YouTube channel. Still, in that interview, Ibanez tells Vox he bought his first vending machine after watching this YouTube video of someone going around taking all this money out of their machines. Inspiring!
Let me be the first person ever to point out that TikTok and YouTube are not real life. How lucrative is this business venture really? Well, according to Vending Market Watch: very. Their latest “state of the industry” report calls 2019 a ”record-breaking” year for convenience services operators’ sales. There has yet to be a fresh report this side of the pandemic, but the general consensus online is that a return to in-person work and travel holds promise for the vending machine industry.
However, given variables like location, number of machines, and type of goods sold, it’s hard to find an accurate estimate of how much income you …….