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Hiring a Vending Machine Service for a Company. Things to Consider

Updated on January 15, 2011

Introduction

Say you own a company and you'd like to have vending machines installed. You'll need to call a company that specializes in putting these machines in place.  There are Vending Machine Services that do this and you won't have to buy the machines. Of course, the catch is that the vending service will keep all or most of the money they make on the machines (depending on whether you have a consignment agreement in place or not).


I have a good deal of experience working with vending companies and have contracted with companies to install equipment in various different facilities.

Here are some thoughts on the subject.  I'll probably add to these as I come up with more. Feel free to ask any question you like. I might be able to help.

Price

If this is the first time you are putting vending machines into your workplace, be sure to get at least a few quotes.  Prices for snacks, sandwiches can vary a great deal between different companies.

If you are replacing your existing vending machine service, be sure they meet or beat your incumbent vendor's pricing. Be sure too that they are quoting the same brands and type of products you already have in your machines. You'll want to compare apples to apples.  

Remember, if you wind up paying more per snack than your previous vending vendor, you'll hear it from everyone. Negotiate a good deal from the get-go.

Food


Find out what kind of food they are providing. Be sure that it meets or beats the expectation already set by your existing vending machine service. For candy and snacks, this should be easy.  For the prepared food, such as sandwiches and hoagies you'll need to ask a few questions. Will the potential new vending company let your staff try their food for free as a trial? Is the food prepared daily at their site or do they buy their food pre-prepared from a third party vendor?

Equipment

In my experience, if you are a new customer vending services will typically buy brand new equipment for your facility. These companies don't typically store warehouses of equipment.  It is just too expensive for them to do so. These machines go for four, five, and six thousand dollars.  That said, ask the question "Will the equipment coming to my workplace be installed brand-new?"   New equipment is cleaner, breaks down less often and gives off a better appearance.  When bidding out the vending job, give preference to those providing new equipment.

Be sure to have them show you photos or images of the equipment as well. Vending machines come in varying styles and options. Choose the style you like or feel free to make a recommendation of your own.  

Contract

This is an important consideration.  Most vending services will want you to sign a contract stipulating how long they have exclusive rights to vending at your workplace. Some do not have contracts but most do.  If you must sign a contract, make sure you read the fine print and determine how easy it would be to get out of the contract if you deem necessary.  Try to implement some sort of price controls as well.  If they want you to sign a two year contract, ask them if they'd be willing to hold their pricing for two years. Open up the negotiation.

Installation

If you have not used a vending service before, be sure they visit your facility so they can make recommendations for machine placement as well as make sure that the necessary electrical and water lines are available. The last thing you want is to get to the day of installation and there is a problem installing the machines.

If you are replacing the existing vendor with a new one, you'll have some awkward coordinating to do.  The old vending service won't be happy about leaving so they may drag their feet on a few things.  As the new, incoming vending service if they are personally familiar with the one they are replacing.  You'd be surprised at how much that helps.  Often these vending services all know each other.  Many times they will have both replaced each other at various companies and public spaces throughout the region.

The time of installation will take a while.  When replacing a vending service I once used, I was told the whole process would only take a few hours.  It took fourteen! Plus there was still a few odds and ends to iron out the morning after installation. Granted, I had equipment replaced in four buildings, about 16 pieces of equipment in all but between taking the old out and putting the new in (for one piece of equipment we had to modify the doorway to get it in ) it was a long tedious process.

References

Very important. Get references.  Especially get references from the same industry or setting you are in. There are some different nuances to setting up a vending service in say a steel mill than a pharmaceutical company.  If you work for a big pharma company, for example, if your prospective vending machine service already has a pharma customer, call that customer.  They'll give you a better perspective on cleanliness of machinery, if there has ever been bugs, etc. simply because they are already much more sensitive to those issues.

Hope that helps

Hope that helps for now.  Again, if you have any questions, let me know. I'll be glad to answer them as best I can.

Please check out my other TurtleDog posts as well.

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