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The College Hobbyist: A Quick Guide on Starting Your Own Candy Vending Business
So you wanna make your first venture into entrepreneurship and business, have some good exciting fun and adventure, all while making money regularly? Candy vending is an excellent source of additional income for the motivated and business savvy individual and anyone can have fun doing this, and earn some good experience and money along the way! The initial start-up costs aren't very high, the work itself is enjoyable if you are keen to problem solving and working for yourself, and the money made is completely automated, meaning while you are at school, at work at another job, asleep, or at the beach, your machines are collecting quarters. In this hub we will take a look at some of the barriers for entry, options, and principles of the candy vending business starting from the ground up.
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Picking candy is one of the most fun facets to this business! The idea here is to pick candy that people enjoy and is high selling based on quality, but also priced at a per unit level where $0.25 is still a large enough markup to make a profit. Most find that bulk unwrapped candies provide the most efficiency and bang for your buck and the machines' dispenser ratios can easily be set according to the price.
Good candies to look into include:
Lemon Heads/Lemon Drops
Mike and Ike/Good and Plenty
Sour Patch Kids/Gummies (Be wary depending on the style of dispenser you have. Some are not very gummy friendly)
Candy Hearts/Dainty Mints
Obviously this is entirely up to personal and business preference, and the list is almost endless, but this is a good starting point.
Note: Something to consider; candies with a hard outer shell such as Runts, Skittles, and Gumballs usually have smooth and easy moving exteriors and no sugar coating and will ultimately lead to less cleaning and less overall machine maintenance; as opposed to candies like Sour Patch Kids, and Mike and Ikes.
In my personal experience I have found myself rotating out the gummy and sugar coated candies in place of hard shell candies, however variety is the name of the game.
Second Note: Be as creative as necessary when it comes to setting up your machines with product. Depending on location sweet, fruity candy may not be the best seller but something a little more mature like mints, chocolate covered raisins/peanuts, or cashews/mixed nuts might sell very well. This is often the case in places like bars, auto shops, and some restaraunts.
The single most essential part of the business is your route. For your machine to make any money it must be placed, and placed in a location with high volumes of foot traffic, the more children is usually the better. Depending on personal mobility you may want to try to build a small route in a certain niche area of town, or if you are more mobile you can build a vaster route and hit more specialized locations as you choose. Hunt down areas where people are usually forced to wait for services like hair salons and auto shops. Some good common locations to place a candy machine include:
Get creative here! This is the most critical piece in your business model and the majority of your profitability rests on location. Be ruthless in your search and don't get discouraged if you get turned down at first. Let nothing stand in your way, when a company tells you they are a large corporation and can't make decisions, call the corporate headquarters and talk to somebody who does have the power! Often times this can involve mailing them a copy of your business plan. My advice is to prepare a sort of corporate 'resume' that you can copy and send out to different corporate HQ's should they stand in the way of your machines getting placed.
Have fun building a strong and profitable route, while also building business relationships throughout your city.
Thinking in Endgame
1.Business Plan: You are going to want to write up a detailed business plan to have on record for both your personal accountability as well as the experience. There are few key things to decide on that are best mapped out in your business plan including but not limited to:
Whether or not you are doing this alone
Whether or not you are donating a percentage to charity
Whether or not you will offer business locations a percentage of your profits
How many machines you have active and the locations they are in
Keep this up to date as it will always pay off to have an accurate description of your entire operation in writing to refer to at any time. If you want to license or trademark a company name this is also quintessential.
2. Reputability and Reliability: Your business model will greatly reflect and directly affect this factor. You want to approach all possible prospects with an heir of professionalism and reliability but this needs to be prevalent throughout your business, not merely a masque to impress possible customers. Have a set schedule that you will maintain your machines on and do your best to leave an impression on all prospects. It will serve you will to print business cards either at home or through a printing service and also have pictures of your products to show prospects.
3. Costs: Chart all costs ahead of time and before making purchases. Keep accurate records of all expenditures, profits, and regular costs. This can all be filed with your business plan and some knowledge of Excel will make this much, much simpler and hassle-free. Make sure to consider the prices of your candy in terms of how much of a markup you can charge while still providing a fair quantity of a high quality product.
What is your favorite bulk candy?
Starting your own business can be a lot of fun and an excellent way to get some experience in the professional world. Vending is a great opportunity for somebody without a lot of business experience or anybody looking to make some additional money the side and have a great time doing so. You can always think about moving forward in the vending world with soda, snack, medicine, and electronic vending machines, or you can build a small niche route with a couple machines. The opportunities and possibilities are literally endless when you work for yourself so be as creative as you can. Most important though is that you enjoy the work you are doing! So get out there, find your first location, and have fun making some money while you sleep!