Bulk Candy Vending

Often the best ideas are right under our noses. How many times have you walked past a quarter candy machine in a restaurant lobby or break room? Did it ever occur to you that starting a bulk candy vending business could give you a source of income?

If you do it right and avoid the scams, bulk candy vending is an excellent way to take your first step toward entrepreneurship by collecting income-producing assets. While it won’t get you rich overnight, consider these benefits:

The startup costs are extremely low, the return on investment is fantastic, and the amount of maintenance required to sustain a consistent cashflow is very low. Plus, everyone loves the candy man!

What I needed was what I call a crowbar, which is a burst of productivity to get me out of a financially distressed state and onto a stronger platform from which I could start my career in real estate. I wanted to find an income-producing asset in the hundreds of dollars instead of the thousands so that I could continue my debt repayment plan and start producing income at the same time.

The Ah-Ha! Moment

At the time, I worked as bartenders at a restaurant. Every shift, I would take a few quarters out of the tip jar and get a few handfuls of candy from the vending machine.

One day, I had a thought… “How much money do those things make?”

Over the rest of the shift, I took notice of how many dollar bills we changed out for quarters. I started to hear the clack noises the machines make when someone puts a quarter in and turns the handle. The machine was taking in all kinds of money and the owner was nowhere in sight!

Levels of Income

No investment requires no effort at all after the initial setup. Even if you own a stock portfolio that someone else manages, you still have to manage your manager from time to time.

What I have found is that there are different levels to how much work goes into an income stream is; and usually, the more expensive the asset, the more low-maintenance the income.

If I were to calculate an hourly wage for the maintenance I put into my business, it would be about ten times higher than I could get from a decent job. I consider this low-maintenance income in my current position. As I roll more and more of my profits into bigger assets, and my time becomes more valuable, I will eventually either sell the candy business or hire someone else to run it.

So, What are we Looking at?

The question everyone wants to know is: How much money do you make from those things?

While the income varies wildly from location to location, I conservatively average about $25 in profit per month per location. Some of my locations earn as little as $5 and some as high as $150.

Gumballs cost about 2 cents a piece and are sold for 25. The profit margins on other types of candy hover around 70%.

You can buy a brand new triple vend candy machine like the one on the picture at the top of this post at Sam’s Club or on the internet for about $200 on the high side and about $100 if you are buying in bulk or used. This means that each machine should be able to pay for itself in about six months or less.

Think about this: If you paid $150 for a machine that earned you $300 over the course of one year, the ROI for that machine would be 200%! Most business and real estate investors are happy with a 20% return and you just earned ten times that!

Now $300 isn’t going to make you rich, but if you had 20 locations, you would have $6000 at the end of the year to put down on an investment property. If you really went crazy and secured 100 locations, you might be looking at $30,000. Even better, that income would keep coming in as long as you had your locations.

Time Commitment

Most of my machines can go about two months before they need service. Servicing them takes all of five minutes plus drive time, candy shopping, coin counting, and accounting. Really, I only spend a couple of days a month on my candy business, and I can take a six week vacation if I want without a sweat.

Why Bulk?

The comment I always seem to get from well-meaning acquaintances is, Have you ever thought about those big soda and snack machines? I bet those make a lot of money.

The answer is I thought about it until I realized that those things need constant maintenance. While they also make a lot of money, this sort of vending is more of a job. I am perfectly happy collecting multiple streams of income that are smaller, but low-maintenance; and add up into something to talk about.

How to get Started

If you feel like bulk candy vending is up your alley, I would suggest starting out by buying one machine and approximately $50 worth of candy to fill it at your local warehouse store. What ever you do, don’t fall for one of the thousands of scams out there that want thousands of dollars to start this really simple business. You can start it for less than $200.

Don’t get greedy and buy a lot of ten, twenty, or forty machines up front expecting to conquer your local vending world. I see people like this all the time trying to dump all of the machines they didn’t place on eBay. Getting locations can be a challenge. It’s best to see if you have the stomach for the cold calls before you dive in.

One month after you place the first machine, you could take the $25 it made and add another $175 of your own to buy your second machine. In the third month, you take the $50 those machines made plus $150 of your own for the third machine, and so on for about six months and six locations.

Once you have six locations, you should be making about $150 per month which should pay for an additional machine each month if you have found a cheaper source than Sam’s Club. You might even hit a couple of high-volume locations right off the bat that really get you rolling.

Once you have proven that you have a knack for getting locations, only then would I suggest that you let your earnings accumulate to buy your first lot of ten. I never buy in larger lots than ten unless I am getting an incredible deal from someone who has given up on their business. The rates of return are so high, it doesn’t matter if you are paying an extra ten or twenty bucks a machine.

Money Matters

Please, don’t go into debt to start this business. It isn’t hard to put aside $50 a month until you have enough to buy your first machine. Have patience and you will avoid getting in over your head. This is supposed to be low-maintenance income, not a stressful job trying to pay back your credit card interest.

Make sure you have a separate checking account to handle all of your business transactions. Buy your candy and machines out of this account and deposit your quarters. This way, you know when you have made enough to buy more machines by checking your account balance.

Check with an accountant or lawyer to set up the proper business structure and to get the proper licenses in your area. Since this is a business of small chunks of income, it is even more important to keep good records to make sure that you are turning a profit. You’ll also want to be on top of your business so you can accurately report your income and tax deductions to the IRS.

How to get Locations

Now for the hard part: getting locations. It can be tricky at first, but after a little practice, it will become second nature.

When you get up the courage to walk into a place of business, ask for the decision maker and say something like this: My name is Brian with Cool Candy Machines, and I was wandering if you might have an extra few square feet for a candy machine like this (produce picture) that is a free service to your customers and employees at no cost to you. To which they will reply, What’s in it for me?

While I truly believe that my machines add value to a place of business by pacifying kids, giving employees a quick treat to keep up their spirits, and offering a product that the owner doesn’t have to hassle with; this usually isn’t enough to convince them.

You could offer a commission, but the way I see it, 10% of $25 doesn’t mean a thing to a business. The business owner might even come back by suggesting that he just buy his own candy machine. True, you say, but is the hassle really worth an extra $25 a month? I am a professional vending operator. This is what I do for a living. I know the right candy, the right time to fill it, the right amount, the right presentation, and the right way to fix the machines when they break down. It’s only because I have dozen’s of locations that it begins to be an income for me.

Mr. Business Owner, you continue, I have an arrangement with a local charity, XYZ. Most business owners are happy to donate their 10% commission to this charity.


While there are national charities that have programs specifically designed for vending operators, I would suggest forming a relationship with a local charity that actually means something for you. This will help motivate you to get locations and also provide a way for you to actually contribute to charity instead of putting it off until you make enough money.

Two Kinds of Locations

The two basic types of locations that you might get are front of the house (restaurant lobbies, carwash waiting rooms, etc.), and back of the house (employee break rooms). While front of the house locations tend to be harder to get, the advantage is that you have access to their employees and customers. Back of the house locations usually don’t make as much, but are much easier to sell.

Here’s a big secret: There is a certain kind of back of the house business that can be both profitable and welcoming: clothing stores with high school and college aged employees. People in this age range love candy, and the manager’s of such places will usually welcome a machine in their storage room to keep them happy.

What Kind of Candy?

I usually give the location the option of picking from a few pre-selected candy offerings to get them even more invested in the project. I tend to have good luck with Gumballs, Reese’s Pieces, Skittles, M&M’s, Peanut M&M’s, Peanuts, and Runts. Hot Tomales are okay if the location is well air-conditioned, but they tend to go bad after a few months.

I try to always have one of my vending slots dedicated to gumballs because of the profit margin, but some locations don’t want the chance of gum stuck to their floors. I also like the combination of a sugary candy on one side with a chocolaty candy on the other.

Candy Settings

Most bulk candy vending machines have a setting that allows you to choose how much candy will dispense for a quarter. This setting is important because it is closely tied to your profit margin. If you set it too high, you will cut into your profits. If you set it too low, your customers will feel ripped off.

The Maintenance Routine

The essence of a good maintenance run is stealth. Good vending service means the owner should be able to forget about you. Never let a machine go empty and turn into an eye sore.

I try to get in and get out quickly without causing a stir. I don’t want to give them a chance to rethink my welcome. If I have a little bit of candy left in a bag, I give it to whatever employees are around. This keeps them on my side!

I keep a big cooler in my car with the candy and carry individual loads in my backpack. I also carry rubber gloves, a screwdriver, cleaner, paper towels, keys, extra business cards, zippered money bags, and some clear tape in the backpack. Once I’m back in the car, I move the quarters from the zippered bag to a zip-lock bag that I label with a sharpie. I take note of how much candy I used and any other notes in my route log and head to the next location.

Keep your Eye out for Deals

Like I said before, there are a lot of people out there who bought a bunch of machines with good intentions, but ended up being lazy and just wanting to get rid of them. I have a keyword alert set up on my eBay account that alerts me whenever a listing has the words candy vending machine in it.

A keyword alert like this tipped me off to the biggest deal I had ever come across at the time. I found a listing that enabled me to buy out an entire vending route with locations for less than the machines alone were worth. I’ll tell you the whole story in another post, but the guy just got tired of the route and basically gave it to me.

Happy Vending

Bulk candy vending won’t make you rich, but it can provide the bridge you need into a life of entrepreneurship. It’s a simple, low-maintenance business that even a kid could run. In fact, it’s a great way to teach kids about how a business works.

If you are considering starting a vending business, I hope this article helped! Our business has been a blessing for us. It has been one of a collection of enterpreurial income streams that has allowed me to pursue what I truly love: creativity!

Check out The Bulk Vending Blog for more articles on bulk vending.

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  1. Frazier September 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Hello Brian,

    What type of machine do you use: the old candy machines or the latest version?
    Do you need a food license and/ or another type of license to operate a Food Vending Business? I live in the MD/DC/VA area.



    • GT November 22, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      The machines I used were the 3 candy model that hadn’t really changed in years… Not sure about the food license in those areas.


  2. youngster--16yrs November 5, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    wow this article you’ve written is very interesting brian! ive been thinking (lately stressing :p) for quite a while (at least 2 years) about what im going to do with my life, and ive thought about investing in some sort of bigger business of my own, higher risk/reward stocks (which i recently started to invest a couple 100$ or so every few months into) and even inventing some new type of product to build a business off of, but ive never thought about those little candy vending machines! but now that i think about this idea of getting some started my interest is snowballing and i think im going to try it asap because i do have some money saved up that i wasent sure yet what to do with. anyways your article here is pretty sweet and a question i have is: do you think it would be a good idea to set up machines outside of stores for passing people to use? obviously the ‘host’ store manager might not like the deal if he has to bring in the machines every night so as to not get stolen, have you had any experiences with this? i mean it would attract people to his store front while they are using the machines but im not sure if this would be a good enough of a reason for the manager to keep em… thanks, sorry for the long read here but congrats if you did make it through :p have a good one brian!


  3. jake April 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    hey great blog! I am looking to buy an existing bulk candy route. There is 103 – 3 head bulk 800 vending machines. these are doing 2300 gross sales per month and 1300 net after All expenses. would you buy this route for $18,000 ? he claims it takes 5 days per month to service.


  4. Jeremy April 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Great article! While I’m not one to leave the corporate world (just kind of enjoy what I do!) you definitely have started my thinking on looking at the vending route. Thanks!


  5. Bob April 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Hey Brian,

    I’m interested in starting a gum ball machine business. I was wondering, did you have to get a special license in order to start the business? What about insurance?


  6. Lisa March 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Investing in a bulk candy machine sounds like something I would be interested in. I’m a single mother working full time and going to school, so even earning a little bit of extra income each month without going to a second job and sacrificing time with my son and school work would be the way to go for me! I saw a triple candy machine on gumball.com for $149. Not too bad. I also am a member at Sam’s Club, so I can do my bulk candy there. I would like to start out with one machine, give it some time and see how it goes. Then go from there My question is, how do you report income on something like this? I know you said about the separate bank account, but what will I need at tax time in regards to the vending machine business? Any advice is appreciated.

    Thank you!


  7. Paula January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    i have some revolution 650 candy and nut machines for sale. (some still unopened in boxes) I’m in Vancouver Canada. Anyone interested?


  8. Samuel Kamau January 9, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Found your blog resourceful and quite imaginative. I guess you already have made it in your film making venture because aside from making the candy vending business lessons seem relatively easy thanks to your writing; i found myself chuckling imagining the candy man speeding down the street in an equally souped up candy automobile with a cooler full of candies occupying the back seat, visiting one of your locations for a refill and stealthily making an entrance without causing as little as a stir. This is one scene i would love to see in a movie. LOL! I will plunge into this business in my homeland of Kenya thanks to your insight and encouragement.


  9. book display stand January 6, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your web site so much up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink to your host? I want my site loaded up as fast as yours lol


  10. Bulk Candy Man January 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Great article Brian!

    I work for a major online candy store, and we’re gonna feature your article in our blog. We have a ton of clients who are in the bulk candy vending business.

    I see this article was written in 2007. How’s the business going now?


  11. Auto Notes January 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I savor, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye


  12. Ruben December 29, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    What are good vending machine to buy?
    Please let me know


  13. How2vend.com November 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Hey Brian, Its a pleasure to meet you! Great vending post/


  14. Ruben November 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    What are good vending machine to buy?
    Please let me know


  15. Ruben October 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Where can i buy the candy?
    beside sams club is there a place i can get them cheaper.


    • Brian Lee November 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      I usually go to Sam’s Club.


  16. Jeremy September 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Has anyone ever tried to steal one of the machines?


    • Brian Lee November 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      I’ve had a few sneak away.


  17. Wayne September 11, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    I was at a garage sale recently and bought a box of video games for about $25. Then, I got on craigslist barter section and traded those games for two U-Turn Eliminator 8s. I have read a lot of posts about vending machines and have yet to see anyone mention the good old fashion two chickens for a duck barter method for getting machines. I feel that $25 was a good amount to spend to try this out. If all goes well, I will be finding a few more games to trade for the rest of the 30 machines he has.


  18. Belton Real Estate August 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Some of my family members once got into the vending machine business. They were doing candy bars and sodas, and the maintenance became a nightmare. Your system seems to handle that a lot better. The big thing for me would be the maintenance, and if you can go 6 weeks without maintaining them, that is just great!


  19. Mani August 16, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    My name is Manuel, I’m 20 years old, I think that this is a great opportunity for me. I have a couple of concerns.
    1. I was reading the comments and saw that people brought up the brand name of machines, Which brand is good and what should I be paying for a 2 and or 3 slot vending candy machine?
    2. I live in St. George, UT, anyone on this post have a route here (or near here) that I can buy off or buy machines from? Or if anyone here is selling their machines please contact me at manipensgoodies@gmail.com.
    3. Where can I look to see if I have to get a license to do this vending machine business in the state of UT?

    If someone would be nice enough and help me out and answer this for me that would be great! Great job Brian Lee you’ve inspired me!


  20. Jorge August 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Great posting. Has helped a lot !!!!!!


  21. Jesse July 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Wow Brian! I really appreciate these tips and advise you posted on here. I honestly was close to NOT getting in the bulk candy vending machine until i read your blog and you have really encouraged me to go through with it. I will defiantly keep an eye out for sales on vending machines. Any other blogs you have about vending machines, please inform me. Once again, this was a great blog you did! Many blessings to you!


  22. Jason H June 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Bryan, you seem very credible and reputable. If anyway possible id like for you to send me a personal email to the email that i have listed with this user name. Ive got an incredible business model id like to show you.


  23. Jason H June 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I use proline machines. Very reasonable and the parts are very cheap!!


  24. Jason H June 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Hey guys,

    I started in the bulk vending industry a few weeks ago. I have 49 heads in 16 locations and another 17 locations in storage. My advice to someone getting in to the business is;

    1) Its better to have your machines in a bad location that to have them sitting in storage.. example.. you want each location to do $25-$30 a month but Id rather have my machines in locations doing $10-$15 a month than in my garage. So my advice is if someone says you can put a machine in DO IT! dont wait around for what you think may be the best spot. Leave it there for a few months and find out what is doing b4 relocating.
    2) Ebay, craigslist and google is the best place to find machines cheap.
    3) If anyway possible stick to 3-4 groups of products, such as gum, skittles, bouncyballs, (_fill in the blank___), its easier to maintain and re-order 4 different products then it is 8-10..
    4) Remember this is a part time job 2 days a month at max. so if you do have 30 locations and your making 25-30 a locations.. dont get greedy.. where else can u make $900 in 2 days..


  25. Tyler June 22, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Cool Kid: That may be the case down there in Florida, but that doesn’t mean it’s true everywhere. Up here in NH I can grab a vending license for $50 and set myself up with an LLC for $100. Insurance may be something to get later down the road, but is not a legal requirement. The protection offered by having an LLC should be more than sufficient while starting up. I know another commenter mentioned LLC protection somewhere up there. Also, why do you need a storage space? I don’t want to speak for Brian, but this article never claims to be a legal guide on how to set up this business, or any business for that matter. So to recap, I’m currently in about $225 with one machine and meeting all legal requirements in my state. I should be getting some business cards soon which will be another $20-40 depending on how many I decide to get. Being a legal and operating business owner for under $300, yeah I’d say that’s a small investment.

    Brian: I cannot thank you enough for this website and this article in particular. I’ve been looking for alternative income for a while now, but everything so far has either been very time consuming or resulted in too little income to matter. Your blog has not only given me the means to set up some passive income for myself, it has also reshaped my entire outlook on life and my future. The prospect of working 40-60 hours/week for the next 40 years of my life has never been something I wanted to face, but it seemed inevitable if I wanted to be able to get through life. After reading your site and a few of the books you’ve recommended, however, it seems that a meaningless job may no longer be necessary. I hope to get into real estate in the future, but being 23 I still need to learn a lot first. Thank you, Brian. You have truly changed my life.


  26. cool kid June 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    i think this is a very helpful article but what you failed to elaborate on is the legal aspect. I dont know where you live but in Florida you would have to have an annual food permit $250-500, have insurance (rate is per machine) and have storage space roughly 40 a month, the best thing is to be incorporated which could run up to $900. Dont lie and tell them it costs almost nothing, just put it almost costs nothing to do it illegally


  27. Peter June 8, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    Hi There

    Only just stumbled across your blog and I love it! Similar to your background Brian, I am trying to make it in a creative industry and need some extra income to support my work experience.

    I am in the UK so not sure if the same brands of machine are available here. Perhaps anyone else in the UK can advise me? I have had an initial look on ebay and there seem to be lots of the small single unit counter top models available very cheap . My question is: are these worth investing in or should I look for doubles/triples. Presumably the single units dont bring in much profit but I could afford to have more locations? I’m starting from scratch without much disposable income and will probably look to start with one or two machines. Also if anyone uses the counter top units is it likely they would be stolen if not secured down? I’m not sure if owners of locations would be keen on me drilling into their counter tops!




  28. SUE June 7, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Why are U-turns a bad investment? Could you please tell me the best machines to invest in. I am very interested in getting started with this.


  29. Tess May 24, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Brian, You did a great job of describing the how-to’s of starting a candy vending machine business. I’m a web copy writer and I am trying to build a nice side income from passive sources like this. You have convinced me to go out and buy my first candy vending machine and get started this summer. Thanks for a very informative post, which was very well-written, I may add. Would love to read more about your business ideas and how you are building passive income. You sound like a very enterprizing young man! Wishing you continued success in your endeavors!


    • Brian Lee May 24, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks, Tess! Put your email at the top right of the page and you’ll be the first to know the next time I send out an article!


  30. Norma May 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Some years ago my husband purchased a license and machines – and that was where he made a mistake. By doing it that way he paid more than twice what the vending machines were worth, was limited to here they could be placed and didn’t choose really the most profitable machine anyway. With due diligence though it can be profitable and it can fit around other occupations.


  31. plumbing May 13, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Having a vending machine as your main income in your place makes your income increase because first, it is cheap. Second, you will sell some common needs of any person and I’m very sure that this will be a blockbuster hit to your place.


  32. Daniel Rougher May 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    if uturn is bad which brand is good? Which are good?


  33. Marco Lee April 29, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Hey Brian! I just stumbled upon your blog and I find this post awesome! I have so many projects right now but you gave me a glimpse about candy vending machines. I would further research about this.


  34. Peter Cpin April 27, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Scott: I agree with Steve that you bought the wrong machine. I purchased a machine and placed it in a location that averaged $100 a month with a 4 head candy machine and figured it would do well. The first month was down $20 and the following 2 more months I was down $40. After the third month and pulled the machine out and put the other back and saw my numbers come back to the norm the following month. Never again for me. Also I would take a look at what you have in your machine. My top sellers are Peanut M&M’s, gumballs and Reese’s. Skittles do ok and I have never done trail mix. Just a few notes and thoughts for you. Sorry your start has not been so good.


  35. Steve Forman April 27, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Scott: You bought the wrong machines. Of course the uturn machines don’t bring in that much. If you were to get the three dispensers machine which I have in 1800 vending if they still sell to new customers you won’t have that problem.

    Is it high traffic or is it just sitting in a spot where people don’t see it?

    go to http://www.whatzonyourmind.com and look for the actively seeking locations candy machine page. give me a call when you see my number. those uturn machines suck and bad investment.


  36. Scott Jackson April 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    For anyone who is considering going into the bulk candy vending business, consider the below numbers. This is what I have spent to date, trying to get a bulk candy vending business off the ground. So far, I have 1 machine on-site. The machine, a U-Turn 4-in-1, is at a restaurant. Two of the canisters contain Skittles, the other two contain Trail Mix. After 8 days on location, the machine netted zero quarters! Not a single vend. An inauspicious beginning.

    Expense Quantity Expense
    Uturn 1 $174.95
    UTURN 4-in-one machine
    25 CENT
    LABELS 2 $3
    Trail Mix 1 $10.99
    Trail Mix 1 $10.99
    Skittles 1 $16.85
    Skittles 1 $16.85
    (Charity) –
    account set-up
    and sticker
    for one year 1 $22.00
    Coin Zipper Bag 1 $12.49
    Wrist coil for key 1 $1.90
    Kickstart locating 1 $69.99
    LLC setup 1 $392.94
    Business cards 100 $29.99
    storage containers 2 $16.94
    3 U-Turn
    4 selection
    vending machines 3 $350.00
    Total: $1,129.88


  37. just call me angry April 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I used to live in Manhattan, NY, but the rent became unbearable so my husband and I moved to Stamford, NY. Just a few months after we moved here, I thought I could have a passive income. My husband told me not to do it, but I did it anyway thinking that these people would have conscience not to rip off an old woman like me. I was so naive. I always thought there was always a good part in any of us to behave with integrity. Unfortunately, all our savings have now been gone because both of us don’t have jobs. My husband is a writer and occasionally works as a massage therapist. No matter where we go, no one to hire us. Even Walmart won’t hire us in our area; apparently, no opening.

    I am 57 years old and my husband is 60. Thanks for your reply.


  38. just call me angry April 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    I’m sorry if I don’t give you my real name. It’s just too embarrassing for me to be pitied. I was scammed few years ago by people who sold me the 10 candy machines promising that they would provide me with locations if I bought the 10 (candy machines). Sure I got the machines. But when I called to ask where the locations were, they vanished together with my $$$$ from the face of the earth. Now I want to get rid of these never-used metal containers and don’t know how to recover even a portion of my money. Do you know anyone who might be interested in buying these 10 candy machines? I’ll appreciate it very much if you can be of help. Thank you.


    • Brian Lee April 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      What town do you live in? I might know someone around here.


  39. Ken Lewis April 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Hello Brian, Love this article and have always wanted to get into this business. So about month ago I bought a machine and got it placed within 2 days. I was so excited that I bought another machine 2 weeks later and placed it that same day! So now I have 2 machines placed, I am affiliated with a great charity and waiting to buy my third machine. By the way, I work a full time job (about 60-70 hours per week) and I am searching for ways to get time freedom. My son is growing up while I’m stuck in an office. Do you believe one person can handle a 150+ mahcine route? That would just about match my current income. Please let me know your thoughts, and thanks again for the wonderful advice. – Ken


    • Brian Lee April 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      Yikes, 150+ machines would start to become a full-time job. If I were you, I’d get to 20-30 and then buy some investment property. It’s much more passive.


  40. nihal bhat March 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    ever tried toy capsule vending or bouncy ball vending. Good mark up on those Brian.

    re: real estate – i would be careful. even though low price, being propped up by Fed Reserve backstopping.

    cheers and take care



  41. nihal bhat March 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    thx. last question. you have been very helpful. is it easy to switch out product on the triple if not working. there is a new type of machine- interchangeable canister one. more costly.

    i agree you need to dedicate 1 slot to gumballs – as it is a good markup vend for you.


    • Brian Lee March 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      I’ve swapped out candy before and it just takes a little time. You have to scoop out all the old candy, clean and then refill.


  42. nihal bhat March 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    thanks, do you only have triples on your route. any other types of machines(e.g. single or double). and do you vary your product mix for each location, or set product mix.

    i agree, its a good business. esp if you are getting a $100 triple head, and getting $250-300net income per annum.


    • Brian Lee March 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      I use only triple-vends and try to always use the same product mix if I can get away with it.


  43. nihal bhat March 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    hi brian, i would like to ask you a question. nice blog and site btw.

    re: M&ms other choc- they are vulnerable to melting in summer. how do you avoid this. do you rotate stock in summer, and what do you like to substitute for it.

    also do you find a simple economical triple head is the best way to go – they don’t stand out as much as the 2 head machine, and also is 3 selections ideal, or too many. any issues with stock going to waste.

    feel free to email me, thanks for your help!



    • Brian Lee March 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      I’ve run into some melting issues, mainly when a machine is near a door that stays open a lot in the hot summer and if it is by a window that gets direct sunlight.

      M&M’s actually seem to hold up pretty well. Gumballs are okay as well.

      Skittles are usually okay, but they are more sensitive than gumballs & M&M’s.


  44. Scott March 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Even to service 20 machines a week is easy, I’m going to do more research, bu it looks like a great way to simplify life.
    Scott at MajikPocket


  45. ANTOINE CAMERON March 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Awesome post vending is truly a game changer as it was for me in the passive income department. I now have over 300 vending machines and I work about 5 days out of the month. Not bad when I started with 12 and I was hoping I could make and extra 500-700 dollars a month doing this.


  46. Kenny March 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    How many macjines do you operate currently?


  47. Julian February 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Brian I like your article but i found it a little interesting that you said you only average $25 a machine, the majority of my machines make more than $50. In fact one of my machines has only a break room of 4 employees and does $15 a month. You should check out u turn vending. THey stand out a lot more.


    • Brian Lee February 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      Just to be clear, I average $25 profit per month per machine. I might pick up $150 from a machine, but after subtracting $50 for the cost of candy. I’m left with $100. If it had been 4 months since I last serviced it, that would average $25/mo.


  48. william February 12, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    Where would you recomend placeing these vending machines and what items ? Secondly what vending machines should i invest in am really interested in vending shoot me some information thanks. O i for got i would also like to no where you purchase your vending machines? last thing what do i need to start this business the a through z


    • Brian Lee February 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      Place them in retail break rooms.. malls work well.

      Candy is reeses, gumballs, skittles, and peanut m&m’s

      You should find some machines for around $150 a piece.. search “Amerivend”


  49. jon February 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    Just wanted to ask are you really making money with your machines as I am getting ready to jump into the business and also what are your thoughts on Crackheads/Jitterbeans Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans vends?

    I am thinking of starting with one machine of this type because I have little funds to start with (now only tax refund because cc application wasn’t approved)

    Just need some direction and encouragement as to what to do as my student loans are coming due in June and I will be having to come up with an extra $250 per month and I need to make at least this amount of extra money per month.

    Please help give me some advice.



  50. Charles February 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    To JESSICA,,,If your looking for a way to make money in a biz that does not require you to “be there” .May i suggest a biz that i was very successful at…I.ve been involved in all kinds of bussinesses..I’m retired now..Sold my biz …Jessica always remember, You can sell your biz .But you cant sell your job..Anyway the Biz i suggest is ..Watercoolers..Not the Bottle on top type, But the coolers that are :Plumbed” in to the plumbing ..They look like regular coolers without the bottle on top..they have two faucets ..Room tempreture.and Cold…Or Hot/n cold..It dosent take long to learn the plumbing to hook up these machines..You buy the machine for around $180,,You RENT to the customer for $30 per month,,Now there is a Filter at the back that you change yearly..#30..in apporox’ 6 months the cooler It’s PAID OFF and from then on you have $30 come in the mail month after month ,,Not bad for a 10 minute check up visit twice a year..If you put out 50 of them ..Well after 6 months .Sit back and watch fifteen hundred bucks go in your Bank account …All profit..JUST LIKE A PENSION… And there are lotsa folks out there that would buy your biz in no time, Believe me..I also rented Pop machines Coffee machines..And once you are in these locations and they get to know you and like you ..Well they need Paper towels..Office products i even sold Hand soap by the carton .The possibilities are endless..One thing leads to another…So Go Girl..I know you can do it ..Best of luck Charles..


  51. Charles February 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    HI. JASON. The answer is no..The chocolate coating would not grind very well..It would hinder the “powdering” of the beans and would tend to “mush” and hinder the the obsorbing of the hot water and as you know vending machines do not need any more help in clogging..However you could try to place some liquid chocalate in the hot water supply..Say in a small tank and as the water is forced into the tank the chocalate flavoured water would the mix with the grounds.. And after you perfect it then you could patent it and make a fortune Ha ,Best of luck Charles..


  52. Jessica February 4, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    I am a college student here in Utah and I learned that to make it in life you need 5 different things to make you money if you are looking at living a conformable life. Well I am officially looking to start my first source of a passive income! This was everything i needed to read to get me going.. so thank you!! I do have one question.. Now that it is 2011 do you still suggest doing real estate once we have that kind of income? What other bright ideas do you have on making money work for you??
    Thanks so much!!


    • Brian Lee February 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      Yes, even more than ever, real estate is the way to go. It’s cheap right now.


  53. Jason February 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi Charles, did you ever have a chocolate covered espresso beans vend machine setup? Thanks


  54. Charles January 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Funny enough but i spent years in the coffee biz and i had quiet a few vending machines…Let me give you a few “Negatives” about the vending biz ..# 1 They Shake the livin” daylights out of them trying to get a freebie..Or some coins..They stick a coathanger up the drop shute trying to get a freebie..# 2 I have seen a 600 lb machine fall on people by shakeing, # 3 Bags of chips etc these days have a “Best before date” printed on them .so you can throw out a lot of product if it’s past the date..You have to have quiet a few machines to get rid of a box of 48.in the date period..# 4 They love to stick blanks and foreign coins in the machine,etc…# 5 Trying to move these things around is not easy you need a special dolly..and a pick/up truck with a lift..Lying machines down on their back..Not Good.. Factories /Offices that go Belly up..Bankrupt etc..Try and get your equipment out..Good Luck..Without a special “dolly” Climbing stairs ..Well the guy on the bottom is always in the Praying Mode…..In pop machines it nearly always happens One darn can starts leaking or explodes.. You get a call ..Hey this place is a mess..You have to pull out all the stock to find the leaker..Now if you have Frozen vending ,Ha ,,Now theres a whole new set of problems The power goes out ..All of your stock is well In the Garbage….It’s best not to have a Marked Vehicle..Why? You dont want some folk to know that you are carrying a lot of cash..Now do you ?..Ok enough NEG” ..the good part is…You can make more money in a week .most people make in a month..And thats ,,Part time…


  55. sweets in bulk January 23, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Thank you for posting this article. Bulk vending is the sale of unsorted confections, nuts, gumballs, toys and novelties selected at random and dispensed generally through non-electrically operated vending machines. Bulk vending is a separate segment of the vending industry from full line vending – i.e., the snack and soda vending industries – and involves different products and strategies.


  56. Steve Forman January 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    I had at one point 90 machines out.

    The vending business isn’t the problem. It could be the location, govt situations and other things around.

    Vending is so simple to do.

    Tired of people whining and crying about it.



  57. Scott Jackson January 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    You state, “Bulk candy vending won’t make you rich, but it can provide the bridge you need into a life of passive income.” At what point, in terms of either machines deployed or income derived from those machines, did you stop expanding your bulk candy vending business and direct the profits into other ventures?


    • Brian Lee January 20, 2011 at 12:04 am #

      I wouldn’t go over 50 machines… In fact, as soon as you get about $10k in the bank and a credit score of 680, you can get the kinds of loan you need to invest in real estate.


  58. Doug January 12, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Some great information on candy machines. Thanks.


  59. Aashiana Realty December 27, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    Thanks a lot for this amazing idea. I’ll let it try…. :)


  60. Peter Cpin December 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Thanks for the great information, I like to read up on other peoples stories. I have a bulk route with close to 60 locations. I have been digging into whether TriVend machines make less or more then single head or double head machines. Most of my locations are individual head locations and they do well. The few locations I have that are TriVend don’t do as well. I have been thinking of switching a few with single head to see if they do better or the same. Anyone have any thoughts???


  61. Monek Guz Acupuntura November 28, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Wow… that´s a great idea!!
    You´re right, everyone loves candy!
    Thanks for the post.


  62. Jason November 24, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Thanks for replying Brian. That was one of my concerns. Actually, the beans have to be in room temperature. So, my thought was to place the machines in room temperatured locations such as restaurants, cafe, offices etc. Definitely not outside or places too cheap to turn on the AC during the summer lol


  63. Jason November 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Hey Guys, just a quick question; I roast and make my own brand of chocolate covered espresso beans and i want people to get to know the product. So, I thought the best way to create brand awareness and get customers to taste the product is by begin strategically placing vending machines in our demographics area of work and play. What do you guys think about that? I would really like to hear some feed back… Thanks


    • Brian Lee November 24, 2010 at 9:23 am #

      I think the spirit of the idea is great, but the problem is: that chocolate will melt. Only certain hard candies work. I’ve even had reeses pieces melt on me.


  64. Miks November 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I was just researching vending and I found out about a company in my city that will set up all sorts of machines and kids stuff, rides, toy machines, candy vending machines etc. and they offer to split the profit 50/50.
    I talked to a restaurant owner I know where they had set up their stuff. Its 1 ride and about 2 toy and 1 candy vending machines and he told they all together make about 1600$/month.

    How can a private person possibly compete with that?


  65. Linda November 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    This is a fantastic idea, and one I may put to use, so I wanted to thank you for sharing it! In fact, your whole blog seems to be an excellent resource for those of us just beginning to think of passive income. I did have one question, though; are there any sales tax laws that apply to candy vending machines? If so, it seems like that would cut into your profits as well.


    • Brian Lee November 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

      In some states, food under $1 doesn’t get taxed.


  66. Dave November 10, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Am looking for ways to suppliment my income and look toward retirement. Thanks for tips you provided in this article. Have thought about ways I could do this, but you have given me some concrete ideas.


  67. Cathy October 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Thanks for the great article. I am an educator looking to change things up a bit.. I have always wanted to own my own business and have often thought about vending….does this business opportunity have the potential to do well? It seems bulk candy vending offers only supplemental income.. I suppose it is all about location, location, location! Cathy


  68. Chris October 13, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Really great information, love the economics breakdown too, most people don’t tell you about start up costs but this is a great article.
    Thank you


  69. Alexia Berater October 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I just want to say thanks for this interesting thread about Bulk Candy Vending for Passive Income! Regards, Alexia Berater


  70. Christian September 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    This article is what popped the clutch into gear for my novice business sense. Thanks for a clearly-written expository of the problem. Now seeing the first glimmerings of real financial freedom for a 23 y.o. with an “irrelevant” college degree… Be careful with that writing of yours, you’re going to put yourself out of business! :D


  71. bag321 September 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

    This is absolute efficacious info, thanks.


  72. Guia July 17, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Great analisis on a very simple and profit idea!!
    I really will think about it!
    Good post!


  73. Brandon June 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Do you have an ebook on all the great ventures you’ve gone on? I’d surely like to read it.


    • Brian Lee July 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

      I don’t but that’s a great suggestion!


  74. Greg June 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    What a unique business start-up idea! This is a really great guide. Having a good plan is key to making any new business succeed. Starting your own business can be more complicated than people realise, but planning well at the start- with everything from business registration to weekly and long term goal setting- will save you from running into bigger complications later on.


  75. Jason May 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    This was very useful information, thank you.


  76. lisee bee May 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I have three children: 12,10, 9 and I was looking for a way for them to learn how to invest and make a profit and this seems to be a great summer project and start for them to be young entrepeneurs


    • Brian Lee June 1, 2010 at 9:56 am #

      Exactly what I was thinking. Great business for kids or adults without any money.


  77. Sensei Ono May 16, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    Have you heard of those new vending machines that take credit cards?

    I was writing about them on my blog the other day. Instant payment, great passive income – you still need someone to put candy in the machines, but no… issues with money :)


    • Brian Lee May 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

      wow, that sounds cool. Do you have a link to a picture?


  78. Stephan April 30, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Great article, this idea never even crossed my mind until reading it. Although it will not replace my existing job, i can definitely see this as being a nice side income to pay for luxuries that i otherwise couldnt afford, maybe a week vacation a year using only the profits from the vending machines


  79. marine oil coolers April 15, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    Most people don’t take action. You could give them the secret to wealth, but they wouldn’t go get it because they are too comfortable doing what they’re doing.


  80. Steve Forman March 22, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Basically here is the rundown. Get notepad out and a pen or pencil. Write down at least 100 places. Start thinking of a script to look over. Talk to businesses. Why calla a company up that you don’t know? In fact if you call the companies up ask them a ton of questions.

    They have to answer and give you references as well. Talk to the references. You’re in this business to try and make money, build on a route, make great business ties to the area and neighborhood.

    Perhaps someone comes up to you and ask you if you have other types of machines.

    Here is another point. Think about it. Why put out hundreds of dollars to the companies out there that you will never see again? If anyone wants to call me and talk to me as well.

    About this site very interesting.


  81. Steve Forman March 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Hey Ivan. Appreciate your comments. Yes network.

    What I think anyone should do is get a map out of the area that everyone lives in. Put an x or draw a circle where anyone lives in. Try to find 2 locations that will help with the machines, especially the candy machines. Take a look at a 20 mile radius and get a protractor. I think thats what it is. Something that you used in math class and on projects. Think about a place within that range and go from there.

    Don’t go out that far but write down 50 places towards that direction. Also ask coworkers and friends if they know places. It will work. Your saving up on your gas, maintenance and other costs that are effective. Perhaps someone knows places. They can talk and ask further on. This website is interesting and many ideas. Keep it up.

    On my profile I have candy machines section for anyone who wants to talk about anything at all. FREE Discussion.



  82. IVAN March 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Wow Matt!! I’ve learned the best thing to do is to go out and get your own locations. Nobody, I repeat, Nobody will go HARD for you to place your machines but YOU. You have to keep your overhead low to make alot of money in this business. Steve Forman has a point you have to network with people word of mouth is very important, it has made my candy business but it can also break your business if your machines are nasty, not filled, and hardly work half the time. YOU DON’T NEED ANYBODY TO DO THIS FOR YOU, YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF!


  83. Steve Forman March 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Hey Matt.

    You found out really fast. Give you some hints on placing machines. Vendstar sucks because all they know is to sell aggresively. You need to make judgment calls about locations. Talk to your friends, relatives, and coworkers.

    That is the way to go. Develop scripts.


  84. matt March 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    My personal experience with this vend placement company was this. I bought 50 Vendstar vending machines and was referred this company to place all the machines. I purchased a warranty contract from this company, they assured me that they would move any machines that weren’t doing well after they were intially placed. The guys who came out to place my machines ended up being by Todd Parker words “blacklisted guys” who did a horrible job of placing all of my machines, now I have 25 machines that were given back to me by the intial locations that they were placed. So I call Todd Parker, to see if he can relocate the machines that are in bad locations and the machines that were given back to me by store owners. I called Todd for months, only to be ignored. So, I paid Secure Placement $1225 for a warranty that they will not honor. I just wanted to make people aware of my experience with Todd Parker and Secure Placement. Horrible


  85. Steve Forman January 18, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    About Javier in the army. Good luck with the troops. If you need any assistance please look up my info or go to my website. I can help you out.

    To anyone else locating, go for the collision places, hair places, manicurist places. Talk to your friends, neighbors, relatives, people you work with.

    They might know places. It makes it easier that way. Make sure you can supplement your income. You never know what is ou there.

    Keep your eyes open for new places.

    Know your charity if you have one.

    Keep an eye on the prices of candy and other things.

    If you buy off of ebay ask questions. It doesn’t hurt. You’re buying and hoping to invest a business that keeps going.


  86. IVAN December 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    Brian your a really smart guy. Keep up the good work. I love what you do on here. Keep it real with them. I will continue to visit your awesome page.


  87. Diane December 17, 2009 at 3:40 am #

    Vending is a great business. I had a number of small machines that brought me in regular coin. Its a number game though


  88. Mark December 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    This is such a great article on bulk vending. I have found vending to be a love/hate relationship. You either love it or hate pretty quick, and that’s why you can find a garage full of machines somewhere if you’re patient to begin your passive income with (usually at a great discount).

    The next hurdle is locating those machines in businesses. Yes, you can do it! Once you overcome these first two hurdles, the rest of it become easier to build your cash flow.


  89. Vending Guy November 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Vending is a great business, just do not get suckered into purchasing brand new machines. Find used machines that have never been placed on location. These vending machines will cost you pennies on the dollar and be just as good as new machines.


  90. Brian Lee November 6, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    That’s good insight. I bought the majority of my machines at a fraction of what they would have been new.


  91. Brian Lee November 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    The return on your investment really depends on the type of investment that you make. If you put $10,000 down on 1 house with a $20,000 equity capture, that house might make you $200 a month until you sell it in a few years and put your now $30,000 in another investment.

    On the other hand, you might use a hard money loan which could allow you to get the house with no money out of pocket. In that case, you could potentially buy as many houses as you could handle, each one capturing say $20,000 in equity and kicking off $200 a month in cashflow.

    If you want to make $2,000 a month passively, that would mean 10 houses. It’s possible to get 10 with your $10,000 if you find good enough deals. I shot a video of Robert Hammond who bought 74 houses in a year and a half with an average of $3,000 out of pocket per deal.


  92. Jose November 4, 2009 at 12:58 am #

    Please tell me more about these investor groups. So if I invest $10,000 today in a house within two yeears I would be making 1,000-2,000 monthly or annualy? I’m still a little ignorant when it comes to real estate


  93. Brian Lee November 1, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    Thanks for the comment Jose. My advice for those people that have more than about $5000 to invest is to go directly to real estate. Bulk candy vending is a good passive business on a small-time level. Once you get too many machines, it’s much less passive.

    In addition, real estate has the advantage of offering equity. Bulk candy provides massive cashflow (around 100% return), but there is almost no equity.

    I’m part of an investor group in Central Texas where I literally see people on a weekly basis buy houses with 5-$10,000 out of pocket which kick out 10-20% cashflow and 100-400% return on equity within 2 years.

    My mentors taught me that this is how to get wealthy quickly.

    To learn more about investor groups, go to http://nationalreia.com or to visit the group I am a part of, go to http://libertyrea.com.


  94. Jose October 27, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    My name is Jose and I find this site very informative and interesting. I am a full time student and currently attending a communtiy college. In a couple months I should have around 10,000 saved and I was thinking of investing soem it into bulk vending. I would like to invest the rest of the money in wholesale items such as clothes or jewlery and then re-sell them individually on ebay. What do you think of these ideas? Should i put my money somewhere else or do they seem fine? I was also wondering about investing money in snack/soda machines but you seem to not like them very much. Is it just because of the matienance or low profit? I wouldn’t mind having to spend a couple hours a week restocking them since I’m currently unemployed. Thanks for any info and advice


  95. Mike October 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Brian,

    Great info., I’m really glad I stumbled upon this site! I’ve just begun to research this industry and am considering starting out small, 2-3 machines. I am trying to decide to buy new or used. I agree with your recommendation to go with steel vs. plastic. I’ve been told by some existing owners that it’s worth paying a little extra for new machines in case you need service or parts. If I can find good quality, used steel machines, how likely is it that they will need service?


  96. Newbie October 19, 2009 at 4:31 am #

    Thank you for the info. They are also offering 90 machines on location plus an extra 10 that need to be located for $21000. Thoughts?


  97. Brian Lee October 14, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Here are a few things you should know:

    1. it costs about $250 per location to do it yourself, even using a locating service. At $50k, you are buying it at cost. Yes, you will have saved yourself the hassle of doing it yourself, but you don’t get a chance to ease into it.

    2. It is natural to lose about 1-2% of your locations per month. that means you might lose 2 or 4 locations and have to find new homes for them.

    3. At $4,000 a month cashflow, that’s about $48,000 a year. BUT, to service 200 machines, you are looking at a 20-40 hours of work a week. Figure out what it would cost to pay someone to run the business and subtract that from the $48k to see what you would be making passively.

    4. If I were you and had an extra $50k to blow, I’d go buy a piece of real estate. Real estate is infinitely more profitable and passive. Gumballs are a good passive way to make money up to the point that you can buy real estate. 50 locations is pretty passive, but 200 is starting to be a job.


  98. Newbie October 13, 2009 at 5:35 am #

    I know someone that wants to sell 200 vendstar 3000 bulk machines plus the route and locations for $50,000. Is that a good deal? They claim 4000 a month in cash flow. Anything I need to watch out for?


  99. Stuart @ Pete August 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Hi Brian,

    Me and my buddy are 17 and were trying to pick up a little extra cash and are looking at candy machines. Would you recommend that we do this together or separately. Also this is my first time EVER trying to have my own business are their any tips you or anyone else could share? Especially on trying to get locations and what/how to talk to a business owner.

    Thanks, Stuart


  100. John August 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Brian
    based on your vending experience what are the best selling/most popular candies?


  101. Pam August 18, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    Hello Brian,

    I help vending operators find locations for their machines. I focus on family restaurants, china buffets, mexican cantina’s and more. I have very happy customers. I also have references available.
    I look for to hearing from you.


  102. JustConsidering August 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    I am considering purchasing an established route and machines. How do I ensure the safety of my purchase? I.e. How do I know he owns the machines and how do I prove my own ownership after I have made the purchase?


  103. Brian Lee August 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    That’s a really good question and I don’t know that I have the answer. I bought an existing business on eBay and it took some trust on my part. The previous owner gave me a tour and his contact information. I bought it so cheap that I wasn’t very worried.


  104. Steve Forman August 4, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    I have something on my website concerning the vending business.

    If you know how to approach the owners, locate them yourself, talk to others, you will make money. That simple. Don’t get a location company. You will lose money from the companies and fast.

    ALso try to see if you can get some rebates on bulk stuff. If I can rebound, I know what to do to get the ball rolling again.

    ALso awesome website this is. Keep up the great work. Definitely awesome research from everyone.


  105. Suzie 100 mortgage August 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    How long did it take for you to find your first location for the machine and do you have to pay rental on the space? How did you approach finding locations? thanks for the idea, really cool.


  106. Tyronda Carr July 27, 2009 at 4:40 am #

    Hey Brian,
    I took your advice and jumped out there not being fearful. I place one machine in a local boys and girls club. In one week I made $44. I checked again two weeks later and there was $56. I am so excited and looking to place other machines in other locations. The only thing is that I have two vendstar machines. The work for now, but I will be looking to upgrade if business is going to be like it is..Thanks so much!


  107. Brian Lee July 13, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Congratulations, Greg. Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it exciting to open up those machines and see the quarters spill out?


  108. Greg Whalen July 13, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Hey Brian,

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with the rest of us. Truely inspiring. I placed my first machine (of six purchased) at the hotel in which I work. Being able to watch myself earn quarter after quarter of passive income as people enjoy their little treat is far more thrilling than any paycheck I’ve ever cashed.

    Thanks. I’ll be looking forward to more of your insight.


  109. Brian Lee July 8, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks for stopping by Ian; come back any time!


  110. Ian July 7, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Hey Brian. I just sat here and read through this entire page of information, and I have to say, this is really inspiring. Also, the little comment that you left TONIGHT really made an impact. I think that’s really true. The top habit of highly effective people is their proactive nature. I want to take some initiative and intend to do so after reading your article. Thanks!


  111. Brian Lee July 7, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    The information here has been around for awhile; a long time before I wrote about it. Even if everyone knew about it, there would still be an opportunity to start a business like this.

    Most people don’t take action. You could give them the secret to wealth, but they wouldn’t go get it because they are too comfortable doing what they’re doing.


  112. BYNDGDNEVL July 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Brian this is a good article that I just happened to run into. My question is, this article seems to have been posted for almost 3 yrs now, don’t you think that this leads to over-saturation of this passive income business venture?


  113. Tyronda June 30, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    Your post was awesome and very inspiring. We purchased three machine, but only one has been located and our first week we made $44 on one machine (but I have not deducted what I paid for the candy). Now we am just trying to find other locations for the other machines and we will be well on our way.


  114. Elicia June 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    I am only 16, and from England, and i thought this idea was just genius. I see candy machines in most places, and they are great for making profit.
    I was thinking my the time i finish sixth form at 18, as i get EMA, £30 a week, for being in further education, if i save that, i will have money to invest in machines and candy.
    It will give me an insight to how a business works, and give me some experience in the field.
    I thank you again for how much this has actually inspired me :)



  115. Brian Lee June 24, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    I prefer employee break rooms, especially at clothing stores where younger people work. Restaurants make more money, but they are harder to get into. You should budget about $25 per month per machine.


  116. Stefano June 23, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    sorry, another question. about how much money do the candy machines make in a month?


  117. Stefano June 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi i’m going to buy a few candy machines, i was wondering where are the best places to put them? like where would they make most profit? i heard that restaurants are good. and toys r us…


  118. evelyn March 31, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    i want to start a little bussiness cant u help me how much do i start for kind of bussiness for vending


  119. Binh March 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    Brian,distance wise in regarding when it comes to the cost of gas and time,how you pick a location that you know it would be reasonable for you to go on a route? Any location within a 30 minutes drive from your home?

    In regards to investing in real estate,does that mean buying a real estate and sell it for equity,renting it out to people,and/or investing in a mall or something in that matter?


  120. Brian March 3, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    Binh, your checkups should be monthly; and if the location is slow, you can drop down to every 2 or 3 months. How long the route takes is a function of how far apart they are. If they are all within a few square miles, then it should only take you 20 minutes per location.


  121. Mike March 3, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    There is someone who is willing to sell his candy machine buisness to me. He is established, has 72 locations, 50 extra machines, with leftover supplies and spare parts. He is willing to train me on the repairs and everything. He is asking 19 000$. Is it worth it?


  122. Binh March 3, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Hey,Brian. If you donated 10% each month of the year,does the charity give you a receipt or something for your tax deduction?

    I guess any charity would help you to find a location,since in the end,they will get a cut in your profit.

    So,is the $15 for expense that you mention about includes the 10% contribution,too?

    So,if I wanted to only work 3 days per month,then how many machine(s) do I need to have operating and how do I figure out when I am going to be out of candy(ies). Weekly check up?

    What do you mean by working 3 days per month,does it mean 3 (8 hours work shift) equal 24 hours total or you just work on 3 different days?


  123. Brian March 3, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    Mike, that’s $263 per location which is slightly more than you would pay to get your own locations. I guess his rationale will be that you are saving the time to get the locations.

    Two thoughts: 1. If you have access to $19,000 to invest: invest in Real Estate. The returns are higher, it’s less work, and houses don’t run away as fast as candy machines.

    I don’t know where you live, but Texas is where I’m putting my money.

    2. If you’re still set on vending, 19k is too much. Ask to see his books:

    -Figure out what his cashflow is after all expenses.
    -Figure out how many hours he spends on his route.
    -Figure out how much it would cost to pay someone to run the route for you (including finding new locations when current locations cancel).
    -Subtract the cost of someone else running it from the cashflow to get your passive net income.

    This is the true value of the investment. If this number is zero, you’re just buying a job. You wouldn’t pay $19,000 for a so-so job would you?

    More realistically, this number is probably higher than zero. Let’s say it’s $9,500 a year. If that is the case, you’re getting a 50% return per year (cashflow) on your $19,000 investment.

    That’s better than the stock market, but real estate is better.


  124. michael robinson November 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    Hello my name is michael robinson I’m from cincinnati ohio I have 10 bulk vending machines but I only make 50 dollars a month.
    The locating company bussiness beanstalk.com said my area is over saturated with machines.


  125. Jamie October 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    I have really enjoyed this article and the post they have been so informative. I have been thinking about htis business for so long but have not had the guts to get started. My plan is to puchase about two or three machines to try out the business. My question to you and steve is what do you think about the locator services and would that be a waste of money at 40$-50$ per machine.


  126. renee October 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm #



  127. Cristina October 8, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    Brian, thanks for your great article! I am really excited about bulk vending. When my boyfriend first told me about it I have to admit I was a bit skeptical that you could make any money from it. But just taking a few minutes to look at the numbers and reading articles such as this one really help inspire you and realize that it is possible to have a great passive income with bulk vending. My boyfriend got a killer deal on a few machines from someone who was going in another direction and wanted to get rid of his. We have somewhere around 10 machines, as soon as we get locations for those, they themselves will be paying for more machines in more locations! I feel more confident now after reading to go into a business and let them know we’re available. Plus the charity option is the best idea ever! Who says no to charity? Only mean people :( Anyhow, thank you for your insight. Hopefully I will be back soon to write about our success! :D


  128. Sungyong September 13, 2008 at 1:02 am #

    Anyone using vending machine sold by Costco?
    How does it work and where can I find products to fill it? What kind of candy or chocolate or peanuts can I sell?

    I am interested in energy chocolate, but American vending systems insist selling 30+ machines, which would cost 10250 dollars. Sales rep told me that shipping charge(30×15=$450)would be added. But he later told me that they would give me 10 more machines and no shipping charge would be added. I assume there were no shipping charge from the beginning. It seems to me that it doesn’t make sense. By the way it’s too expensive and many of vending experts don’t recommend this biz opportunity where I spend 10000 dollars up front.
    It’s too risky and I don’t think it’s going to be profitable. I like the product, though. Energy chocolate…
    Does anybody have experience with this?

    I am thinking of using locators. They cost around 50 dollars. What should I be careful of when I use locators?

    Do all the vending machines have something like contoller so I can choose the amount vended? Because later if products to fill machine goes up I need to adjust the amount vended since I assume I can’t get 50 cents out of 25 cent machine.


  129. Brian Lee September 4, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    Sounds like a solid deal. If you can afford the $700, and the machines are quality metal (not plastic), I’d say go for it.


  130. Elaine September 4, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    I appreciate your article. I am just starting the vending business, but I found an opportunity to buy 20 triple candy vending machines for 700 bucks. I am targeting placing them in barber shops and I have experience with cold calling/walking, so approaching owners won’t be a problem. Do you think I should get the twenty machines for this price? Also, I was thinking that if I don’t end up placing them in stores, I can sell it on ebay and still make a profit. Thanks again.


  131. javier September 3, 2008 at 3:28 am #

    my name is SSG Reyes, i’ve been really intrested in starting my own buisness. as a side income to the military. i would sure appreciate any other tips, and or guidance. right now i’m currently serving my 3rd tour in Iraq and are putting a good chunk of my hard earned money on the side to start this. i’ll be back in the USA in about 9 months, and would like to start getting mentally prepared for this, so when i get back i can hit the ground prepared. thank you very much. my email adress is javier.reyesrosales@us.army.mil thank you once again….
    SSG Reyes, Javier A.


  132. Vending Vision August 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    Wonderful post Brian. Bulk vending truly is a great way to make a small passive income, whether to pay off some debt or finance some new toys. I got into small bulk vending a few months ago and have had a blast growing a little bit. I now have 16 locations locally and spend a couple days a month servicing my machines. It’s only a couple hundred bucks a month right now, but hopefully I can snowball into big bucks!


  133. formerfire August 12, 2008 at 4:48 am #

    Hi , just wondering if everyone is using the 20c or $1 machines? and why?


  134. Steve Forman August 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    Hey Brian:

    I was returning on this site.

    I was reading some where that someone wanted to know about obtaining business licenses and stuff. Check with your city, state, and local govt.

    Out here in Philadelphia area for example Bucks county there is a mechanical device tax that you might have to pay up.

    If you have the non profit you have to provide a letter that states it.

    Vending at first is tough. Get a notepad and start writing stuff down b/c you never know.

    my website is wanderfulvending.com feel free to look on there.

    Vendstar is an aggresive company. All they know is to sell machines and talk. They don’t break down much.

    Anyone want to email me at


  135. john August 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    Hi brain.I was woundering if your machines were yellow?


  136. Steve Forman August 1, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    I had googled to this site. I wanted to see if someone had a breakdown on bulk vs big machines.

    I have 90 in the Philadelphia area.

    Someone just asked about a business owner signing. If they aren’t around and they give permission the machine is going to get placed.

    The owner doesn’t have to sign anything, I just take down info and put serial numbers up.

    I have had ups and downs in the business and now definitely need to pay things down.

    Insurance its called umberella liability if you go that route.

    Everyone who I go near oh I should buy bigger machines.

    Bigger machines are worst than bulk candy machines. As long as you maintain the machines, keep them cleaned, keep them serviced and go back to them every couple of weeks and figure the costs of everything then you will be okay.

    Yes its correct not every machine is going to give you $50 – $100. Some will. Its a number game. I have also been in contact with others out there and talk about different things.

    The worst part of this business is the location companies some of them screw over the people who want to make a massive income out of this.


  137. Online Dividends June 27, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    This sounds like a great way to make money on the side. I was wondering if you could provide us with an update as to how your vending machine business is going?


  138. Kyle Guth April 12, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    I know this is Brian’s site, but I feel a need to say something about income with bulk vending.
    There is money to be made, however, don’t expect for all of your machines to make $50 a month. This is possible, however not likely in a normal location. I look for $10 an account (singles with toys), any lower I pull it and relocate it before I service anymore machines (Most spots will pull this). This way I don’t get a collection of machines in my warehouse.
    From what I understand, Brian is in restaurants. This is why his averages are so high. Restaurants are a profit powerhouse.
    Now, I vend toys. No candy simply because candy is, in my views, not profitable. Plus, you have waste, and all other things. Candy causes a vendor pain. Plus puts a pinch on the profits as candy prices are going up.
    Hope this helps people getting started. Also go to my forums and register for a free account. Read up on bulk vending!http://kickstartvending.com/forum/index.php
    The site is like a giant book donated for you to read by generous people who post on our over 5,000 topics everyday! It is free for everyone.

    Kyle Guth
    Guth Vending


  139. MIKE B. March 30, 2008 at 11:46 am #



  140. Michael March 26, 2008 at 5:10 pm #

    Hi all,
    I was inspired by Brian to look into bulk vending and now it’s going to be a reality – I’ve agreed to a deal on some Excel gum machines.
    I would advise anyone interested in vending to check out http://www.vendiscuss.com
    I don’t want to make this a shameless plug, but the forums and resources are VERY helpful.
    For example – Miks – vendiscuss has sample contracts you can use.


  141. john March 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Do you need liability insurance for candy machines?


  142. Brian Lee March 15, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    I’m the wrong person to ask about liability insurance. There are definitely liability issues that you need to be aware of, but I don’t know much about the legal protection.


  143. Brian Lee March 15, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    I actually have never signed a contract with a location. All my agreements are with a handshake and can be terminated by either party at any time.

    I don’t know if that is the industry standard or not, but that’s the way I have done it.


  144. John March 10, 2008 at 7:46 pm #

    Do you need to carry liability insurance for this?


  145. Miks March 9, 2008 at 9:52 am #

    Hi Brian!

    Wanted to ask you about the formal issues. Do you usually have a signed contract with the location owners, if yes, then what are the conditions or the lenght of the contract and so?

    If you use one, then I would be very greatful if you’d let me use yours as a tamplate to set up mine.


  146. Jack March 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I love this little article and commentary. I have noticed that a lot of folks don’t really understand liability. I will do my best to quickly sum up the finer points.

    Lets assume that you are just earning a passive income on about ten machines that you bought and placed with no licenses, or any of that “business stuff” that you have heard about. Lets further assume that some kit pulls your good solid metal machine over on himself and splits open his head.

    Ok, at this point, his parents can sue you for about everything. Now the key word in this law suit is…YOU. They will sue you. They get your savings, retirement, house etc. Ok, thats a little more bleak than would probably happen, but they COULD get your personal assets.

    So what is the easiest way to protect yourself from the possibility? Well, quite simply don’t place those ten machines… At least, don’t place them personally. Thats the point of an LLC. It exists as a separate entity, and it does all the dirty work, and takes all the blame, if anything should go wrong. Under this scenario, the family calls you up and tries to sue, but the LLC has only ten machines as assets…hardly worth the trouble of a lawsuit.

    So you discuss the situation with them and agree to help pay the bills out of the goodness of your heart (or not if you so choose), but they really can’t sue.

    Dollar for dollar, filing for an LLC will buy you more protection than any other form of insurance I know of. As you get bigger, or rather as your new friend the LLC gets bigger and you begin to fear for your 200 machines, then insurance might be in order, but you still don’t ever have to worry about getting sued personally, at least not from a lawsuit with any merit.

    In most states it is becoming easier and easier to file an LLC. Most can be done for about 100-200 dollars. And, many have default articles so that you don’t need a lawyer (although all lawyers will tell you that you still need one…gee why would they say that…). In any case, if you are on the verge of backing out of business because you are afraid of getting sued, it is a fairly simple fix…form an LLC. For some great starter info on forming a company go to http://www.sba.gov.

    Here is my one last piece of advice regarding red tape… If it doesn’t help you…don’t do it.

    An LLC protects you from the possibility of personal liability in certain unfortunate events – this helps you. I almost always form an LLC for any project than I start, but I never bother with any other red tape until I am certain that I am going to continue with the business. At a certain point, filing for appropriate licenses etc could be essential to continuing business. Thats when I do it.

    *disclaimer* I have lived in what I would consider business friendly states they were unlikely to do anything other than glare at you if you neglected their red tape. I have heard of these other places that may not be so kind, perhaps my advice would bode ill in such places.


  147. Kyle February 29, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    Great blog Brian! I know you said to start small, but I have the opportunity to buy an established business with 116 machines with 229 coin slots already placed! 39 additional machines are included along with a vehicle that he uses to service the machines. He will even go on each route with me and introduce me to the owners and show me how he runs it. Turns out he is tired of it after 10 years or so. What are your thoughts on this?


  148. Brian Lee February 29, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Start small if you’re building the business on your own.

    This deal is going to come down to figuring out if he’s telling the truth, and then doing the numbers. Ask to see his books. Find out how Many hours he spends on it a month vs how much he makes. Subtract out what you would have to pay someone to run it for you and then detrmine the ROI.


  149. Brian Lee February 23, 2008 at 12:53 am #


    I’m not sure if US machines will work with foreign currency. There has got to be someone who makes vending machines in your local currency.


  150. Brian Lee February 23, 2008 at 12:51 am #


    I count all the quarters with a cheap plastic quarter-counter and lug them to the bank for deposit. Some banks want you to roll them, and some just want you to bring them in loose.


  151. Miks February 20, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    I got interested in the small-scale passive income making as well, after attending a seminar on this topic, but the problem is that I live in Denmark. Of course, there is no problem to order the machines from ebay, but how about the currency used for those machine? They will only be usable for $ and cents? Or there is a possibility to change it, or it doesnt matter?
    Thanks in advance!


  152. Trevor February 17, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    Hi, Brian, cool website/article
    I have one question though, what do you do with all the quarters?


  153. Brent February 9, 2008 at 2:29 am #

    Hey Brian! I’m in Calgary, AB and I just want to say thanks for the inspiration. Today was my very first cold call. I walked into a place, spoke the the operations manager, said about 20 secs worth of talking, before he said “sure, why not”! My first location!! This is such a great passive income idea. Thanks!


  154. Marivic Santos February 5, 2008 at 12:56 am #

    This is a great site. I’m from Sydney Australia and after reading few posts, I wanted to know if there is anyone here from Sydney who are in this business, as I really want to do it myself. I would love to hear from you.


  155. Ramill February 4, 2008 at 1:12 am #

    Thanks for answering my question so quickly. Just for clarification, I have a scenario for you. Lets say someone gets injured or sick because of your machine or product in the machine. Wouldn’t you be liable? I’m not concerned about the machines being damaged, I’m concerned about people who become injured and who may want to sue me. Thank you.


  156. Ramill February 4, 2008 at 12:48 am #

    Brian your web-site is literally rich with good ideas and suggestions. I accidently landed on your web-site. I’ve been hooked ever since. I have a vending question for you. Do you have insurance for your vending machines? Can a person like myself, starting with one or two machines get insurance? I want to start a vending business like you, but I’m concerned about protecting my personal assests.


  157. Brian Lee February 4, 2008 at 12:56 am #

    I don’t own any insurance on my machines, but I get asked regularly about the risks associated with having equipment out in the public.

    I think as a vending operator, you have to calculate a certain amount of risk into your investments. I’ve never had one stolen, but I’ve had them pushed over, the locks jammed, toothpicks shoved in every possible crevice, etc.

    If you have good locations, your machines will pay for themselves in 6 months or less. If you loose one machine every couple of years, that’s just the cost of doing business.


  158. Alex January 30, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    Hi I was hoping someone might be able to steer me in the right direction. I currently own 23 ice cream trucks and can no longer make trips to sams club everyweek to purchase candy. I was hoping you can recommend me to a candy distributor that deliveries to Central New Jersey.


  159. thrash January 13, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    Thank you for all the info. I think I am going to try this.


  160. Daniel Robinson January 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm #


    I live in the UK and I was wondering if its possible to set up a vending mahcine business here, as you have done in america.
    The problems I can see are

    1. Generally, all of the vending machines i’ve seen have been large ones which are apparently require more maintenence and are presumably more expensive to buy.

    2. Less vending machines around. I dont see very many vending machines. Could this indicate a small market?


  161. Jessica January 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    I’ve been pondering the idea of buying a machine and starting in the candy business, but I was curious as to how the machines stay anchored into the ground? Also, if I am going to have ONE machine for the time being, is it necessary for me to obtain a business license, get a lawyer, start a LLC, etc? If I like the business and want to continue growing, then yeah, I will handle the legal aspects, but should I start with just one machine?


  162. Brian Lee January 7, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    The machines usually don’t anchor, that’s just a risk you’ll have to budget for. They’re pretty heavy, and I’ve never had one stolen.

    I’m not an accountant, but there is usually a minimum amount of money you can make without having to form a business. I would just check that out. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t make sense to add that expense until you were making enough money.


  163. Brian Lee January 6, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    That’s fantastic! I’m very proud of you.


  164. Thom January 5, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    Hey Brian, great idea! So great, I’ve bought my first machine! Here goes…

    Here’s a link to my post… including a picture of my machine!

    Thanks again!



  165. Aries January 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks Brian. In my area,all the business owners want 50% of the money for letting you put a machine up,this is how the biggest operator in my area does business.Very few go the charity route,and the are all single,small machines.Looks like you would have to have dozens of machines,with good locations, to get ahead like this. All points of view on this will be appreciated! Thank you.


  166. neil strauss January 4, 2008 at 5:08 am #

    Very good post. I like how you reasoned not taking on larger vending machines because the maintenance would make it become a job rather than passive income. Candy vending business will be something I will investigate further on.


  167. Brian Lee January 4, 2008 at 12:34 am #

    That’s a great question, one that I have thought much about. The most basic way to look at this is to figure out what it would cost you to place a machine yourself:

    Machine: $150
    Candy: $50
    Locator: $75


    Using an average of $25 profit per machine per month, you’d be able to pay it off in about a year. I wouldn’t pay more than that.


  168. Aries January 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    All your ideas and comments are great,thank you all. I was wondering: What should you pay someone for already placed machines? I know the location would play into the price,also the machine type,but is there some average or fair market price? Any comments or insights would be appreciated!


  169. Artem December 21, 2007 at 11:05 am #

    Brian, thank you so much for inspiring me to start my vending business. I already have two machines placed, and it feels just great to be getting passive income in your sleep!


  170. Bryan December 1, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    I have a few 3-head bulk candy vending machines (red metal with black stand) that I am looking to sell. I was planning on starting up a business but never got around to it. I live in gainesville, fl but could meet someone off of 75 or the turnpike. I am asking $70 each (just to recover what i paid for them). The are in great shape and i can send pictures. email arbeit@ufl.edu


  171. Don November 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    Hello Vending Guru’s
    I just bought 3 vend pro’s on e-bay for about $60 ea. . It was then I found this excellent blog and learned my all plastic machines may not stand the test of time. I will look to place these 3 then start my fleet of Amerivend and Seaga’s. Thanks for all the info, your time and especially the energy youv’e devoted to start up hopeful’s like me.


  172. Brian Lee November 13, 2007 at 2:08 pm #

    I’m excited for you to get started!


  173. Hatchthat Business Interviews November 3, 2007 at 9:08 pm #

    Thanks for the detailed post, that was really interesting. I hope it continues to do well for you.


  174. gadgets November 2, 2007 at 11:04 am #

    This is a fantastic article that I came across from a link on another site listing the best passive income streams.

    I have an acquaintance that deals in the large vending machines that offer soft drinks, as well as food. Although he said this has been profitable for him, he said the upkeep can be quite a bit.

    Often he will get calls from sites where his machines are, asking if he can upgrade the machines as the site owner may have seen a machine at another location that says offers both soft drinks and food etc. With each machine costing quite a bit (at least more then these smaller machines), it can be a challenge to keep costs down and keep site owners happy.


  175. Tim October 28, 2007 at 9:19 pm #

    I prefer Sam’s as well, however, they really don’t have much of a selection on gumballs……They do allow you to pre pay and order a wide variety of gum though, but the only downside is the amount of time it takes to get the candy in. If you have an established route, and know how much candy you will need, and when it will be needed, you can develop a system in ordering a few weeks in advance and keep the product flowing in. However, if your starting out, waiting 2 to 3 weeks is an eternity.


  176. Brian Lee October 26, 2007 at 3:36 pm #

    I use Sam’s Club. There have been several times that I’ve been to CostCo’s and they didn’t have what I needed.


  177. Mike T October 26, 2007 at 9:50 am #

    Hey Brian,

    Where would recommend to get the cheapest bulk candy from? That is Skittles, Gumballs, Runts etc.. Would you recommend Costcos or online, like through ebay or something?


  178. Brian Lee October 25, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    I guess it’s possible theoretically. I’m still doing okay as of right now.


  179. Lu October 25, 2007 at 8:58 am #

    Please forgive me if this topic has been covered (I skimmed through them all). Do any of you who are in the vending business worry about the idea of inflation? In my mind there is a big issue in that the costs involved in running this type of business (food costs, fuel for travel, even the cost of employing someone) will all go up with time, but the price you can charge will pretty much stay the same. I’m 28 and can remember a time when a small gum ball was 1 cent, but even then I recall that the bigger gum balls were a quarter… I think the same can be seen across the board, be it M&Ms, Runts, etc. Thoughts?


  180. Brian Lee October 23, 2007 at 10:54 pm #

    My favorite combo is Reese’s, Gumballs, and Skittles; all are hot sellers. If the place doesn’t want gum, I replace it with peanut M&M’s.


  181. Tim October 23, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    Brian, in all your vending wisdom, what, in your opinion is your hot sellers? Every location is a little different I know, but out of the bunch, what do you sell the most of.


  182. Brian Lee October 21, 2007 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m the wrong person to ask about legal questions. I have my lawyer take care of all that. I would ask a professional if I were you.


  183. KM October 20, 2007 at 11:24 pm #


    I’ve read on your blog that you have put your business into an LLC. Is it true that California has an annual LLC fee of $800? I started a small route and I’m not sure whether I want to go for a sole proprietorship or LLC.


  184. Tim October 18, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    By the way, do any of you have any experience with the SuperPro machines? They do cost more than the xyz machine, but are built like a tank……


  185. Tim October 18, 2007 at 9:59 am #

    Man, I’m long winded


  186. Tim October 18, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    Well, as far as placement strategy, it really boils down to common sense. At least starting out, we all know what locations see the most traffic in our own neighborhoods. What I done was a little research and development on where to set up. I yanked out the yellow pages and went from A-Z, writing down every potential vending location. Then I ranked them from best to worst possible sites. I started at the best, and worked down from there. Now, I only have 2 machines, so finding locations didn’t take long at all, but I continued to talk to other business owners about this, and came up with enough business’s that agreed to use my machines. Of course, right now, I don’t have them, but explained that I will have these machines ready for them in a couple months. Now, you can take this with a grain of salt, but I have found out, through a little common sense, that it is better to go out and place the machines BEFORE you actually have machines. This way, once the machines show up, you can have them placed the same day, making a little from the get go.
    Now, I would much rather talk over the phone, but I know it is more influential to talk face to face, and give the business owners pictures of what they should expect. I do offer charities, 10% goes to the local Humane Society. and I am considering, once I get more machines to give the option of donating to Walk for Life as well……At the business owners request.
    When discussing with the business owners my intention to place a vending machine in their business, I tend to follow suit with what was said in the previous posts….I do offer Dentyne Ice and so far, this has made a positive incentive for the owners…..Typically, I say to them, ” Everyone loves your food, and you have many, many repeat customers, wouldn’t it be good to offer them a gum that freshens their breath, that is long lasting, and that is sugar free. I will always give the owners and a few employees a sample just to see first hand.
    Lastly, just to give some insight as to where I have future locations, I will try, to some extent share with you the reasons behind my decisions.
    1. Car lot showrooms- Dentyne Ice machine- No one wants a stinky breathe salesman trying to sell you a car.
    2. The maternity ward waiting room at the hospital- If your in this room, more than likely, your nervous, and nervous people find something to eat, or snack on to ease their nervousness.
    3. Fitness clubs- Dentyne Ice machine- We’ve all been there, working out, and you notice an abundance of attractive chics who you try to pick up…..Well, your not picking any of them up with stinky breathe, I assure you.
    The womens bathroom at the local bar- Dentyne Ice machine- Mount the machine on the wall by the sink. We all know women go to the bathroom a million times for whatever reason. While there, they’ll freshen up a bit, why can’t they do their breath as well.
    Hair and nail salons- C’mon, who hasn’t seen a beautician not chopping down on gum.
    4. and lastly, the community college rec center. College kids are notorious for staying prepped up and hang out here, Talking, playing pool and studying before their next class- Why not offer them a piece of Dentyne Ice before the next class……
    And of course, there alot of other examples, but these may be some of the most overlooked.
    The business has great potential, but don’t be fooled that if you place the machine, people will come….That’s not how it works….Do your homework, research what your needs and wants, and most importantly, don’t shoot from the hip, develop a business plan that will guide your business along the way. Always post goals so you can keep track……What is that old saying, “Fail to plan, and you plan to fail”…..Yep, this hold true with a bunch of stuff, including a vending business.


  187. Brian Lee October 18, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks Tim, that was awesome!

    As for the SuperPro’s: I’ve never tried them. Sound interesting though.


  188. Tim October 17, 2007 at 10:20 pm #

    I am glad that I found this site. I, too am new to vending, after purchasing 2 machines at one time. I called around to several places, and either, they wanted you to purchase 20 or more at one time, or, you could tell that the person on the other end of the phone knew nothing about the business and was only wanting a commission. How can someone tell you that they give constant business support when they don’t know nothing other than selling the machines…….Anyways, I was fortunate enough to get with the guys at SuperPro vending. From the start, he was honest with me, and told me exactly what you said in the post….”Don’t go over board and purchase a bunch of machines, start slow, and see if you like the business”. He also told me that he is more interested in helping me succeed, because that would mean I would buy more machines in the future, thus making our relationship positive, as both of us will prosper. The sales guy also has a route himself, and gave me alot of info over the phone and via email. He was so content with helping me succeed that we went over my goals with the business, and he actually helped with making a business plan that goes 5 years. Expecting to average 10-15 per machine per month, I should be able to reinvest the profit into the business for the next five years and hopefully have 100-200 machines online.
    I know there was alot of talk about what machines to use, I am hooked on the Super Pro, and the Dentyne Ice machines, not only because of there quality, but the customer service is outstanding, and that should weigh in as well. I was amazed that he spent so much time with me, only buying 2 machines….Again, customer service goes a long way.
    Now that that long winded sermon is out of the way, I do have one question for Brian. ” How much candy do you vend out at each use”, what I mean is do you vend out 10 pieces at a time, or lower…….. The reason I ask is I am debating over this issue and the overall profit margin…….With normal bulk candy, I the rule of thumb, or so I’m told is not to go over .07 cents per vend. But I am finding difficulties finding how many pieces of runt candy is in a lb to come up with the overall cost objective. Have any food for thought?


  189. Brian Lee October 17, 2007 at 10:28 pm #

    Wow, Tim. What a story. Thanks for your input.

    As for the vends. I’ve been tweaking my strategy on that to get it to a good perceived volume.

    My theory is that if you give people too much, they won’t necessarily notice. People are expecting $.25 worth of candy and in people’s minds that’s only a certain amount.

    I can’t really break it down into number of pieces because each candy is a different size. I have different settings for each candy and play around with the amounts.

    Basically, I try to get the vend size as small as possible while still reaching customer expectations.

    The problem is: if you go too small, people will definitely notice. I had a machine set too small once and someone called me out on it while I was servicing the thing.

    The market plays a factor as well. I’ve got one machine in the break room where people in their 30’s and 40’s work. They expect a lot more than the machine that is in the lobby of a children-friendly restaurant. Kids don’t need as much.

    By the way, Tim. Would you mind sharing your placement strategy with the rest of us? What do you say? Do you have a charity? Do you offer comission? How do you find potential clients? The Phonebook? Do you work face to face or over the phone?


  190. sucellus October 11, 2007 at 9:02 am #

    How often do your machines break down, and what does it take to repair them?


  191. Brian Lee October 11, 2007 at 9:04 am #

    I’ve got over 40 machines and I would say that one goes down about every 6 months. The main thing is to always tighten the screws each time you visit.

    The main thing that happens is someone will try to break open your lock and you’ll have to drill it out and replace it.


  192. tuvie September 15, 2007 at 3:20 am #

    ok, the first problem would be … we need to have a store to put that candy vending.


  193. Scott Reinhardt September 11, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    Hello Josh,
    For my machines I dont have contracts but some people would want them. If you are someone who does want one you can find a very good one on this site: http://www.vendline.com/contract.jsp


  194. Josh September 11, 2007 at 11:49 am #

    Guys, I am completely new to this. My buddy had a machine sitting around and said he would help me out. It seems that there are many extremely knowledgeable people on this board, so I was hoping to get a topic explained by you all. Do you usually use contracts for a triple head machine? If so where do I get these contracts? How do you all go about this process of getting exclusivity in a location?


  195. chad September 5, 2007 at 4:14 pm #

    nice read. I just started out with this myself. I placed 20 machines in the last week and I am ready to go see tomorrow how they are doing. :) cant wait.
    Another thing to say about this small business is the tax benefits. After talking to my accountant it seems to be a tax friendl business, especially the first couple years as you build. 48 cents a mile is a nice write off too.


  196. Paul September 4, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    It’s a real drag that business decisions are sometimes influenced by such a litigious society. I guess an LLC will have to work to start. Thanks for the information.


  197. Steve September 2, 2007 at 12:32 pm #


    I have started a web discussion site dedicated to helping new vendors with their vending questions. There are many new vendors who have similar questions. With Brians permission, I would like to invite you to read some of our members posts. If interested you can visit us at http://www.VENDiscuss.com.

    Brian, I hope that this post doesn’t violate your posting policies and if so please feel free to delete. I will understand. As you know, I have done my best to add valuable content to your blog as well so I hope this is not viewed as just another spam ad.



  198. Brian Lee September 2, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    I have an LLC and keep pretty detailed records. I’ve never really thought about insurance, I guess I figure I’ll just turn over the business if anything happens.

    I’m probably the worst person in the world to ask legal/administrative questions.


  199. Paul September 2, 2007 at 6:55 am #

    Brian, There were posts in April related to protecting yourself legally. You mentioned a business license and good records for the IRS. Steve mentioned becoming an LLC or expensive insurance. As you progressed in this business what have you learned on this front. Do you recommend becoming an LLC or do you recommend insurance for someone who might be looking to eventually stock 80 machines. I know you’re not a lawyer, but what is your opinion?


  200. Scott Reinhardt August 18, 2007 at 7:57 am #

    As a 15 year old vending company operator and owner this post was a great help, I would like to thank you for taking the time to spread your expertise.

    Thanks: Scott Reinhardt


  201. :D August 16, 2007 at 10:30 pm #

    Anything better than vending machines and candy? I don’t like making money off of the expense of other people’s health.


  202. Steven T August 16, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    Also, what are your thoughts on interchangeable canisters versus the traditional trap door machines? Is the higher cost of the former worth the investment and convenience? Thanks!


  203. Steven T August 16, 2007 at 6:35 pm #

    Brian, thanks for all of your insightful advice and experience. You have been a great to those of us who are looking to start a small vending business. I have researched many companies and seem to like the 1800vending machines, but they are so darn expensive comparitively speaking. They also are a lot more attractive than the traditional machines, especially for hospitals and the like. Any thoughts on the influence of machine attractability and consumer spending?


  204. Brian Lee August 16, 2007 at 7:06 pm #

    I’m a big fan of the all-metal, 3 compartment machines like the one in the picture at the top. I really don’t have any experience otherwise.

    I think that metal machines look cleaner and more professional, and I would think that would encourage more sales.


  205. jonathan roy August 15, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    hi, this johnny i had a question to ask you since you have been in the business for soo long do you face any problems with ants getting in machines????? not that i have that problem but i was concerned about it. thanx


  206. Brian Lee August 15, 2007 at 1:05 am #

    I’ve never had a problem with that. As long as you have hard candy, the bugs seem not to like it.

    I have been told not to put peanuts in pet stores because they tend to attract worms.


  207. jonathan roy August 13, 2007 at 7:59 pm #

    hi, 1800 vending are good. I got a good deal from this guy so i bought 3 1800 machines for $80 a piece. I personally like the iron vending machines less chances of having the machine fall. I started with 10 machines and now i have 35 machines some 800 vending, two headed, triple head, still have 12 more to place in businesses.


  208. Brian Lee August 13, 2007 at 3:53 pm #


    I don’t know much about 1-800-vending. I tend to prefer the old fashioned way of buying simple machines and placing them myself. I’m actually not selling my machines. You’re right, they’re much more valuable to me for the cashflow.


  209. chad mcclung August 13, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Sorry, read it wrong. Anyway, why are you selling them?


  210. chad mcclung August 13, 2007 at 1:35 pm #

    Also Brian, why are you selling those 40 machines? Your average is so good, are you unable to place them all?


  211. chad mcclung August 13, 2007 at 1:33 pm #

    A question for you vending pros. I’ve been looking into triple head candy/gum machines. What do you think about the 1-800-vending machines with their interchangeable canisters? They are expensive, but they sure look nice, and seem to be well made. They also offer free placement with your purchase by a person on the ground, not by phone. They have an out clause if you don’t like the locations.
    Also, Steve, are all of your 600 machines candy machines? If you are getting $8 a month profit, I would assume you’re getting $10 a month gross. Divide that out by 30 days, assuming .25 per purchase, you’re only getting 1.3 purchases a day from each machine? That seems pretty low. Please set me straight if I am incorrect.
    Also, does anyone have experience with the other, more unique machines with the lights, bells, whistles, etc? How about all of the other, non candy, machines:
    novelty, stickers, “impulse”, love meters, compu-scales, etc? How do these machines perform compared to traditional looking ones?


  212. Brian Lee July 16, 2007 at 7:37 pm #

    You’re right, Kyle. I’m doing it Los Angeles.

    I think he was referring to packaged vending, which I don’t want any part of.

    I use Amerivend and Seaga, both are great. I’ve seen the XYZ’s and they look a lot like my Amerivends. Since I can’t find Amerivend anymore, maybe they changed their name.

    I’m writing another vending blog post as week speak. Look for it tomorrow.


  213. Kyle G. July 16, 2007 at 6:58 pm #

    Wait.. Passer by.

    This is not true: “This is a great idea for smaller towns, but at least in my city, Philadelphia PA, the place is full of large vending companies”.

    My town is big, and I am small, (15 machines) yet I am making it. Large Vending Company’s tend to forget there machines for a wile. You catch that at the right time, you got a new location. If you are willing to try, you can be up there with the big guys!


    What brand machines do you use? I am curious. I have XYZ Vending and GMW machines. I love them! This blog helped me start my business. Thank you Brian, and I wish I could get that deal you got from E-Bay!

    My Vending Blog:


    Check it out!

    Kyle G.


  214. Passer by July 6, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    This is a great idea for smaller towns, but at least in my city, Philadelphia PA, the place is full of large vending companies. I had a video game machine I was trying to find a home for and every pizza shop and restaurant in the neighborhood already had exclusive agreements with the big vending companies.

    I also worked after hours dispatch for a vending company for a while too and I saw first-hand the high volume of calls on Friday and Saturday night from disgruntled (and often drunk) people saying that the machine ate their money. Most of the repair calls though were for the touch-screen games and the cigarette machines, not so much the candy machines. I can’t imagine it being worth the trouble though. And bars won’t take your machine unless you post a phone number on them for service, so you’d have to pay for an answering service too unless you want to be called at all hours.


  215. jeff July 3, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    thx a lot it’s good info … what kind of paper work do i need to give to the store …


  216. KittyKat07 June 23, 2007 at 12:12 am #

    Hi, I also have a question about the licensing part of this business. I’m guessing if you have a small vending business, getting an LLC would not be the wisest choice? But if that’s the case, wouldn’t just getting a license be risky also? Like Steve was saying, worse case scenario someone could get hurt.


  217. David Rea June 20, 2007 at 4:03 pm #

    I specifically went after HIGH trafic locations. This is location is a HUGE Chinese buffet that is always packed. The one thing that seems to help is that I live in an area that is rapidly expanding. I am ariving before the competition.

    Other locations will not have the traffic this one does.

    Just followed ya’ll’s advice – THANK YOU!


  218. Steve June 20, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    I must be doing something wrong! I’ve never taken close to $40 from any location in 9 days. 30 days maybe but not 9. My hat is off to you sir. You are doing a great job.


  219. David Rea June 19, 2007 at 6:08 pm #

    Well, I got a great deal on some nice used machines. $600 for 30 machines. I placed two in a Chinese Buffet (had to pay 20% of the take) they were placed saturday afternoon, and checked a little over a week later – monday afternoon (9 days) the two machines took in $37.75 gross.
    The majority was from the machine on the left, the other machine is a little bit behind a door when it opens.

    What I learned: These things can make serious money – this location should gross over 100 a month, and i have secured another similar, and busier location to boot. Not bad. Getting the locations is the key. You have to be comfortable doing this.

    I used our churches food band as a charity. People really like this. It is a local charity, and I am a member of the church (also the pastor…)

    People like it becasue it is local, and becasue it helps to feed needy people. We buy our food for .14 /pound – so 10% donation can conservitily buy 10# of food per month – that is the selling point.

    The shock was when I came up to the machine it still had a lot of candy in it – i was sure that it was a flop. The runtz still looked FULL! (they were filled to the brim before being placed.

    Then I opened the back and BEHOLD . . . QUARTERS!

    And lots of them…

    151 of them :)

    even with the vends set very big, it takes a lot to empty a machine.

    Thanks for the info on! It has helped me take my first big step!


  220. Brian Lee June 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm #

    Nice job! That’s awesome! It feels good to have those quarters just falling all over the floor when you open the door, doesn’t it!


  221. Bill June 8, 2007 at 4:04 am #

    Thanks very much, Gentlemen. I’m in Georgia as well so that’s encouraging to hear that the process for obtaining licenses isn’t too lengthy or expensive.


  222. Jonathan roy June 7, 2007 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi mr Bill i dont think it should cost that much for a license. Online companies do charge a lot for a license. i live in Georgia so i called my country department and asked them how i call apply for a license. They put a board infornt of my house just saying that i am going to start a business and if someone has problem they can tell the country. I got my license in about 10 days. it costed me about $85 i just got mine last month in may. So i would definately say call your county business office and it should be not more than $100. hope i helped. have a blessed weekend good luck


  223. Brian Lee June 7, 2007 at 10:16 pm #

    Thanks for the question Bill. Obtaining my liscences in the state of Texas and California was fairly simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. I wish I knew more about laws in other parts of the world.

    If it costs $1000 in your country to start a business, that would make me think twice about starting a part-time business. It would definately be worth it if you knew that you were going to get 100 locations.

    Does anyone else have any insight that might help Bill?


  224. Bill June 7, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    Hi, I have a question in regards to the legal side of starting this vending business. I know that laws are different based on states but I’m wondering how easy or difficult others have found it to obtain business licenses, etc. I found a website in my county that tells me I need to have a business licence, state witholding tax number, Federal EIN, State Certificate of Registration, and Trade Name Registration. Am I actually going to spend $500 or $1000 on this paperwork just to start off with three little candy machines? I want to try this out in my spare time and will only do it legally but is it worth the money/effort to get these permits?


  225. Brian Lee June 6, 2007 at 5:48 am #

    I’m not an accountant or a lawyer, but I think it’s a good idea to form an LLC after you have accumulated enough machines to pay for it.

    Just curious, how much did it cost to have someone hey locations for you?


  226. Jonathan Roy June 6, 2007 at 12:22 am #

    Hi , i am jonathan thanx for all the suggestion you gave me. I did not had good luck with finding locations myself but i hired a company. currently i have about 5 bulk candy machines out there. i bought 25 more this business does make sense when you think about numbers. i was amazed by one of my locations when i took out $45 out of it i was kind of surprised. I am glad i did not Get into the snack and soda machines as they are time consuming. I had a question about making my small candy business a corporation LLC?? so i was wondering if it is a good idea??? Thanx
    from johnny


  227. David Rea May 26, 2007 at 6:49 pm #

    Thank you so much for your help. I just found 40 machines – metal trivends for 29 ea. They are close enough to drive and get them – I hope they don’t sell real fast, I am going to offer to buy them 10 at a time over the next two month. That is all I can transport during each run.

    $290 for 10 metal machines – seems like the best deal I have found.

    Thanks again!!!

    I will write back later when some machines are placed


  228. David Rea May 26, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    How dop you switch a candy type out on a seaga?
    do the individual canisters come out – or do you have to tip the whole machine over?


  229. David Rea May 26, 2007 at 6:24 pm #

    Another question:

    Brian you are averaging $24 per machine
    Steve, you are averaging $8 per machine or per head?

    This seems like a rather large difference.

    Any comments?

    Is is unrealistic to shoot for a $24 gross/month for a three head machine?

    This is what I am basing my projections on.


  230. Brian Lee May 26, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    I think there are “trap doors” at the bottom of each compartment, but to be honest, it’s still a pain in the behind. I usually just put on some rubber gloves and scoop it out.

    I try as hard as I can to pick the right candy upfront. For me that’s usually skittles, reeses, and gumballs (peanut M&M’s if they don’t want gum).


  231. Brian Lee May 26, 2007 at 6:29 pm #

    Since I am limiting my route to about 50 machines, I can afford to be a little more selective. If I were to really go for it like Steve, and get 600 machines, I think my average would probably be closer to 8. I’ve also been lucky to land a few whoppers that bring up my overall average.


  232. David Rea May 26, 2007 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for the tips.

    I can get 5 U-Turns for $125 – bought by a guy that never placed them.

    Dispite thier limitations, I am thinking of getting them to get started.

    Would it be better to wait a few months and get the xyzs’ or amerivends

    Are they that bad?


  233. Brian Lee May 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm #

    Now that I realize which machines the U-Turns and the Vendstars are, I completely agree with Steve.

    These machines are assets that you want to keep for a long time and possibly sell to someone else.

    Plus, I think that the all-metal machines just look so much nicer.

    If it were me, I’d go XYZ, Amerivend, or Seaga. If you can’t wait, I think you can get Seagas at Sam’s Club.


  234. Steve May 26, 2007 at 7:54 am #

    David, Allow me to comment. The choice of machine is ultimately up to you and granted, they all do the same thing however some are built a little better than others or easier (or harder) to service. The two machines you mentioned above wouldnt be my choice of machines. I will explain.

    The Vendstar – This machine, while easy to service, is made entirely of plastic. Including the coin mechanism. In my opinion, at the very least the coin mechanism should be metal and not a material that can be broken by hand. Yes they are very inexpensive and you can find tons of them on eBay everyday. I have seen my competitors Vendstars on location with turn knobs busted of or knobs that turn freely with no money! They also have limited product visibility. Which is not entirely a bad thing but I want my colorful product to be seen clearly.

    U-Turn – Once again these machines suffer from many of the same problems the Vendstars do. Plastic mechanisms, Limited visibility due to half of the product facing the wall. These machines are difficult to service as well and the added amount of candy you must stock is increased as well leading to increased spoilage.

    My recommendation – Go with XYZ or Amerivend to start off. These machines are well built metal machines and come with very decent price tags. Of the two I prefer Amerivend. Once you decide to upgrade I would look into Seaga’s and Northwestern’s. Some will tell you Oak’s and Beaver’s but I feel these machines dont justify the added cost.

    I hope I have been somewhat helpful. I agree with Brian though, any machine is better than none. Good luck to you!


  235. David May 25, 2007 at 7:06 pm #

    ii have found some vendstar 3000’s in seatle – about 175 miles away for $50ea. Also I found four u-turn machines I can get all four for $150 TOTAL. They are about 100 miles away.

    Do you have any experaince with these machines?

    Not going to get in over my head! been around to long for that. Things always look beter on paper than in life – I am going to pop for 4 machines If I get the u-turns they will cost me under $50 each, when I figure the gas to get them.

    What would be the charecteristics of a “good location” that could pay for $100+ machine in a month?


  236. David May 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm #

    what brand of machines do you folks recomend?
    I am looking at pre-owned vendstar 3000’s, xyz vending’s triple head machine they sell on ebay for $119 w/ shipping and other misc. triple head machines.

    Also, I am looking at placing sugerless gum machines in bars and eating establishments.

    I am hoping they will do well even in locations with multiple candy vending machines.

    I have NEVER done this before, and would welcome any help.

    my main concern is buying the equipment – is there any real difference in the machines? If not, which ones are the best? Why? Any BAD ones to avoid?

    I was just out looking at locations today, and secured a location for a dentine Ice machine in a mexican rest. First location, and first try. The location has two triple candy units and a sticker mach. I hope it will support a sugerless gum addition – any comments?


  237. Brian Lee May 25, 2007 at 8:07 pm #

    I don’t have any experience with either of those machines.

    Good locations tend to have one of two things:

    1) high traffic, especially kids. -restaurants are good examples


    2) a lot of habitual, consistent customers -employee break rooms where the same people make a purchase every day.


  238. Brian Lee May 25, 2007 at 6:41 pm #

    Congratulations, David, on taking the first step!

    My experience with machines has been with Amerivend, Saega, and some old machines that I bought used and don’t know the manufacturer.

    I’ve seen those XYZ machines on eBay and they look very similar to the Amerivend machines that I have been very happy with.

    If I were you, I’d start with 2 or 3 machines for a few months and just see how it goes. Don’t get in over your head with 20 machines before you figure out that getting locations wasn’t as easy as you had hoped.

    Back to the equipment, I acquired a bunch of old machines from a guy when I bought his business and a lot of the machines are breaking down. If I had the choice between buying new and used, I would buy new, especially at $119 a piece. If you get a good location, it could pay for that machine in one month.

    My style is one of ready, fire, aim, so I think it is more important to start with SOMETHING rather than wait for the perfect machine.


  239. Brian Lee May 7, 2007 at 10:31 am #

    Tony, I’m impressed! You’re one of the few that is putting words to action!


  240. Tony May 7, 2007 at 4:44 am #

    Hi there
    Great post!

    I started in this business in December of last year in the UK and so far have enjoyed the business and have recently bought some more machines that i am going to site in the next couple of weeks.

    I have achieved the numbers i was hoping for…and very much agree that from site to site the takings vary…..from a few pounds over a couple of months.. to having to fill the machines every 3 weeks.

    I think i am now getting strong enough to NOT ride an emotional rollercoaster of disappointment followed by elation depending on how full or empty the machines are when i visit them!

    I have 24 machines at present….and have just bought another 50….my aim was to have 300 by the end of the year…i’m a little bit behind that figure so have some catching up to in the second half of the year.

    Am rather more interested in giving up my 9-5 day job and earning my own money from my own business than the passive income perspective that the original post focuses on….but maybe in a year or two once the business has paid for itself over again i will hire someone to do the collections and fillings for me…..therefore making it much more passive eventually.

    With my 28th bday coming up….i am aiming to be in a position to be earning £60k per year by the time i reach 30th from this business if my expansion goes to plan!…who knows…maybe even sooner!

    bye for now


  241. Brian Lee May 2, 2007 at 11:17 pm #

    That’s great Richard! I wish I had found this business when I was 18. I didn’t figure it out until I was 29!


  242. richard May 2, 2007 at 9:02 pm #

    this was a great post im about to turn 18 and i would like to make a little extra money while im at college..this is the perfect thing i can do to make a little money so i can live at school. thanks a ton!


  243. Brian Lee April 20, 2007 at 2:39 pm #

    Steve, that’s a great suggestion. I had no idea that existed.


  244. Steve April 20, 2007 at 2:15 pm #


    You can always look into EZcount! It is something I am looking into because I am on the verge of hiring employees. They make a counter that you can install into your machines and then you can “read” the meter via the internet. It will tell you how much money is in the machine before anyone makes the collection. If any money is taken, you’ll know. The system is quite pricey though but well worth the savings in employee theft and un-necessary trips to empty quarters before its required. For more info just google “ezcount” Its very revolutionary.


  245. Brian Lee April 20, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    I like the way you think, Hudzon, but there are a few things that make this unlikely.

    1) It’s a cash business, and it would be hard to find someone I trust.
    2) I am trying as hard as I can to avoid the hassle and liability of employees.

    but, it’s not entirely out of the question.


  246. Hudzon April 20, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    You said that you will sell it in the future because it’s not passive enough.
    However, would it be feasible to hire someone to manage it for you and thus make it completely passive?


  247. Steve April 10, 2007 at 12:32 pm #


    Congrats on your first take! Please dont get too discouraged because you are doing great! If my math is correct, you are pulling in about $8.00 per month/per machine! That is slightly more than national average! Now if you figure that out times 10 (Your full fleet) thats $80.00 a month of passive income! Not shabby! Using those numbers, think of what you could accomplish with 100 machines. Keep up the good work!

    When I first started with one machine I pulled exactly $1.32 and a couple of toothpicks out of the thing after 1 month. Yes there were pennies in there and anyone in this business knows why the toothpicks were there but thats another story I wont share here. My family thought I was out of my mind! “How can you make any decent money doing that?” I was asked. But I stuck with it. Never gave up because I knew the numbers. Now its my full time gig and I love it.

    As far as locations… Restaurants are great! look in your town for small locally owned eateries. Develop a relationship with the owners. They are also more likely to be responsive to charity placement than larger companies. I have several restaurant locations and they all do well. My family and I patronize them regularly and when I go to collect from the machines they ask me how my children are. I am the only vendor in these establishments, and will be for some time, because I eat there and developed a relationship with the owners. Thats the best way to get and keep great locations.

    Sorry to ramble again. Good luck to you!


  248. jonathan roy April 9, 2007 at 9:36 pm #

    i really liked what you wrote about bulk candy vending. i just started this business with 10 machines when i went today to collect the money out of the 3 i only made like $12 in about 15 days i was soo disappointed but thanx for the encouragement. You have any prefrence of locations that do better than others???? thanx again for the info man


  249. Brian Lee April 9, 2007 at 10:09 pm #

    It’s a numbers game, Jonathan. I have several locations that only make a few bucks a month, but I also have locations that make several hundred a month.

    As a general rule of thumb, traffic = profits. Restaurant lobbies are usually great locations, but hard to land.

    I prefer to approach retail stores with college-aged employees about a machine in their break room. Kids that age eat a lot of candy.

    You have to just keep making approaches and booking locations. Once you have all 10 machines out, you can start pulling your slowest locations and relocating them to better spots.

    Good luck!


  250. Janell April 3, 2007 at 8:07 pm #

    Great information, thank you!


  251. Brian Lee April 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by!


  252. Steve April 2, 2007 at 2:08 pm #

    Shane, In addition to Brian’s comments let me add these, This is a business like any other. If you are pulling in any profit you should adhere to the business laws in your locality. At the very least you should apply for and obtain a license to operate the machines. In my state it only cost $3.00 per machine, per year. A business license might be a good idea as well depending on your location. Other things to consider are good record keeping come tax time and whether or not you want to carry liability insurance. That choice is up to you. Some people buy it (At very expensive rates) while others choose to incorporate as an LLC. Which you choose is up to you. Either option has pros and cons, however I strongly recommend protecting yourself with one or the other. The last thing you need is a youngster choking on a gumball you sold him or one of your machines toppling over on a baby. My point in all my ramblings here (And I appreciate Brian for allowing me the forum) is that if you run a bulk vending route, you are in business, treat is as such and dont skimp thinking that you wont get caught. At the very least, being legal adds a certian amount of credibility to your business. If you dont take it serious enough to get legal then no one will take you serious as a business owner. With all that being said, I have only scraped the surface on what is required legally to run this or any business. Make sure you investigate the requirements locally before you jump into any venture. Call your local town hall or visit their website. Thats where I found the “bulk” of my information when I started. Good luck to you!


  253. shane April 2, 2007 at 10:59 am #

    how about the legal side of running a buisness like that? is there anything you have to do?


  254. Brian Lee April 2, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    I’m not a lawyer or an accountant, but I do know that you need to get a sales permit in most states. You also need to account for your profits and report them to the IRS.

    It’s best to check to see if there are any restrictions on selling candy. I would consult a good accountant and lawyer if I were you.


  255. Steve March 27, 2007 at 4:59 pm #

    Brian, I would absolutley recommend this business to anyone. (Except people in my area) ha ha. All kidding aside, vending can be quite profitable however a prospective vending operator must aware of the work that is required to make any serious money in this business. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it is a “hands off” business. That may be the case in the beginning but as you grow, more hands are required. My biggest piece of advice to anyone starting out in this biz is to start slow. Dont fall prey to the numerous biz-op scams out there. If a vending company wants you to buy multiple machines and wont allow you to buy just one at a time, run away quickly. I started out with 1 double head machine. By the time I placed my 8th machine I let the business pay for the next and so on. The exponetial growth is incredible. Patience is a must though. It wont happen overnight. The Vending Jackpot is a great book!


  256. jo March 27, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    Any books you recommend for this topic? On wikipedia it mentions Bryon Krug’s Vending Business-in-a-Box. Have any of you guys read it? Is it useful?


  257. jo March 27, 2007 at 1:51 pm #

    Which candy is the most popular and cheapest? Do you recommend 1, 2, or 3 head machines?


  258. Brian March 27, 2007 at 2:11 pm #

    The book I read was called The Vending Jackpot by Ronnie Talent. I found it to be very helpful and enough to get me started.


  259. Brian March 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    I use triple-head machines like the one in the picture at the top of this post.

    The candy mix that I use the most is: reese’s pieces, gumballs, and skittles.

    This way, I have a choice of something chocolaty, something sweet, and the best profit-margin: gumballs.

    Since skittles are so tiny, you have to adjust the machine down to release less of them in order to get your profit margin up. Be careful though, people will notice if you are too skimpy. You have to balance customer satisfaction with profit margin.


  260. Brandon Hopkins March 27, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    Great article Brian! I love the vending business as well. Passive if you make it passive.


  261. Brian March 26, 2007 at 7:46 pm #

    Thanks for all of your input, Steve. It’s nice to hear from a real full-time professional.

    Aside from the fact that it’s less passive than it looks, would you recommend the business to others? Are you happy with the business as a whole?


  262. Steve March 26, 2007 at 7:38 pm #

    Another note on the charity side. I do as well support the National Childrens Cancer Society. I send them $1 per machine per month. Doesnt sound like much but with the amount of machines I run it turns into a significant amount. My fleet is 100% charity placed. I also run full line soda/beverage machines as well. You can get a better idea of what I do and why by clicking on my name above.


  263. jo March 26, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    I am considering starting my own bulk vending business. So if you are making a gross of $40/month that means that on average, you have 160 people per month buying your goods. That amounts to an average of just over 5 people per day.

    So your expenses I assume are for the candy and rental (paying for your location). Do any of you guys do the charity thing? Sounds like a good idea. They get candy and it makes them look good.


  264. Brian March 26, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Out of the $40, I subtract about $15 to pay for candy. Gumballs are very inexpensive, but candy like Reese’s Pieces, and M&M’s cost more.

    As a general rule, I don’t pay for locations. The $4 a month I would pay them is silly and I usually convince them that it is better served to go to my charity. I pay 10% of my net to a local charity that I have an arrangement with.

    You can buy these stickers from Child Watch, or other national charities for $1 per month per machine. Those seem to work well, but I feel more comfortable with 10% to a charity that I care about.

    After the dust has settled, I usually budget for about $25 profit per month per machine.

    I have spoken to people who are making much more (Mike) and much less (Steve) per machine. In my experience, it’s better to budget low and be pleasantly surprised.


  265. Brian March 26, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    Mike, you’re cracking me up!


  266. Mike G March 26, 2007 at 7:16 am #

    GREAT article, Brian, really great. I was excited after about the second sentence. By the end I was all but foaming at the mouth! I’m on eBay as we speak, eyeing up my first machine. You’re a genius. God damn GENIUS!


  267. Brian March 24, 2007 at 7:06 pm #

    Wow! 600 Machines! That’s insane.

    I can see why you disagree with me if you are putting in 50 hours per week on your business. I would have the same opinion if I were you.

    That’s why I say that the term “passive” is relative. To you, bulk vending is not passive. Since I only spend about two days a month on my route, and make closer to $25 per machine, bulk candy is passive for me. I have no desire to have more than around 80 machines.

    That being said, bulk candy is the least passive of all of my investments. Once I start making enough money from my other investments, bulk candy will loose it’s passive status and be the first to go.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  268. Steve March 24, 2007 at 6:53 pm #

    I love the notion of “passive income” however I must respectfully disagree with the author. Bulk vending to me is anything but “passive”. I own and operate a fleet of over 600 machines and put in about 50 hours a week on running my routes/business. That doesnt include finding new locations for the kick outs and poor performers which average about 10% or roughly 60 machines per month that need to be re-located. Industry average income for a bulk machine is roughly $7.00 per month depending on product line, locations and geographic area. My fleet average sits at $8.23 per month. I do agree however with the remainder of your article. A good read indeed. Best of luck, Steve


  269. Brian March 16, 2007 at 9:16 am #

    I conservatively estimate net profits on my 3-head machines to be about $25 per month per machine. That means about $40 in quarters minus $15 in candy and expenses. I always like to budget low so that I can be pleasantly surprised. Some of my triple headers net closer to $150, but those are diamonds in the rough.

    If you do the math, it would take 400 machines to make $10,000 a month. At this level, the business would be a full time job. Since I’m not interested in another job, the sweet spot for me is about 80 machines and $2000 a month and I’m half way there.

    At this level, it only takes 4 or 5 days of work per month to keep up the machines.

    Thanks for the reminder on the big deal I promised everyone. I’ll work on that when I return from SXSW.


  270. Scott March 15, 2007 at 9:37 pm #

    Hi Brian.
    Thanks for this really helpful information.
    What I’m not clear on is what you say about $25 per location per month. Does this mean off of each selection? In other words, if you have a 3 head machine, do you make an average of $25 per selection or on the whole thing.

    When are you going to post about you “biggest deal ever” you found?

    Thanks a lot

    When are you


  271. geoff nash March 4, 2007 at 2:15 am #

    you will find that vending is work and thats ok if you want to make a good income this is the business to be in. I like bulk vending to me its a good business to be in and even though i have only 7 machines i have some awesome locations. But never give up if people say no dont get upset, keep on going keep your chin up and go get em tiger you can do it.


  272. Brian February 13, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    I own about 60 machines, 40 of which are placed in locations. Do you know anyone in LA or Austin that needs a candy machine?


  273. Alex Shalman February 13, 2007 at 10:16 pm #

    Sorry Brian I live on the East Coast and I’ve never been out there… well except a trip to San Francisco a couple of summers ago.


  274. Alex Shalman February 13, 2007 at 9:41 pm #

    Just how many vending machines are you the proud owner of?


  275. brianclee February 3, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    I hope you’re not talking about 1000 machines. Maybe $1000 worth of machines?

    I’m glad my article helped you. My advice would be to take it slow and start small until you really get the hang of it.

    I average about $25 a machine per month. I think that is a good starting place for budgeting.

    Thanks for participating in my blog!


  276. Kareese Lindsqy February 3, 2007 at 3:26 pm #

    your ad has convjnved me. I am in the process of purchasing 1000 because I know it really really works and I already have locations set up.. About how much do you think that I will make?


  277. John Wesley January 25, 2007 at 12:54 pm #

    Interesting post. It’s cool to see the actual mechanics of setting up a small business.



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