Running a bulk candy vending route is mostly fun and easy; however, every operator who has been in business for more than a few years will have stories to tell about setbacks, losses, and unpleasant surprises. Fortunately, the majority of such events can be mitigated or eliminated by adherence to best practices. An alternative title for this blog post might be “Dumb Stuff that I have done while running my Bulk Candy Vending Route.”
Staying Away Too Long
Bulk candy vending is supposed to be a passive income method. And, up to a point, it is exactly that, but how passive is, to an extent, up the route owner. If, for example, you have a location where the candy product empties slowly, there will be a tendency to space out your visits to that location over longer and longer intervals until you establish a comfortable service schedule that keeps you from making unnecessary trips, but doesn’t entail the risk of having the machine run low on fresh product. What you will learn however is that there are other risks associated with neglecting a location for, say, two, three, or four months at a stretch.
I’ve made the “away too long” mistake more than once. Here are some of the consequences:
- The machine has an “Out of Order” sign on it, often because somebody inserted in the coin mechanism a coin (or other object) that isn’t a quarter. The location owner/manager didn’t bother to call you, but instead simply waited for you to show up again. When this happens, you’ve lost revenue on the malfunctioning machine and the “Out of Order” condition has eroded goodwill with the business owner.
- The machine is gone. Either the business owner has moved your machine “offline” to a storage area – that’s if you’re lucky – or the business establishment has been renovated in your absence and the employees can’t recall what happened to your machine. The worst outcome is discovering that the location has gone out of business. In that case, your machine may no longer be on the premises. Even if you have the owner’s phone number, you are unlikely ever to retrieve the machine.
Lesson: It is best to visit your locations at least once every 6 weeks, even the “slow movers.”
Bulk candy machine manufacturers use different key-lock strategies. For example, when you buy a Beaver machine, you get one key that opens all Beaver machines of the particular model within a given geographic location. So, you may have one key that will open all of the Beaver machines on your route. Alternatively, if you use Northwestern machines, a key is specific to a particular lock. If you lose a key, and if you did not record the number of that key, then you may have to drill the lock and order another key-lock set from the manufacturer in order to regain use of the machine. On the other hand, if you did record your key numbers, you can simply order another key of the same number and resume operation with little delay or expense.
Lesson: Record your key numbers.