The Most Profitable Vending Machines: A Guide to the Different Types

Longstanding trends are changing in the vending machine industry. This presents an opportunity for those looking for their next business venture. And the best thing about a successful vending machine business is it’s relatively low maintenance.

Are you interested in getting a few vending machines for yourself? If you aren’t sure where to start, you could get suckered into a bad deal.

You need information about the most profitable vending machines to ensure your startup takes off on the right foot.

Not sure where to start? This guide will cover some of the most profitable vending machines, as well as their pros and cons.

1. Try Candy Machines for a Low-Cost Start

Candy vending machines are less pervasive as they were several decades ago, but they still have their place. If you’re just getting into the business, these machines are an affordable entry point. For one, they are the cheapest style of vending machines and require little maintenance, if any.

The other great thing about bulk vending machines? You can easily markup your candy by 500% and nobody will bat an eye. Candy is cheap, and a quarter is a small price to pay.

However, bulk candy machines do have their own set of problems. Even with the markup, your profit for each sale is quite small. Also, these machines tend to be less popular than other options.

They are so low-cost, even with low margins, that candy vending machines are generally a worthwhile investment.

2. Purchase a Snack Machine for Less Maintenance

Snack machines are a ubiquitous and popular choice. You can find them in business lunchrooms, public laundromats, and scattered throughout areas with heavy foot traffic. Unlike candy, these contain items such as cookies, chips, and chocolate bars.

Snack vending machines have less markup than those that sell candy, but the margins are more impressive. That small bag of chips cost you fifty cents, but you sell it for an entire dollar. People are more likely to buy packaged snacks than candy, so you’ll have more transactions overall.

However, these machines require more work. Some of their parts can break down over time, such as the coil system. Plus, they often carry upwards of 40 different food items, so you’ll have to make more trips to keep your machines stocked.

3. Go Healthy for the Most Profitable Vending Machines

According to vending machine profit statistics, you want to go healthy. Healthy snacks items are three times more popular than traditional snacks. Yes, you could (and should) include healthy options in your snack machines.

However, some vending machines offer only healthy options. Most healthy machines offer fresh fruit options, as well as juice, flavored water, and filling proteins.

So far, this trend hasn’t faded into obscurity. By using a fresh and healthy vending machine, you’ll draw more weekly transactions. However, you may have to visit your vending machines several times a week to ensure your stock is fresh, depending on what you’re selling.

Although healthy items tend to be more expensive, that means you have an opportunity to make more on the markup. But the proof is in the pudding. For more information, check out HealthyYou Vending.

4. Set Up Beverage Machines in Hot Climates

A vending machine with cool beverages can be a sight for sore eyes, especially in hot climates. These might sell branded soda options, sports drinks, or plain water.

Since a drink vending machine is refrigerated, it tends to be slightly more expensive than your average snack machine. You also have to worry about additional maintenance, like if something happens to the refrigerating system.

They are, however, one of the easiest machines to stock. Beverage vending machines tend to carry less than a dozen types of drinks if that. You’re also looking at a decent profit margin.

Location is important for every vending machine, but beverage machines stand to earn (or lose) the most. Snacks and candy are all well and good, but walking around on a hot day can be miserable. People will flock to your machine if the weather and setup are right.

But there is one problem. Nobody wants cold drinks during the winter. Although you may experience a great stream of revenue during the summer, traffic will die down during cold months.

If you live in a tropical climate or an area that remains warm for most of the year, beverage machines are a more sustainable choice.

5. Niche and Emerging Options

Although we’ve covered the basics, there are several specialty machines to consider. For another low-cost consideration, ice machines are available.

These are bulky and troublesome to move, but their operating costs are quite low. Keeping it stocked is basically free. You’ll often find these by gas stations and convenience stores.

You can also choose vending machines that create coffee, hold ice cream, or even bake pizzas. These specialty options have a much higher cost but also more to gain. Before opting for a niche vending machine, be sure you conduct extensive market research to protect yourself from sunk costs.

Starting Your Vending Machine Company

Although choosing the most profitable vending machines is an important consideration, it’s not the only factor. You’ll have to worry about competition with other vending machine suppliers, as well as fight for space in good locations. Many vendors create contracts with other business owners, offering a percentage of the machine’s sales.

Whatever you choose, you have options. If you’re not sure about starting a vending machine company, then try the candy machines to start. If those are going well, that’s a good sign that you’ve got the hang of things and are ready for higher margins.

Looking for your next big business opportunity? Keep your eyes on our blog for more.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.