Imagine going outside, and you are in serious need of water, or maybe you crave some snacks, and there is no option to buy these things. That’s when you subconsciously look for vending machines around you. It is known that in the United States, 20% of the consumers listed vending machines as the first go-to place to buy snacks, according to smallbizgenius. A vending machine business is very much easy to run, and it does not require additional staff to operate. Moreover, vending machine businesses are open 24/7 and satisfy customers’ needs through their operation without much hassle for both customers and owners alike. Now, you are probably thinking, how can you run your own vending machine business. Well, this article is here to help you to start your vending machine business.

Why would you want to start a vending machine business?

Apart from making money, other benefits may convince you to start a vending machine business. This section will discuss the advantages of running a vending machine business.

Not a Huge Investment

Unlike other businesses, a vending machine does not require a huge sum of money. With a fairly reasonable amount of budget, you can start and operate your vending machine business at ease. In fact, with a couple of hundred dollars, you can buy a used vending machine and kick-start your business.

Small Risk Factor

As you start with a small amount, there is little risk in the equation. Assumedly, you will buy a single vending machine and start your business, later, within a few days you will get an idea of how much profit you will be able to make with your business. You will gain insight into this business from your single vending machine. If you feel this business is not for you, you can just quit without having a huge loss.


The number one advantage of running a vending machine business is flexibility. You are the boss, you set the preferred time frame that you want to work. Vending machine business offers absolute freedom to the owner. You decide when to restock your machine and where to set your business. Moreover, you do not have to be physically present to operate your business. Besides, you can dictate what items you want to sell through your own market research.

Where can you buy your Vending Machine?

To run your vending machine business, you need a vending machine. There are numerous sources from which you can buy your vending machine. These are:

  • eBay
  • Manufacturers 
  • Wholesaler
  • Amazon
  • Craigslist
  • Online sellers

Where are the best places to start your vending machine business?

Even before setting up your vending machine business, the first thing that may require you to be mindful of is the perfect location. It is understandable that, like all the business people, you want to make a profit to sustain your vending machine business and a well-suited location will assure your success. The things you may consider to placing your vending machine business are: 

  1. If it’s outdoors, you may not place your vending machine in a remote area. As it is self-explanatory if people do not visit, how can you possibly sell something to them?
  2. If you place your vending machine indoors, it is advisable to not set it up in some corner where people do not see it. You may want to place it somewhere visible.
  3. As mentioned earlier, the factor of visibility, a vending machine business will more likely be successful if it receives more public traffic nearby. High visibility will ensure that people will come to buy impulsively or out of necessity. Therefore, you may target the visible place for vending machine business.
  4. Another thing that you may want to take into your consideration is your competition. Offering a cheaper deal than your competitor will very much likely guarantee your success.
  5. Apart from discounts, you may want to add some features such as cashless payment, and a wider range of product variety than your competition. There you have it, the recipe for success.’

With these five factors in mind, the perfect places to set up vending machine business are:

  • Shopping Centres
  • Hospitals
  • Airports
  • Train and bus stations
  • Gyms
  • Schools and Universities
  • Hotels
  • Grocery stores
  • Office complexes
  • Tourist spots, etc.

What kind of registration and paperwork do you need to own a vending machine business?


It is mandatory to have a licence if you want to run a business. Depending on your country, this can vary from others. Apart from a vending machine business licence, you will need a food/beverage serving licence. Also, you have to check your city’s chamber of commerce guidelines, if it requires you to have an additional licence.

Employer Identification Number

To pay the taxes, a vending machine business requires an employer identification number.


  • A Rental Agreement is necessary if you rent a place to operate your business.
  • Service Agreement frames the details of given assistance between a specialist provider and client. It is an essential document to ensure a smooth business operation among clients, suppliers, and any possible business partners.
  • A Certificate of Occupancy is relevant to running vending machine business according to occupancy protocol. This certificate reaffirms that all building codes and government regulations have been fulfilled by all the participating business parties.

What types of products can you sell with your vending machine business?

A vending machine is meant for satisfying the customers who like to purchase on the go. There are different products that you can sell with your vending machine. These are:

  1. Drinks or beverages such as cola, water, and hot or cold coffee.
  2. Food items, You can sell food and snacks that come sealed and packed. Snacks such as chips, cookies, and chocolate are the most selling vending machine items.
  3. Fresh items, as well as pre-packed products, a vending machine can also sell fruits and sandwiches. However, they are perishable; therefore, you may want to resupply them frequently.
  4. Tobacco selling in the vending machine is also very profitable.
  5. Other products, such as tissues, medicine masks, condoms, etc are also the most sold items in the vending machine business.

If you want to know what other items you can sell with your vending machine, here is an article by Businesses outlining 70 odd items that you can sell.


Vending machines are a great way to generate money. According to in the United States, around 2 million vending machines are currently in operation. Collectively, these machines are bringing in €7B in annual revenue for those who own them. Also, on average in the United States, adults spend around €35 per year. With hard work and a positive outlook in mind, you will surely make success with your vending machine business.

Also. if you want to start a business with 1000 euros, here is an article by Ewor which can help.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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