Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Can't I Find Locations for My Vending Machines!


A common question frustrated vendors ask: "Why on earth can't I find locations for my vending machines?" or, "Why are the locations I get not turning a profit"?

The main reason people can't find locations for their vending machines is that they don't really try. They have been told (probably by a biz op company trying to sell them a package) that locations are just begging for vendors to come in droves to install their vending machines.

Or, they have been told (biz ops use this line too) that locations are nearly impossible to get, that locations require some sort of magical treatment and that the only way you're going to find a place for your machines is by hiring a specialist, or "vending machine locator".

The truth is, as usual, somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Decent vending locations are out there, and always will be there, even during downturns in the economy. But it's also true that these locations are not going to just drop into your lap with little or no effort on your part.

There are a few (and I mean very few) vending locators that live up to their promises and earn the money that you pay them. But you can't just sit there, either. So what's an enterprising vendor to do?

First of all, you need to get proactive and do your own locating. Finding locations, no matter what you've been told, does not require any special licensing, training, equipment, or secret info that only locators are privy to. All a locator does is flip open the business pages of your local phone directory (or it's online equivalent) and start blindly calling down the list, asking if 1) they can speak to the owner/manager and 2) would they like to have x kind of vending machine placed in their business for free? If they get so much as a "Umm, I guess so" then they call that a positive placement and send you out to meet with them, as if they had agreed wholeheartedly.

So best case scenario, you get there and meet with the person in authority, and they say sure, come on in, and you manage to make a profit. Annoying scenario: Worst case scenario: You actually take the time and spend the money to transport your machine to the location because the locator told you it was a sure thing- but as you wheel it through the door, you discover that the company decision-maker has never heard of you, because the locator that sent you there only spoke to some assistant manager; and they have no interest, or even have room, for a vending machine.

To avoid such awkward and costly situations, you need to do a few things: Get yourself some vending business cards, make some flyers that explain your service and show a photo example of the products and machine you're offering, check out some tips by pros,  then get in your car and go to businesses during non-busy hours to promote yourself. Don't ask for the manager, ask to speak to a person in charge of making business decisions.

To supplement your efforts, sign up for a FREE vending machine locating service that does NOT charge you a fee UNLESS you get to meet with the location yourself, and you actually take that location, and the location has agreed to take YOU on as their vendor. For instance, 4VendingTips.com is a company that has locations that actually come to them, looking for a vendor such as yourself- and if you are signed up on their list of available vendors, then you are notified by email, placed in touch with the locations, and if you decide to take it, then and only then are you obligated to pay a reasonable fee.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What does it take to find a decent Location for your Vending Machines?

There are lots of locations- locations are a dime a dozen, and most places would welcome vending machines- but that's not the issue. The problem is finding locations that actually turn you a profit. If you have an electrical snack / soda combo sitting in a salon with 3 employees on a diet and 10 lady customers a day, you won't make enough money to justify having it there.

All too often that's exactly what you end up with- especially if you got your machines from some business opportunity company that included a "locating service" in their giant price tag. There are some good locators out there, but the majority of them are just going to open a phone book to the business section and start making cold calls, asking people if they want vending machines for free in their business. Often they don't even bother to speak to a manager- then you go to move your machine in, and the manager tells you to take a hike.

It can also be a little more difficult to get those prime locations with plenty of employees on several shifts (like car factories and government contract facilities). Those places usually have security, and aren't too keen on somebody they may see as a solicitor. That's why big time vendors like Coca-Cola can get their corporate foot in the door so easily. Wouldn't it be great if more larger locations who needed vending services would seek out individual vending machine operators like you, instead of just running straight to the big wigs?

Actually, that can and does happen every day with 4Vendingtips.com. Locations in need of a vendor actually seek THEM out- and if you happen to be smart enough to have signed up as a vendor in their database, then you can be automatically alerted to all those great locations- for FREE. You don't pay any kind of fee unless the location is secure, and you get to actually meet with the location before you decide! As if that weren't enough, you'll know going in what kind of traffic the place has, how far away from you it is, blue or white collar, etc. Check it out, you just can't afford not to be on their nationwide vendor list.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finding Vending Locations - A Novel Approach

There are plenty of ways to find locations for your vending machines- don't limit yourself to the obvious, in-your-face methods that you will be confronted with during your foray into the vending world.

While there are some good vending machine locators out there, most do not offer you many choices of locations. With traditional vending locators, the process usually entails that you give them a chunk of money, and then they go out and solicit businesses- that is, try to get locations to allow them to put your machines there. The majority of the time, you've already paid for a machine, if not several.

Usually, the extent of their work involves them just opening up a local phone directory and calling businesses to ask if they want a vendor. That's not exactly some sort of specialty work that involves insider info you aren't privy to- it's just cold calling, which anyone can do, including yourself.

What if there was an easy and free way to find out about locations that actually need and WANT a vendor- instead of paying for the shots in the dark that a locator takes, or that you spend your own valuable time taking?

Even better, what if you could set your own parameters about the locations that you would consider taking? (As in, no soon-to-close beauty shops with 3 employees in the middle of nowhere?)

Further, how awesome would it be if you could actually go TO the location and meet with the person in charge there- and know that you're not just wasting your time and theirs because THEY initiated their own search for a vendor?

Luckily, there's a great new method that can allow you to do all this and more. Check THIS out!

This service can bring the locations to YOU. Exactly how is this different than other location specialists? Simple - they don't go out soliciting locations; rather, they have a special method that brings the locations to THEM. Locations come to them because they want and need a vendor to provide snacks, food, soda, etc...

If the location matches the parameters you set when you signed up (number of employees, miles away, etc) then YOU CAN BE NOTIFIED FOR FREE just by signing up on their vendor list!

Another cool thing about this method is that you could potentially: meet with a location, find out what kind of machines would suit them best, secure the location, and THEN buy the machine. This is totally opposite of buying a machine and then paying someone to locate it for you- which is what most people do. Nothing wrong with that, but using 4VendingTips.com is a free and easy service, so why not.

Give it a try!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Don't shoot your foot when looking for vending machine locations...

When finding locations for your vending machines, stay in control:
  • Don't agree to every request just so you can get that "great" vending account. Things like cold food vending machines in a location of 20 employees or that request to import chocolate covered ants is not going to be filled by any vending operator that knows his / her business; so, don't feel like you will blow the deal if you say "no". However rather than just blowing them off, it is good to explain why it is not really feasible so that they realize other vendors will not be any more accomodating to their extreme requests.
  • Don't agree to vended product commission requests without first evaluating their current vending room. If they want a commission, ask them what they are currently getting; see if the prices on products in their vending machines now coincide with this number. They will probably not demand a higher commission; if they can get a quality vending service, they may forget the commission all together. It also helps to explain that the commission will affect the price that their employees pay for snacks & drinks. Many companies consider low prices from the machines as another employee benefit that they can claim. Let them know about superior service, freshness guarantees, event service; other benefits you provide.
  • Try to get all of the business even if they say a contract has them locked up for the soda machines. They often don't really know what the contract says; most allow for removal of the vendor in the event of poor service. Let them know that vendors usually will only provide snack vending machines if they also have the drink vendors. They have probably heard this before and may be ready to finally pull that contract from the back of the file drawer.
Remember, they NEED your service; you NEED to make a profit. If you come across very professional, they will usually agree with your recommendations by the end of the visit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vending Machine Locators - games they play!

Although using a vending machine locating service can help you to find locations quickly & the quality can vary dramatically as discussed below, but that is not the main concern you should have in hiring a locator to place your machines.

Along with the great opportunity that the vending business brings, there are also those that will take advantage of new vendors that are anxious and have no idea what they are doing. Regardless of how much research you have done, if you are just getting started, you're vulnerable!

Vending locators often want 50% of the money up front with the remainder due after the job is done. However, I've heard hundreds of stories about locators that would not return calls after they received the 50% deposit. So, it is best to find a locator that allows you to pay them the huge majority of payment after the job is done. Or just hire them to do a few machines at first to see how they do and then add a few more. Don't give a large group at once or you will not get the same quality of work since they no you have nothing more to offer (ie. no more work).

It is also best to find a locator that will let you watch as they find locations. This way you can learn to do it yourself for the next time. More importantly, this allows you to verify that the location really did agree to the placement as well as the terms that you expect, such as commission percentage - if any. I've heard stories of locators doing a job well, but later the vending operator learned that the locator had promised an exhorbitant commission in order to get the location. Yet, they always failed to tell the vendor about this!

In other cases, the locator has found locations, while out by himself, and later met the vendor at a meeting place to tell him about all the wonderful locations he has found. He may even give the operator a group of business cards for each location. Then, he asks for payment & may have some " emergency " that requires him to return home ASAP. He will assure the vendor that if any of the locations aren't perfect, he will replace them for free. Yet after he is paid, don't ever expect to hear from him again. His cell phone # will be uselessafter the vendor has paid him. Also I wouldn't be surprised if this stack of business cards in the vendors hand is totally worthless. You can walk into any business and get a business card for the manager without even speaking to him / her. I've seen it many times, he has their business card, but he never talked to them about the machines. That means he never got approval, and the vendor does not have a location. I've talked to vendors who had 30 cards for contacts at new "locations", but after all was said and done, he spent the day loading machines on a trailer only to learn that not a single location had agreed to anything. Be smart, take my advice...

Don't just go to the location, but make sure that at some point before the locator leaves town, you speak to the person that gave permission; at which point, you can also make sure that he agreed to your terms.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

How to Find Locations for Your Vending Machines

Do you have a vending business? Do you plan to start one? Do you have some vending machines but not know what to do with them? One things for sure; in all cases you need locations. This is the ultimate "must have" in vending! There are many creative methods of getting locations for vending machines as well as some "not so creative." If you have been in vending for less than a year, you probably have only seen the "not so's." Starting with the basics, you can either hire someone, a vending machine locator, to find locations for your machines, or you can do it yourself. Doing it yourself is optimal, but using a locator can offer some advantages.

If you are brand new and nervous about approaching businesses, riding with a locator can help you learn what questions will arise without fear of appearing as a novice in your own business. Also, if you are extremely limited on time, a good locator can help to keep your life in balance. Then, if you have a garage full of machines and just want them out & making "something," a locator can probably find locations much faster than you can. However, quality is usually sacrificed for speed. And locators are All About Speed. Most locators will go to a commercial area, pick a street & go from one door to the next all the way down hitting Every Single door they see. This means they hit the great potential locations as well as all the lousy ones in between. They will not take great care in cherry picking each location to approach as YOU would. Overall, 1/3 of locations found by a locator will be great, 1/3 will be absolutely pathetic, and the other 1/3 will be somewhere in the middle. So, if you use a locator, expect to have a considerable percentage of machines that will need to be re-located due to low income. But, at least they will be collecting money, not dust! :-)

Now, if you're not scared to talk to people, YOU CAN locate them yourself! In the beginning, it may take more time than you like, but practice makes perfect. You will learn a new skill that could be worth tens of thousands of $$ to your business. Not only will you save on the locator fees, but the improved quality of your locations will result in more and more profits accompanied by much more proficient use of your valuable time. Of the many angles vendors use to find locations, you will find / develop one that works best for you and refine it as you go.
I will cover some of these tactics in another post as well as the "Do's & Don't's" when using a vending machine locator, but remember this...
  • A locator will find below average locations fast
  • You will find above average locations slowly
  • Either action is better than inaction

For more common sense in vending, visit http://www.usedvending.com/ ; http://www.4mega-vending.com/