I have been asked on many occasions about all the ‘hype’ about ‘bulk’ vending machines that people see all over the internet. The ‘bulk’ machine sellers will tell you that their machines are the best, have the highest profit and empty rate. The ‘bulk’ machine sellers like to sell these machines because most of them are manufactured in other countries like China for very low prices and their sales markup is huge. These sellers pay incredible amounts of money every month in pay per click fees to be in the top pay spots on the most popular search engines. They will tell you how their machines empty at about $300, believe me it is not that easy. The machines might do quite well if they are located in a bowling alley, a bus station or a shopping mall, but in the real world many people locate these machines in small, out of the way places. Unless you are operating ‘capsules’ the food or gum in the machines will probably get ‘stale’ before it is sold. The sellers of these machines tell you about the ‘vast amount’ of locations available, but in fact many commercial or industrial locations do not like these type of machines because they cause a mess or vend gum that people drop or discard when they are done chewing it. We have been selling vending machines for over thirty years. Years ago we used to sell ‘bulk machines’ as well as ‘mechanical full size units’. We no longer sell either of those items due to the fact that when our customers would buy them, they would become unhappy with operating them very quickly. Usually within about 90 days from their purchase, most customers would ask to ‘trade’ these machines back to us towards full size commercial grade machines. By being around for over 30 years we have learned from these lessons and that is why we now only sell refurbished commercial grade machines. We still get customers to this day that buy these ‘bulk’ machines from online sellers and find they are not making enough money to earn a living. Many of our customers have small routes with 50 to 100 machines and are able to make a nice living and we have part time customers with as little as a few machines that earn enough to supplement their paychecks from their full time jobs. How many machines you need to earn a living depends on how good your locations are but that is also true of bulk machines as well. A full size can soda and snack machine has the potential to empty out at $800 to $1000 for the pair and a lot more people drink soda, eat snacks and candy every day than chew gum or buy capsule toys for their children. According to a survey in a vending industry related magazine sales of vending products in a recent year were over 20 billion dollars for soft drinks, almost 9 billion dollars for snacks, and confections, but less than 1/2 billion dollars for all bulk vending combined. The ‘bulk’ sellers tell you that it is hard to compete with the national soda makers, such as, Coke, Pepsi, etc. This is not quite true, since these large companies do not operate snack machines and they only carry their own brands. By owning your own machines you can ‘cross brand’ and operate multiple brands in your machines as well as providing snack machines that these soda makers do not operate. These huge soda companies also have huge overhead due to the high wages they pay their route drivers etc. I have seen small vendors take over some of the locations that the bottlers basically didn’t want and make them into good locations for a small vendor without the large overhead.
– HERE’S THE FACTS –
These ‘bulk’ machines ‘Do Not’ make change for dollar bills like commercial machines.
These ‘bulk’ machines and lightweight combos can be easily stolen from a location due to their light weight versus commercial grade machines that weigh from 700 to 895 pounds each.
When people are hungry they want more than a ‘gumball’ or a few nuts. They want a ‘full size’ candy bar or bag of chips, etc.
We hope this answers your questions about bulk vending machines and the profit they make.
Thank you Vending World, please visit our website at www.vendingworld.com
Aside Posted on Updated on
Most ‘modern’ vending machines made in the USA use coin mechanisms. The more you use these coin mechanisms, the more dirt and grime that will accumulate on the coin tracks. Some cleaning tips are provided later in this article. (These units are sometimes referred to as ‘changers’, ‘coin changers’, ‘coin mechs’, or ‘electronic changer’, etc.)
TYPES OF MODERN STYLE COIN MECHANISMS, MAKES AND MODELS
There have been many types of coin mechanisms made over the years. Here are some of the more popular types, and the type of machines that they are generally used in over the last twenty years. With minor maintenance these coin mechanisms will keep functioning in most cases for many years without repairs, and unlike bill validators, do not have rubber parts that wear and cause regular replacement.
SINGLE PRICE COIN MECHANISMS
Coinco, this company has been making coin mechanisms for a long time. Their most popular single price mechs for ‘modern era machines’ were made in the 1980s and 1990s. There are two different series of mechs that Coinco produced during that time period. The 3000 series and 9000 series. In the 3000 series, the two most popular models made were the 3340S and the 3341S. The main difference between the two models is in the number of dollar interface plugs that each unit has. The 3340S has one basic six pin dollar interface plug. This is to accommodate a basic ‘pulse’ type bill validator. The 3341S has two dollar interface plugs. The six pin mentioned above, and also a twelve pin which with a harness can be hooked directly into a Mars type bill validator such as a VFM3, or VN2511 for direct power and what Coinco refers to as a non standard bill interface. The main drawback to the 3000 series mechs is, they cannot be tuned once they become ‘picky’ accepting coins. The ‘heads’ on these two series of units cannot be interchanged.
The 9000 series works similar to the 3000 series listed above, many of them have the two interface plugs for the bill validators. The 9000 series on the other hand can be tuned. This is an advantage when newer coin styles are introduced or if tuning for Canadian coins or tokens. These models could include 9340S, 9360S, 9370S. Many times the 9370S will also have a DEX plug included.
Mars Electronics (now called MEI) model TRC6800H, made during the same time period as the Coinco. This unit has dual interfaces on all coin mechanisms, and can also be tuned. Its tuning features have made this a popular model for use in Canada, and for custom tuning for pesos for use in Mexico as well.
24 VOLT AND 110 VOLT LOGIC COIN MECHANISMS
Coinco 9302L and 9302LF, Mars Electronics TRC6010X or TRC6010XV, are mainly used on snack machines. The basic difference in these two models is, that one has a twelve pin plug and one has a fifteen pin plug. This is very important to note. Originally when logic style machines were made, they used 110 volt coin mechanisms. Over time, to take this high voltage away from the operator, they made 24 volt twelve pin coin mechanisms. The only problem with this was, that you could accidentally plug a 24 volt unit into a 110 volt twelve pin plug. Due to this fact, the twelve pin 24 volt coin mechanisms were not made for very long and that is why they went to a fifteen pin 24 volt unit, to make a clear difference for the operator between the 110 volt and 24 volt coin mechanisms. Use caution whenever plugging in a 24 volt twelve pin unit to make sure that your machine is wired for 24 volts and not for 110 volts.
Many early models of snack machines use a 110 volt unit, such as a Mars TRC6000, and older coin mechanisms such as MC5000 or a Coinco 9300L. A Coinco 9340L is also used in some machines that were not originally equipped with dollar bill validators, so they need this unit to add that ability.
MDB COIN MECHANISMS (MULTI DROP BUS)
These coin mechanisms use a small six pin plug that will also interface to an MDB bill validator on the same harness. MDB coin mechanisms and protocols have changed many times over the years, but most coin mechanisms are ‘backward’ compatible with older MDB machines. Almost all ‘modern’ machines made in the last ten years use these MDB style coin mechanisms. Early three tube MDB coin mechanisms can include Coinco 9302GX and Mars Electronics TRC6510MDB. Later coin mechanisms include Coinco Coin Pro 3 and Mars Electronics TRC6512. Three tube coin mechanisms are popular when using a $1 only bill validator and high capacity change is not required.
HIGH CAPACITY MDB COIN MECHANISMS (MULTI DROP BUS)
These coin mechanisms usually have four or five coin tubes, or high capacity hoppers and can hold as much as $90 in change. Coinco early coin mechanisms include Quantum (Q700) four tube coin mechanisms, or Mars Electronics VN4510 four tube coin mechanisms. Later coin mechanisms include Coinco Vortex, a three hopper coin mechanism, Mars Electronics CF7512, a five tube unit and Conlux CCM5G, a five tube coin mechanism. When using a $5 bill validator on your machine, it is suggested to use one of these high capacity coin mechanisms to eliminate ‘out of change’ responses that will shut down bill validation.
MAINTENANCE OF COIN MECHANISMS
Older single price coin mechanisms, 24 volt, 110 volt logic coin mechanisms, and early MDB coin mechanisms have coin paths that will get dirty over time due to the coins simply passing down the chute. This should be cleaned if the acceptance rate of the coins starts to decline, or you start to see a noticeable buildup of dirt or grime in this area, or the backside of the ‘flight deck lid’. Be careful when opening the ‘flight deck lid’ for cleaning to not bend it too far backwards, as it can be broken. A soft cloth and a mild solution is usually recommended by the manufacturers of the coin mechanisms. For complete cleaning instructions please refer to the original manuals provided by the manufacturers.
Newer ‘high capacity’ coin mechanisms have their own unique areas to clean, and each unit is different. Please refer to the cleaning instructions of each unit before starting to clean.
We hope this article has given you more information about your coin mechanisms, and helps you in choosing coin mechanisms that are right for your vending machine needs. Only the coin mechanisms mentioned above can be easily repaired or exchanged at most repair facilities. If you are currently using any of the older coin mechanisms not mentioned in this article and have them fail, you might decide it is worth it to move up to a newer style of vending machine.
Branching out and beginning your own business is, in itself, a risk. Leaving behind a steady paycheck and the lack of responsibilities associated with being an employee and not an employer has another set of risks. You, however, want to be in charge of your own destiny, to write your own future, to set your own hours and to be the boss. These are noble callings and mean you are self-reliant, motivated and have a mind for business.
Rather than just running out and immediately starting your new vending machine business, you need to strongly consider what are the risks and rewards associated with this new venture.Any new business, as previously stated, has a degree of risk.A vending machine business can have incredible rewards, and you are willing to risk what is necessary to make it.
One of the first risks you are likely to encounter is buying machines. Used vending machines, while cheaper, may not have some of same anti-theft protection as a newer, recently built machine. The products and the money inside are a quick way for unscrupulous individuals to earn some fast cash, and this leaves you, the owner, on the hook for the repair bills and replacement product.
The chances of your machines running low, out of or lacking a particular product are always a problem. You must be willing and capable of filling your machines quickly. This may mean no vacation; holidays or weekends off because at any time you may have to service and fill your machines.
Choosing to hire an employee or employees to assist you will present a new set of risks like insurance, bonding and employment taxes. When you own your own business, the only person you will realistically be able to trust and be assured to get the job done right is you.
This is not to say you cannot start a new business and be very successful. All businesses will have some degree of risk involved, but no business ever began because someone was too scared to step out and begin something new. There is not one business that did not get started without someone willing and able to take a risk.
A vending machine business has the opportunity to be very lucrative and profitable. The margins of profit are high when you consider the amount of work involved. Do your homework; calculate the risks and step out. It may lead you to greatness.
Author Bio: Victor McNamara works at Vending World. Vending World is a leading distributor of used vending machines. They have been selling vending machines since 1968 and can fill almost all of your general vending machine needs.