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Vending Machines Are Employees


What’s the reaction you get when you tell people you’re in the vending industry? Often, perplexed is the best way to describe how someone looks when given that information because it is not an industry that first comes to mind. One of the reasons for that maybe that vending does not require many employees when compared to other more labor-intensive service industries, so not as many people know about it. In addition, especially when starting on a small scale, vending can be a relatively inexpensive industry to enter. Labor costs in vending are a much smaller percentage of overall business expenses than in many other industries. Have you ever thought about what an advantage that can be for your company and how you can capitalize on it?

According to an article on, Michelle Edwards, CPA, writes, “Most business owners are surprised to learn that on average an employee will actually cost 25%-40% above their wages/salary amount.” In addition to salaries, employees can also mean payroll tax, insurance, benefits, and paid-time-off costs. To put this into perspective, if you pay an employee a base salary of $50,000, it would actually cost you a minimum of $62,500 to $70,000 annually for the work of that one person. Now, don’t get us wrong, a good employee is worth their weight in gold and then some, but when compared with those expenses, vending machines, the workhorse of your business, are a real bargain. So, what are you doing to protect that and ensure you get the best rate of return on your investment?

When a company finds a truly valuable employee, they will often go to extreme lengths to make sure that person stays with them as long as possible. What do you do to ensure your machines have the same longevity in your operation? You don’t need to offer paid vacation or insurance or send them off for training and professional development, but a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. Consider these simple steps to improve the life of your machines and maximum your return.

1. Regular Cleaning — Keeping your machines free of dust and debris can help protect them. Consider a monthly or quarterly cleaning routine. You can blow out or wipe down surfaces with dust build-up, inspect around the machine and remove any debris inside or out of the machine. Check for corrosion or buildup of deposits on any parts and address accordingly before it becomes a problem.

2. Preventative Maintenance — You never hear of them replacing a part on an airplane after it breaks. The same is true for a variety of machinery and equipment. Consider the parts that most commonly break on your machine and develop a rotating schedule of replacing for those parts, so they don’t stay in operation beyond life expectancy and create unnecessary downtime. In addition, make sure you are using GFCI plugs for all machines to protect against power surges.

3. Inventory — Changers and validators are the most used pieces of equipment on your machines. Consider keeping one or two of these on-hand to replace in a pinch and reduce the loss of time in service. Spiral clips are another one that comes in handy for snack machines.

Machines and parts will wear out or malfunction from time-to-time and nothing can completely stop that from happening, but by following these three simple steps, you can eliminate some downtime and lots of headaches along the way.