We have designed this document and introduction, to alleviate and facilitate your entry into vending with little fuss, however with the abundance of information available on the internet and social media, we encourage our potential customers to engage, think and research thoroughly.
If you are Seriously considering entering the Vending Industry, please take a few moments to read this. Not Only will it assist you in making the correct decision, it will save you and your prospective supplier a considerable amount of time and heartache.
Vending is NOT the Silent salesman and a get rich quick business; it requires time and effort to succeed in vending. Your success is 100% dependent on your efforts, much like any business venture. Vending requires a holistic approach to a multiple of disciplines, ranging from merchandising to logistics and a fair grasp of fundamental technical abilities
As vending is a very specific niche industry, we request that our customers carry out thorough and independent research on both their prospective supplier as well as exactly what form of vending you would be interested in. Confectionery, Beverages, Airtime, Washing Machines, Pharmaceuticals, Gum Balls etc.
Searching for a Suitable Supplier.....??
Okay you have now crossed the first hurdle, you have done your research and your mind is made up, you have the necessary funding in place - WHAT NOW?
Well there are a few options:
Purchase a vending machine from a private individual via Junkmail or Gumtree -Indeed it certainly may sound cheaper than purchasing a re-furbished vending machine from a dealer and it probably will be - HOWEVER WILL you receive a warranty ? will you receive the necessary back-up and support ? will you be able to draw on their experience ? Who will carry out repairs?
Purchasing from a dealer - Where to start? Probably the Internet and yes you will probably type the word -Vending Machine or Total Vending Machine Solutions or Vending Machines for sale - and in all likelihood you will click on the "first name" the search engine displays and perhaps get hooked in ....have you ever stopped and questioned your behavior or rationale? Invariably companies names who appear on the top of search engine results are ALL in a bidding war amongst themselves and of-course Google - They are paying up to R5.00 per click for the simple usage and display of that particular word or catch-phrase - Who do you Think ENDS UP paying FOR this extra expense? and if a company really needs to pay for ad-words, ask yourself why ? Surely the best advertising is word of mouth and of-course Social Media ? Does the website offer you any information or is it Paparazzi styled HARD SELLING with numerous options and offers of buy 1 and get .1free etc etc.
Are you receiving the content you require in bite sized digestible chunks without the frills and fanfare ? Prices of vending machines? Specifications of vending machines? Vending Machine Solutions. Are you comparing Apples with Apples? and this is important as many suppliers or advertisers may offer you similar looking machines on the outside, however check the Build Quality and stock carrying capacity? Inspect the stability of the carcass, the trays, spirals and vend motors.
Are you comfortable with the make and model? There are numerous makes and models of vending machines available world wide and we would prefer not to knock any of them, as it is not ethical and neither professional. All vending machines have their pros & cons, ultimately it is the consumers choice. The easiest and most effective manner of beginning your search for Vending Machines is to start off with Social Media Sites - (CONSUMER based Social Media sites do not lie)! Go and physically ask owners of other vending machines who they purchase from and why? Search the internet and your local newspapers and find a supplier. Investigate their website and spend time READING the information on the websites, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from websites and the manner in which they are depicted, often reflects the manner in which they conduct their business.
Can Websites be deceitful or Misleading….Indeed YES and how many times does the Hotel Room OR Holiday resort look completely different or in most cases Very Disappointing to the pictures depicted on the net. Whilst the proliferation, common acceptance or behavior of ON-LINE shopping is slowly becoming the norm in the FMCG category – This is a very dangerous behavior when it comes to Purchasing a Vending Machine on-line. Would You Buy/Purchase a Motor Vehicle and or a Television or Washing Machine? to the value of R 60 000.00 without viewing it? Unless of-course you had a previous relationship with the seller. And right now you would buy a “tool” – AN INCOME PRODUCING ASSET a simple Vending Machine via the internet or telephone? Surely this is financial gambling at its worst?
Another practice that is horrifying in our experience is the amount of consumers who have parted with their money to unscrupulous sellers or SCAM artists in the Internet Classifieds advertising brand new vending machines at less than 50% of the market price? Every one is looking for a bargain and this is human nature,however when it is TOO good to be True, yes it is too good to be True. My SIMPLE and Practical advice is
Do Not Part with your Hard earned cash until you have
1) Viewed the EXACT machine you intend purchasing (That is correct, the exact machine –Record the Serial Number and Photograph the unit).
2) Visit you suppliers premises and meet with the people you intend to start a business relationship with. (Yes, once again a tremendous amount of insight can be gleaned from a suppliers show-room and working environment, after all, this is where they will be preparing your vending machine).
3) Are you dealing with a Commission based sales person or a permanent non commissioned based employee?
4) For the want of better terminology – Is the DP (Dealer Principal) or stakeholder /director easily accessible should you ever require assistance from a senior staff member.
5) Does you potential supplier have the infrastructure – reliability – responsibility – to grow with you in the future? And more importantly do they have a reliable reputation.
6) Do not be afraid to ask if the particular brand is new to their stable and if so, what is the track record.
7) Does your supplier carry a full range of Spares.
8) Be reasonable and conduct yourself in a fair and responsible fashion, vending machines are exactly that, they are machines – much like computers or cars and yes they are not perfect, so upon installation and after transportation – There will most certainly be a few teething or tweeking issues that will take place. PATIENCE we do not do this on purpose and on the contrary it affects every suppliers productivity and costs, we get just as annoyed as you do, except we feel the financial pain of lost productivity more severely. It is in your suppliers interest to solve these hiccups as quick as possible.
9) Traditionally Vending Machines take between 6 to 8 weeks to bed down in a location and become part of the culture or ethos of an organisation. RELAX relax, consumers require time to get familiar with the vending machine and of-course build up a relationship of TRUST with your vending machine. ( It sounds crazy, but true – Consumers begin to form a subliminal relationship with THEIR Vending Machine….and with time they begin to know exactly where all products are merchandised blind folded – eg Lays S&V is placed in spiral A1.( TAKE THE TIME TO TALK and Communicate with your Customers …they will proffer you FREE advice and will be very quick to point out your merchandising faults and of-course problems that may be occurring with your vending machine. Eg A product has been priced at Zero Rand as you were in a rush and forgot to check the pricing, the day you placed Uncle Bob’s Biltong.
10) Prepare yourself to get into a regular rhythm or schedule of re-stocking your machine and stick to it.
11) Your Vending Machine supplier runs and operates a business much like any regular service based organisation. We too have constraints and logistics and whilst ALL vending machine equipment suppliers try to satisfy their customers, we are obliged to work to systems and procedures in order to ensure complete satisfaction. It is unfair and un-reasonable to call technician’s and expect immediate attention via the telephone. Eg If you have booked a face to face consultation with your Doctor and he spent 30 minutes diagnosing another patient on the telephone, would you be happy to pay him/her the full consultation fee?
12) Vending Machine suppliers – supply vending machines and ancillary services and part of these services is the technical support and repair of vending machines. Specialised, Reliable and experienced vending machine technicians take time and training especially in an (in-formal) industry sector such as vending, with this in mind Technicians need to receive salaries and companies need to provide infrastructure to provide their customers with the service. These infrastructure expenses which include fuel, vehicles, training etc do cost money and henceforth Vending Machine suppliers do have to Charge for this service. It is a specialised industry and there are no formal courses in South Africa to “learn” the trade. Ask your potential supplier for references of other customers who have purchased…..within the past 12 weeks & ask for the telephone numbers immediately & call immediately – (Perhaps discretion may be in order).
(PS – Be reasonable and POLITE, one day it may be you so take this into account). Once you have decided on your supplier - Take the time to go and visit the supplier - See the premises, meet the people, ascertain whether you are able to work with them in the future.