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How-to guide: Starting a vending machine franchise in the UK

How-to guide: Starting a vending machine franchise in the UK

Vending machines are found in all kinds of places, selling all manner of products. From drinks, snacks and sweets to a variety of personal items, the machines can fulfil consumer needs at any hour of the day in the most convenient locations or where the products would otherwise be difficult to buy

But when you’ve bought from a vending machine, have you ever stopped to think about the business behind it? You might be interested to know there are varied and flexible franchise opportunities in the vending machine market, both part time and full time.

So what skills do you need? Your job will probably involve replenishing stock, collecting money, servicing and demonstrating the machines, so some level of technical ability is required.

But that’s not all. You’ll need to grow your business and build your customer base, so sales and marketing experience will also stand you in good stead. Establishing a good relationship with your clients is essential, so customer service will need to be one of your strong points.

You need to take care of the administration side of operations too. So as with any startup, sound business skills and financial sense will be crucial to the success of your venture.

As a vending machine franchisee, you’ll probably have a defined territory in which to work – so you’ll need a good knowledge of the area. There are all kinds of businesses and locations that could benefit from a vending machine and you need to research them all.

Your costs are likely to be fairly low. Office premises aren’t essential as you’ll probably be able to carry out the administrative side of the business from home. However, you will need enough room to store stock so a garage or shed, etc, might come in handy.

You’ll be visiting machines and clients regularly, so most of your time will be spent out and about, so transport is obviously an essential cost to consider, although the size of the vehicle you need will depend on the nature of the stock you’ll be working with – in many cases a van will be necessary.

The price you need to pay for a franchise will vary considerably. There are different fees to take into account. First, there is the initial fee you pay the franchisor to set up the business. Then there are ongoing fees paid at regular intervals. In some cases they are fixed but they’re usually linked to how your business is performing. Typically, they’re paid as a percentage of your turnover.

What you get for your money will also vary. Your initial franchise fee might include, for example, a certain number of machines to get you started. Look at all your options and compare franchisors’ fees and what you’ll get in return.

Remember, though, that you’ll also need a certain level of working capital to get your venture up and running. Also, if you need to borrow to set up your franchise, you’ll probably be required to provide at least a third of the necessary startup funds yourself.

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