Is Vending Machine Business Profitable in 2023?

men standing and sitting on vending machine

As an avid investor, I have always been on the lookout for unique and profitable investment opportunities. One such opportunity that has caught my attention since I was a little kid was starting a vending machine. So I decided to take the time to do the research to figure out whether is vending machine business profitable especially in 2023.

Vending machines are a common sight in public spaces, and they offer a convenient way for people to purchase snacks and drinks on the go. However, not all vending machine business actually makes money and it all stems down to the age-old investment philosophy of “location, location, location“.

I started the vending machine business with my brother back in 2020. Both of us had learned a great deal about owning a vending machine business and we believe doing this type of business is a great way for young entrepreneurs to look into making money.

So let’s say you got the location down, and you want to know even with the best location whether this business is profitable. If you are curious, then be sure to read on.

vending machines as an investment

In reality, if you are looking to start a vending machine business completely amateurish, the total cost can bring you from $3,000 up to $8,000. We bought ours from Carousell which is a secondary market meaning we got it at just under $3,000.

vending machine

These days, owning a vending machine has become really affordable thanks to China’s constant development of machinery.

Right now, you can purchase a vending machine for less than $2,500.

If you are interested, be sure to click on the link below. PS I have no affiliation with the company.

I never realize how starting a vending machine business could propel me to learn more about running a business. From learning to draft emails to creating contracts to maintaining resources. There is a lot to learn when starting this business.

Once you can get ahold of it, this business can easily be turned into a cash cow passive income machine.

Are vending machines a good investment?

Vending Machine Business 2 1

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as a simple yes or no.

The profitability of vending machines as an investment depends on several factors.

One of the most critical factors is the location of the vending machine.

A vending machine that is placed in a high-traffic area will generate more revenue than one that is placed in a low-traffic area.

Another critical factor is the type of products that the vending machine dispenses. Some products, such as snacks and drinks, have a higher profit margin than others.

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how to start your own vending machine business

Starting this business on your own requires careful consideration of several factors.

Here’s a summarized version which you can try to figure out the rest. If you plan to run this business, you need to do ample research. That means:

  • Knowing where has the highest traffic
  • When is the best time for the highest traffic to avoid having to do maintenance during such timing
  • What is the demography passing by your vending machine?
  • What drinks are people generally likely to buy
  • What is the highest ROI and how can I consistently make a profit
  • Find out the true cost of running the business, for us at that time, it was a schooling commitment

I never understood the importance of all these until I run my own business, so lucky you!

If you are interested in video content, be sure to check out The Business Guy Youtube account. I followed him back then as well when I first started out my vending machine business.

Different types of vending machines & their profitability

There are several types of vending machines available in the market, and each type offers a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of vending machines include snack vending machines, drink vending machines and coffee vending machines.

snack vending machine

Snack vending machines are the most common type of vending machine, and they offer a wide range of products such as chips, candy, and crackers.

snack vending machine

This is the EASIEST WAY to make money from the vending machine business once you are able to license to put in schools and convenience stores.

Since these machines don’t require electricity to power, this machine is probably the lowest cost and the highest ROI if you are able to sell the right sweets to children.

Drink vending machine

Drink vending machines dispense a variety of beverages, including soda, tea, and juice.

drink vending machine

The drink vending machine is the most common electronic machine commonly found in places like gyms, hotels, neighborhoods, or places with high traffic.

This machine has one of the highest ROI once you have found the right location to place it.

If you are interested check out such vending machines. Be sure to click on the link below.

Coffee Vending Machine

Coffee vending machines can also be profitable, but they require more maintenance and servicing than other vending machines.

coffee vending machine

Depending on the number of pax in an office, a coffee vending machine business can work depending on various metrics. They are:

  • Do office worker work late
  • Are any sources of water or drink nearby where they can avoid buying from you
  • Is my coffee better than a bottled drink?

Once you are able to fulfill these requirements, making money from a coffee vending machine is a simple task.

If you would like to check out this machine on the left, be sure to click on the link below. PS I am not affiliated with this product.

Toy/Gatcha Vending Machine

toy vending machine

You would have probably seen a number of these machines in the arcade already.

The toy vending machine business is a fast-growing industry especially since the cost of owning these machine have dropped significantly.

If you are looking to get this type of machine. Be sure to click on the link below. PS I am not affiliated with this product.

Ice cream vending machines

ice cream vending machine

Ice vending machines are a relatively new type of vending machine that has gained popularity in recent years.

These machines dispense bags of ice, making them an ideal option for hot and humid areas. Ice vending machines can be a profitable investment option, as they offer high-profit margins.

However, the upfront costs associated with purchasing an ice vending machine can be high.

Costs associated with buying & operating vending machines

Investing in vending machines requires careful consideration of the costs associated with purchasing and operating the machines. The upfront costs associated with buying a vending machine can vary depending on the type of machine and the features it offers. Snack vending machines and drink vending machines can cost anywhere from 5,000, while coffee vending machines can cost up to $10,000.

In addition to the upfront costs, there are ongoing costs associated with operating vending machines. These costs include restocking the products, servicing the machines, and paying for electricity. The costs associated with operating vending machines can vary depending on the location of the machine and the type of products it dispenses.

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Which Vending Machine Should Beginners Go for?

For beginners, a good vending machine option to consider is a small, compact machine that is easy to operate and maintain.

Go with either the snack or toy vending machine since they have the lowest cost to operate and they are in high demand. Only once you have raise enough capital, then you may want to challenge the big boys in the other vending machine category.

How to Maintain Your Budget

composition of calculator with paper money and notebook with pen
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

To maintain your budget while running a vending machine business, consider the following tips:

Research and Plan

Conduct thorough research to understand the costs involved in starting and operating a vending machine business. Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your budget, including equipment costs, inventory expenses, maintenance, and marketing.

Choose the Right Location

Selecting the right location for your vending machine is crucial. Look for high-traffic areas with potential customers, such as office buildings, shopping malls, schools, or gyms. By placing your machines strategically, you can maximize sales and revenue.

Monitor Inventory

Keep a close eye on your inventory to avoid waste and optimize your budget. Regularly check the stock levels and analyze which items are selling well and which ones are not. Adjust your inventory accordingly to reduce costs and ensure you’re offering popular items.

Purchase Wholesale

To save money on purchasing products for your vending machines, establish relationships with wholesalers or suppliers. Buying items in bulk can often lead to discounted prices, allowing you to maintain a lower cost of goods sold (COGS).

Maintenance and Repairs

Regularly maintain your vending machines to prevent breakdowns and costly repairs. Keep the machines clean and in good working condition. Schedule preventive maintenance to address any potential issues before they become major problems.

Track and Analyze Sales

Utilize vending machine management software or systems that allow you to track and analyze sales data. This information can help you identify trends, popular products, and peak times, enabling you to optimize your offerings and increase profitability.

Marketing and Promotion

Implement cost-effective marketing strategies to attract customers to your vending machines. Utilize social media platforms, local advertising, and promotions to increase visibility and generate more sales.

Energy Efficiency

Opt for energy-efficient vending machines and equipment to reduce electricity costs. Use LED lighting, energy-saving settings, and programmable timers to minimize energy consumption.

Evaluate and Adjust

Regularly review your financials and assess the performance of your vending machines. Identify areas where you can cut costs or improve efficiency. Adjust your strategies and operations accordingly to stay within your budget.

Remember, maintaining a budget requires ongoing attention and adaptability. Regularly monitor your expenses and seek opportunities for cost savings and revenue growth to ensure the long-term success of your vending machine business.

Maximizing profits

Maximizing profits when investing in vending machines requires strategic placement and product selection. Placing vending machines in high-traffic areas such as hospitals and malls can increase the chances of generating more revenue. Additionally, selecting products with a high-profit margin such as snacks and drinks can also increase profits.

Tips for maintaining and servicing vending machines

Maintaining and servicing vending machines is essential for maximizing profits and ensuring that the machines are working correctly. Regular maintenance such as cleaning the machines and restocking the products can help prevent malfunctions and increase the lifespan of the machines. Additionally, servicing the machines regularly can help identify any potential issues before they become serious problems.

drawbacks & risks of investing in vending machines

I started my vending machine business with my brother back in 2020, it was a great business and we eventually sold it for a profit. We were both moving to our next phases of life and we needed

Investing in vending machines comes with its fair share of risks and potential drawbacks. One of the most significant risks is the location of the vending machine. Placing a vending machine in a low-traffic area can result in low revenue and may even lead to losses. Another potential drawback is the competition from other vending machines in the same area.

Book Guide to Make Money in Vending

Passive Income: How To Make Real Money In Vending

If you would like to learn more about starting a vending machine business for passive income. Be sure to check out this book by Dianna Duryee that shares 12 steps to building a successful vending machine passive income business. They are:

  1. My Vending Business Venture
  2. How a Vending Service Operates
  3. Right Machines and Right Price
  4. How to Make Real Money in Vending
  5. How to Find and Buy Machines Cheaply
  6. New Machines Versus Used, and the Difference of Prices
  7. How to Keep Costs Down and Some Other Great Tips
  8. Office Coffee Businesses and How They Operate
  9. How to Do the Office Coffee Setup
  10. The 6 Methods I Always Use
  11. The Benefits of a Coffee Brewer and How to Set One Up
  12. Buying Supplies and Money Makers

If you are interested to get the book, here is the affiliate link below:

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, vending machines can be a profitable investment option for investors who are willing to put in the time and effort required to make the investment successful. When investing in vending machines, it is essential to consider factors such as the location of the machine, the type of products it dispenses, and the upfront and ongoing costs associated with operating the machine. By carefully considering these factors and implementing strategies to maximize profits, investors can unlock the potential of their investment and make the most of vending machines as an investment option.

Investing in vending machines is not for everyone, but for those who are willing to take the risk, it can be a lucrative opportunity.


How profitable is owning a vending machine?

The profitability of owning a vending machine can vary depending on several factors such as the location, the type of products sold, operating costs, and customer demand.

Generally, vending machines can be a profitable business with low overhead costs, especially when placed in high-traffic areas where there is a demand for convenience and quick access to products.

What is the most profitable vending machine to own?

The profitability of a vending machine depends on various factors, including the location and target market. Some of the most profitable types of vending machines are those that offer popular and high-margin products such as snacks, beverages (including specialty drinks like coffee), and healthy food options. However, it’s essential to research the specific market and location to determine the most profitable vending machine for your circumstances.

How much money does a vending machine cost?

The cost of a vending machine can vary depending on the type, size, and features of the machine. On average, a new vending machine can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Used vending machines or refurbished models can be more affordable options. Additionally, you may need to consider expenses such as restocking inventory, maintenance, and any fees associated with placing your machine in a particular location.

Where can I put a vending machine for free?

Finding a location to place a vending machine for free can be challenging, as most businesses or establishments expect to receive some form of compensation for providing space. However, it’s worth exploring partnerships or agreements with local businesses, community centers, or public facilities where you can negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement, such as sharing profits or offering promotional benefits.

Can you buy a vending machine and put it anywhere?

While you can technically purchase a vending machine and put it in various locations, it’s essential to consider legal and logistical aspects. You must obtain permission from the property owner or manager before placing a vending machine on private property.

Additionally, certain zoning laws, permits, or regulations may apply in specific areas. It’s crucial to research and comply with local regulations and obtain any necessary permissions before installing a vending machine.

Do vending machines make good money?

Vending machines have the potential to generate good income, but it depends on various factors. The profitability is influenced by factors such as the location, product selection, pricing strategy, maintenance costs, and customer demand.

Well-placed and properly managed vending machines in high-traffic areas with popular products can generate a steady stream of income. However, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and financial analysis to determine the potential profitability in your specific circumstances.

Where is the best place to put a vending machine?

The best location for a vending machine depends on the target market and product offering. Some common high-traffic areas for vending machines include shopping malls, office buildings, hospitals, universities, train stations, airports, and recreational facilities.

It’s crucial to choose a location where there is a demand for your products and where potential customers have easy access to the vending machine.

Is it hard to start a vending machine business?

Starting a vending machine business can have its challenges, but it is generally considered to be a relatively low-entry barrier business.

The difficulty level can vary depending on factors such as researching and identifying profitable locations, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, managing inventory and restocking, machine maintenance, and developing effective marketing strategies.

Like any business, it requires careful planning, market analysis, and consistent effort to ensure success

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