To start a vending machine business, find locations


Crystal Warren owns Vending Factory, a vending machine shop.
Crystal Warren

  • Crystal Warren started her vending business as a side hustle in 2016 while she was still a teacher.
  • Now she runs the business full-time and finds locations for other entrepreneurs.
  • Last year, her company, Vending Factory, posted sales of more than $242,000.

Crystal Warren started her vending business in 2016 as a side hustle while working full-time as a teacher. When her business was making more than her full-time job, she stopped teaching to focus on her business. vending machine factory.

Instead of owning and operating vending machines, she is now establishing locations for other entrepreneurs to get into the business. She identifies locations, sets up the machines and sells them for others to operate. Vending machines can be a lucrative business for entrepreneurs looking to generate passive income, especially as economists warn of a possible recession this year.

In 2022, Vending Factory reported sales of more than $242,000, insiders confirmed with documents.

The following is an as-told-to interview and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

how it all started

Crystal Warren.
Crystal Warren

I got into the vending machine because my sister’s friend had vending machines in a casino. When I heard that, I went to the library to look up everything I needed to know about vending machines.

I had $1,000 and bought my first vending machine for $650. It was an AP, or snack machine, and I put it in a daycare. When I bought it, I didn’t realize the machine was worth around $1,250, so I bought it at a really good price. At this daycare, I made $450 in the first three weeks. I was not expecting that.

I had some spare cash, so I bought my second machine for about $1,100 and put it in a private school. I made $550 in four weeks at this place.

Have a part-time job full-time

When I started my retail business, I was a full-time teacher. I didn’t quit my job before because I loved him. I also had workers in my shop so I didn’t have to do all the legwork and I learned how to automate parts of the shop.

I was making about $60,000 a year from my job as a teacher, and then I was making six figures from slots. I was making more money from my side job than I was from my nine-to-five, so I decided to quit in 2020.

I want people to understand that they don’t have to quit their job to do something else. You can have a goal, make good money in this business first, and let that help you decide if you want to quit.

I made sure I saved all the money I made selling – I didn’t spend it. I put all the money back into my business. And I knew that even if something happened to my business, I still had all that money saved.

scaling the business

Crystal Warren with their vending machines.
Crystal Warren

I got up to five vending machines and five locations, then I learned how to find other people’s vending machine locations. I’ve sold all my machines and sites for about $5,000 each. At that point I was able to scale my business because I was spending a lot more finding places for people than actually owning the vending machines themselves.

I would go on Craigslist and ask people if they are looking for vending machines. Then I realized that people were looking for vending machines in the locations. So then I would buy a vending machine, put it in the place, and sell the place for $5,000 or more.

There are no guarantees, but the customer can track down the location and find out if they want it. If you don’t want the machine within five days, we’ll offer you a full refund. But as soon as they see that it is already in a place and they like the traffic, they are often willing to pay that amount because they need time to find such a good place.

You can open a vending business without buying a machine

You can enter the slot machine business with or without your own slot machine. You don’t have to be the one who stocks the machines and you can start with little to no money by becoming a vending machine scout. You can sit at home and find other people’s vending machines and make FaceTime calls with them so you can help them buy a good machine directly.

As a single parent you don’t feel like you need a spouse or help because I was a teacher and made it on my own. I also never had a vending machine trainer, so I never had anyone to teach me the business. I’ve learned a lot myself about making money, losing money and working from home to do it.

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