A vending machine business is a business that sells products from a vending machine. Please note that a vending machine is an automated machine that provides items such as snacks, beverages, cigarettes, and lottery tickets to consumers. Cash, credit cards, or other forms of payment are inserted into the machine for payment.

It is projected that the revenue of vending machine operators in Florida will amount to approximately 410,2 million U.S. Dollars by 2024.

Please note that many vending machine owners suffered significant losses, and statistics show an overall revenue decline of 45% – from $24.2 billion in 2019 to $13.3 billion in 2020. But the industry has since bounced back, and the market is expected to be worth $146.6 billion by 2027, which marks a compound annual growth rate of 1.3%.

Steps on How to Start a Vending Machine Business in Florida

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research before starting any business is key to the success of the business hence you must not open a vending machine without conducting market research. Market research provides critical information about your market and your business landscape. It can tell you how your business is perceived by the target customers and clients you want to reach.

It can help you determine who and where your customers are, and which customers are most likely to do business with you. In essence, thorough market research will help you understand how your target customers think in order to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.

a. Who is the Target Market for Vending Machine Business in Florida?

If you are thinking of opening a vending machine business in Florida then you should make target demographics all-encompassing. It should include corporate executives, socialites, students, and every adult in the neighborhood where your vending machine will be located.

b. Is Vending Machine Business a Profitable Business in Florida?

Yes, the vending machine business is profitable. According to a market research report on Vending Machine Operators, the industry has revenue of $8 billion to $20 billion, and has an annual growth of 0.7 percent.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to vending machines. Here are some of them;

  • Groceries
  • Drinks and Snacks
  • Children’s toys
  • Beauty products and cosmetics
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Books, Newspapers, and Magazines
  • Water and Ice.
d. Who are the Major Competitors in Florida?
  • Paramount Vending, Inc.
  • The Quality Companies Inc
  • Snackworks, Inc.
  • Paradise Vending of North Florida Inc
  • Bettoli Trading, Corp.
  • Cardinal Vending and Markets, LLC
  • Florida Fresh Vending LLC
  • Right Choice Vending/Coffee, LLC
  • All Brands Vending Company, Inc.
  • Berg Vending Company
  • Emerald Coast Vending and Marketing
  • Gilly Vending, Inc.
  • Global Vending Services, LLC
  • Hill Vending
  • Hit the Spot Vending
  • Phoenix Refreshment Group
  • PN Vending
  • Pro Vending
  • The Vending Station Inc.
  • Big Lake Snack Sales, Inc.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Vending Machine Business in Florida?

Yes, there are county and state regulations and zoning laws for vending machine businesses in Florida. Florida law requires owners of public food services to obtain a license before operating. Please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the federal Food Code.

However, the FDA doesn’t oversee individual vending machines. Instead, the various states use the Food Code as the basis for their own food codes. They may adopt its rules, interpret them differently or set their own rules.

Please note that in the United States, you are required to follow your own state’s food service code. Visit the FDA website for a list of food service codes by state. Use this to find the state authority handling restaurants and bars and view the laws that apply in your state.

f. Is There a Franchise for Vending Machine Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the vending machine, and here are some of them;

  • HUMAN Healthy Vending, LLC
  • Wayback Burgers International
  • Piranha Vending
  • Healthier 4U Vending
  • Krispy Krunchy Chicken
  • U-Turn Vending
  • Naturals 2 Go Vending
  • Vend Tech (CuppaLove Coffee Vending)
  • Water Station Technology
  • Fresh Healthy Vending.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Good Locations
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number) / Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Equipment (vending machines)
  • Supplies
  • Employees
  • Startup Capital
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a vending machine business are;

Creative Vending Machine Business Name ideas
  • Snack Plus© Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Tampa Connect® Vending Machine, LLC
  • Moris Jackson© Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Saint Cloud ® Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Mason Gray™ Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Riverview™ Vending Machine, LLC.
  • Brown Supplies© Vending Machine, LLC
  • Jonny Moore® Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Lake Worth © Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Anthonio© Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Jeff Levi and Sons® Vending Machine, LLC
  • Cally Benton® Vending Machine, LLC
  • Fair Heaven™ Vending Machine, LLC
  • Tyler Benston© Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Helena Mint® Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Santos Marcos™ Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Belle Glade™ Vending Machine, Inc.
  • Mexican Zone© Vending Machine, Inc.
  • One Stop® Vending Machine, LLC
  • Saint Petersburg ™ Vending Machine, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Vending Machine Business?

The truth is that you have several options when it comes to the business structure of vending machine business, but the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • General Business License
  • Health and Safety Permit
  • Food and Drinks Handlers’ License
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Vending Machine Business in Florida?

You don’t need any certifications to open a vending machine business in Florida.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (for your warehouse or storage facility)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering opening a vending machine business in Florida, you may not need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Vending Machine Business?

You should budget over $150,000 if you expected to have a minimum of 20 vending machines in key locations. Please note that many vending machine operators recommend buying used or refurbished machines, which you can find for between $1,200 and $3,000. A new vending machine will cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on its size and features.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • The total fee for registering a business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $7,200.
  • Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $380.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • The cost of accounting software, CRM software, and payroll software – $1,500
  • The cost for rent/lease of a storage facility or warehouse – $65,600.
  • Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • The cost for start-up inventory – $26,027
  • The cost for the purchase of vending machines – $80,000
  • The cost of launching an official website – $600
  • Miscellaneous – $2,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Vending Machine Business?
  • The number of vending machines
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The type of facility
  • The type of products retailed from the vending machine
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the vending machine business
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

No, it is not compulsory to build a new facility for your vending machine business. This is because, you are expected to position your vending machines in places like shopping malls, hotel lobbies, waiting rooms, and other safe public facilities.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Vending Machine Business?
  • Supplies (inventory expenses)
  • Transport and logistics
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner) – $45,000 Per Year
  • Supply Chain Manager – $30,630,000 Per Year
  • Accountant – $27,100 Per Year
  • Vending Machine Operators – $25,000 Per Year
  • Van Drivers -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Saint Petersburg ™ Vending Machine, Inc. is a business enterprise in the retailing industry that will specialize in leveraging the vending machine retailing model. Although our business will be based in Saint Petersburg, Florida where we were able to secure a 40 by 40 feet warehouse, we have plans to install our vending machines in safe public facilities in major cities all across Florida.

b. Products and Service
  • Groceries
  • Drinks and Snacks
  • Children’s toys
  • Beauty products and cosmetics
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Handkerchiefs and Towels
  • Flowers
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to establish a vending machine business that will make available a wide range of goods and products from top manufacturing brands at affordable prices to the residents of Saint Petersburg.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to position standard and secured vending machines in all key cities and locations in Florida.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a vending machine business are to provide a retail outlet where patrons can go to buy snacks, drinks, and other products without interacting with a salesperson at any time of the day.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Accountant
  • Vending Machine Operators
  • Van Drivers.

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Ideal and safe locations for a vending machine business
  • Highly experienced and qualified employees and management
  • Access to finance from business partners
  • Availability of different types of goods in our vending machines.
  • Financial constraints may restrict the publicity and branding of the business
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established vending machine franchises in the city.
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced and qualified employees longer than we want during the teething stage of the business.
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • The arrival of a new vending machine within our market space
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses like ours.
b. How Do Vending Machine Businesses Make Money?

Vending machine businesses make money by retailing (vending) goods.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment with cash (inserting cash or coins)
  • Payment via credit cards
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Print handbills about your vending machine and its location, and also give your vending machines a unique look, by painting them with bright colors or putting a large neon sign on them so they can be easily recognizable to customers.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your business
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

The amount you should charge will depend on the products you are retailing (dispensing).

b. How Much Profit Do Vending Machine Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average a vending machine business owner can earn anywhere from $35,000 to $160,000.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the vending machine
  • The types of products retailed
  • The location the vending machine business is covering
  • The management style of the vending machine business
  • The business approach of the vending machine business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the vending machine.
  • The number of years the vending machine is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Vending Machine Business?

The profit margin of a vending machine is not fixed. It could range from 5 percent to 45 percent.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a vending machine. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Florida;

  • First Fiscal Year: $220,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $350,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $380,000
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Vending Machine in Florida?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to people that buy things from a vending machine regularly
  • The demand for the products offered by vending machines in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and people in the location
  • Accessibility to the location where the vending machines are installed
  • The number of vending machines, and other retail outlets in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What City is Best to Open a Vending Machine Business in Florida?
  • Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Bradenton, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Hialeah, Florida
  • Riverview, Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Saint Cloud, Florida.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Vending Machine in Florida?
  • Vending machines
  • Retailing and logistics software
  • Computers or laptops
  • Vans
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard vending machine, you should make plans to hire a competent supply chain manager (you can occupy this position), an account clerk, vending machine operator, and a van driver.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No vending machine business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

With a proper launching of the vending machine business, you will officially inform people in your city that your vending machine business is open for business.

a. What Makes a Vending Machine Business Successful in Florida?
  • Choose good locations and storage (warehouse) facilities for the business
  • Make sure your vending machines are stocked with different types of products
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your vending machine business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your vending machine business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Vending Machine Business?
  • Once the vending machines are installed and stocked, it operates independently of the owner except when you would need to get the cash out of the vending machine, restock or repair the vending machine.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Vending Machine Business?
  • Excellent customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in a retail environment
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling different types of vending machines.