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Can You Buy A Vending Machine and Put It Anywhere?

After you read several articles and guides on buying a vending machine, you must have considered all matters in hand. You have picked the items you want to put inside your vending machine, you have designed the visual appearance of the machine carefully (and may have gone through several tough edits too–bless graphic designers), and also where do you have in mind the location you want to place the machine in. Next thing you know, you have the machine right in front of you, fully-functioned and all excited to start the business right away. But this also means, you have another matter you want to look into, so you won’t encounter any problems in the future.

Placing a vending machine can be tricky. Say you want to place your healthy snack bars vending machine at your local fitness centre. This so-called fitness centre may also rent the place to the landlord of the building or place. The first you want to contact is definitely not the fitness centre manager, it’s the landlord. As much as the fitness centre manager wants the healthy snack bars vending machine at their place, it always ends up with the landlord’s decision. If the landlord says yes to your idea, then you can discuss the rental fee (sometimes included with electricity fee) and whether they like the appearance of the vending machine or not. The final appearance of the place/building can also be up to the landlord’s decision, which means you may have to redesign your vending machine (really, you need tough graphic designers). Another thing you may want to consider is that sometimes landlords also charge the rental fee as if you place the vending machine as a full storefront rental fee. Even though we don’t have a person inside the vending machine (hopefully there is no one living inside), at times they charge you for a fully-operated store with employees. That’s why you want to do several researches before placing your vending machine.

Then, to answer the question on the title, then no, you can’t just buy a vending machine and put it anywhere. But you can buy a vending machine and put it anywhere that will accommodate your vending business.

Upon placing the vending machine, you can try to look for places that have prospects such as foot traffic and places that match your products. Even if you know what you want to sell, you can always look for opinions or do small research on the target places you have in mind. There’s probably a landlord who wishes to place a vending machine at their building out there, but you don’t know how to reach them or just simply nudge them to share your idea. These loose connections encouraged Smartven to create a forum where vending machine owners and landlords can meet and share their ideas. Namely a matchmaking forum (we don’t do blinddates, though), it will find the right matches for your future business partners.

vending community matchmaking

This business model allows you to find the right location where you can also feel secure about leaving your machine there. You probably want to sell small electronic items and placing it somewhere outside on the street is probably not ideal. It will need an emphasis on security matters such as places with security guards or CCTV cameras. And customers who might need to purchase these kinds of items are probably somewhere far from stores and they need them on-the-go, like the airports where the machines are both heavily guarded and tons of CCTV cameras around. Another thing is to place the machine as an extension of your business sales. Sure, you can buy a vending machine right away, but make this machine sell your product for you, not the other way around. Though it is considered as a passive income, at some point it can become a semi-passive income or your side hustle. For example, placing a beauty products vending machine can gain interests from female customers, but if you randomly pop this machine at places with heavy foot traffic from male customers (we’re judging on hobby shops with die-cast models), then your vending machine might just be there as a photo prop for social media uploads. By doing a small research on the location you have set in mind, even after some discussions with the landlord, it can make your vending business hustle earn profits better if not, much faster.

electronic vending machine airport
Electronic vending machines at Madrid Barajas Airport (via

Notice that you also need to check the agreement with your landlord. Some only rent a small area, some charge you double with the electricity fee and maintenance fee. But they just do what they have to do, and you want to make sure this aligns with your vending business plan when you first decide to purchase a vending machine. Essentially, some landlords ask for a monthly fee, or an annual fee. If your vending machine is getting a positive turn of income, there is also a possibility of the landlord to ask for a small cut from your sales. Plan this ahead to make sure you don’t encounter problems after you place the vending machine, as each place and each landlord is different. Also, what’s great about owning a vending machine is that they can be moved around too, so you can check which area gets the best interactions as you run the business. This means you have to double check on the agreement should you need to move your machine around.

In the end, buying a vending machine is just the start of your vending business. You may end up partnering with some brands to put in your machine, or later on you can purchase another vending machine at a new location. You can read about Smartven's partnership program with CIMB Niaga if you want to expand your vending machine business without purchasing a new vending machine. For more information, you can also check Smartven’s website and Instagram page, or simply click the button below to start your consultation right away. Stay healthy and see you soon!


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