If you’re looking to make a franchise investment which will require minimal management but will yield impressive returns, entering the vending machine sector might be a great move. In the UK, constant demand for vending machines keeps many franchisees in business each year, and you could be one of these. Here are four tips for running a vending machine franchise successfully.
As a franchisee, you can be your own boss without all the associated struggles and risks of going it alone. Joining a network of vending machine franchisees, you’ll be supported and trained by your expert franchisor, and you’ll know that there’s always someone to turn to if you run into an issue. But, by the same token, you’ll still have plenty of freedom and flexibility.
Why start a vending machine business?
In the wide and varied world of franchising, vending machine franchise businesses are a great example of a low-cost investment which is easy to manage, and usually available in a model that makes expansion simple further down the line. British consumers spend around £1.5 billion on vending machine purchases each year [The Automatic Vending Association], and beyond just the demand side, the advantages of starting a vending machine franchise are:
- It’s an easy stream of revenue
- You’ll be able to make money out of traditional working hours
- Support will be on hand whenever you need
- Expansion will be very possible for you down the line
- Your business model, machines and products are all very able to change and adapt with the times, innovating as required
From our five decades in the industry we have made several predictions for the vending market of the future. We believe the most significant changes will be the use of touchscreen technology. Although already in existence, this technology will become standard across coffee, water and snack machines. Such technology has been revolutionary over the past few years and taken over much of the computing market. It appears to be an obvious and natural progression within the vending industry.
– Martin Button, UK Vending
How to run a successful vending machine franchise
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1. Invest time in creating a good relationship with your clients
The B2B relationships that keep your machines stocked and in stores are the most important of all, and by investing time and effort in them, you’ll be more likely to profit, getting your vending machine into a high-traffic location and getting it stocked and refilled as quickly as possible. From financial incentives to plain, simple friendliness, there are plenty of ways to develop a connection with your clients.
Often, the supplier relationship is overlooked and not given the attention it deserves. Having great suppliers as part of your business improves both your service to your customers as well as your efficiency. A good relationship with a supplier can also provide you with a much-needed business supporter who can provide fresh perspective and encourage business to come your way. After all, if your business is growing, so will your suppliers’ business.
– Ailsa Page, MYOB
2. Ensure you’re selling your products in the right places
If you do your research and consult with your franchisor, you’ll be able to put your vending machines in the best possible locations for their contents, and this will make all the difference. You’ll want to target areas with a lot of foot traffic, like public spaces and university campuses, and you’ll need to remember to target based on the contents of your machines.
Snacks are better placed in places like leisure centres, while full meals and coffee machines might find a lot of business in places like hospitals. Take a look at the statistics, do your research, speak to your franchisor, and check in with existing franchisees. All the work you do to get your machines correctly situated will pay off in the long run.
3. Make use of all the ongoing training and development opportunities you’re offered
Most good franchisors will provide their franchisees with an extensive programme of training and support as they’re being onboarded, but really good franchisors won’t stop offering training at this point. If your franchise network provides development opportunities and top-up training courses, take them. Gain all the knowledge that you possibly can, knowing it’ll all go back into your business.
Training and development can take many forms, and the form it takes for you will depend on your particular franchise. You could be participating in everything from technical repair courses to product sales courses and networking opportunities.
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4. Engage directly with customers and ask for (and then listen to) feedback
Though a career running a vending machine franchise isn’t the most hands-on franchising option out there, that doesn’t mean there’s any excuse to be slack about standards. Wherever you can, find ways to gather customer feedback on your machines. Find out:
- Are the machines easy to use?
- Are the machines ever faulty?
- Which products sell most quickly?
- Which products sell most slowly?
- Which products would customers like to see in the machines?
If you can’t gather feedback face-to-face, try to maintain a social media presence as a point of connection and customer service. A customer that feels listened to is a customer that keeps coming back, and making you money in the long term. The customer might not always be right, but they will always be the number one priority in business. Don’t forget to respond to the feedback you receive, rather than just gathering and forgetting about it.
No company should deploy a survey if they intend to do nothing, or very little, in reaction to the findings.
– Tom Britten, Britten Management Services
Start running your own business in the exciting world of franchising today
For more tips on finding successful in franchising, stay on Point Franchise. Discover whether master franchising could be your cup of tea, and find out which five mistakes you should absolutely avoid making as a first-time franchisee.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©