How Much Money Can a Vending Machine Make?

The amount of money a particular machine can make depends on several factors:

How big is the existing market for bottled water? How much bottled water is on shelves in local grocery stores? *This is a good indicator of local consumption and the perception of city water.

What are the demographics in your location? *Families and ethnic groups tend to be more interested in high quality drinking water at affordable prices.
How busy is the location? *The greater the foot traffic, the more customer potential for business.

What type of location is best for the machines? *Grocery stores have traditionally been the best income locations but there are many other locations which can support drinking water machines.

Unlike establishing a fixed retail location, a vending machine can be moved at minimum cost should your location selection not prove profitable. A good sales target for any location should be $750 per month or 100 gallons per day at $.25 per gallon. This would represent 20, five-gallon bottles. Most customers bring two, five-gallon bottles a trip, therefore, you would need about ten customers per day.


What Should I Look For When Selecting a Good Location?

We suggest you focus your attention on the following factors:

  • Look for a location with a lot of traffic.
  • Look to place your machine close to the entrance of the retail location
  • Look to place the machine in lower to middle income communities
  • Look for discount store locations
  • Look for machine placement easily seen from the parking lot


What Makes Our Machine Better Than Competitors?

Water Vendors by Us prides itself in producing a well-engineered machine that will give you years of trouble-free operation. We do this by keeping construction as simple as possible and utilizing the finest components. We want no service calls and have found, with extra attention to detail, the majority of problems can be eliminated. Of course, each competitor’s machine is different. Generally speaking, here are some of our key benefits which provide good comparative information. We would be happy to further discuss differences and benefits with you before buying.

  • Our fiberglass cabinets utilize a hand laid method. Every other fiberglass cabinet on the market today uses the chop gun construction method. While cabinets might look the same to the untrained eye, there are major differences. Just ask anyone who has purchased both. Quality fiberglass boats utilize the hand laid method because of the enormous stress which occurs while boats plow through the water. This extra durability and security are what most far-sighted buyers appreciate and want — a machine that lasts.

One of our customers recently experienced a Florida hurricane that blew our machine 20 feet from its location. He brought it back, replaced a few internal parts and had it working and still looking good in no time.

  • Our vending control systems have been tested world wide and proven extremely reliable. We have two controllers which utilize microprocessors to control functions and provide vending flexibility. Some competitors who utilize less sophisticated relay controllers speak against microprocessors. Often, home computers problems are cited as an example against microprocessors, but this is not a viable comparison. Home computers use microprocessors for operations but the problems occur with the integration of various software programs and RAM memory overload. An overwhelming majority of vending machine manufacturers use a dedicated controller and software to produce extremely reliable products. The world’s electronic manufacturers use the proven microprocessor. Water Vendors By Us backs its microprocessor controller with a ten-year warranty.
  • Over 25 years of trial-and-error expertise has been used to design a machine which is easy to service and maintain. Many competitors have over-engineered machines and created complexity which makes it more difficult to troubleshoot.
  • Water Vendors By Us uses only the highest quality components. Our philosophy is extra quality/investment to do the job right up front will keep the customer happier in the long run. We have bet our business life on it. One machine working reliably 24/7 has more value than five machines down due to malfunction problems.


What Type of License Do I Need to Operate a Vending Machine?

Each state varies on requirements, but most require a NAMA certified machine. We will supply you with our certificate and in most cases, this is enough. Many states have a small annual license fee and require a bacteria test every six months. Each operator is responsible for obtaining his or her own license. Contact your local health department to obtain their requirement.


What About Vandalism?

Vandalism is largely dependent upon the machine location. It is important to locate the machine in a well-lit area. There are several options to reduce vandalism.

  • An alarm system can be installed to sound whenever tampering occurs with the machine.
  • Our stainless steel machine can be purchased which is 99% vandal proof.
  • A metal cage can be installed around the machine to further strengthen the machine.

Generally speaking, vandalism is usually not a big concern, but it does happen. The best policy is, when in doubt, protect against it.


How Often Do I Change Filters?

The timing on filter changes will vary depending upon the quality of the incoming water and how much water is being sold. The following is an average guideline:

  • 1st Stage Sediment Filter– every 2 months (determined by PSI pressure drop).
  • 2nd Stage Carbon Filter– every 2 months (determined by Chlorine test).
  • 3rd Stage Carbon Filter– every 2 months (determined by Chlorine test).
  • 4th Stage Reverse Osmosis– every 2 years (determined by TDS test).
  • 5th Stage Post Carbon Filter– every 6 months (determined by taste of water).
  • 6th Stage Ultraviolet Lamp– every 12 months (determined by intensity life).


How Difficult Is This Business to Manage?

Consider these facts. There are no products to stock and fill like other vending operations, so a big truck is not needed. The main operation is to keep the machine clean, especially the vending chamber. A typical visit to the machine requires a vend test, checking water quality, picking up money and cleaning the machine; all of which should take about 15 minutes. Some unscheduled service calls can most likely occur around the coin or bill acceptance function. This can either be a coin jam or dirty bill validator. Many issues can be avoided by doing preventative maintenance. The machine runs 24/7 to make money for you if you follow simple steps.


What Is The Best Way To Increase Sales?

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion. Promotion is especially necessary when installing in a market where bulk water vending machines are new. Promotion can also be key with growing established markets.

There are several methods of promotion which work.

  • Hand out one-gallon samples at the machine. This gives the customer a chance to meet you and look at the inside of the machine. It also allows the customer to take a sample home and compare it to their expensive bottled water or bad tasting tap water. There’s no better convincer than a taste demonstration.
  • Mail or distribute paper coupons. Each machine, equipped with a bill validator, can also accept paper coupons. These paper coupons give the customer a free vend. Some operators give them to the location to pass out to customers. Giving a simple brochure to explain the machine is also helpful.
  • Sell the water at a steep discount for several weeks with a banner stating “Introductory Offer”. We had one operator which priced water at 10 cents until they reached a certain volume. They then adjusted to normal pricing. It is advisable to leave the normal pricing on the machine with the banner stating the discounted price. When “Introductory Offer” goes away, the customer already knows and expects the normal price.

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