If you are wondering whether vending machines are a good investment, then this article is especially for you.
Below we have prepared a comprehensive summary of the most important information about the profitability of vending machine business.



Vending machines are usually a good investment, but the profitability depends on various factors such as the type of vending machine, the location of the machines, the products being sold, the cost of the machines and products, the competition in the area, and the marketing and customer service efforts.

It’s important to be aware that one machine won’t make you a millionaire. The more machines you have, the more profitable such a business will be (as certain costs will be lower). Good inventory management, cost control, and effective marketing can all contribute to the success and profitability of a vending machine business.



The amount a vending machine makes daily can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of machine, the location, the products being sold, the demand for the products, and the marketing and customer service efforts. On average, a vending machine can generate anywhere from $3 to $13 net profit in daily sales. This gives about $100-400 net profit per month per machine. 

Some vending machines in best high-traffic areas can generate significantly more money. For example, a vending machine in a busy office building, airport or shopping mall can make anywhere from $100 to $500 net profit per day or even more, depending on the demand for the products and the marketing efforts.

On the other hand, vending machines in low-traffic areas or areas with low demand for the products they sell can make much less. For example, a vending machine in a remote or rural location may only make $3 to $5 net profit per day. Some machines in such locations will even generate losses (e.g. when the cost of electricity is higher than profits, or when you sell food that has a short shelf life and you have to throw away food that has expired).

If a location is not profitable, it is worth changing it to a better one. You should also consider changing the products you sell. 




The most profitable vending machine depends on various factors, especially on location, demand for products, operating costs, and competition. However, some of the most profitable vending machines include:

Snack vending machines
This type of machines offer a wide range of snacks, such as chips, candy, and energy bars, and are often placed in high-traffic locations with busy consumers.

Beverage vending machines:
These machines offer a variety of drinks, such as soda, coffee, and juice, and can generate high profits in locations such as offices, schools, and shopping centers.

Combo vending machines:
Such machines offer a combination of snacks and beverages and can be highly profitable in high-traffic areas where consumers are looking for convenient, one-stop shopping.

Healthy vending machines
These machines offer healthy food and drink options, such as fruit, nuts, and water, and can be highly profitable in areas with health-conscious consumers, such as gyms, hospitals, and schools.

Specialty vending machines
These machines offer unique or high-quality products, such as fresh flowers, DVDs, and electronics, and can be highly profitable in busy shopping centers and tourist attractions.

Bulk vending machines
Bulk vending machines are a lucrative option that offer a high profit margin. They are simple dispensers commonly found in public places such as playgrounds, parks, and restaurants that dispense items such as gumballs, candies, and toys.



The lifespan of a vending machine depends on various factors such as the type of machine, the manufacturer, the usage, and the maintenance practices. On average, a vending machine can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

High-quality vending machines that are well-maintained and regularly serviced can last longer, while vending machines that are frequently used or poorly maintained may need to be replaced sooner.

It’s important to carefully consider the initial investment and long-term operating costs when choosing a vending machine, as the lifespan of the machine can impact the overall profitability of your vending machine business.


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The cost of stocking a vending machine can vary greatly depending on the type of machine, the products being sold, and the suppliers. Some of the costs to consider when stocking a vending machine include:

  • Product cost: The cost of the products being sold, which can vary greatly depending on the type of product and the supplier.
  • Shipping and handling: The cost of delivering the products to the vending machine, which can vary based on the distance and the shipping method.
  • Labor costs: The cost of stocking the machine, which can include the cost of employee time and any additional tools or equipment required.
  • Taxes and fees: The cost of any applicable taxes or fees related to the purchase of the products, such as sales tax or customs duties.

The cost of stocking a vending machine can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the factors mentioned above. To minimize costs, it’s important to carefully research suppliers, negotiate favorable pricing, and manage the inventory effectively.

For example, a typical beverage vending machine holds about 300 cans of cola. Thus, the cost of purchasing a soda for such a machine alone will cost about $150.




Pros of vending machine business:

  • Vending machine business is highly scalable. You can start with one – a few machines to build an empire of hundreds of vending machines over time.
  • Low overhead costs: Vending machine businesses typically have low overhead costs, as the machines require minimal staffing and maintenance.
  • Flexibility: Vending machines can be placed in a variety of locations, and the products can be adjusted based on demand and customer preferences.
  • Convenient for customers: Vending machines offer 24/7 access to products, providing convenience for customers who need to purchase items outside of regular business hours.
  • Passive income: Vending machines can generate passive income for the owner, as they can be stocked and left to operate without much intervention.
  • Wide variety of products: Vending machines can offer a wide variety of products, allowing customers to find what they need in one convenient location.

Cons of vending machines business:

  • The bigger the vending machine business – the more work it requires. The more machines you have, the more work you will have to do. At some point, you’ll have to hire employees and start investing in things like a machine lift and a warehouse.
  • Competition: Vending machine businesses face competition from other vending machines, as well as from traditional retail stores.
  • Theft and vandalism: Vending machines are vulnerable to theft and vandalism, which can lead to losses and increased operating costs.
  • Maintenance costs: Vending machines require regular maintenance and repairs, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Product obsolescence: The products offered in vending machines can become obsolete, requiring regular updates and product replacements.
  • Varying profit margins: Profit margins for vending machine businesses can vary greatly depending on the products being sold, the location, and the operating costs.



Some of the best places include the most crowded areas with a high demand for the products they sell. Some of the most popular locations for vending machines include:


  • Offices & commercial buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels & motels
  • Bus stations
  • Train stations
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Gyms
  • Malls & shopping centers
  • Apartment complexes
  • Care faciities
  • Schools, colleges, universities
  • Retail stores
  • Airports
  • Laundromats
  • Shopping centers & malls
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Sports arenas & stadiums
  • Nursing homes
  • Amusement parks
  • Nearby tourist attractions
  • Government buildings
  • Car dealerships
  • Manufacturing facilities


10 most important steps:


Find the right places for your machines
Conduct market research and study the demand for vending machines in your target location and the types of products that sell best.

Develop a business plan & secure financing
Outline your goals, target audience, marketing strategies, and operating costs. Determine how much capital you need to start your business and explore financing options like loans or investments.

Obtain permits and licenses
Follow local regulations and obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate your vending machine business.

Find vending machines
This is an important step; many beginners in this business start with cheaper, used or refurbished vending machines. You can find many good deals on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, OfferUp, Letgo, VarageSale and other places like Craigslist, for example. You can also consider buying them from professional vending machine suppliers.

Stock your vending machine with inventory 
It’s important for how much and from where you will buy supplies for your machines. Many vending machine owners buy cheap wholesale quantities at Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s and in other bulk stores.

Track Sales and Inventory
Use technology and tools to keep track of sales, inventory levels, and machine performance.

Market Your Business
Promote your vending machine business and generate interest by using marketing strategies such as social media, flyers, and networking events.


To stay abreast of the latest trends and news from the world of vending machines it is worth following leading portals dedicated to the vending machine business such as vendingmarketwatch.com or vendingtimes.com.

The following video presents an attractive strategy on how to start a vending machine business. You will also find many attractive tips straight from the world of vending machine business there.

And in your opinion, are vending machines a good investment? Share your knowledge and opinions in the comments section below!

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