What research should I do before buying a vending machine?
Some general knowledge should be obtained before investing into a vending machine of any kind.
First, verify the machine was manufactured in the USA by a company that has been in business for at least 10 years.
Second, confirm that there are multiple distributors that stock replacement parts. Verify the company has been operating steadily for at least 10 years. Buying a machine that does not have replacement parts readily available from multiple suppliers puts you in a bad position when you need to order these parts.
Ask the seller to provide a copy of the owner’s manual and review it to confirm you are comfortable with the equipment before the purchase. Select a few parts from the manual and verify that they are available from at least three online part suppliers.
If you plan on adding options such as a card reader, ask the seller to install all optional parts before buying the machine. Some machines will not work with card readers. Some machines are expensive to update so have all the updates made before the purchase.
If buying a used machine (not a refurbished machine with a parts warranty), have the seller provide copies of the written service records so you can verify that the machine was well-maintained. Contact the company that performed the service and maintenance to see if they will continue to help you with the service in the future. Do not buy a used machine without having a service tech who can assist with repairs and updates when needed. If you buy a used machine and do not have a service tech to help with the repairs, contact the machine manufacturers for a list of local distributors. A local distributor may be able to help with repairs.
Validators and coin changers will need service over time. Those made by Mars/MEI/CPI and Conlux are very reliable. Many service centers repair these models. Check to see if this is the brand of the money handling component in the machine before purchase.
You may want to rent the machine before purchase if you are working with a local machine distributor. This will allow you to test if the machine is working as expected before paying full price for it. During the rental period, the distributor is typically responsible for delivering and servicing the machine if it has problems.
Capital Vending rents machines to vendors in the DMV area. Our rental refurbished machines have a security deposit of $200. Minimum term is 1 year. Snack machines are $85 a month. Glassfront soda and combo machines are $100 a month. Stack vendors like Coke are $85 a month. The customer does not have to pay for delivery of a rental machine or repair parts. They can purchase the rental machine after 6 months of renting.