How To Make Money With Vending Machines

The Vending Machine side hustle is one of the most talked about side hustles these days. However, all the hype comes at a cost. 

Vending Machines can make a ton of money with correct planning, placement, and maintenance, and fortunately we will be discussing these factors today. Once all the kinks are worked out, vending machines can definitely become a reliable form of supplementary income. 

In this article I will guide you through exactly how to make money with vending machines, and detail everything involved in the entire process from finding a good spot to place a machine, to tips for securing an account.

Additionally, I will share the pros & cons of vending machines, information on where to place vending machines, and even some tips & tricks for maximizing opportunities to earn additional income with your vending machines. So let’s jump on into How To Make Money With Vending Machines!


Introduction To Vending Machines

Vending Machines side hustle

Before we jump into how to make money with vending machines, let’s make sure we understand the basics of vending machines. 

If you already know everything there is to know about vending machines and just want to know how to manage some yourself, click here to skip to the next portion of this article.

What Are Vending Machines?

Vending machines are automated machines that dispense a variety of products (food, drinks, etc.) to customers in exchange for payment. 

They are a convenient and efficient way for businesses to provide products to customers and are found in a wide range of locations. 

Why Own Vending Machines?

Vending machine ownership is one of the most underrated side hustles, with many successful vending machine owners swearing by it. 

Most of the work involved in vending machine ownership comes from getting the vending machine placed in the first place. 

After that, a lot of the work would come from maintenance, repairs (which you can have done for you), and restocking and money collection (which can be done during the same visit, or even by someone else).

Vending machine ownership has some start-up costs associated with it, and you’ll also have to pay for inventory. However, outside of stocking and collecting, once your vending machine is in place, it can become a reliable secondary source of income

How To Operate Vending Machines

How to manage vending machines

So now let’s discuss how to start managing vending machines.

The first step with vending machine ownership is to obtain a vending machine to begin with.

Now let’s break down each of these important factors on how to manage vending machines in full detail below.

Requirements To Operate Vending Machines

Before we jump into the everything there is to know about running a vending machine business, we need to discuss the requirements. 

Generally you’ll need a seller’s permit to operate vending machines. Fortunately you only need one across all of your vending machines however.

Here is a list of all the requirements for operating vending machines:

  • Obtain a seller’s permit
  • Adhere to FDA guidelines
  • Follow ADA guidelines
  • Set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company)
  • Register your vending machines
  • Set up an EIN
Now that we know the requirements for operating vending machines, let’s move on to how to get vending machines.

How To Get Vending Machines

To get a vending machine you’ll have to either purchase a new or used vending machine or lease one. 

Your strategy for obtaining vending machines will depend on how much you have for start-up costs, and how many vending machines you hope to operate.

It is important to notice that you don’t need to start off with several vending machines, and you can always scale up your vending machine operation over times.

Where To Place Vending Machines

The success of your vending machine operation will depend on the placement of your vending machines. The ideal spot for a vending machine is one that has high amount of traffic with limited competition.

It can also help to place your vending machines at locations that can benefit from having a vending machine there. Businesses that can use your vending machine as a service for their customers will be more willing to work out a great business deal that can benefit both parties involved.

How To Stock A Vending Machine

To stock a vending machine you’ll need to select what product you will sell from your machine. This will likely vary from location-to-location, and it is best to strategically pick what will be most attractive to the nearby traffic.

Here are some options of what can be sold at a vending machine:

  • Snacks
  • Candy
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
  • Toys
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Water

There are many more options for what you can stock a vending machine with, but be sure to follow any regulations in regards to each type of product.

Risks Of Operating Vending Machines

Vending Machine Side Hustle

The risks of operating vending machines mostly come at malfunctions, repairs, theft, and misplacement.

As long as you know the basics for repairing your vending machines or have a reliable contact that can do it for you, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get around these risks.

Here are the risks of operating vending machines:

  • Malfunctions
  • Repairs
  • Theft
  • Misplacement
  • Low Stock
  • Property Damage
  • Bad Contracts
These are some of the many risks and factors to consider when operating vending machines
Be sure to consider the placement of your machine, as some dangerous areas may make your machines more prone to theft and damages.

How Much Money Can You Make With Vending Machines?

Vending machine operators has been known to make anywhere from $45 to $2000 a month. The ability to maximize profits will come from the vending machine operator’s ability to secure opportune vending machine placements and secure several accounts.

Additionally, vending machine operators can increase profits by securing accounts with less costly rent or commission percentages.

Tips For Operating Vending Machines

Throughout this article we have discussed many tips for operating vending machines, so here is a roundup of some of the best tips for operating vending machines.

  • Research prime vending machine locations in your area
  • Do not accept accounts that charge high rent or commission
  • Create a convenient route for your vending machines
  • Be patient and slowly form your vending machine empire
  • Avoid placing vending machines in dangerous areas
  • Grow and maintain relationships with local agencies to increase opportunities

Vending Machine Pros & Cons


  • Varying machine prices allow for flexible point of entry
  • Some accounts can allow for little-to-no rent
  • Vending machine goods can often be found in bulk at affordable prices
  • Social individuals can have great luck securing accounts
  • Machines can have a high return on investment


  • Can be more like a full-time job than many side hustles
  • Difficulty in finding vending machine placements vary from area to area
  • Machines can require frequent maintenance
  • Restocking and machine maintenance must be done manually

Other Side Hustles

13 Amazing Side Hustles

Looking for some more side hustles that can help you bring in some supplemental income? Check out my article on 13 Side Hustles You Can Start Right Now.

Within this article I break down 13 other side hustles that anyone can do. Each side hustle is unique with different amount of time commitment and income potential, but hopefully you find at least one that fits your interests.

Go ahead and check it out if you’re interested in more opportunities to make some supplemental income.

Closing Thoughts

There you have it! That is everything you need to know on how to make money with vending machines.

 Overall, I think it is a great way to earn supplemental income on the side. It isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme by any means, but with the right planning and business skills this can become a lucrative business.

What do you think about operating vending machines as a side hustle? Do you have any experiences to share? Please feel free to start up a conversation in the comments, and I look forward to hearing some other opinions.

Good luck and happy vending!