Guide to Buying a Vending Machine Business For Sale 2023 cover image
29 Aug 2023

Guide to Buying a Vending Machine Business For Sale 2023


Imagine having your own mini-store that's open 24/7 and doesn't even need a cashier. 

Along with Laundromats, Vending Machine Businesses are often held up as the perfect example of a passive income business.


But how passive is the income of a vending machine business? And how profitable can they be?


Stick around, and we'll walk you through all the possible reasons you might want to snag one for yourself.

What types of vending machine businesses are there?

Firstly, let’s be clear on what exactly a vending machine business is. We all know the vending machine that sells snacks but what other types of vending machines are out there:

  • Snack Vending: These are the most common types and offer a variety of soft drinks, waters, juices, and snacks like chips or chocolate.
  • Hot Beverage Vending: These vending machines offer hot beverages like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
  • Fresh Food Vending: These machines vend fresh sandwiches, salads, and even full meals. They require more frequent restocking and have higher spoilage risks.
  • Frozen Food Vending: These vending machines offer frozen items like ice cream or frozen dinners that can be heated later.
  • Gumball Vending: These are typically smaller machines that vend gumballs, sweets, or small toys.
  • Health and Wellness Vending: These machines offer healthier food and drink options like protein bars, nuts, and mineral water.
  • Newspaper and Magazine Vending: Although not as popular as they once were, these are machines where you can purchase newspapers or magazines.
  • DVD/Blu-Ray Rental Vending: Machines that offer DVD and Blu-Ray rentals.
  • Office Supplies Vending: These machines can be found in business centres or schools and offer pens, notepads, and other small office supplies.
  • Photo Booths: While not traditional vending machines, these offer a service (photo-taking) and are often grouped with vending opportunities.
  • ATM Machines: Again, not a traditional vending machine, but ATMs are often owned by private businesses and generate revenue through transaction fees.
  • Laundry Detergent Vending: Often found in laundromats, these machines dispense small amounts of laundry detergent and fabric softener.
  • Pet Food Vending: These machines can be found in pet-friendly public places and offer small amounts of pet food or treats.
  • Automotive Vending: These machines offer air fresheners, windshield washer fluid, or even motor oil.
  • Tourist and Travel Essentials: Located in airports or tourist destinations, these machines offer travel pillows, phone chargers, or even luggage.
  • Personal Care Vending: These vending machines offer personal care items like tampons, toothpaste, or condoms and can be sometimes found in the bathrooms of institutions such as schools or businesses.
  • Car Vending: Believe it or not, some vending machines in the States allow you to purchase a car, which is then dispensed from a multi-story facility.

Now that we know, what range is out there, we will focus on the more traditional food and drink vending machines.

As these are the most popular business type we see for sale in the vending machine industry.

What are the advantages of buying a business in the Vending Machine industry?

Vending Machine Business For Sale have got some pretty awesome perks that you might find super appealing. Let's break them down, shall we?


  • Budget-Friendly Start: Vending machines won't break the bank. They usually have lower upfront costs compared to other business ventures.
  • Growth Friendly: You can kick things off with just a machine or two and expand as you start rolling in those dollars (or perhaps digital payments these days).
  • Fairly Simple Operations: Managing one vending machine is as straightforward as it gets. Just keep it stocked and collect your earnings. It gets more complex as you scale but the logistics are the same.
  • Solo Act: Many of these businesses can be a one-person show. Say goodbye to payroll headaches!
  • Earn on Autopilot: Once your machine is up and running, it's like a little robot that makes money for you 24/7. 
  • Always Open: These machines don't sleep, giving you a chance to earn round-the-clock.
  • Choose your Location: From schools and offices to airports and hospitals, these machines can go almost anywhere.
  • Move It As You Like: Not making enough where you are? No worries, just move your vending machine somewhere else!
  • Low Maintenance: After stocking up, you just have a few bills for things like electricity and maybe some minor repairs.
  • Instant Earnings: Whether it's coins, bills, or digital payments, you get your money right then and there.
  • Quick Payback: If you pick a bustling spot, you can make back your investment in no time.
  • Be Your Own Boss: You can run this business part-time or as a fun project on the side.
  • Family Affair: Get the kiddos involved! It's a great way to teach them the basics of running a business.
  • Tailor-Made Choices: Adapt your offerings to specific markets, like stocking up on healthy snacks or luxury items.
  • High-Tech Goodies: Newer models come with touch screens, credit card readers, and even remote monitoring. 
  • Multiple Baskets for Your Eggs: Diversify your income by placing machines at different locations.
  • Tax Benefits: You could potentially write off the depreciation on your vending machines, giving you some tax advantages.

Sure, every business has its challenges—like finding the best spots and keeping up with maintenance.

But the upsides of a vending machine business make it an attractive option for a lot of business buyers.


What is the business really like?

Jason from SBO Financial recently checked out a vending machine business that was making $148k in profit and was up for grabs at a 3.8 times profit multiple. Pretty neat, huh?

Jason points out that an average vending machine can pocket you around $5-6k AUD in profit. The best part? Modern machines even come with snazzy software that shows you how much you're making and what's left in stock—all in real time!

But guess what? Jason decided to pass on this opportunity. Why?

Well, it turns out that where you place these vending machines really matters.

You've got to actually be there, scout locations, and chat with landlords to make sure you get the primo spots. Just something to think about if you're considering jumping in!

You can read his full report on the business here.


In the US, Ujwal bought a vending machine empire with thousands of machines and 7 figures of profit.


This is the story of how he bought it and what it does today.


What prices do Vending Machine businesses typically go for?

Like most industries, there is a massive range of prices for vending machine businesses.

Smaller one person operations may go for under $100k.

At the moment we have:

Or there are franchise options available too:

Larger operations with lots of machines in multiple locations may go up closer to $1m in line with the company profits.

Should I go with a franchise or an independent vending machine business?

Franchise Vending Machine Business

A Franchised Vending Machine Business will have a lot of the benefits that we see with franchises over independent businesses but also some of the similar drawbacks:



  • Brand Recognition: Franchised businesses often come with the advantage of established brand recognition, which can help attract customers.
  • Proven Business Model: A franchise provides a tried-and-true business model, taking much of the guesswork out of your business planning.
  • Training and Support: Many franchises offer training programs and ongoing support to help you manage your business effectively.
  • Marketing Assistance: Franchisors usually provide marketing resources and can even run campaigns that benefit your location.
  • Bulk Purchasing Power: As part of a larger network, you may benefit from economies of scale in purchasing inventory.
  • Buying more Franchises: If you are already established in a Franchise then there might be opportunities to purchase businesses from other existing owners in the Franchise.


  • Initial Franchise Fees: These can be hefty and are an added cost on top of your other startup expenses.
  • Ongoing Fees: Most franchises require payment of ongoing royalties, which can eat into your profit margins.
  • Less Autonomy: Franchisees are generally required to follow a set of corporate policies, which might restrict your ability to manage the business as you see fit.
  • Limited Product Offering: You might be restricted to selling only the products offered by the franchisor, limiting your ability to diversify.


Independent Vending Machine Business


  • Greater Autonomy: Running an independent business allows you greater freedom in all aspects of the business, from the products you sell to the way you market them.
  • Higher Profit Margins: Without franchise fees and royalties, you keep a greater percentage of the revenue.
  • Flexible Business Model: You have the freedom to pivot your business strategy as you see fit, adapting to market needs or emerging trends.
  • Local Adaptation: You can tailor your product offerings and marketing to the specific needs and tastes of your local market.


  • Lack of Brand Recognition: Starting from scratch means you’ll need to invest time and effort into building a brand and attracting customers.
  • Unproven Business Model: You bear the risk of an unproven business model and may need to adjust your strategy multiple times to find what works.
  • Limited Support and Resources: You'll be responsible for all aspects of the business, from sourcing and operations to marketing and customer service, without the safety net of a franchise support system.
  • Higher Inventory Costs: Buying products in smaller quantities typically means you won't enjoy the same bulk discounts that a franchise might offer.


So you found a Vending Machine business that you like the look of. What questions should you ask?

Hey there, future vending machine mogul!

Thinking about buying a vending machine business? That's awesome!

Before you jump in, here are 14 questions you might want to ask to make sure you're making a smart move. 

  1. How long has the business been running? - It's good to know if it's well-established or still in its baby steps.
  2. Why is the current owner selling? - This could tell you a lot about whether the business is booming or struggling.
  3. What are the average monthly sales and expenses? - You'll want a clear picture of income and costs.
  4. How quickly can I expect a return on my investment? - Knowing the payback period is essential.
  5. How many machines are included? - More machines may mean more income but also more work.
  6. What's the condition of the machines? - You don't want to inherit a bunch of repair bills.
  7. Do they accept card payments or just cash? - Card acceptance could mean more sales.
  8. Where are the machines placed? - Good locations can make or break the business.
  9. Do you have contracts with these locations? - This will show if your business will have a stable home.
  10. What's the process for restocking? - Know what you're getting into in terms of time and effort.
  11. Who are the suppliers? - You’ll need to know where the snacks and drinks are coming from.
  12. Is there room for expansion? - Can you add more machines or introduce new products?
  13. What kind of customer trends have you noticed? - This could guide your future decisions.
  14. Are there any current employees? - If it's not a one-person show, you'll need to consider staff needs. Do they restock themselves or maybe have family members help.


Now that you are armed with the knowledge you need for your Vending Venture.

Let’s find your perfect Vending Machine business here.