Bulk vending is characterized by the random process by which products are sold and dispensed using a manually-operated vending machine. It precedes and separates itself from full line vending which primarily uses electrically-operated vending machines to dispense soda, coffee, and the likes. A bulk vending machine is operated by inserting an appropriate coin denomination to a coin slot and pulling a lever or turning a knob to dispense the product. This type of vending machine relies mainly on gravity and mechanical energy, and does not require electricity to function properly.
The bulk vending business was introduced in the United States in 1888, when the Thomas Adams Gum Co. used bulk vending machines to sell Tutti Frutti gum on New York City subway platforms. While gum remains a staple bulk vending merchandise, the variety of products sold has grown to include toys, candies and snacks, licensed collectible items, etc. There are several manufacturing companies that make and distribute bulk vending machines, with various designs and features to attract customers. A number of these companies offer free startup trainings and other value-added services to their customers.
Bulk vending is an emerging business opportunity for people who are working full time jobs at the same time. It is also ideal for entrepreneurs who want a steady flow of income for less the amount of time and attention demanded by traditional businesses. The initial investment capital is likewise comparatively lower. Bulk vending machines are considerably cheaper and more portable compared to soda vending machines. These machines can be placed in small retail locations as well as in big shopping complexes and workplaces like factories, hospitals, etc.
There are different kinds of bulk candy machines in the market today. The right machine is as much an important consideration as the vending location to anyone getting into the bulk vending business. Some machines work exceptionally well with adult customer base and others, usually more colorful and with playful themes, are well-suited for children. There are large-capacity separate head candy machines with 360-degree display case that can hold up to 44 pounds of merchandise - which means vending machine operators have to make fewer trips for restocking and servicing - and smaller ones with lights and catchy tunes designed to attract attention. For better chances of success, investors must plan ahead which products they intend to sell, the target demographic they would like to cater, and a practical business location that would tie them together. For easy monitoring and servicing, it is practical to establish a vending route within a specific geographical area.
Profit in bulk vending is relatively high and can be a potential source of passive income. Products can be purchased wholesale at a low price and sold at a higher price with comfortable margin. The owner also has the option to adjust the amount of product the machine will dispense per transaction. Many vendors who have started on small operations found bulk vending profitable enough to turn it into a full time business.