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Candy Vending on a Budget

In this business, cutting costs is an imperative. When you are vending candy for a quarter a vend, every cent saved is money in your pocket. Here’s a quick guide to save you some money next time you fill up your machines.

Avoid expensive brands when you can– This is the hardest one for a lot of vendors, as it takes a little experience and networking to pull it off. However, one of the fastest ways to save some money in the candy business is to minimize or completely cut the most expensive products. As the cost of a 54 ounce bag of Peanut M&M’s climbs to nearly $10 a bag, quarter vends are nearly unsustainable. A good first step is to minimize the use of these products. If it’s not the top seller in a location, pull it out and replace it. If it’s the best seller, leave it alone. Even reducing one or two stops will save you money. Replacing it with a more economical candy saves you money. Other expensive candies to avoid include M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces. Though they all are considered vending staples, the economic conditions present today make a 25 cent vend impractical in the long term, and reducing their use now will save you money and time down the road.

Swap to comparable products– Back to our Peanut M&M example, what’s a good alternative to Peanut M&M’s? The answer for many have been Boston baked Beans. A classic by Ferrara-Pan, these have the same peanut base and a candy shell. A lot of the demographics cross over in this regard. Now, this may not work for every location, and some products like plain M&M’s are difficult to swap for something comparable. This method of using comparable products is more difficult, but not impossible.

Look for sales– Look out for coupons! You never know when a manufacturer, supplier, or club store will have a sale. Some on-line retailers, like Quill.com, will have coupons as well. Using these sales, you can save some serious money in the long run.

Buy in bulk– Buying in larger quantities is an easy way to save. Bundling shipping is a fast way to save money on larger orders. Lower cost per-unit or cost-per pound is another fast way to save. Remember that candy does expire, so don’t get too much inventory on hand.

Go for broke– You need to save serious money fast. The best way I’ve found to do this is to go with runt-based candies. These are purchased exclusively from either wholesalers or from suppliers. My supplier of choice is A&A Global Industries. They have a formidable lineup of runt-based candies ranging from classic runts to bananas, bones, cotton candy, ice cream cones and many more. These are purchased by the case, and you get somewhere in the neighborhood of 11-17,000 pieces. On the conservative side (11,000 pieces) with a 12 piece-per-vend average at 25 cents, that’s 916.6 vends from that one case. At 25 cents per vend, that leaves you with $229.00 before the product cost, taxes, and shipping costs. Though it varies from product to product, I’ve found these to be very lucrative products, as they sell well, and are very hardy. Runts, unlike many candies, do not melt, are not prone to fading, have long expiration dates, and vend well even in “trouble” machines. All around it has been a winning combination for me.

My best selling runts-based candy has been A&A’s “Candy Galaxy”.

My worst has been A&A’s “Baby Face Pacifiers” in both coated and uncoated varieties stagnating at every spot I tried.

Finally, here’s a list of some good spots to get your candy at good prices. By using some of these tips, I hope you can save some money, then make some money!

 

Good luck!

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