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Running a New Route for the First Time

Had an interesting experience this weekend, I rode along with a friend as ran a vending route he recently purchased. He asked me to go along since he doesn’t really know the business and wanted me as a reference in case he ran into any problems. So I decided to write an article on the experiences he had and how he should manage them and his expectations.

First on a new route, don’t expect you’re going to be able to service it quickly, until you get to know it. The previous route owner told him he serviced it in about 2 hours, so my friend thought it would also take him about the same amount of time …wrong!! He is new to the business; he is not as familiar with the locations, the equipment, products or location management. We spent almost 4 hours out, once he’s run it a few times he will eventually get down to around 2 hours to service, but don’t expect you will be able to run service times the same as the seller when buying a route.

Product, my friend did it right, let’s call him Bob. Bob went to Sam’s and made sure he had plenty of product before we ran the route. He didn’t want to get caught in a situation needing something and not having it. Turned out he did, he ended up replacing most of the Gumballs on the route due to sun fading and he replaced several candies for freshness or because the old ones were out. Lesson here is to go out prepared when servicing a new route for the first time.

Locating, since Bob is new to vending, at one of his locations, an area I am familiar with, there was a new business, a Cafe  after he serviced the nail salon, I asked him if he wanted me to pitch the cafe for him, so he could get an idea of how to do it. He said yes, so I went in and gave them my charity pitch, he is going to be doing mostly charity, we got a no but he got some added experience. Funny thing was that the owner of the nail salon location next door stopped us in the parking lot, apparently he just married a young woman who also owns a new nail salon in the same town. The owner asked if Bob could put a machine in that location as well, so Bod got a very lucky break. Lesson here is even when you’re new to bulk vending, always be looking for new opportunities and locations. You have to get past your comfort level and fears, Bob is a very sociable guy, but not a salesman, but he stepped up and tried anyway.

So to finish it off, Bob learned about time management, and he will get better at it as he gets more familiar with the locations and equipment. Product management, making sure you have what you need when you need it, Bob did this right and it means he won’t have to spend extra time and gas money rerunning the route to fix his product issues. Last issue is it’s never too early to start trying to grow your business, always be looking for new locations and opportunities.

If you are thinking of buying a bulk vending route, or just bought one, I hope this will help you to have realistic expectations and adjusting your action plan to best learn your route.

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