It’s time to turn our attention to whether vending is a viable business to enter, as well as the average cost for a very important part of the business: the vending machine.
 
Is vending a reliable business venture?
The first recorded vending machines date back to the first century B.C., but came to prominence in the late 1880s. These were primarily postcard and gumball machines with simple mechanisms, a single selection and accepted one coin.
The snack and soda machines we recognize today – multi-selection, accepting multiple coin types, dispensing change – originated in the 1940s. In the ’40s, of course, vending machines accepted coins only, did not dispense change, and limited selections about 20 items. These were fully mechanical vend mechanisms and required no power to operate the vend cycle.
Early soda machines required power to refrigerate the product. The modern vending machine design with spiral dispense, full change capacity, dollar bill acceptance (usually by dollar bill coin changer), 30-40 snack selections, and up to 10 soda options, came to being in the late 1960s and was refined in the 1970s.

Improvements in vending machine technology since have been base on electronics and computer innovation, with standardization of protocols and improvements in currency acceptance. Ultra-modern vending machines can accept a variety of payment types – credit cards, large denomination bills (up to 0), cell phone charges (charging a product to your cell phone bill) – can be monitored remotely by Internet, can produce sales figures to individual unit numbers (sold 13 Snickers and 8 Doritos out of this machine last week), log machine entry times, and can even provide surveillance with camera technology. Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby.
So how is this history lesson relevant? Vending machine technology is responding to market need. The successful vending operators have driven this technology with their purchasing habits. Like all businesses, if technology affords a profitable advantage, that product has a market. The fact that the vending machine manufacturers have continued to produce better and better vending machines means that the vending business is a reliable venture when run properly.

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