Reduce the Chance of Vending Machine Repair Needs
How to Minimize Vending Machine Repairs for Increased Profits
Vending machine repairs can cost quite a bit of money. The best way to reduce this cost is to stop your machines from breaking down. After initially launching your vending machine business with fully functional, high-quality machines, you need to ensure maximum uptime to maintain profits. Every minute one of your machines has an “Out of Order” sign hung on it, could translate into multiple lost sales. If you want to keep your business running, you need to keep your vending machines running.
Writing this article with a focus on a particular type of vending machine or a specific repair or maintenance task would be difficult because of the sheer number of different makes and models out there. Your best bet for that type of information is a professional vending machine repair person or the original manual that came with it.
However, there is plenty you can do to make sure your vending machines are operating at full capacity for the maximum amount of time. Follow these tips to prevent them from going off-line and making it impossible to earn anything till they are repaired again.
Start With the Best Vending Machines
Choose popular and highly-rated vending machine brands with a good reputation in the industry.
As mentioned above, the are many different manufacturers of vending machines. Some of the most popular and trusted companies include Dixie Narco (owned by Crane), U-Select-It (USI), and Royal Vendors. They have earned their place at the head of the industry because they produce quality machines with high levels of reliability. One of the first steps in starting a vending business is choosing which machines to use. If you go with one of these companies, you should experience minimal downtime and quick and easy repairs as necessary.
Choose common vending machine models to make finding parts easier.
Because the manufacturers mentioned above are very well known in the industry, they are also serviced most readily by machine repairman and parts dealers. Multiple distributors offer these brands at varying affordable price points, which translates into wide availability of replacement parts as well.
This helps smaller vending businesses who choose to repair machines without calling in outside help. Parts can be sourced from local sellers, and you may be able to get some tips for manuals about repair at the same time. More complicated vending machine problems may require a trained professional who has experience or knowledge in working with a particular brand or model. In most cases, there will be several vending machine repairman to choose from in your area.
Whether you wish to buy new machines or refurbished funds, you will save a lot of money and headaches in the long run if you invest in a well-known brand vending machine rather than a generic type that may have a smaller initial price. Choose an industry leader for the availability of parts, ease and convenience of repair and servicing and more uptime to bring in the money.
Find a winning vending machine brand and model and stick with it.
Most vending machine businesses do not have many different types of machines that they service on their routes. Once you find one or two different types of machines that work well for your product lines, buy those and stick with those until they become obsolete. This not only means you only have to know how to repair one or two types, but any parts that you buy can be used for whichever one breaks down next. Save your inventory space for beverages, snacks and candy and not for spare parts.
Practice Preventative Maintenance Regularly
Quick and Easy Vending Machine Maintenance Tips
If you have mechanical aptitude, you can save some money by repairing your own machines. This does not mean this is necessary in order to run a successful vending business. Anyone who does, however, should be familiar with various preventative maintenance practices that can keep the vending machines running well and prevent more serious problems.
Follow these easy maintenance tips to ensure maximum uptime and profits:
- Use food-grade detergent, warm water and a soft towel to clean the entire vending machine two or three times a year.
- Wipe down and sanitize all visible surfaces of the vending machine every time it is serviced on its regular route. This helps prevent buttons from getting stuck and also presents a much more hygienic appearance. People are more likely to buy when the food comes out of a clean machine.
- Remove any dirt or build-up from the dollar bill validator every time you service the machine. This can be done with a damp towel or a disinfectant wipe. This not only keeps things cleaner but also reduces the chance of bills getting stuck and breaking the validator.
- Position and reposition the vending machine at least 4 inches away from any walls to maximize airflow to its back and sides. Overheating can become a problem that exacerbates part wear and tear and may lead to a breakdown.
- Check to make sure the vending machine is perfectly level on the ground. Uneven ground can be countered with some plywood or other support. When things are out of balance, they are much more likely to break.
- Make sure the vending machine is not in direct sunlight as the excess heat generated can also lead to malfunctions.
- Depending on the overall cleanliness of the location, use compressed air to clean the condenser coils anywhere from every other month to every six months. For example, a vending machine in a tidy office can go much longer than one in the back bay of a warehouse.
- After reading the vending machine manual to find out the specific electrical needs of that model, check how many amps are flowing with a basic voltmeter. Checking the polarity and voltage and ensuring that the right amount of power flows into the machine can vastly improve its longevity.
How to Make the Vending Machine Repair Process Simple and Fast
Service Stickers With Contact Info Make Quick Repairs Simpler
If you want to be notified immediately when one of your machines goes out of order, stick a brightly - colored sticker to the front or on a visible side with your company’s name and contact information on it. This way, when someone in charge of the location of the machine is at notices that something is wrong or receives a complaint from one of their employees, they can contact you right away to send a repair person out. This can minimize downtime and keep your profits running high. In some states, putting the sticker on the vending machine is a legal requirement. You should always check all local and state regulations before seeking out locations to place your machines.
Where required by law, this step is necessary. However, where it is voluntary, some vending business owners do not do this because they end up fielding calls from customers requesting particular types of candy bars or telling them a machine ate their dollar rather than receiving reports of breakage only.
Stock Up on Spare Parts and Learn Basic Fixes for Your Vending Machines
Vending machine technology is changing and being updated all the time. Newer models do not break as easily and are much more reliable than machines built just 10 years ago. Because repairs and in-depth maintenance are less necessary than they used to be, there may be a lack of dedicated vending repair people in your area. This and the amount of money you can save should lead you to learn something about vending machine maintenance and repair yourself.
Training courses may be available that cover general repair tips and the manufacturer of whatever brand of machine you use will undoubtedly have literature about spare parts needed and techniques to keep the machines running smoothly.
Be Ready to Get More Difficult Vending Machine Repairs Done Fast
If something goes wrong that you cannot fix yourself, you need to call in an experienced professional. Vending machines, although more reliable than in the past, can still have a multitude of problems that cannot be fixed with a simple screw turn or reset. Do not fall into the trap of ignoring small problems to they grow larger. If your vending machine has a problem that is beyond your skill level to fix, call in an expert as soon as possible.
Both new and refurbished vending machines are frequently under warranty for at least 90 days and often one or more years after the transfer of ownership is the case for your problem machine, getting it professionally repaired is always a wise decision.
Record All Maintenance and Repairs for Every Vending Machine You Own
No matter who does the repairs or maintenance, always keep detailed reports of every step you or an independent repairman made. You should include the vending machine serial number, manufacturer and model number, location, what part was replaced and what are the repairs or maintenance processes were completed. Always include the date and the name of the person who actually did the work. This helps you keep track of when maintenance should be done again.