Important Questions to ask Vending Machine Companies Houston

Important Questions to ask Vending Machine Companies Houston

Top 10, Most Important, Questions to Ask Your New Houston Texas Area Vending Machine Company!

Your time is valuable; therefore, it is so important to ask important questions, when interviewing new Conroe or The Woodlands area vending machine companies for your office, school, work, etc. There are, too many to count, start-up or new vending machine companies that simply can’t afford a general liability insurance policy, have good references, etc. We all have to start somewhere… but many vending startups just “wing-it” and place a few machines hoping that you won’t ask for important documents and/or questions.  Speaking of references… always check two or three current locations of the new operator.

1. Is the vending company fully insured?
Fact – Most new vending companies are NOT insured… from cut fingers to fires could be devastating to you and your work if something bad happens.  Ask for a million dollars in coverage or greater.

2. Does the vending company pay sales tax?
Fact – Most new vending companies do NOT pay sales tax on the items purchased thru your machines.  Why care? If the state discovers the operator is not paying sales tax on items purchased…. they can shut them down.  Ask for a sales and use tax permit.

3. What is the condition of the vending equipment?
Fact – We all have to start somewhere… and most of the time… new operators start with old junky equipment.  Ask the new operator for pictures of the machines beforehand.

4. How are products selected for the vending machines? How do they know what the customers want?
Fact – Many new vending companies are what we call “Sams Club Vendors”.  They only shop at Sams and are missing out on many new items that larger vendors purchase from brokers.

5. Have criminal background checks been cleared on the route drivers and technicians entering your facility?
Fact – The vending business is easy to get into.  We background check all route merchandisers.

6. How often does management check machines to ensure they meet operation and cleanliness standards?
Fact – Most new operators have day jobs (to pay the bills) and often service your machines late afternoons and are usually in a hurry.  Make sure they are staying on top of cleanliness.

7. How long will a machine be out of service, if there is a problem (hours, days, weeks)?
Fact – Again… many new operators have “day jobs” that prevents timely service.  Make sure you set expectations with the new vending company.

8. Do I have to sign a contract or service agreement?
Fact – Most new vending machine providers ask for a signed contract or agreement.  Sometimes this is necessary and may be required.  However, if you are a smaller location (say 300 staff members or less)… we would suggest not signing a contract right away.  Maybe ask the operator to wait 90 days before signing.  The last thing you need is to be spending your valuable time trying to get out of a new contract.

9. Are the prices your new vending company quoted guaranteed for a period of time or just teaser rates just to get in the door?
Fact – Most new startups offer unusually low prices to earn your business.  Unfortunately, they usually don’t have buying power and it will only be a matter of time before they attempt to “sneak” up your prices.  Don’t let your new operator nickel and dime you to death.  Ask for all pricing in writing, prior to installation.

10. How often do the route drivers check for and remove expired products? What is the company’s tolerance level for out-dated products?
Fact – No operator is perfect… even the largest vendors have machines that have out-dated items stocked.  However, established operators have systems in place that can prevent expired items in your vending machines.

Why Hometown Vending now uses a VMS vending route software system

Why Hometown Vending now uses a VMS vending route software system

Hometown Vending decided to upgrade operations by implementing a VMS vending route software system in early 2014.   Using a vending management software system helps vending companies run day-to-day operations both in the office and at customer locations.  Hometown Vending decided to take the leap and invest in a system that helps with scheduling, customer commissions, cash management, schedules and more.  In our opinion, it would be really difficult to compete in 2017 without such a system to help keep things organized and running efficiently.  We invested in Stream VMS and feel that the system is both easy and robust.

In the past, all customer commissions were dependent on drivers pulling the internal cash meters from each machine during service and then bringing back to the office so that we could manually enter into an Excel spreadsheet.  This was incredibly tedious and time consuming… not to mention difficult to insure accuracy.  Balancing the books and customer commissions took hours and hours each month.  With Stream VMS software, all cash meters are automatically entered into the cloud during each service.  Furthermore, all commissions are automatically calculated and our customers have their own login credentials so that they can view sales, current and past commission reports, etc.  We feel that this creates a valuable level of trust with our customers.

Scheduling was another challenge for vending operators in the old days.  Managers would have to layout schedules on paper and make sure drivers had a copy.  Stops and machines would often get skipped due to communication errors, etc.  Our vending management software automatically schedules and organizes routes.  Our customers all seem really happy with the fact that we never overlook restocking their machines.  Stream vending route software makes it really easy to schedule the really slow accounts that may require service once every two or three weeks.  The system remembers the date of the last service and makes sure to show up in the drivers Stream iPhone app every two or three weeks, etc.  No more overlooked slow stops!!

Stream vending route software also keeps track of all our cash management and tells us exactly how much we should expect back from the drivers each day by machine, location, etc.  I am almost certain that most vending operators have experienced a driver stealing some cash at some point and this is precisely why we are really happy to have implemented a software system to run our business.

In conclusion, we couldn’t imagine running our business the old fashion way… spreadsheets, driver theft, inconsistent commission reports, etc.  We made the jump in early 2014 and have been really satisfied with the results of using vending machine route software.  We are the leading vending machine company in Montgomery County Texas and feel that having Stream VMS run our backend management has been crucial to our success.