A Self — Serving Opportunity

I am making preparations to go into the vending machine business. Can you offer any advice on where I can gather information on this type of business and where I can begin?
— D. Roberson, Savannah, GA

Vending is an ideal way to ease into your own business. Whether you own machines that sell sodas, candy, coffee, or other quick snacks, the biggest part of the job will be collecting your money. Consider these tips before you get started.

Look for a business that will carry a vending machine. Go to places you frequent as a customer that have at least 20 employees and a regular volume of foot traffic.

It’s good to buy a used machine first. You can always start with just one and grow from there. Go to www.vend finder.com for tips on where to find inexpensive machines.

Purchase your inventory in bulk from a wholesaler such as Sam’s Club or Costco. Make sure to keep your vending machines filled with fresh stock.

Once you start generating revenues from your vending machine business, it’s important to keep track of your income and the taxes you owe. This is a cash — based business, and the IRS wants its money.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association can provide additional details about finding insurance, drawing up contracts, and locating vendor suppliers. Contact NAMA at www.vending.org or call 312 — 346 — 0370.

Mail your small business questions to Savvy Solutions, BLACK ENTERPRISE130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011or send an e — mail to johnsonj@blackenterprise.com.