How to Buy a Vending Route

If you decide to go into the vending business, you must decide if you want to build your own route or buy a route that already exists. Buying a route that someone else built allows you to grow quickly, but typically requires a larger financial and time commitment.


  1. Image titled Buy a Vending Route Step 1
    Locate legitimate vending routes for sale in your area. Check the "Business for Sale" section of your local newspapers and contact local small business brokers and inquire about vending routes for sale. Occasionally, you might find a real estate broker listing for a vending route, even if the route is home based and no actual real estate is involved.
  2. Image titled Buy a Vending Route Step 2
    Schedule a time to accompany vending owners on a service route. Visit the accounts with the seller and inspect the machines and their locations. Notice things like the age and condition of the machinery, the safety and exposure provided for the machines in their existing locations, and the driving distance between locations.
  3. Image titled Buy a Vending Route Step 3
    Ask sellers to see their businesses' financial records. This may be difficult because vending is a cash business and there is often no documentation of sales volume and income versus overhead. Also, some vending route owners may keep two sets of books and only show you one.
  4. Image titled Refinance Student Loans Step 1
    Find out where the current owner purchases product, what the prices are, and any other purchasing restrictions, including order minimums. Compare purchasing volume and costs with sales volume and costs.
  5. Image titled Buy a Vending Route Step 5
    Hire an accountant or attorney to review the vendor's financial statements and other business records. An attorney should draw up the contracts for the purchase.


  • Talk to people you see when you are on route with the seller. Notice if the existing owner talks to customers, and the quality of the relationship between the location owner and the vending route owner. For a vending route to remain lucrative in the long term, there must be a good working relationship between operator and location.
  • Carry a pocket of change when you accompany the owner on the route to buy a product at each of the machines you visit. Not only will this help you see how the machine operates, it may also reveal any problems, such as a products hanging up in the machine. Check for notes taped to the machines asking for a refund or stating a problem. Look for signs of damage or abuse, such as kick marks.


  • Be careful of vending scams that try to sell you unplaced vending machines at vending route prices or higher. The scammers promise to help you locate the machines, but rarely deliver. A legitimate vending route purchase includes machines already on location.

Article Info

Categories: Buying & Forming a Business