The vending industry has entered the 21st century. If you've been at this a while the options for how to use software to best save you money/time can seem overwhelming. Never fear, I'm going to give you a run down of the kinds of vending machine software and how you use them to your advantage.
Vending Business Software
This is software that is used to help run your business, as opposed to software that you use with your machines.
There are a lot of numbers to keep track of in vending, so no matter what you need good accounting software. Quickbooks is the standard for handling accounting. If you've ever hired a bookkeeper, they probably use Quickbooks. You can't go wrong with it, but it's not specialized for a vending business. It will calculate your overall business income and expenses and prepare you for the tax man, but it won't keep track of your individual machine cash flow. To do that you'll also want to check out...
Vending Management Software
Also called vending route software, these are specific programs for use in the day to day operation of a vending business. They allow you to more closely manage things like your: Route calendar, inventory, taxes on individual machines and locations, and of course the never ending list of meter and cash readings. Paper-based systems for this kind of accounting will eventually drive you mad. Here are some options to choose from:
- Vend-Trak: This is a full-featured route management application that is on the web. It's not the prettiest piece of software, but it has everything you could need. For more information, check out my review.
- My VendTrack: This is not the same as Vend-Trak. This is a newer application (also web-based) that is more user-friendly for smart phones or other mobile devices, which is great for entering your numbers on location. Click here to try their 14 day free trial.
Telemetry Vending Software
Telemetry is used for tracking the inventory in your machines remotely. The obvious advantage is, with this installed, you only need to fill your machines when they run out of product. The disadvantage is that it has a significant up-front cost for special hardware installation and an ongoing cost to maintain the on-board hardware. If you have a distant or infrequent account that still does high volume, you would benefit the most from this technology. Imagine being able to simply pre-pack your items beforehand and wheel them in. How much time would you save not having to over load your vehicle, not having to do inventory on your machine when you service it, and not having to stress about if your machine needs servicing? On the other hand, money is tight in this business and it's a significant ongoing investment. Make sure you run the numbers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and many, including Custom Touch Vending, develop their own in-house solutions. How about you? What is your biggest challenge with finding the right software that fits your needs? Send us some feedback below.