Thinking about buying a vending machine truck for your business? There are several factors you’ll want to consider. What type of truck should you buy? How much do they cost? Which one is the best option for your business? What are the pros? What are the cons? Read on and let me put your mind at ease. I’ve already done the all the leg work to help you make the best decision for your vending machine business.
If you’re interested in buying a vending machine truck for your business, chances are you’ve grown tired of calling a moving company to move your machines from one location to another. Although moving companies are relatively inexpensive if used infrequently, most don’t operate on the same schedule as you. Unfortunately you’re beholden to when they’re available. The huge drawback is that until the moving company pays you a visit, your vending machine isn’t generating sales or profit.
Vending Machine Trucks for Smaller Operators
If you own and operate a relatively small number of vending machines, getting a full-size truck capable of carrying a payload of 1,500 lbs. should be more than adequate to meet your needs. Common brands in this category include the following:
- GMC Sierra 1500 Regular or Extended Cab
- Chevy Silverado 1500 Regular or Extended Cab
- Ford F-150 Regular or Extended Cab (with payload package capable of handling 2,000 lbs.)
- Ram (formerly Dodge Ram) Tradesman
All of these trucks can be purchased brand new for around $25,000 and are solid workhorses. Of course, if you’re interested in buying a vending machine truck but want to spend less, you have the option to buy an older model with a few thousand miles on it. Also, I recommend opting for the long bed truck to give you additional space you’ll need as your business grows.
Vending Machine Truck Accessories for Smaller Operators
In addition to buying a truck for your vending machine business, you’ll want to have a lift gate installed. Doing so will save you and your friends from the back-breaking task of loading the vending machine into your truck by hand. Luckily, many lift gate options are available for $2,500 to $3,000, including installation costs. One of the best-known brands is Tommy Gate. If your vending machines weigh less than 1,000 lbs., “The Original” lift gate is a solid performer. If you want a lift gate with a bit more capacity, you can move up to the “G2” model.
There are other lift gate vendors out there if Tommy Gate doesn’t meet your needs. Maxon is another well-known brand name that sells similar products. Contact your local Maxon distributor for additional details.
To ensure your vending machine doesn’t fall out of the truck if you hit a bump in the road, purchase a set of commercial grade tie-downs. They’re easy to use and do a great job of keeping the vending machine snug while travelling in the back of your truck.
Vending Machine Trucks for Larger Businesses
If you own and operate a larger number of vending machines, buying a vending machine box truck (sometimes referred to as a box van) is another option. These trucks are significantly bigger than the full-size trucks mentioned above but they can hold more vending machines in one load and protect them when travelling through rain and other elements. The downside, however, is that they are less fuel efficient than a full-size truck, which can be a significant drawback if you live in a city with regular traffic congestion. Common brands and models in this category include the following:
- Chevrolet Express Cutaway Cube Van
- GMC Savannah Cutaway
- Ford Econoline Commercial Cutaway Box Truck
- Isuzu NPR Box Truck
All of the listed box truck options are some of the most popular models used in the vending machine business. However, in the opinion of many, the Isuzu N-series truck gets the nod as being the best option if you plan to stick with the business long-term. It is the most reliable and its engine is rated to last well past 300,000 miles. Plus they’re much more fuel efficient than the other options because the engines are smaller (yet still provide plenty of power). The main drawback is they’re typically more expensive. New models of the N-Series trucks start around $40,000, so if you want one for less, you’ll have to buy one that has a few thousand miles on it.
Where to Buy Larger Vending Machine Trucks
In general, many used box trucks can be purchased at very reasonable prices from local commercial truck dealers and truck rental service centers (i.e. Ryder, Budget, and Penske to name a few).
Optimal Box Truck Sizes
Another factor you’ll want to consider is the box size of the vending machine truck you intend to buy. If you don’t expect to re-locate too many vending machines, starting out with at least a 10’ box truck may be your best bet. It’s less bulky, offers enough space to get the job done and could save you a few miles per gallon over a larger vending machine truck.
Truck Accessories for Larger Vending Machine Businesses
Also, although some box trucks are already outfitted with a lift gate, many models are not, particularly those that are brand new. Contact your local Maxon or Tommy Gate distributor to install a lift gate more appropriate for commercial vehicles if you plan on buying a vending machine truck without one. It’s an absolute must-have accessory in the vending machine business.
The size of your vending machine business should dictate what type of vending machine truck you buy. The smaller your business, the smaller your truck should be and vice versa. So, consider all the options listed above, decide which truck is right for the needs of your operation, and feel comfortable that you’ve made a well-informed decision.
As always, best of luck and happy vending!