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In a complex of more than 50 tenants, apartment vending machines can be a good investment. Typically, property managers outsource the vending function to specialized providers instead of doing it themselves. As such, you can get the permission of property managers in your area to put vending machines in their residential complexes and build a reasonable route with apartment vending machines.

Why Place a Vending Machine in an Apartment Building?

An apartment building provide a reliable customer base for vending machine products. The residents get to have quick round-the-clock access to drinks, snacks, fresh food products, or household items without having to leave the apartment building or complex.

Most young professionals living in apartments have busy schedules with limited free time for shopping or cooking. An apartment vending machine with the daily supplies they need at home can be a lifesaver. Also, having snacks and drinks they can grab on their way to work can be beneficial.

In an apartment building, the following vending products will have decent demand:

  • Snacks, including healthy options such as nuts, energy bars, jerky, fruits, and tuna snacks
  • Energy drinks
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Soda pop
  • Meals and mini-meals: prepackaged easy-to-prepare meals can be a lifesaver when one doesn’t have the time to cook a full meal
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Wellness products, including feminine hygiene products

Your desired product selection will determine what kind of vending machine you install in the residential complex. You can have dedicated snack and drink vending machines or a combo machine. Where you want to sell unique products, you can order custom vending machines specially designed to dispense your product.

Are Apartments Good Vending Machine Locations?

The success of a vending machine business depends mostly on the amount and quality of traffic at the vending location. An apartment complex or community with more than 50 tenants is typically a good vending candidate. You need to take other important factors into account, though, before you make a decision. These factors include:

  • Security. Ensure the apartment community is relatively secure with limited instances of theft or vandalism.
  • Ability to pay. A middle-class neighborhood or higher will generally perform well.
  • Number of rented units. The more tenants there are in the complex, the higher your chance of success. Prioritize large communities and complexes over smaller ones.
  • Competition. Some large apartment complexes have small convenience stores. The presence of such a store may make installing a vending machine unwise.

Vending machines do well in high-traffic locations. With enough tenants, an apartment building is a good vending machine location.

Where Do You Place Vending Machines in Apartment Buildings?

The best place to put a vending machine in an apartment building is where everyone can see it when entering or leaving the building. This makes the entrance, lobby, or elevator lobby the perfect location. 

Further, you can consider common amenity areas such as swimming pools and gyms where they are on the ground floor or at the ground level. Avoid communal areas on rooftops such as rooftop gyms or rooftop pools as they typically attract less traffic.

You also want to ensure that the location has ample space for tenants to safely approach and use the vending machine. Also, the vending machine must be ADA-compliant - the coin/bill acceptor, screen, and delivery box must be no less than 15’’ and no higher than 48’’ from the ground.

Most apartment complexes have security cameras in common areas. Ensure your vending machine is within the field of view of a security camera.

How Can I Place My Vending Machine in an Apartment Building?

Before you can put a vending machine in an apartment building, you will need the express permission of the owner or manager. Large apartment buildings with enough tenants to warrant a vending machine installation are rarely owner-managed. They are often in the hands of a property management company managing other similar properties in the city or region.

Many property management companies are open to the idea of having vending machines on their properties, as long as they are maintained and serviced well. Most companies will require that you give them a percentage of gross sales as a commission.

Take the following steps to place a vending machine in an apartment building:

  • Register a vending company and get licenses. It is best to run your vending company under an LLC. You will also need licenses from local authorities. Pay attention to local zoning laws and confirm whether or not vending in residential complexes is allowed.
  • Contact prospects with more than 40 - 50 tenants. Identify apartment buildings with more than 40 to 50 tenants and contact the management companies to let them know of your intention. You can reach out with a ready vending machine proposal.
  • Check and agree to the terms of the lease agreement. The management company will propose terms for leasing a vending machine location. Ensure the terms are friendly and that there are no restrictions that may hamper the normal operation of a vending machine business.
  • Secure a vending machine and place it on the property. After reaching an agreement with the property manager, you can secure a vending machine and put it on the property. 

Once you place a vending machine in an apartment building, you must establish a restocking and maintenance schedule to ensure a great experience for your customers. Out-of-stock and out-of-service situations inconvenience customers and may lead to you losing your vending location to a competitor. Also, based on your customers’ buying habits, you can figure out what they like and offer more of such products.

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