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How To Find Vending Locations For Your Vending Machines?

The most important part in any vending machine business is finding a vending location. Here’s how to do it on your own or with a help of vending locators.

September 25, 2023


You’ve decided to start a vending machine business — now you just have to figure out the best place to operate your vending machines. A great machine can make you $2,000 a month in a good location, or $50 a month in a bad one. 

Choosing the right spot for your vending machines will have the biggest impact on your vending business. In fact, next to what you’re actually vending, location is the greatest factor that influences your income.

We’ve put together the most comprehensive guide imaginable in a vending machine industry on how to find profitable vending machine locations. In this post, you can expect to learn the best places to install a vending machine, how to find vending machine locations, and tips for pitching your vending machine business to property managers in best locations. 

Ready to dive in? 

Can you place vending machines anywhere?

The glory of a vending machine business is that you can go anywhere so long as you have permission from a property business owner. Another perk if you decide to give it a try is that vending machine industry is growingly opportune for small business owners. The only thing to remember is that you must obtain legal consent before placing vending machines on property you don’t own.

Even public areas you might want to look for aren’t free vending game for vending machines. You can’t just put up a vending machine in a park or outside your house and collect a profit. You’d have to reach out to the local government, register an LLC, and get a permit. Different locations have unique legal requirements, and some are a lot easier to sell on than others. 

And just because someone lets you place a vending machine in a location doesn’t mean it's one of the best locations out there. You need to know all the factors that make a good location for vending machines before you decide where to place yours.

What makes a location good find?

Let’s say you’ve reached out to a local laundromat about placing your vending machines in their establishment. How do you know whether they’ll actually generate revenue? It’s not worth the hassle if you won’t even break $100 a month in sales, is it? 

The best locations need to be chosen based on these four factors:

  1. Foot traffic 
  2. Number of employees
  3. Security
  4. Indoors 

High Foot Traffic

At least 50 people a day should see your vending machine. Areas with high foot traffic are the best locations because they are naturally more likely to attract more customers. You have to consider how many people have direct foot traffic to vending machines and how many have indirect traffic.

Direct foot traffic comes from people who frequent the location you’ve chosen. Examples include students in a high school or on a college campus, patients and employees at a hospital, and trainers and patrons at a local gym. 

Indirect foot traffic comes from people who aren’t regulars on the property, but they could still become customers anyway. Think passengers at an airport, or people at an event center. 

The amount of traffic you have affects how many people see your vending machines, and how many people decide to become a customer. Just be mindful of how much traffic your location has and its impact on your inventory. It doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of people seeing your vending machines a day if it’s empty.

You want to choose a location that promotes good vending business without tapping you out completely.

Number of Employees

If you have vending machines in a commercial property, the number of employees is the same as your number of potential customers. For a vending machine in an office space, you want to ensure there are enough people actively on the property who are likely to make a purchase. 

Employees are also more likely to become repeat customers, even on the same day. In addition to its position on the property, consider what you’re selling, and what employees are likely to be experiencing at the time they encounter your machine.

For example, placing vending machines near a kitchen or common area is more likely to attract buyers because they’re already likely on a break. If you place it close to the entrance or exit, you’ll have far less vending business, even if the office is crowded. 


You have a few options when it comes to securing your vending machines, but before you make any investments, consider the safety of a location first. Some spots are a lot more likely to be prone to theft than others. Vending machines in schools, hospitals, and offices don’t have nearly as much risk as ones in more public areas, especially locations that are poorly lit or underpopulated. 

Before you choose a location, consider these safety factors:

  • Will the vending machine be locked in a secure location at night?
  • What security measures does the property have in place to prevent burglary and theft? 
  • Is the location visible, and therefore more likely to deter potential thieves?
  • What measures are you allowed to install to protect your machine? 

Some options for vending machine security include a security camera mounted above the machine, which gives you 24-hour coverage. You could also opt for a security cage, but this one has some drawbacks. One, it’s expensive. Two, it looks like a jail cell for your vending machines. It’s a lot less visually appealing, so it could prevent you from converting as many customers. 


Are the indoors or outdoors more profitable for vending machines? It depends. In some areas, like beaches and parks, you can make good money selling things like ice creams, cold drinks and snacks, frozen food, ice, and items like sunscreen, sunglasses, rain ponchos, and more. There are a lot of options depending on where you place your machine, whether it’s an park or a shopping mall.

Outdoor locations can be profitable, but they do come with added risks. You’ll need to have high-quality locks and surveillance cameras (if legally permitted) to prevent theft and vandalism.

You also have to think about the logistics. Most vending machines need an electrical socket, so you have limited options when it comes to a reliable power supply outside.

If you don’t have a stable electrical source, your machine could shut down and be out of service. That’s bad enough, but if the items inside it require refrigeration, you’ll wind up losing all of them, too.

Next, think about weather concerns. How will you protect an outdoor vending machine from the elements? You’ll need to install it under a roof, awning, or take other measures to make sure it’s not damaged by heat, rain, or other weather. 

Indoor vending machine locations are easier to manage, and they come with a lot of benefits. For one, security is partially built into the property. Most spaces are placed under lock-and-key at night, and they have cameras and alarm systems. 

Also, vending machines posted indoor is a lot easier to assess overall. You can visit them in person to see for yourself how many people are in the area. 

So, which option is better for your vending machine business?

  • Outdoor vending machine locations can be profitable in the right areas, but they require extra prevention and maintenance. Only choose this if you have a plan for upkeep, damage prevention, restocking, and security.
  • Indoor vending locations are versatile, and offer plenty of options when it comes to placement. They're a hot pot of vending industry. They’re also great for people new to vending, and give you the easiest start when it comes to launching your vending business.

List of the Best Type of Vending Locations

list and descriptions of the best type of vending locations

These locations are the holy grail of vending machine locations. Choose one of these vending machine location ideas, and your vending machines will be set up for success from the start. 

Granted, sales will vary by area, but these are where you should install a vending machine if you’re just starting out. These are also some of the easiest places looking for vending machines, so if you’re worried about pitches or permits, this list is for you.

Apartment Complexes

Apartment complexes house hundreds of people, sometimes over 1,000 in larger cities. Benefiting from 24-hour visibility and access is what makes this maybe the best location in the bunch. 

Vending machines can be installed in common areas, like community courtyards, near the pool, by the gym, or near a rec room. Try to place a vending machine in an area people tend to congregate. The laundry rooms, party rooms, or coworking spaces make great choices. Laundry rooms are flying under the radar if you ask us...


Motels have high foot traffic, and people tend to come light-handed. They’ll eagerly snatch up snacks, quick-fix meals, and household essentials like dish soap. In marketing, people who need what you’re selling with no other options available are called captive audiences. If you're hot, travelling and have a sun-heated water in your bottle - you'll find the closest ice vending machine as best refreshment possible. IN such instances, vending machines provide a perfect remedy to people's cravings.

If a motel doesn’t have a convenience store nearby, or any other facility on site, your machine is their saving grace. 

The super-expensive snacks in most hotel lobbies aren’t appealing to people. Who wants to pay $6 for a bottle of water? Your vending machine could easily provide a better alternative to guests.

Motels don’t usually have mini-marts, but if they do, they’re pretty limited. A vending machine could be a great solution for guests who are stopping by and need some delicious snacks or common conveniences. 

College Dorms

If there’s any age group that’s going to use a vending machine, it’s college kids. The whole college diet stereotype isn’t entirely untrue. While plenty of young adults are health-conscious these days, most still like to indulge a sweet tooth, or grab a bag of chips to snack on while they study.

Of course, you can also load your vending machine with better options than Doritos and Coke. A vending machine with healthy snacks and sports drinks is great for busy college kids that don’t have the time or energy to meal prep. Coffee vending machines are a good idea too.

You can also include staples every student in a dorm knows well, like iced coffee, sparkling water, and instant ramen.


a gothic-style, modern hospital as a vending machine location

Hospitals are great for vending machine businesses because they’re open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When the cafeteria closes, patients, visitors, doctors, and nurses only have vending machines to count on.

For patients, your food vending machines could be a nice break from hospital food. For staff, it’s convenient when they’re on a break. It saves them time and money from going to a restaurant or buying takeout.

Then there are the guests. They could be visiting a loved one, waiting for someone to get out of surgery, or stuck in the waiting room after taking someone to the ER. Vending machines with hot and cold options will be a big hit among this crowd, especially when there are no drink and snack options nearby.

Another major perk to hospitals is their high turnover rate. There are hundreds of patients a month, and a large staff that works multiple shifts. You have plenty of people to vend to in a hospital, and you’ll always have a dependable business to count on.

Warehouse Location

Warehouse workers are on their feet their entire shifts, and they don’t tend to take long breaks. Machine vending on-site makes it much easier for them to refuel when they’re having lunch or taking five.

What’s more, most warehouses are located on large pieces of land that don’t have a lot of food options nearby. 

Your vending machine could be the go-to stop for workers who are grabbing a snack or getting a drink to refresh themselves during a long shift.


Factories, like warehouses, are often isolated from a lot of food options. If this is the case it might be the best location for your machines. Workers tend to eat their meals on-site, and they work rotating shifts. A factory could be open 24 hours with half the staff working days, and the other half covering nights.

You can provide healthy vending machines and healthy snacks for employees who are working a long shift and don’t have anywhere else to buy food.

Nursing Homes

At a nursing home, residents often have free range of the facility during the day. They love getting to enjoy different sweet treats and snacks in their free time. The staff also enjoy the convenience of a vending machine on the property.

Like hospitals, a nursing home is open year-round, non-stop. They always have people available to make a purchase. In addition to regular staff members and residents, there are also plenty of visitors who stop by to see their loved ones. Sometimes, doctors and health specialists also come on site to see patients, and they may grab something to-go on their way out.


a moody school hall ith bags on the sides

Plenty of schools allow vending machines to be sold on their site, but they do require most of the options to be healthier than your usual junk food fare. You can cater to students, or talk about vending directly to faculty in the teacher’s lounge. In fact, you can even try vending at bus and train stations close to schools.

If you place a vending machine in the office staff and visitors alike could wind up making purchases throughout the day.

Whether it’s a local middle or high school, community college, or large state college, vending machines in schools make good profit. Students have limited free time in these locations, and they’ll want to be able to easily grab a snack they can eat between classes. 


Malls have hundreds, if not over 1,000, visitors a day and they make great locations. You can rest assured that a vending machine will have plenty of visibility in this location. Large shopping malls often have rest points throughout the property that make the prime spot for a vending machine. Shoppers can take a short break and enjoy a cold drink or snack before resuming their trip.

Plenty of staff at the mall also enjoy frequenting vending machines. They make it easy to get something on their break without having to wait in line at the food court.

Large Auto Dealers/Auto Shops

When you’re waiting for your car to get serviced, what do you do? Like a lot of people, you probably make a beeline for the closest vending machine. Car dealerships have a lot of people tour them throughout the day as well, making them a potentially profitable vending machine location to place a drink or snack machine.

Most people spend several hours at a dealership or auto repair shop. There also tend to be significant wait times that can last up to 3 hours. In addition to customers, you can also expect the technicians, salesmen, and staff to turn to the vending machine throughout the day. 

Another perk of auto dealers is that they tend to belong to a larger family of businesses. This means you can talk to the business owner about expanding your vending machines into other locations. 

Other potentially profitable vending locations included in our ultimate list of places guide include:

How to Find More Vending Machine Locations

Hand on a map holding a pin above the location

A little research goes a long way especially when you're trying to find locations! There are several strategies you can try that will help you find the best vending machine locations for sale in your area. 

1.  Use a Vending Machine Locator Service

At, we do the hard work for you. Our team can research hotspots in your area, then give you personalized recommendations on 50 to over 200 possible locations for you to vend. We also make sure to research in a 15- to 25-mile radius, giving you plenty of coverage and opportunities. 

Vending research services simplify the hardest part of finding a profitable vending machine location for your vending business. Our job is to get a list of potential businesses for you to market to, so you can dive right into pitching.

2. Google Maps to Locate Spots

Another easy way to find profitable vending machine locations is to hop on over to Google Maps. Type in “hospitals near me” or “schools in [your city]”. You’ll get instant results. Create a list of the best options you see, then prepare to reach out to them with a business pitch.

3. Use Local Directories

Just like Google Maps is a great tool, Google itself works out well, too. The “near me” feature will bring up dozens of results whenever you search for a particular business. Whether that’s apartment complexes or churches, you have plenty of options right at your fingertips. Where there’s wifi, there’s a way.

4. Drive Around Your Area

Believe it or not, vending business prospects can be found offline, too. Get in your car, and start driving around your area. Cover about 15 to 30 miles, and take note of any locations that you think would make good spots for a vending machine.

With this strategy, you can also physically enter most properties and see whether or not someone’s already vending there. This can save you time from reaching out to a business that doesn’t need your services.

How to Prospect Good Sites?

A man on a laptop researching vending machine locations holding a phone

Once you’ve found potentially profitable vending machine locations, you have to get your name out there! These are our top suggestions for connecting with local companies.


You’ll have to be a pretty outgoing person for this strategy, but it can be highly effective. You enter a business, tell them what you offer, and ask if a manager would be interested in discussing installing a vending machine. 

Don’t be pushy, though, and always be mindful of your timing. In some establishments, like schools and medical facilities, it’s disruptive to show up and promote your business during work hours. Instead, call and ask for the contact information of a decision-maker, and reach out to them via phone or email. 

Pro tip: Make sure you have a business card with your contact details as well. Many managers are busy during the day, but they may reach out to you if someone passes your card along.

Cold Calling

“Cold” means that no one has ever heard of you before, so cold calling entails reaching out to companies by phone and pitching your business. It’s not the most exciting model, but it does have results. Plenty of vending machine owners build great relationships with clients they gained through cold calls.

Succeeding at this requires a strong pitch, good communication skills, and the ability to build a rapport with strangers.

Cold Emailing

Not a fan of calling businesses on the phone? Try email instead! Cold emails are a great alternative to cold calling for a few reasons. For starters, you can send out a lot of emails without feeling drained. There’s a lot more time to email multiple contacts than call them.

Second, you can copy-and-paste your pitch to each business. Use a template that helps you add some personal details, like a manager’s name, then woosh! Your email is on its way with no hassle.

Identify the Decision-Maker of the Business

Who actually says whether or not you can sell somewhere? You need permission from a business owner or business manager to vend at their vending machine location. Head online, and search for businesses you’re interested in. You’ll usually be able to check their website and see who's in charge. 

Make Contact With the Decision-Maker

Whether it’s by phone or email, reach out to the person who you identified in the previous step. Remember to always greet them professionally, and respect their time by keeping your pitch short and sweet.

Schedule a Meeting With the Decision-Maker

After you’ve introduced your business, the final goal is to have a meeting with the decision-maker of the business. Then, you can discuss the fine details of your business, highlight the benefits of using your vending machines, and hopefully, arrange a deal.

Schedule a Time to Come in and Pitch Your Vending Service

Once you’ve found an interesting spot, it’s time to pitch. Before you reach out, make sure you have the following:

  • A name for your business 
  • A professional company website
  • A pitch deck

A pitch deck is short presentation that outlines the relevant details of your service. It highlights key product features, advantages, and information about your business. You can use a pitch deck to showcase things like market fit (why your service is a good match for a business), operating expenses, and profit projections (how much you expect to make).

Most vending machine owners give property owners a cut of their sales called a commission fee. The commission fee allows the company to benefit financially from hosting your vending machines, on top of the other benefits.

Make sure you factor commission into your pitch, as it’s a huge selling point. People aren’t going to pay the electric bill to run your machine, after all (even if it does sell the best snacks in town).

Win the Business

Once you’ve made a deal with a business, you can buy your vending machines and set up shop! We advise securing a deal before you invest in an expensive machine and inventory. 

Remember, it may be relatively hands-off, but vending is a business like any other. To succeed, you need a detailed plan that includes a budget and goals.

If you’d like to get personalized and profitable location ideas from vending machine location finder, reach out to us at Vending Locator today!

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