How do I choose the right type of vending machine for my business?


The first thing to do is look at the business your vending machine is going to go into.  Look at the number of employees and where the machine will be located at in that business.  This will be the easiest and fastest way to pick the right type of equipment without overspending on full size equipment, or underspending by using machines that are too small or inadequate.

If the business has 10-75 employees, it is considered a small business in the eyes of a vending operator.  The best type of equipment for a small business is a combo vending machine.  A combo vending machine will sell multiple types of items in one piece of equipment that shares a common dollar acceptor, coin changer, information reader, and computer board (snack/cold drink combo, snack/cold drink/hot drink combo, etc.)  Any other type of business with more then 75 employees should have access to full size equipment (all snacks machine, all drinks machine, all frozen foods machine, all coffee machine, etc)

If a business is looking for a vending machine to be put in an employee’s cafeteria, consider the space as well as the number of employees.  Then you can decide between a combo or a few full size vending machines.  On the other hand, if space is an issue for that particular business, (small break room or narrow hallway), a space saving combo vending machine will be the perfect way to go.

Piranha offers all different types of vending machines no matter what the situation is like in your business.  Just give one of our representatives a call and we will help you choose the perfect type of equipment.


How do I start a vending machine business and make an income?


The first thing you should do is look at your budget.  How much do you have to invest in starting your own vending machine business?  Once you have that number calculated, you can start looking at the easiest type of equipment to operate as a new vendor.  Here at Piranha, we can easily sell the right type of equipment to anyone who is thinking about starting a new vending machine business.  We offer the best type of quality equipment at the lowest prices because we work on volume of sales.  We also manufacture some equipment to keep the costs even lower.

If you are new into the business, the best way to get into the business is working with combo vending machines. They are more economical to invest in because you don’t have to place multiple pieces of equipment into the same business location.  You can work on more volume of locations with a minimum investment.

Another way to get the most for your investment is to look at some used equipment.  And because used equipment can break down at anytime, you have to be very careful with what type of equipment you are purchasing and where you’re buying it from.  Here at Piranha, we only warehouse used equipment that we deem a good investment and we hold the highest standards by never selling “ancient” machines with newer parts placed in them.  Our used vending machines will be “gently” used vending machines with ALL working parts.

Give one of our representatives a call here at Piranha, and we will help you choose the perfect combo vending machine and stay within your budget.


Is it hard operate or own a vending machine?


No, it isn’t hard to operate a vending machine.  All vending machines work similarly, even if they are made by different manufactures.  They will all have a main computer board (for programming and price setting, etc), money acceptor (dollar bill validator and/or coin changer), motors (all modern vending machines are electronic), refrigeration unit (for drink/cooling machines), and keypad (all modern vending machines use a keypad for product selection and programming).

Once you become familiar with the different parts on your vending machine, it will be very easy for you to operate any vending machine.  Changing parts will be easy.  Price programming, loading products into your vending machine, and taking out money are the only things you have to do to keep your vending machine running smoothly.  You should also keep the manual to you equipment so that way you can reference back to anything you need to do.  And when you purchase any vending machine equipment with Piranha, you will have access to lifetime customer service by calling us at 586-997-1212 and ask for technical support.


What do I have to do once I order a vending machine from Piranha?


There’s not much you have to do once you place an order with Piranha!  Trust that you are getting a piece of quality equipment for the lowest price possible.  Also, we offer lifetime phone customer service support for as long as you own your vending machine purchased from Piranha.

All vending machines will be shipped with a reputable freight moving truck company.  They will be carefully packaged and strapped to a sturdy pallet for easing loading and unloading.  You will have a tracking number and an estimated date of delivery provided by the trucking company once your vending machine has been shipped.

You will always want to be present when your vending machine is being delivered to your business.  You have the right to inspect your product and make sure that there are no damages made during transit by the trucking company.  Once you have inspected your vending machine, then you can sign the BOL document and agree that you received your product in it’s original condition.  Remember, Piranha will never ship a damaged vending machine!

Once you have your vending machine placed in the spot of your choice, you are ready to plug it in to get started.  There is no programming needed.  If your vending machine has a refrigeration unit, it should start working automatically (just like a refrigerator).  All you have to do is load the products in the individual selections, program your desired prices (see manual or call Piranha), and start selling products!


What should I do if I have a jam in my dollar acceptor on my vending machine?


Open the main door, take off the stacker box to see the problem.  You may have to open the bill acceptor more if something is jamming the pathway.  This is usually done by a quick button release.


How do I adjust the temperature of my vending machine to make my drinks cooler?

Almost ALL NEW vending machines are pre-set at the factory for proper temperature setting.  Refer to the manual of your machine to find out how to change temperature.  Temperature controls are very sensitive and you can cause a further problem if refrigeration is set too cold.  Icing up will actually make the machine seem warmer.


Why are the drinks frozen in my vending machine?

If you kept the temperature of your vending machine at the factory setting, this should never happen.  If at some point you decided to lower the temperature, you may have lowered it too much, causing the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.  When the temperature is too low, there is a layer of frost that starts to develop and build around the EVAPORATOR coils where the refrigerant gas travels.  Those coils become frozen over time and your temperature will rise because of the freon not circulating properly.

Call the technical support team immediately if this happens to your vending machine purchased from Piranha.  We will help you step by step to reverse the frozen effect so your machine will start cooling again.

The best thing to do is the leave your temperature setting at the factory setting.  But if you feel like you want your drinks a little cooler in the summer months, call the Piranha technical support at 586-997-1212 and we will guide you to make that change.


How can I stop my snacks from getting stuck?

There is a correct way to load snacks into the snack part of your vendor.  Bags should never straddle over the coils.  This concerns the “chip” items and the small bag snacks like M&M’s.  The bottom corner of the bag should always be pulled through the coil, so the bag is sitting “square” to you, NOT on an angle.  This way the bag will vend out like a slide instead of tipping forward.


How do I make more sales at my location?

The types of products that you place in your vending machines will reflect the sales in your business location.  The easiest way to “get to know” your locations is to have the location fill out a suggestion list.  Make up a suggestion list of items and let them circle or check the items they want to purchase from you.  Then fill your vending machine to the best of their suggestions.

Another important thing to do is never allow expired products in your vending machine.  Always check the expiration dates of the items you are putting in your vending machine and make sure the package is clean and enticing for your customers and the products are fresh.

Lastly, offer as much variety as you can in your vending machine.  That means try and not put 2 rows of the same product in your vending machine unless you know a product is a top seller and the demand is there.  If the employees are looking at your vending machine every single day, you want to have as much variety in there as possible so they don’t get bore of the same of thing.  Another trick is to switch to different products every few weeks or every few months.  This keeps your vending machine interesting and your potential customers always wondering what you will be offering next.


How long does a vending machine last?

If a vending machine operator takes care of his/her equipment, it can last 10-20 years!  And it’s very easy to take care of a vending machine as long as you pay attention to a few of it’s needs to run for years and years to come.

Always clean up spills.  Never keep your machine sticky with spilled drink or crumbs of chips or melted chocolate.  That will stick to the coils and drink receptacles and will eventually make your motors work harder then they have to.

Keep your machine clean, inside and out.  Wipe off any dust especially around your dollar validator and coin receptor.  Keep the vent of your refrigeration unit free from dust so air can circulate.

Don’t leave something broken in your vending machine.  Try and put good replacement parts back on as soon as possible.  The longer you leave a part of your machine broken, the more problems you will have.  Remember, it’s not hard to take care of minor issues on your vending machine that may happen from time to time.  Especially if you purchase your equipment from Piranha, you will have access to lifetime technical support.  We will be able to diagnose almost any problem that may arise and tell you the steps to fix it.


How can I personalize my vending machine?

The best way to personalize a vending machine is to put your own artwork on it!  When you purchase a vending machine from Piranha, whether new or used, you have the opportunity to personalize it with any company logo or any other artwork of your choice.

First, purchase a vending machine from Piranha.  You can personalize any vending machine purchased from Piranha whether you are buying new or used equipment.  Next, send us an image (.jpg) of what you would like to see on your vending machine.  Our design team can help with a unique look specifically for your business or you can describe exactly how you would like it to look.

Once you approve the look of your vending machine and the cost for personalization, we will then get the images printed and cover the equipment to your specifications.  Then it will be packaged and shipped securely to you by a reputable freight forward trucking company!

Give us a call here at Piranha and discuss how you can make your vending machine stand out and be even more attractive!


What’s the best way to load drinks into my vending machine?

The best way to load drinks into your vending machine is by doing it one at a time!  Don’t try to rush the process as it may jam up or load incorrectly and cause you more problems and potentially take even longer to load!  It will take a few extra minutes initially to load a completely empty vending machine this way but it is worth it!  You will not get any jams.

Of course, when you go back to refill your vending machine, it will not take as long as the first initial set up.  And hopefully, you don’t wait until your products are completely sold out before you go and service your vending machine.


What type of snacks should I put into my snack vending machine?

You should always put relevant snacks into your snack vending machine.  If the customers in your location requests Snickers Bars or Lay’s potato chips, make sure you offer it in your vending machine.  If they really want to have Diet Dr. Pepper every single day, make sure you have it available for them.  Eventually, they will constantly buy from your vending machine because they know that they can count on their favorite product to always be there.


Will I make more money if I put premium diet drinks (like Slim Fast or Special K) in my vending machine?

Not really, unless it is requested, and you see it sells consistently.  These types of drinks are very expensive and only cater to a very small percentage of customers.  These people usually bring these types of drinks from home.  Healthier snack and drink items costs more and this usually deters a customer from buying on a consistent basis.


What’s the difference from purchasing a vending machine from Piranha over someone else on the Internet?


Piranha has been selling vending machines for 14 years–longer then anyone else on the internet.  We have a proven track record for quality service, dependability, saving people money and proving sound advice.  All around, Piranha is your best deal.


How much money will I make if I get into the vending business?


You need to place a vending machine in a business location so it can start making money for you. The placement of your vending machine is very important. Is it going to be seen by a steady stream of employees or potential customers all day long? Is it in an area that is attractive and promotes a desire to purchase food/drink when you look at it?

Another important thing is to make sure you are purchasing your vending products at the lowest prices possible. Check out sale ads for drinks at your local stores. Look for a vending supply store in your area specifically for vendors. Buy in bulk from warehouse stores that carry vending machine items in variety packs. Then price you items in your vending machine accordingly to your costs.


How does a coin changer recognize coins?


A coin changer reads coins after it is being passed through the slot. It reads the coins by magnetizing the coin and sizes the alloy once it passes through. Then the computer board will read the proper price after getting the signal from the coin changer.

Sometimes a coin will go through the changer and fall right through the shoot and return to the customer. That may happen if there’s too much dirt/debris on the face of the coins and it cannot be read properly. The pathway could also be jammed. You should always use coins that are clean and not bent so it can be properly read by the coin changer.


If someone puts a fake dollar in a dollar acceptor, will it accept the money?


A bill acceptor is a very sophisticated piece of equipment. There are only a few manufacturing companies that make this part and it has a lot of criterias involved to make it function properly. Thickness, print, graphics, paper, color, size, all play a role in making it properly.


How does a vend motor know when to stop spinning?


As a motor is activated, a spring loaded micro-switch is forced up to stop the motor from turning when it hits the flat side of the motor axile.


How does a vending machine know when a selection is out of drinks?


A spring loaded micro swich sensor part is used to read each drink selection when there’s product leaning on it. When the drink selection becomes empty and there is no more product, the sensor will recognize that and send information to the computer board to let the customer know that it is out of that particular selection and to pick another selection.

This is necessary in a vending machine because if there is no sensor, then the machine will accept money from customer and just spin the motor, whether there’s product inside or not. And you always want to ensure that a customer who puts money in the vending machine will always receive product for their purchase.


Where should I get my vending supplies?


Locally, you have a lot of options as to where to get your supplies for your vending machine. You can try grocery stores, grocery warehouse stores, national chain stores, local vending supply stores. Some places will offer deeper discounts if you buy in bulk. Other places will just have weekly sales on various products. Keep you eye out and look through the sale papers and you will have a really good chance of finding all the great prices on anything you need to put in your vending machine.


How do I set the right price for my vends to make enough money?


First, you have to figure out where to purchase your products from. In most cities, you can find bulk discount stores that will offer the best deals in vending supplies. They will package these products in bulk to give vendors a better sale. Double the individual item cost and that amount should be what you sell your vends at. For example, the individual price for a bag of potato chips is $.35 cents. You should sell that bag of potato chips for $.70 cents. Same concept should help you calculate your drink prices or any other varieties you might offer in your vending machine.

Some vendors don’t like to make customers unhappy by setting each selection a different price. Another way you can price your vends is to group all similar items and price them the same. Just make sure that you are always charging close to double the price of the average cost. For example, you may want to make it easy on your calculations by grouping all chip selections at the price of $.75 cents, chocolate bar selections at $.85 cents, cookies/danish selections at $.95 cents, canned drinks at $.75 cents, bottled drinks at $1.00.


What temperature is best to keep my drinks at?


Most modern vending machines have the capability of adjusting the temperature to cool the drinks to desired temperature. For most indoor, ambient air places, the recommended temperature should be set at 37 degree fahrenheit. When you purchase a vending machine from Piranha, we ensure that the temperature is set properly before each vendor is shipped. You do not have to touch this feature when you receive your vending machine from Piranha.

It is not recommended that you set the temperature any lower then 37 degrees fahrenheit. Refrigerated units are not meant to go any lower in temperature or else you risk freezing the unit. If you feel like your drinks are not cold enough, you may have other issues such as low freon or a leak. Issues like this rarely happens because refrigeration units are very stable. If you have issues with your drinks not cooling, it is best that you call the manufatcture or a refrigeration expert to take a look at it.


What is the typical size of a Combo Vending Machine?


An average size for a combo vending machine is 33″ wide x 28″ deep x 72″ tall. It is designed that way to be able to fit through most modern doors. Piranha offer multiple variations of combo vending machines that are this size. If you are looking at one of our full size vendors, give us a call to find out the measurements on your new vending machine.

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