Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? Yes

If you want a retail operation that you can run at just about any location, 24 hours a day, without having to be there yourself or hire a single employee, one that can service thousands of customers without complaining, getting aching feet or having to take a bathroom break, then vending machines could be the business for you. These days vending machines can take not only coins, but also paper money and credit cards, and pump out an astonishing variety of products. Via vending machine, you can sell everything from artwork to Internet access, imported cigars to CDs, popcorn, pantyhose, perfume, temporary tattoos, golf-club cleaning, and of course gumballs--and a whole lot more. You'll set up your machines wherever you determine the market for their products is best--at airports, college campuses, movie theaters, arcades, skate rinks, supermarkets, restaurants, offices, warehouses, factories, tourist venues and even at seemingly snooty locations like Bloomingdale's. Some locations like large corporations will allow your machines on-site for free because of the convenience to their employees, but most 'hosts' will require a small percentage of your sales as rent. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time with minimal costs and you don't need to put in much time--a visit to each machine once a day to once a month (depending on how much it takes) is usually sufficient. All you really need is a good working knowledge of what types of vending machines are available and the reputations of their suppliers or manufacturers. You should also have enough mechanical aptitude to fix ailing machines without help or to be talked through a repair operation by a supplier's techie.

The Market

Who your customers are will depend on the products in your machines and their locations. Think about where you'll find people who'll want your goods, then case the site at different times over a two-week period to get a feel for traffic flow and customer demographics. Then approach suitable hosts about placing your machines on-site.

Needed Equipment

You'll need a few fix-it tools like screwdrivers and pliers and a car to take you on your rounds--and, of course, your machines. That's it!

Vending Ideas


Be the middle person between a manufacturer and the retailer. With any product or service included, this is a business that will always be needed.

Framed Movie Posters

Picture this: A business surrounding movies.

Linen Shop

This retail business requires an eye for detail and design.

More from Business Ideas

Growing a Business

His 'Mesmerizing' Wintry Product Can Cost Up to $500,000 and Is Used By the Kardashians and Disneyland — But It All Started on Accident

MagicSnow founder Adam Williams had a Christmas-themed show in mind — but a billionaire's attachment to one particular detail would turn it into something much bigger.

Starting a Business

This Couple Started Renting Rooms in Their House As a Side Hustle. Now They Run 11 Airbnb Units Full Time.

In the new book, "Start Your Own Airbnb Business," Airbnb Superhosts share how they have grown lucrative rental businesses.

Starting a Business

People Are Making Tons of Money With Airbnb and They Don't Even Own Property. Here's How.

The new book, "Start Your Own Airbnb Business," outlines the concept of rental home arbitrage.