By Jeff Thibodeau, VP Operations
So, you have decided that a custom vending machine may be the right fit for you or your company. You start doing your research, trying to find out what type of machine may be the best fit, how many machines you may want to start with, whether you should rent or purchase a machine and, finally, how much you should budget for your perfect machine. That is what we will focus on today in this post…How much does a custom built vending machine cost?
Innovative Vending Solutions is an industry leader when it comes to custom vending machines. Now, when we say “custom vending machines,” we need to keep in mind there are different levels of custom vending machines. Having done this for over 14 years, we have seen competitors come out of the woodwork and claim something is a custom vending machine simply because it has a graphic vinyl wrap. However, there is much more to it than that. Below, we will discuss the different tiers of custom vending machines and the pricing ranges that come along with those.
Before we get into the different types of custom vending machines and the associated pricing, it is key to note that Innovative Vending Solutions manufactures its machines within the USA, whether that is an off-the-shelf machine or a completely custom built machine. There are many companies out there who claim to have custom machines, build their own machines, etc., but you will see that many are sourced directly from China or Europe. This isn’t entirely bad, however, you have to keep in mind that it is key to know how to work on your own machines and to have readily available replacement parts if need be. We have seen it too many times, but someone will find a cheap machine from overseas, like the price tag, get it over here and it doesn’t work or the software is in a different language. In addition to IVS hardware being built in the USA, we also build our software in-house and also print and install our vinyl wraps in-house as well. With this out of the way, let’s move on to the heart of this post:
First, we have the off-the-shelf custom vending machine, which is more of a traditional vending machine, with some minor customizations, touchscreens, graphic wraps, etc. These machines are ideal if you are looking to utilize something that is more cost effective, whether you are using this for an event, a short term rental, or simply want a way to dispense product without having to have something built from the ground up. These machines will still be customized for your brand or event, with the customized graphic wrap, custom graphical user-interface on the touchscreen, software application, and be configured and tested for your specific product(s). Now, for pricing, this will vary, depending on rental/duration of rental, purchase, quantities, or if you have any custom api/software integrations to go along with this. Typically, for an off-the-shelf custom vending machine, you can look to pay anywhere from $4,500 on up to $15,000+. A few things to note: Our rentals are not charged by the day, but by a flat rate blanket period of how long your event/rental would be. IVS machines are almost entirely built in the USA, which means we know how to work on our machines, we have parts readily available, and you don’t have to wait on a container shipment of machines from overseas.
Next, we have the off-the-shelf custom vending machine with modifications. This would be a machine that is in between an off-the-shelf and custom built. An example of this would be a client came to us and wanted to incorporate a 55” transparent LED screen (which alone cost upwards of $5,000) into the door of a machine, while also housing a 10” touchscreen. This required the customization of a brand new door being designed and built to fit on one of our off-the-shelf machines. A level of customization like this is great because it gives you a unique look that is yours alone, while keeping the pricing lower than it would be for a completely custom built machine from scratch. For something like this, the pricing can vary, but will typically still be within the range of around $9,000-15,000+ and can still be offered as either a rental or purchase.
Lastly, we have the custom built vending machine which is what the term literally means, a custom built vending machine (typically from scratch). With projects like these, a client would come to us with a specific request, which may include a machine of a very specific size, a unique way to dispense the product, a very tailored look and feel they are going for, and so on. The process of the custom build would start off with a discovery call to find out exactly what the client is looking for. From there, they will typically send us some type of drawing, sketch or rendering of what they want their machine to look like, along with the dimensions they are looking for the machine to stay within. IVS will then have our engineers begin to design the look and feel of the custom built vending machine to get as close to the client’s vision as we can. The client will then let us know their feedback, let us know of any edits, and from there, we can begin to design the engineer files to send to fabrication. From there, the machine will be built locally in Ohio.
I will share two examples of a custom built vending machine scenario:
Custom Retro Vending Machine
Example 1: A client came to use looking for a “retro” vending machine for their alcohol brand to dispense three different sample sized flavors to guests via a unique coin they had made to insert into the machine. This machine had to house the product, refrigerate it, deliver it softly, but to also have a very unique look, a pre-digital age with no touchscreen and only three buttons on the front, one for each flavor. To make it more unique, when the coin was inserted, each button would flash repeatedly. Once the specific flavor was selected, the button selected would then light up and the product would dispense. Once dispensed, the machine also had a built in can opener with disposal bin.
Custom Sticker Vending Machine
Example 2: A tech company came to us looking for a way to dispense their complimentary stickers that they give to employees and guests that visit the company’s headquarters. The issue was, how to dispense these small stickers successfully and how to keep this machine around 4’ tall, 12” deep and 20” wide. We were able to come up with a design that fit those specs, incorporated a 24” touchscreen, had a custom cut back-lit logo below the screen, and dispensed the stickers reliably, while still holding a good sized inventory.
As you can see, the complexity and requests of a custom built vending machine will vary greatly. Because of this, the pricing will also vary greatly and is really priced out on a case-by-case basis. However, for a custom built vending machine from scratch, you can typically look to pay anywhere from around $8,000-100,00+ Don’t let the numbers scare you, as the high-end of this range is usually for very intricate or complex projects, where the client is already expecting a hefty price-tag.
In short, Innovative Vending Solutions’ pricing is very similar to our machines, it is custom. No project we have ever done has been exactly the same, so it is hard to have standard pricing when you don’t have standard projects. Hopefully, though, this post has helped to give you an idea of the ranges you can expect to pay when you dive into the world of the custom vending machine.