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Monday, December 29, 2008

Vending Blog Question - Defend Against Vandalism

Question: How do you prevent vandalism to outdoor machines?

ANSWER: If you own vending machines (outdoors or indoors) you will get people vandalizing in some fashion. The first thing to remember is that there is no way to prevent vandalism. Even the government, in all of it's power, is completely incapable of preventing someone from doing something wrong. If someone feels like hurting your vending machine, they will, and we can do very little can stop them. All that we as vendors can do is to try to deter it. With that said, there are several things we can do to deter the act.

Not to suggest that this isn't a great question, it is! Unfortunately there is no "perfect" answer that will solve the problem. The main type of vandalism you will get is people trying to break into the machine to get the money. Other than that, some machines just get "rough use". In general always place machines in well-lit, open areas. Preferably places where there are always people either walking by or maybe a nearby attendant (like at gas stations). I also like to place large intimidating locks on the machines. It doesn't make it any more secure, but it looks tougher to crack and scares away most criminals. Vending is a business so you may find locations that are very profitable but the machine does take a bit of abuse. I've had machines broken into but kept it on location because it was a high volume and profit location.

Ultimately, if you have machines on a location that continues to have problems, your best defense is to simply move it. Occasionally, even the best of locations, are not worth the hassle. Move on to a more profitable location. That is why I always say that finding great vending locations is the most important skill a vending operator can have.

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