The Small Business Times

How To Get A Vending Machine License

There is a ton of information available when exploring how to get a vending machine license. It’s not always easy to establish which steps to take. Starting a vending machine business can provide an additional income stream with little effort. However, you should know how to get a vending machine license before you begin.

You’ll be astonished at how effortless it is to get a vending machine license. Subject to the type of vending machine and region you’re in, you may need multiple licenses. The great news is the procedure is straightforward and inexpensive. Getting a vending machine license typically entails applying online or filling out paperwork. When approved, you’ll receive your license.

Business licenses are necessary, primarily to protect customers. Having a vending machine license shows customers that your business complies with all federal and state regulations, which increases customer trust.

Depending on the license you fail to get, you might be issued a considerable fine. In extreme cases, your business could be closed down. Because of these consequences, understanding how to get a vending machine license could save you money.

This article will go over how to get a vending machine license and the various licenses you’ll need. We’ve also included the fees involved in getting a vending machine license.

The Type of Vending Machine Licenses Required 

Most states require vending machine owners to get licenses, just like any other business. When starting a vending machine business, it’s critical to understand what licenses you’ll need.

It depends on what products you propose to sell, but you may require various licenses. Keep in mind that the location of your vending machine may influence the type of license you require. Check the SBA website for details on vending machine regulations and requirements.

Aside from the various licenses required, the vending machine will also need a health inspection. Because most vending machines sell food, a health inspection is required to ensure that it meets all safety measures.

Vending Machine Food License 

If you intend to sell food that requires temperature control, you must get a vending machine food license. This license is also required if it serves beverages in an open cup, such as coffee. 

Irrespective of the number of vending machines you own, each must have its own vending machine food license. Machines that are over 150 feet apart need separate licenses. A vending machine food license is not required for machines that sell packaged, non-perishable food such as chips and candy.

Sales Tax License

You’ll need a sales tax license or a vendor’s license if you plan to sell anything. In most states, products sold at any retail capacity, including vending machines, are subject to sales tax. 

As a vending machine owner, you will charge sales tax on the products you sell and pay it back to the state. You should check with your state to find out how the collection process works and how to apply for a sales tax license.

How Much Does a Vending Machine License Cost

Vending machine licenses are typically inexpensive. In Alabama, for example, the annual fee for a vending machine license is only $75. Compared to the estimated revenue of a vending machine of $80,000, this is a reasonable price.

Other states are roughly in the same ballpark, ranging from $75 to $200. Some do not require any kind of licensing at all. Consult your state’s rules because vending machine regulations and requirements vary by state.

How to Get a Vending Machine License

A particular state or federal agency grants the required licenses. Other licenses will undoubtedly require you to apply through a specific agency regulating vending machine businesses. For example, check with the agency that regulates food safety for all food-related licenses. Here’s a summary of the steps you’ll need to take to get a vending machine license.

License Research

Determine which licenses you will require for your vending machine business. Make a list of the documents and fees required for each license. Federal, state, and local vending machine regulations determine the business licenses you require. 

You can find out which licenses you need by contacting the state office or other institutions that issue vending machine licenses. You’ll find more information about this on the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. 

Finally, you can seek advice from an industry lawyer to determine the type of documents you may require. In addition, conduct some research on the health inspection process.

Apply for a Vending Machine License

When applying for a vending machine license, you usually have two options. There’s an option to apply online. Here you’ll need to download the application form and send it to the appropriate agency via email. You also have the option of printing the application form and mailing it to the appropriate agency.

When applying for a vending machine license, you will most likely need to provide the following additional information:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Sales tax number

Applications should also include information about the type of vending machine you intend to operate and the location. You should ensure that the agency signs and notarizes the application form.

Inspection of the Vending Machine

All vending machines must be commercial grade and pass the inspection. For example, the coolers and freezer must have a safety shutoff feature to prevent the sale of food if the power fails or it malfunctions. 

Following the application submission, they will contact you to schedule a health inspection for the vending machine. The machine should now be in the location specified in the application process. The health inspector then determines whether the location and the food or items in the vending machine comply with all regulations.

All vending machines must be of commercial quality and pass inspection. Coolers and freezers, for example, must have a safety shutoff feature to prevent the sale of food if the power fails.

Approval and Renewal of the Vending Machine License

You will most likely not have to wait long for a sales tax license to be approved. The vending machine food license may take longer to be approved because of the inspections required.

The license will either arrive in the post, or you can download it from the agency’s website. Once you’ve received it, you’ll need stay up to date with the required renewals.

Most vending machine licenses should be reinstated yearly or every second year. You must enquire and renew it with the issuing agency directly. 

The Bottom Line 

Irrespective of the type of vending machine, you should always get a vending machine license.

After successfully getting a vending machine license, we recommend keeping track of the renewal dates. Many agencies allow license renewals to be done online. 

Bear in mind that the above advice is meant to serve as a guide only and should not considered legal advice. We recommend consulting an industry lawyer, but you can also use online resources like the SBA.