Sourcing Information

DIY or Contract

It is vitally important that you maintain and service your vending machines efficiently and cost-effectively. There are two main options to consider:

  • Do It Yourself
  • Contract

DIY Operation

An organisation may decide to fill, cash and service its own vending machines. This option is often favoured by those using an in-cup machine (i.e. where the ingredients are pre-packed in the cup and mixed with water as they are dispensed).

The DIY option may also be suitable for an organisation with its own catering staff, or where there are sufficient machines to warrant actually employing someone to control the ordering, manage the storage, arrange the cleaning and servicing and manage the cash.

It is important to remember that your business must comply with Food Hygiene Regulations and detail strict requirements for the hygienic operation of food and drink machines.

Contract Operation

This is the most common option. If you choose to go with an AVA operator, you will be relieved of all day-to-day concerns about the vending operation.

Machines are usually supplied and installed by the operator, who also maintains and services them under contract. In addition, the operator would supply the ingredients and products, fill and clean the machines and collect and account for the cash takings.

The prices charged for vended products will be decided jointly by the vending specifier and the operator. Pricing levels will depend on whether the operator is to be paid entirely from the cash proceeds or via a separate service charge.

The service contracts required will vary according to the type of machine, type of products sold and consumption patterns etc

Depending on which option above you have selected, here are a few more question areas to consider:


  • Should your vending service be provided by an AVA member?
  • Are you clear which machines are required?
  • Have you checked whether the machines are new or refurbished?
  • Is the length of the lease or contract appropriate?
  • Is it an outright purchase or a lease agreement?
  • Is the machine being loaned free of charge with a contract for the supply of ingredients and service?
  • If you are leasing the machine, do you know what will happen to it at the end of the lease?
  • Are the leasing company’s details on the page you sign and are you happy that you are dealing with a reputable leasing company?
  • What will happen at the end of the contract period?
  • Do you fully understand how much you will pay each month and over what period?
  • Do you know how your payment is split between the machine, ingredients and service?

Maintenance and insurance

  • Is there a service or maintenance agreement? Does it cover all parts? If not, are you content with the arrangements and likely cost for the supply of parts and labour?
  • Do you know if you will need to take out any insurance for the equipment and what your obligations are for any loss, damage or injury to people or property caused by the machine(s)?


  • Do you know what ingredients are to be used to make fresh hot and cold drinks?
  • Will you and your staff have an opportunity to taste the drinks?
  • If the price for a beverage machine is based on a per-cup cost, are you sure the number of drinks is realistic? Have you estimated how many drinks you would pay for in a day? Have you taken weekends, holidays and sickness into account?
  • Have you discussed the vend prices for the products provided?
  • Do you know how VAT is handled on products sold through vending machines?

AVA members will be delighted to answer any other questions you may have.