Keeping good records of the status of each of your vending machines when you service them is both a critical and very easy practice. Even for those who strongly dislike record keeping and struggle with the practice, the process is not overly taxing. The benefits, after all, far outweigh the small inconvenience that it presents. After all, by keeping records, you will be able to see how you are doing over time so you will know exactly which machines are offering the best performance, how many of what product is being sold, and what profits you can anticipate in the weeks and months to come.
As a business owner, this is information that you need. With even the most basic record keeping, you will have a much more thorough understanding of your business and how it is doing from one machine to the next. This allows you to continue what you are doing right with some machines, and consider the relocation of other machines that just aren’t performing as they should be.
That being said, you will also greatly appreciate your efforts to keep accurate records when tax time comes around. Nothing is more painful than trying to scrounge together exact numbers from records that are either sketchy or non-existent.
The two kinds of records that you will want to consistently maintain within your vending machine business are a basic ledger and a report of all of the locations on your route. The basic ledger is essentially your general bookkeeping. It should document all of the income and expenses totaled from all of the locations on your route. You can do this on paper, but it is much easier and faster if you use a simple bookkeeping program on your computer. If you save all of your receipts and keep a good route report, you will be able to update your ledger quickly and easily each time you complete a service route.
While on your service route, you should keep a record of the status of all of your machines at each location. Each machine should have its own page where you take notes from each servicing. This way, you will be able to flip to the page for any given machine to observe its performance including expenses, income, the placement of products, and the popularity of each of the products.
When your business is still small enough for you to do all of the routes yourself, you will be responsible for all of the record keeping for both the ledger and the route. However, once your business gets large enough that you need to hire someone to run some or all of your routes for you, you will need to make sure that that individual is also keeping the detailed, accurate records that you need to make all the difference in understanding the success of your business.
The same thing goes if you wish to hire a bookkeeper to keep track of all of the income, expenses, and other data collected by the people running your service routes for you. The trick is to make sure that these records never fall behind, that they are always complete, and that they are always accurate.
Do not forget to actually use the information that you have collected. Keeping records is only a practical process when you examine and analyze the data that has been collected. Keep a close eye on the performance of each of your machines so that you always know where attention is needed.