No More Snack-Sized Loans in Vending Biz

As Americans increase their workweeks and skip meals, vending machine businesses have become an important part of a cube farm member’s day and, as a result, one of the most lucrative start-ups during this decade.

Now, if you’ve started a vending business, your company may qualify for a special loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently changed its definition of a small vending business, making more companies eligible for SBA loans.

A vending business can now qualify for SBA loans if they have annual sales of up to $10 million, said Judith Roussel, Illinois district director of the SBA, at the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) OneShow in Chicago during the government affairs symposium.

Ned Monroe, NAMA senior vice president of government affairs, said 97 percent of vending companies qualify for SBA loans under the new definition.

In addition to loans, SBA provides free counseling through an organization called SCORE and through Small Business Development Centers. The assistance includes help with obtaining a loan as well as other business issues, including marketing, Internet use and social media marketing. The SBA also has business workshops that charge a nominal fee.

The 7a loan is a general purpose loan for buying inventory, equipment and real estate. Under this program, a commercial lender provides the loan and the SBA guarantees up to 90 percent of the amount.

So if you’re thinking of selling snacks, drinks, aspirin or peanuts, take a look at your options to get started. Even if you think, as Forbes does, that vending machines are where candy goes to die.

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