A vending machine is not something that you would normally consider moving by yourself because the best vending companies tend to take care of everything: they maintain, clean, fill, stack, and move vending machines from one location to another. Under normal circumstances, moving a vending machine should only be done by qualified staff of vending machines providers or by experienced vending machine movers.
It’s important to note upfront that attempting to move a vending machine on your own is not generally recommended because the process can be too risky – one wrong move could lead to property damage or a serious personal injury, or even both. Nevertheless, special circumstances may force you to consider moving a vending machine without having to rely on the services of a professional vending machine moving company.
The following step-by-step guide will show you how to move a vending machine by yourself using a pallet jack, some furniture blankets, a few helpers, and of course – a healthy dose of common sense.
What you must know before moving a vending machine by yourself
Vending machines weigh anywhere between 400 lbs. to 900 lbs. when empty – that is, when they are not stocked. Their extreme bulkiness and excessive weight make their physical transportation between two locations a true challenge for people with little or no experience in moving loads of such magnitude.
Still, if you must move a vending machine without professional assistance, then you can still tackle that seemingly mammoth task as long as
- you have the necessary vending machine moving equipment /see below/,
- have secured at least one, preferably two reliable helpers, and
- you possess natural inclination to follow step-by-step moving instructions.
The vending machine moving process is not overly complicated but you must follow some basic safety rules to keep things running smoothly from start to finish. In order to avoid a serious injury to you or the people involved in the process, or costly damage to the machine itself, we will explain in detail the safest and easiest way to move a vending machine.
What vending machine moving equipment do you need?
There are different ways to transport soda and snack vending machines with the help of specialized vending machine moving equipment – from heavy-duty special vending machine handtrucks and pressurized air pads to ordinary furniture dollies. However, in addition to letting vending machine movers do what they do best, the next best way to move a vending machine is to use a pallet jack.
Here’s what you will need to get the job done quickly and more importantly – safely:
- Pallet jack. If you don’t own that very useful forklift tool, then see if you can rent it until you finish the task. You can also purchase one, but the investment will hardly be a good one unless you can use it for moving other heavy items as well. If you can’t get your hands on a pallet jack, then get in touch directly with the vending company or contact a local moving company for assistance /How much does it cost to move a vending machine?/.
- Furniture blankets. You’ll need to have several moving blankets to protect the surface of the vending machine during transport. Ordinary household blankets will also work out okay.
- Packing tape. You’ll need one roll of quality packing tape.
- A set of screwdrivers. You should already have such a set in your home. Screwdrivers will come in very handy for potential minor repairs of any sort.
- Helpers. You must have at least one other person to help you out while transporting a vending machine. Under no circumstances should you attempt to complete that dangerous job all by yourself.
13 Steps to moving a vending machine by yourself
How do you move a heavy vending machine if you really must do it without the invaluable expertise of professionals?
Just follow the steps below.
- Step 1. Make sure you and your helpers wear closed shoes with good traction. Sports shoes with anti-slip soles are ideal for the job.
- Step 2. Measure the dimensions of the machine. Then, take a walk along the exit route and measure the doorways and hallways to make sure the automated vendor will fit comfortably through them while it’s being wheeled out. Don’t forget to plan for extra vertical space as the machine will be raised above the ground during the relocation process.
Step 3. If it turns out that one of the doors along the route is not wide enough, then you may consider taking it off its hinges to create more space. That clever trick is also used when moving large furniture out of one’s home. Make sure you know how to remove the door safely – have the required tools and one other person to help you out.
- Step 4. Empty the vending machine completely – take out all the drinks, snacks, or other products on sale. Don’t forget to take out all the money too – banknotes and/or coins. This step is important, so don’t skip it. Yes, you may spend extra 5-10 minutes but that is nothing compared to the time you may lose cleaning an unsightly mess of spilled liquids and burst bags of snacks.
- Step 5. Secure the power cord to prevent potential damage being done to it or somebody tripping over it later. There are basically two ways to secure the electric cable:
Some machines will have a special compartment inside them for storing the power cord. All you have to do is feed the cable into that compartment as if the vending machine were a hungry beast. This is, by far, the safest way to secure the cord.
If there’s no way to feed the cord into the machine for safekeeping, then you shouldn’t coil it hastily and place it inside the product tray. Instead, what you should do is tape the cord to the upper part of the back panel of the machine, in the form of an arch. Secure it with that quality packing tape on at least 3 spots.
- Step 6. Wrap the entire body of the machine with furniture blankets – they will provide excellent protection against accidental hits with other hard objects along the way. Keep in mind that this way, you’re not only protecting the machine itself, but you’re also eliminating possible property damage as well – chipped wall corners in most cases. Tape those furniture blankets in place.
- Step 7: Make sure you know how to operate a pallet jack properly. Lower the pallet pump in its lowest position, then get its forks all the way under the machine /most vending machines have legs/ but be careful not to slide them too far at the back because then they may hit something behind the machine, usually a wall. Center the pallet jack under the machine to prevent the vendor from tipping over when it’s raised above the ground. The power cord should not be underneath while you’re sliding the forks of the pallet truck /explained in Step 5/ – otherwise, the cable will get crushed.
- Step 8. Pump up the pallet jack to lift the forks, which in turn will lift the vending machine off the ground. Have your helpers hold onto the bulky load from the side or from the back – this is a crucial step as even a small obstacle like a bump on the road may destabilize the huge and heavy vending machine, and cause to tip over.
- Step 9. Do not hurry things along during the vending machine moving process. Communicate with your helpers constantly to keep things under control.
Step 10. Can you lay a vending machine on its back or side? If that vendor is equipped with a refrigeration unit inside, then you should not lay it down. If you really have to, do it only for a very short period of time.
- Step 11. Once you move the vending machine to its new location, lower it down slowly and have your helpers keep it steady at all time. Remove the blankets carefully, then make sure everything looks normal.
- Step 12. Refill the vending machine, fill in the coin changer with coins, wipe away any handprints or dirt that may have accumulated during the moving process. The automated vendor should look clean, fresh, and inviting to customers.
- Step 13. If you had to lay the machine on its back or side during the haul, give the oil of the refrigerating unit enough time to settle back to normal. In other words, let the machine rest a few hours before plugging it in.
The best vending companies, like this New York City vending machines provider, offer their customers full vending machine services that include the physical relocation of the machine as well. Basically, such all-inclusive services mean that instead of risking painful injuries or costly property damage, all you have to do is contact those reliable vending companies and your vending machine issues will be tackled quickly, safely and professionally.