Operators will usually buy Soap Powder in 10Kg or 25Kg sacks from a manufacturer or distributor, or use a local cash & carry or supermarket. A measure of powder dispensed through the vendor is normally set by the operator to nearly fill, or half fill, whichever cup or beaker they choose to use. The dispensed volume will be set according to numerous factors - the size of the cup or beaker, the vending price, the size and type of washing machines in the location, cost of powder, competitor pricing, etc, etc.

So how do you establish the level of profit per measure? One way is to fill an empty vendor with a bag or box of powder and count the number of measures vended until the soap runs out. An easier method is to use kitchen scales to weigh a measure of powder. It is important to remember that powders from different manufacturers can have widely differing densities as the real-world examples below show:

Example 1: A 10Kg bag of powder that costs £8.30 (or 8.3p per 100g) and a half-cup (75ml) measure weighs 85g and so costs 7p. If you vend at 20p then you profit by 13p per measure (85.7% mark up), and if you vend a whole cup (150ml) at 50p you retain 36p (257% mark up). Buying in bulk means the cost of powder can be as low as £6.25 for 10 Kg!

Example 2: A 7.65Kg box of premium brand powder on offer at a cash & carry for £13.19. This is a lighter powder, so a 75ml measure only weighs 52g and thus costs 9p, giving a profit of 11p for a half-cup and 32p for a whole cup at the same vending prices as above.

Don't forget that you, the operator, set the vendor to dispense the volume of product you want to sell for the price.

Now look at fabric conditioner, where 120ml can cost you only 6p...........

(N.B. The above figures are all inclusive of V.A.T. and based on prices researched November 2011 and are, of course, subject to fluctuation)