What Are Honor Boxes?
We wanted to take a moment to cover the topic of “honor boxes” There are many similar names for this, but the basic concept is the same. So what is an honor box and why would you want to get involved with such a thing? Let us explain:
An honor box is basically a box filled with items meant to be bought on the honor system. This is completely different from say, a candy vending machine or a soda vending machine in that no money is REQUIRED for the customer to receive their snack or candy. The customer will walk into an establishment such as a restaurant or bank and see a box on the counter. The box is open with candies in the tray, along with a slot to deposit money.
The honor box can be made of different materials. Some are made in a disposable manner consisting of cardboard while others of a more durable sort will be common Plexiglas. There are various designs and layouts, big and small, but the idea is the same.
Theft from Honor Boxes?
The “honor system” is an interesting idea for some people to grasp. The immediate response is of course: “how can you make any money if anyone could just TAKE your product without paying!?” The answer really is: “You just do.”
Of course that is slightly in jest, the idea is quite so simple. In regard to theft or “shrinkage”, it will happen. It’s guaranteed to happen at any location. The key, as anyone in the business will tell you, is to keep an eye on each snack box location. This doesn’t mean via security camera or hidden spy devices, just a simple tally upon the end of each route-run. You will set an acceptable shrinkage percentage depending on the product in each honor box. If you notice that the level of shrinkage and theft are rising higher than your acceptable threshold, you will simply collect that box on the next route-run and find a new location!
One thing that has been discussed in a various threads on the topic of honor box theft, is that neighborhoods don’t seem to make a large difference. That is to say that a middle-class neighborhood or high-class estates should not see a significant difference in theft from your snack boxes.
A user from the above mentioned thread, AngryChris, posts:
Excellent example of simple economics here. We are in the business of making profits. I have an honor box location that sells only about 7 items per month but PAYS 100%. How much money do I make on this 0% shortage location? About $4/month. It’s not bad when you consider that I am in-and-out in about 5 minutes, but I wouldn’t mind pulling this location if it weren’t a block away from another location.
In contrast, the account that is a block away from that 0% shortage account has about a 35% shortage rate. However… they consume about 80 items/month. So.. even though I may only see $50 out of what should be $80, I probably make about $20/month from this location and it may consume about 30 minutes each month (I go every other week). So the one with 0% shortage makes $4 in 10 minutes, or about $24/hour… while the 35% shortage location makes about $20 in 30 minutes, or about $40/hour. It’s all about the profits! Oh… and I put my short-date items in that location because they buy them all anyway…
I would RATHER have HIGH-VOLUME locations with 30% shortage than low-volume locations with 0% shortage just because it takes a lot less work when you don’t have to check dates on chips… plus… the high-volume locations consume just about everything, including the cheaper-priced items.
You see? It’s not so much about the shrinkage at all. It is more about what products are selling where and how much is being bought as that will often override and make you want to change your allowable shrinkage percentage.
One added note on theft, if you use a charity with their stickers on the honor box, you will have a smaller percentage of theft in most cases. Some have even reported having more money than what they expected (less than 0% shrinkage – profit on top of expected profit). One great charity to contact is the NCCS, link to the NCCS Vending Program Here. If you can find a local charity to sponsor your boxes, it is even better.
Honor Box Locators (not us) We manufacture the boxes
Our main advice is that we recommend you use a locator. They have spent year after year perfecting out locating pitches for honor boxes and vending machines. They understand how time-consuming and stressful it can be. An important excerpt from that article is this part about payment:
You Pay NOTHING Up front to the locator
You pay nothing until the honor box is placed by yourself and accepted by the business. They usually do that to show their commitment to quality locations. The business owner or manager will be expecting you to show up with your brand new honor box or snack box. They confirm and qualify the locations for you. If for any reason there is an issue (rarely), it will be solved. They will resolve any problem you might have quickly because they care and want to be paid.
So remember. If you want to save time, save your money (don’t pay anything until honor box is placed), and keep your business growing steadily.
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