This is an anonymous story and I don’t know the retailer involved. A friend of his rang and asked me to publicise the fact that the retailer, let’s call him John, had been talked into taking a coffee machine. It didn’t work out.

He claims he was told all he had to pay was £150 a month for  12 months and that included supplies. What he thought was a one-year agreement turned out to be a three-year lease. And so far it had cost upwards of £360 to set it up.

I did contact the company and spoke to the boss, who told me that John had had a pretty good deal with 5,000 free drinks – instead of the customary 3,000 – and that his repayments would be about £30 a week so he wouldn’t have to sell many cups to cover it. The boss described the deal as very low risk and high margin.

The company was refusing to tear up the contract because the coffee machine was now used.

A lot of you sell fresh coffee quite successfully. How easy is it, or not, to break even? And how long does it take?