Posted on: January 30, 2024 | Investing
An ice vending machine business can be a lucrative business or side hustle for many existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. You might be wondering if an ice vending machine business is a good fit for you. In this post, we’ll address important things to know about starting an ice vending machine business, and where you can find more details specific to your situation.
5 Things You Need to Know About Starting an Ice Vending Machine Business
In this blog post:
- What is an Ice Vending Machine Business?
- What is Twice the Ice Vending?
- What to Know About Vending Franchising and Fees
- Vending Without Inventory
- How to Choose a Location
- Talk with Owners
What is an Ice Vending Machine Business?
You probably already have an idea, but let’s first cover what an ice vending machine business is. An ice vending machine business includes one or several ice vending machines owned and operated by one person, a group of people, or, in some cases, other businesses. This business is different from ice machines that hotels, restaurants, or similar businesses might purchase to operate within their business, for their customers or staff. An ice vending machine business serves the public, and sales go to the machine’s owner or owners.
What is Twice the Ice Vending?
You may have seen Twice the Ice vending machines around your city. Twice the Ice is the consumer-facing brand of Ice House America. Ice House America builds top-quality ice vending machines for independent owners as well as convenience stores and other businesses. We have built over 3,500 ice vending machines now in use across the country and around the world. Patented technology allows our ice machines to produce better-quality ice, while demanding less energy and less maintenance from owners. The SmartIce Remote Management system makes it easy to manage and monitor your ice machine from anywhere.
1. What to Know About Vending Franchising and Fees
Before starting an ice vending business, it’s important to factor in franchising and other fees. Twice the Ice and Ice House America are unique in that aspect; there are no franchising fees. Many other ice vending businesses charge a fee to use their brand and leverage the resources or goodwill associated with their name. Twice the Ice and Ice House America are the fastest growing names in the ice vending business, and we are proud to lend our brand recognition to our owners.
2. Vending Without Inventory
One of the notable benefits of an ice vending business compared to other vending machines is the ability to manage the machine without regularly filling or refilling inventory. Your machine is connected to the local water source and generates vended ice (and water, if desired) on demand. As long as the local water source is flowing and safe to drink, you will have a steady flow of inventory. This makes it easier to manage your ice vending business remotely, especially when using the SmartIce Remote Management system.
3. How to Choose a Location
Choosing the right location is essential when starting an ice vending business. There are many different types of research you can do to choose the right location. If you already have a location in mind, approximate the traffic in and around the location by counting the passing cars or passing people. Or, count the customers visiting nearby locations.
Another way to gather information about a particular location is to talk with other owners. You can visit ice vending owners Facebook groups or Reddit threads and ask other owners questions about how they chose their locations. Or, you can contact owners in your area by visiting ice vending machines when owners are doing maintenance.
Maintaining your machine is an essential part of your ice vending business. You can do this yourself or, if you are often traveling or maintaining other businesses, you can pay a friend, family member, or a trusted person to conduct this for you. Maintaining your ice machine requires the following:
- Cleaning and sanitizing the machine’s exterior
- Cleaning and sanitizing the ice maker, filters, and augers
- Removing dirt and trash from the area around the machine
5. Talk with Owners
A few calculations can help you forecast potential traffic to your machine, how much you can make, how much time you’ll need to spend to manage and maintain your machine, and more. However, it’s helpful to get first-hand details from other owners. We previously mentioned a few ways to get in touch with other owners to get more details about their ice machines or business models. Let’s take a look at a few ways to get in touch with other owners:
- Facebook: Look for groups of ice vending machine owners or those organized by brands.
- Reddit: Reddit threads of vending machine owners can provide answers to detailed questions, and can provide a list of owners to potentially contact.
- In-Person: Contacting ice vending machine owners in your area can give you more details specific to your situation.
- Business Organizations: Vending machine owners may be difficult to find in-person without help, but local business organizations may be able to lend a hand.
As you consider a vending business, write down the details you know about starting an ice vending business, and what you still would like to find out. If you have questions about Ice House America and Twice the Ice vending machines, contact us.
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