Posted on: May 18, 2020 |

How Do Ice Vending Machine Businesses Work?

Vending machines have gained popularity as retirement investments and passive income. With a small upfront investment compared to most businesses and few demands once the machines are running, ice vending machine businesses are ideal for many entrepreneurs looking for a hands-off approach. If you’re considering starting an ice vending machine business, we’ll take you through the basics. Here’s how an ice vending machine business works, from the initial start-up to everyday activity. 

How Do Ice Vending Machine Businesses Work? Everything You Need to Know

Location Assessment 

As with most businesses, location plays an important part in how an ice vending machine business works. Maybe you already have a location in mind, and you want to know if it is viable. Or, maybe you have a city or general area in mind, but you’re not sure about the specifics. Taking a closer look at the best places to start a vending machine business can help you get a better idea. This will not only show you whether or not the location is viable, but it will also show the ideal size of the vending machine you should put there. You’ll want to consider a few important factors as you choose your location: 

  • Do you own the property, or will you pay rent? 
  • Is electricity and water available? 
  • Would your ice or water vending machine be visible from the nearest road? 
  • How much traffic does the area get? 
  • How close would the nearest competitor be? 

Ice House America can help you assess the location that you’re considering, and provide other options if you prefer. Contact us to learn more about location vetting for your first ice vending machine.  

Business Plan 

Once you have decided on a location, you’ll want to create a business plan. This will outline how your ice vending machine business works, so you can secure financing for your upfront investment and keep your business on track. Some parts of your business plan, like your market analysis, will already be completed in the previous location assessment phase. Use the information you gathered to create a formal analysis and in-depth description. At this stage, it will also be helpful to determine and describe anyone else who will join you in your venture, such as a business partner or employee. Though you can easily manage your ice vending machine by yourself, you may wish to work with someone else if you plan to be out of the area frequently. Your business plan will also include any marketing activities that will help to get your customers’ attention. 

Upfront Investment 

Now that you know where your ice vending machine will be located, the right size, and how you will market and manage it, it’s time to invest. There are many ways to invest in your ice vending machine, and how you do it will depend on the type of machine that you want and your current financial situation. The price of each machine varies based on installation costs and special features. Generally, the smallest machine, the Ice Merchant, costs about $43,000 and the largest model, the Ice House, costs about $150,000. There are many ways you might make this investment, including a bank loan, personal loan, savings, or selling other investments. If you apply for a bank loan, your business plan will be particularly important. 

Installation and Maintenance

Ice House America will install your new ice vending machine at your location. After this, your ice vending machine business will be up and running. Unlike other vending machines, there’s no need to refill the inventory on your ice vending machine, so this business requires much less maintenance and monitoring. To keep your machine in top shape, set time aside for a maintenance schedule like the following one. You can do this yourself or, if you’re on vacation or you don’t have time, you can ask a friend or pay an employee to help. That’s one of the benefits of Ice House America’s machines; our maintenance tasks don’t require any special experience, and anyone can do them.  

  • Weekly-monthly: clean coin mechanisms and bill acceptors. 
  • Quarterly: change sediment filter. 
  • Biannually: check all filters and clean ice maker. 
  • Annually: replace bulbs and lubricate components.

If you use the SmartIce cloud-based software, you can monitor your machine remotely. This gives you the freedom to check in from anywhere, and make sure that your machine is in full working order. You can also schedule discounts, check sales, and monitor the machine itself using SmartIce. This is part of what makes the ice vending machine business preferable to many other investments. Now that you know how the ice vending machine business works, contact us to get started on a location assessment.