Posted on: January 14, 2024 |

Ice vending machines can be lucrative additions to your existing business, a stand-alone business, or a helpful supplement to income after retirement. Regardless of your ice vending machine arrangement, it’s important to accurately estimate the income you can expect from your investment. So how much money can you make from an ice vending machine? We’ve updated this post in 2024 to give you the most up-to-date information and some additional tips to make your ice and water vending machine more lucrative.  

How much money could you make from an ice vending machine?

How Much Money Can You Make From an Ice Vending Machine? 

How much money you can make from an ice vending machine will vary, depending on the ice machine you choose, location, and land rental fees. Owners also set their prices, usually between $1.50 and $3 per bag. There are also three different ice vending machine sizes—the large Ice House, versatile Ice Kiosk, and compact Ice Merchant—and the model you choose will also impact total sales and payback period. 

Average Sales

Your ice vending machine sales will depend on your machine’s size, its visibility, and the area’s traffic and population. Ice House America works with owners to help find the ideal location and model to meet their investment goals. The Ice House, which is the company’s largest ice vending machine, can serve up to 50,000 customer visits per year. The beauty of ice is that it’s a high profit product – it costs about $0.25 – $0.35 in raw material to produce an ice bag that might sell for $1.50 and $3. 

Profit Margins

Ice House America’s ice vending machines are designed to be long-lasting and low maintenance. There is very little upkeep required, and this also helps to keep expenses low and profit margins high. All maintenance and upkeep items can be easily completed by one person, so no extra staff is required. Upkeep expenses and maintenance include the following: 

  • Refilling ice bags
  • Lot or ground upkeep
  • Cleaning the machine 
  • Replacing the water filter

Since the water is filtered and the ice is made within the machine, there is no inventory to track or refill. Renting a spot for your ice vending machine will decrease your profit margin, but it will make financial sense in the right location. If you already own a busy location, such as a convenience store, car wash, grocery store, or even just vacant land near a high-traffic area, your margins can be higher. 

Payback Period 

How much money you make from your ice vending machine, and how long it takes to cover the initial investment, depends on the size of machine you invest in. The Ice House can produce up to 13,000 lbs. in 24 hours, which is why it’s ideal for high-traffic areas. 

Tips to Make More Money From Ice Vending


As previously mentioned, how much money you can make from an ice vending machine depends on a few different factors, including the size of your machine, traffic, and the prices you set. There are some factors that you can’t control; for example, if businesses close or traffic patterns change, this can affect your ice vending sales. However, you can take other measures to maximize traffic and maximize profits.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to make more money from your ice vending machine.

  • Approximate traffic: Before placing your machine, try to approximate traffic patterns. This will help you forecast sales, maintenance needs, and more.
  • Right-size your machine: With an expected traffic number, you can determine which machine is best for your location, from the smaller Ice Merchant, mid-sized Ice Kiosk, or large Ice House. Getting the right-sized machine for your location will give you a faster payback period.
  • Advertise: Placing your ice vending machine in a heavily-trafficked area will improve visibility, but it’s also helpful to raise awareness through advertising. Use free graphic design tools to make fliers, reach out to local social media channels to raise awareness, and use the ICE2U app to post discounts and free vends to local customers.

How much money you can make from an ice vending business depends on the location, the machine you choose, your prices, and the advertising strategy used to attract new customers. Ice House America is available to help you along the way, providing marketing collateral, location assessments, maintenance assistance, and more. If you are interested in starting your ice vending machine business, talk to a location specialist today