Posted on: January 2, 2024 |

The proper location for any vending machine business is essential. When it comes to finding the right location for your ice and water vending machine business, there are a few unique considerations to keep in mind. With the right location, this vending machine business can provide substantial rewards and advantages over snack and drink vending counterparts, including low upkeep and no need to restock the machine. Here are a few things to look for to find the best location for your ice and water vending machine business. We’ve updated this post in 2024 to give you two additional locations, and the most up-to-date information.

One of the best locations for an ice vending business is hot and high foot traffic areas like Florida, USA.

The 7 Hottest Locations for an Ice & Water Vending Machine Business

Highly trafficked areas are ideal locations for ice and water vending machines. These might be near homes, workplaces, shopping centers, or recreational areas. Generally, more traffic means more attention and more sales. People may pass these areas for a variety of reasons—they may be on their way to work, returning home, picking up snacks or groceries, shopping, or taking an outing or vacation. If you notice an area near you that regularly sees high traffic and thirsty patrons, it may be a lucrative business opportunity.  

As you consider locations for an ice and water vending machine business, here are a few things to look for. Though there are many locations that can be lucrative, these locations tend to have these things in common:

  • High traffic: You can’t make sales without traffic. Pick a spot where plenty of people pass by.
  • Space to park: Generally, customers will pull up and fill up a bag of ice, or a cooler, or another container. There should be plenty of space for customers to maneuver their vehicles around the vending machine.
  • Access to utilities: Your ice and water vending machine must have access to water lines and electricity.

Learn more about ice and water vending machine opportunities »

1. Retail Strip Center Parking Lots

A retail strip center parking lot is a good location for an ice and water vending machine in part because the sales potential is already validated. Stores choose their locations carefully before investing, and conduct research to ensure the new location will attract enough customers to make a profit.

Retail centers attract a number of different crowds at different times, including patrons on their way home or heading to work, those out for an afternoon, enjoying lunch, and much more. To get the most out of this location, determine the most visited and most visible area. Your machine should be obvious, and patrons should not have to go out of their way to visit.  

2. Convenience Store Parking Lots

convenience store

Like retail strip centers, convenience stores also attract constant traffic throughout the day. Since visitors have already stopped to pick up food, drinks, or snacks, they’re already in the purchasing and preparation mindset, regardless of where they may be heading next.   If you own a convenience store, you already have a great location for an ice and water vending machine. Otherwise, talk to the owners of convenience stores on busy roadways, near highways, or near large workplaces.

3. Blue Collar Neighborhoods

Workers in manufacturing or industrial complexes, warehouses, construction sites and a wide variety of other demanding industries must stay cool and hydrated throughout the day to stay comfortable. The workers passing in and out of these locations also guarantee regular traffic each day. Place ice and water vending machines in these areas where the most workers are most likely to see them.   

4. Near Marinas

Ice and water vending machines near marinas serve multiple audiences, making them another great location for your ice vending machine. Many people getting ready for boat trips and fishing charters bring their own lunches, requiring a cooler full of ice to protect the food and drinks from the hot sun. Charter operators and other anglers need ice to keep their own lunches and the catch of the day fresh. Others may simply be visiting for the sights and the sun, and will also enjoy a cool beverage. Place your ice and water vending machine as close to the docks as you can to maximize sales.

5. Near State and National Parks

State and national parks attract many types of visitors, including RV travelers, campers, picnickers and more. Some visit for the afternoon, a day, a weekend, a week-long excursion, or even a whole season.  When visitors leave refrigeration at home, coolers are a popular item, putting fresh ice in high demand. Placing your ice and water vending machine near a bath or shower area, information area, meeting place, nearby convenience store or similar location will bring in plenty of campers.

6. Near Colleges and Universities

Tailgating, parties, and other events put ice and water vending machines in high demand on college campuses. Devoid of all other corporate sponsors, even Burning Man has ice machines. To attract the most visitors throughout the year, find the most visible location in areas with high foot traffic or vehicle traffic, such as convenience stores or stadiums.  

7. Recreational Areas

Beaches, theme parks, zoos and other recreational areas attract couples, groups, and families from miles around. These are popular lunch spots, picnic areas, party venues, field trip locations, holiday vacation attractions and more. Activities quickly make visitors thirsty, and many also bring food and drinks that need to stay cold, creating the perfect location for an ice and water vending machine. You might place yours near picnic tables, a pavilion area, or near a check-in or payment station.

Bonus Location: Industrial Sites

Employees at factories, warehouses, meat-packing plants, and similar sites generally work long hours, often in warm temperatures. Ice can help keep foods and drinks cold when workers take lunch breaks. These sites also have a steady stream of traffic as workers enter and leave. Placing an ice and water vending machine at a conspicuous, accessible location near these sites can be a lucrative choice.

Bonus Location: Event Centers

From conference centers to wedding venues, outdoor concert venues, fairgrounds, and many more, event centers can be a great location for an ice and water vending machine. Depending on the type and size of the venue, there may be hundreds or thousands of people regularly going in and out. With lots of patrons enjoying drinks and food, your machine will have plenty of traffic, and lots of opportunities for ice and water sales.

For this to work, you’ll most likely need to rent space from the owners of the venue. However, this can be a lucrative business opportunity for both you and the venue owners; owners will not have to worry about dehydrated patrons, and you’ll be able to sell lots of ice and water.

There are many other similar locations that are ideal for ice and water vending machines. If you’re considering investing in a machine, start with areas with high levels of consistent traffic. The right location can improve your ROI dramatically, and your profits will improve year over year as more people find your machine.  To get started, learn more about the products we offer to start your ice & water vending business.