metal scoop in ice bin

Olivia Marcy Small Business

Ice Vending Machine Business: A Cool Investment Opportunity


Have you ever driven past those drive-up ice vending machines at gas stations or grocery stores? Most of the time, you probably drive right by without giving them a second thought. 

Well, it's time to take a closer look because these seemingly simple machines have the potential to bring ice cold profits into your wallet. With their high potential for profitability and straightforward operations, ice vending machine businesses are an attractive investment opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.


Understanding The Ice Vending Machine Business Model


Have you ever wondered how those ice vending machines work? Let's break it down. Ice vending machines are a convenient solution for customers seeking ice on the go, or people who need a lot of ice for large functions and events. 

Picture this: you drive up to the machine, pay, and voila! You have a bag of ice ready for your next party, picnic, or special event. It's that easy! 

Note: Don’t confuse ice vending to an indoor or outdoor ice merchandiser! Like ice vending machines, outdoor ice merchandisers are a convenient method of providing pre-bagged ice for customers. The key difference is that the ice is already bagged and stored in an insulated storage bin. 


Ice Vending Machines By The Numbers


One of the biggest advantages of this business model is its low overhead cost and minimal employee management. Unlike traditional businesses that require a team, an ice vending machine operates as a standalone unit. With no employees to manage, you can focus on other aspects of your entrepreneurial ventures.

Now, let's talk numbers. The ice vending machine business can boast impressive profit margins and be a steady source of cash flow. Thanks to the relatively low cost of goods, your potential for profitability is high. And if you choose the right place to open up shop, you’ll experience a consistent demand for ice, especially during peak seasons like spring and summer.


"Most ice vending machines have a breakeven point around 15 bags. That means you’ll need to sell about 15 bags of ice per day to cover daily operation costs."


Any ice you sell over that becomes pure profit. Keep in mind these numbers will vary if you’re renting your real estate, and depending on the cost of materials. Generally, the cost of goods is low in this business. The cost of water and utilities can be as low as 25 cents per bag, which leaves a high profit margin for you. 

How To Get Started With Your Own Ice Vending Machine Business


To open your own ice vending business, you only need a few essential pieces of equipment and a spot to set up shop.

Invest In A High Quality Ice Vending Machine


Investing in high quality equipment is essential and can save you headaches down the road, so make sure you do your due diligence when it comes to researching: 

  • How much ice your machine can produce
  • What routine maintenance looks like
  • If your ice machine’s brand has a reputation for reliability

Location, Location, Location


Location is everything to the success of your ice vending business. Look to purchase or lease property in areas with high daily traffic. Bonus points if you’re near any outdoor recreation like public parks or lakes. Remember that grocery stores are a popular spot to pick up bags of ice, so leasing a space in the parking lot could be a convenient ice solution for your potential customers. 

Wherever you choose to establish your vending business, make sure you have access to water and an electric hookup for your machine's operations. 

Remember, success in the ice vending machine business hinges on providing good quality ice at a prime location, and consistently meeting customer demand.


Start Your Business With Memphis Ice Machine Company


At Memphis Ice, we make it easy to make a smart investment in commercial ice machine equipment. We know you want an ice machine that will produce ice for you and your customers for years to come, so we guide you toward the best ice merchandiser, ice maker, or commercial refrigeration unit for your business’s long-term success. To get started, schedule a call with one of our ice machine experts today!

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