How to Start an Ice Vending Machine Business: Best Strategies

This post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links – at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclaimer here.

Are you looking for a more lucrative way to make money? The ice vending machine business is a great opportunity.

Ice vending machines are not just an option anymore; they're essential. They help people and businesses stay prepared for any event. 

In this article, I will explain the process of starting your own ice vending machine business, including what kind of equipment will be necessary and how you can market your services most effectively.

What do you need to start?

To start an ice vending machine business, here’s what you'll need:

The vending machines

The vending machines are the central hub of your business. The first thing that you'll want to order is a basic 24-pack unit. This model usually costs $6,000 and can hold up to 240 ice packs. 

How to Start an Ice Vending Machine Business

This should be enough for small businesses just starting out to get the ball rolling. This size should work for most small businesses, with 100-300 customers a day coming in and out throughout the week.

Keep in mind that you'll have to refill the machine every week. The system works in a way that means the ice packs will be used up faster as people continuously use them.

Of course, this is what keeps your business going, so it won't be a problem for you to refill the machine every Sunday or Monday, depending on your hours of operation.

Ideally, the machine size should hold enough ice packs to last up to 10 hours of continuous operation. This is more than enough for a small business to keep its customers happy.

To get you started, you can run a quick Google search on ice vending machine for sale. Who knows? You might just score a good deal.

The price of ice packs: how much does an ice vending machine make a year

You should sell the ice packs for around 20 cents per pack. This will allow you to profit without being too expensive for your customers

If you were to sell each pack for 50 cents, you wouldn't be able to get much traffic coming in and out of your store or restaurant. It would be best to make a profit, but you also want to stay competitive.

The price of ice packs is important. You'll want to be competitive with the other ice vending machines nearby, but people won't want to use your ice vending machine if you make the price too high.

The expense

The expense of running an ice vending machine can be a little tricky at first. You'll need a machine and supplies, but you also have to refill the machine every week. 

This might be a little bit more than you're willing to invest, so you'll have to make sure that you keep the business running smoothly as possible.

The people using the ice vending machine will be paying for your services, so they must have a positive experience. The most significant expense in operating an ice vending machine will be the cost of the ice packs.

The marketing

Marketing is the most crucial aspect of starting any business. It's where you get your name out there and let people know what services you offer. There are several methods to advertise your company, but you must begin somewhere. 

Start by making the ice vending machine a focal point in your store. Make sure customers know what it is and that they can get more information about it from a brochure that you have on display nearby.

The extras

To keep your customers happy, you'll have to make sure that they have everything they need. You'll need special sanitary wipes to eliminate any residual germs and bacteria. 

If your ice machines are located in public facilities like restaurants or stores, you'll also want to get the less expensive cleaning supplies.

Your business is important, so you can never let it slip through the cracks.

How to start an ice vending machine business

The steps for starting an ice vending machine business are similar to starting any business. This business is not too complicated, but you'll have to work hard to make sure that you grow and develop your business into something extraordinary. 

Here are the steps you'll need to follow:

Establish your ice vending machines business

Set up a few machines. If you want, you can run one machine in only one store. This will make people feel like there's some company behind the business and that you're serious about what you do.

Start small and work your way up. You can even run one or two machines in the exact location. Make sure you get new customers and old customers to buy from your machines to get the ball rolling.

Create a business plan

You'll need to create a business plan that outlines your goals and demonstrates why you think they're possible to achieve.

A solid business plan is important to the success of your firm. As you go along in your life, it'll be something that you can show to investors or potential partners, so they know where you're trying to go and how you plan on getting there.

If you don't have experience creating a business plan, get someone else involved who can help you out with it.

Get your equipment

First, order your basic 24-pack ice vending machine. You'll also want to order the machines' supplies, including a few new ice packs each week. 


You might want to get two or three machines because they usually hold the same amount of ice packs and can be kept accessible and secure in the backroom of your store or restaurant.

You'll also want to get some signs and a few other ads to advertise your business through local newspapers and magazines.

Develop your brand

Make sure your ice vending machine business has a strong sense of branding to ensure that it doesn't get lost in the crowd. Like any good business, you've got to stand out from other companies with similar services.

So, building a brand — creating your brand strategy, deciding on your brand tone of voice, and designing unique branding elements that would differentiate you from the competition — is one of the most critical steps that can either make or break your business.

Get business cards

You need to get your business cards printed, distributed, and ready for people to use.

Make sure that you have some quality business cards so that you'll last through the years and your life because these are the cards that your customers will be using. 

The very last thing you want to discover is that your consumers are unable to get in touch with you because your business card has been misplaced, destroyed, or both.

Market your business

Promote your ice vending machine business by offering coupons or discounts to your customers. I believe this type of thing will bring traffic in, but it's not the only way to attract customers to your business. 

I also recommend marketing through ads and getting yourself some good publicity with local news agencies.

Work on getting partnerships with local businesses

Partnerships are an excellent method to expand your ice vending machine company and attract more consumers. Make sure you have a good relationship with your local restaurants and stores so that they'll have confidence in working with you.

Increase your customer volume

You can always improve your ice vending machine business by increasing the volume of customers coming through each day. Getting more customers will increase the profit margin on each sale and help you grow your business.

Create a website

You'll want to get a good website for your ice vending machine business. This is where most of your customers will go for information about the different types of drinks and snacks that you sell. 

It would be preferable if you also developed an online store so that your consumers could purchase from there rather than having to return to the store every time.

Having an online store that people can use to order from is a great way to increase sales and make more money.

Get your specialty shaped ice packs

You'll need a company to accomplish all this, but you may start by researching the finest ice packs on the market

You can also create your specialty-shaped ice packs that will appeal to a select group of customers, like sports fans or late-night snacking individuals.

You mustn't just get any ice packs. These must be of good quality to last as long as possible. You can get these packs from different ice companies or third-party producers.

Get your advertising plan

Create a good marketing plan for your ice vending machine business to show customers exactly what you can do for them and how much better life will be with your services. 


You can market through ads in local newspapers and magazines, but you have to ensure that you have the funds to do so.

I also think getting into radio or television ads to quickly spread the word about your business is a good idea.

Assess your progress

It would be best to take a few moments each month to assess your progress. Are there things you can improve on that will help jumpstart your business and get the ball rolling? 

If you discover that you're struggling in some way, then don't be afraid to change things around and see how those adjustments help the business run more smoothly.

Expand your business

If you've been diligent about advertising for customers over the past few months, you might want to expand and get some more machines into more locations to grow your business

You'll need to start small and work your way up, though, because it can be costly to put machines in new places. 

If you want to take your ice vending machines business to the next level, get a solid plan together to follow through with your ideas. Your business plan can also help bring in investors or partners who are willing to join you in your goals.

Frequently asked questions

When your firm is up and going, you'll want to learn more about how to do it well. Having the fundamentals down will help. 

How much does an ice vending machine make a year?

It all depends on where you're putting your machines and how many people come in to get some ice. 

You should have a good idea of the different types of ice vending machines that are out there and how long they can be used before they need to be replaced. 

You don't want to get into an ice machine business and find that you've made a poor choice as far as equipment goes.

Many factors influence how much you'll make working for an ice vending machine firm, but you may get estimates from companies and third-party sources.

It all depends on the location and setup of the vending machine, but you're likely to get about $4,000 per year in profit.

How much is an ice vending machine?

Ice vending machines may cost anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, depending on what you're looking for. If you want to go with a premium option that won't need any maintenance, you could spend almost double the price. 


The premium machines say they will last for more than ten years without needing repairs and other replacements.

Where can I find an ice vending machine for sale?

You must know where you're going to get an ice vending machine before buying one.

Many companies sell ice machines, but you need to ensure that you're getting a good deal and getting exactly what you want before making your purchase. You can always go online to find some of the best vendors and choose whom to buy from.

How can you get a good ice vending machine business?

You need to have a good idea of where you want your business to go and what kind of ice vending machines are available.

You'll also need to figure out where your customers are coming from and how much money they're willing to spend on the products and services that you're offering. 

Before you begin any investment or company, you should have a good strategy in place since it will help you get started on the proper path from the outset.

The takeaway

You've got your first ice vending machines up and running, and you're making money. Spend some time thinking about how you can generate more money with your company.

With these ideas and suggestions I gave, you can be sure that you're getting started in the right direction. Your ice vending machines business could be an excellent way for you to earn a little extra income and have some fun doing it.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}