March 15, 2022

Ice Vending vs. Vending Machines

So, you’re contemplating the idea of investing in vending machines. It’s growing in popularity since the pandemic. There’s something about being your own boss, setting your own hours, and running your own life that appeals to a lot of people these days. Now it’s time to decide which type of vending business you want to invest in.

Most people are familiar with vending machines that sell candy, chips, sodas, and, increasingly these days, healthy snacks like protein bars and drinks like bottled water. We’ve all seen them; we’ve all plugged in a few quarters or bills and bought a snack or a soda. But, from an entrepreneur’s point of view, how does that type of vending compare to ice vending? We happen to think it doesn’t compare at all. You might say we’re biased, and you’d be right about that. We’re not experts in snack vending, but we did some research to compare the two types of vending businesses: ice vending versus vending machines.

Let’s take a look.

Product markup

Snack vending: 50%

Ice vending: 4,000%

You’re thinking, “Wait, is that a typo?” No, it isn’t.

When you’re selling snacks and sodas, those items have to come from somewhere. According to The Hustle, an online publication that writes about side gigs, many vending machine owners buy their stock in bulk at places like Sam’s Club, and then mark them up to sell for around twice what they bought them for.

Not bad, unless you’re comparing it to ice vending. Everest VX Series machines are the most energy-efficient on the market. Because of this, they make 10 pounds of ice for around $0.07. You can turn around and sell that ice for $2 to $3.

Average income from vending machines

Snack vending: $140 to $600 per month, per machine

Ice vending: $1,583 to $4,466 per month, per machine

According to Nerdwallet, the average vending machine earns $140 per month, but if you’ve got a great location and the right mix of stock, you can earn more than $400. The Hustle puts those numbers a bit higher, from $175 to $600 per month. But, that’s just what’s coming out of the machine. You’ll need to put a chunk of that back into your business to replenish your stock.

Need we say more about the average monthly income from one ice vending machine? And that’s with no replenishing of stock. Ice vending machines make their own “stock.”

Time commitment to invest in vending machines

  • Snack vending: Requires restocking on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
  • Ice vending: Truly passive income

With snack vending machines, restocking them is the nature of the beast. A busy restocking schedule is ideal because that means you’re selling your stock, right? But that also means a time commitment. In addition to trips to Sam’s or Costco or a similar buy-in-bulk retailer, if you have a half dozen machines or more all over town, you’ll be spending a chunk of time restocking. It also means a vehicle big enough to tote all of that inventory to the machines to physically restock them. Bending, lifting, carrying.

With ice vending, there is nothing to restock. Your machine makes what it sells. Periodically, you’ll need to change the water filter and replenish the supply of ice bags. That’s it. When we say it’s passive income, we really mean it.

There are other factors that play into profitability, too. Nerdwallet cautions that snack and soda vending machines are easy targets of vandalism. We just don’t find that happens with our machines. What are they going to steal, water?

Ice vending vs. vending machines: the verdict

Bottom line, both types of vending businesses are part of a massive industry and will be around for a long time to come. But for our money, ice vending is the superior investment. You own your own business, make TRULY passive income with little to no training, you’re not tied to keeping stock or inventory, there is no restocking so you can manage your business from Bora Bora if you want, it requires no employees, is easily scalable, and it has a high return on investment.

For more information, read our Why Ice Vending page and contact us today.

Everest Ice and Water vending machine
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