December 14, 2023

What Are The Start-Up Costs Of Ice Vending?

Starting an ice vending business is a large investment into your future goals that you hope to achieve. But… How much does it cost to start? If you are looking into starting an ice vending machine business, factor in these additional costs when working on your budget. 

Ice Vending Machine

A new ice vending machine can be expensive, but costs vary. A worthwhile investment is an energy-efficient ice vending machine, which reduces maintenance and utility costs.

Site Selection and Leasing

Finding a suitable location for your ice vending machine is essential to your success as an ice vending machine owner. Costs for leasing space and agreements with property owners can vary based on location and local real estate prices. You need to decide if you will be offering the business owner a flat monthly rent, or if you will be offering a percentage of the monthly sales from the machine as compensation. A percentage of monthly sales usually ranges from 10-20%. It is important to discuss and figure out which method is the most equitable for both parties.

Permits and Licensing

Obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate your business legally. This may include health department permits, business licenses, and possibly zoning permits. Costs will vary depending on your location. Each state typically requires a vending machine license to be acquired before you can place your machine. 

In addition to your vending machine permit, you may also need to get it inspected by your local health department. To do that, you will need to contact your city’s business licenses and permits board to schedule your inspection if your city requires it. At this point, the machine should be in a place where you plan to keep it so that the inspector can determine if the location and items in the machine meet the city’s regulations.

Utilities and Infrastructure

You will also have to consider the costs of connecting your ice vending machine to utilities such as electricity and water. You may need to invest in infrastructure to ensure everything is properly set up and complies with local regulations. 

Machine owners may install their separate utilities and handle payments themselves directly. To do this, you will contact the local utility and have them bring in a water and power meter. You can also sub-meter from an existing line of service, measure the usage of your machine, and reimburse the landlord for your usage at the end of every month. Another option is to roll in the average cost of utilities on the machine into your rent payment upfront.

Installation and Setup

Budget for the installation of the ice vending machine, including any necessary modifications to the site, concrete pads, and other setup costs. 

Maintenance and Repairs

Your monthly wipe-down and cleaning only requires household unscented bleach, mild household detergent, a sanitary bucket, and a soft bristle brush with a handle that extends. However, your annual maintenance requires you to change out your two sub-micron filter cartridges. Make sure to regularly set aside funds for ongoing maintenance and potential repairs to the vending machine. 

Marketing and Advertising

As with any business, advertising your new business helps! Allocate funds for marketing and advertising to promote your ice vending business and attract customers. Some great ways to help promote your new machine include placing banners before you place your machine to help get the word out about your new venture early and then switching out those banners for permanent ones to continue to grab the attention of potential customers driving/walking by. You can also establish yourself online through social media like Facebook and Instagram. 


Consider the costs of business insurance or commercial property insurance to protect your investment and liability. The cost of insurance may vary based on factors such as the location of the machine, security measures in place, and the chosen coverage limits.

And of course, always budget for unforeseen or miscellaneous expenses that may arise during the start up cost phase. Ice Vending is just like any other business and it is important to budget and plan for the typical startup costs and any other miscellaneous expenses. Happy budgeting! 

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