Interested in entering the Ice Vending Industry?
The first step is to narrow down your choice to the type of machine that is right for you, then find a manufacturer. There are several different types of ice vending machines that you can choose to invest in and we’ll cover the differences below.
All types of ice vending machines sell bagged ice and can have the ability to also vend water (most companies will charge extra to add this feature to your machine). Only a couple of manufacturers also offer your customer the choice between bulk ice, or ice vended directly into your customers cooler AND bagged ice. This bulk ice option is the bedrock of ice vending and is what has made ice vending popular.
While deciding which type of ice vending machine is right for you, consider your location: How much traffic does it see in a typical day? How much space will you be able to set aside or rent for your machine? How easily will potential customers be able to access your machine?
The price range listed for each type of ice vending machine is for the initial purchase only. In addition to purchasing or renting a location for your machine, you may have to pay maintenance fees, licensing or franchise fees depending on the company your purchase your machine from.
Compare what’s available in the market
Designed for high traffic areas, these are the largest ice vending machines available and look like a shipping container. These are either built on-site or are trucked in and installed with a crane. They typically take up more than two parking spaces. These machines hold anywhere between 4000-6500 lbs of ready made ice and can create up to 13,000 lbs of ice within 24 hours. They are also designed to keep the interior of the machine chilled to below freezing which adds considerably to your ongoing costs. Structures are often placed in underutilized areas of parking lots in busy retail locations.
Strengths: Virtually unending supply of ice, offer bagged AND bulk ice vending. Large and attention grabbing.
Weaknesses: Huge initial investment. Permitting and licensed construction company required at install. High install costs due to size, 3-phase power requirements and crane rental. High ongoing power costs (typically over $1,000 / Mo.) Too much ice production for virtually every location. Usually don’t offer water vending. Difficult to find install locations due to size. Custom concrete slab required.
Price Range: ~$125,000-$180,000+
This mid-sized ice vending machine is about half the size of an ice vending structure. Actual sizes of kiosks vary, so these machines hold anywhere between 1000-2500 lbs of ready made ice and can create between 1,900 and 5,000 lbs of ice in 24 hours (production above 1900 lbs. In 24 hours achievable only with the addition of multiple ice makers) These machines require the owner to install with a fork-lift due to their size. Unlike a structure, a kiosk should only require single phase electricity. Locations for kiosks are typically underutilized areas in parking lots in business centers or established retail locations.
Strengths: Larger capacity for ice ready to vend, ability to add additional ice makers (although this is rarely done due to cost and difficulty of on-site installation). Large size. Does not require interior refrigeration. These machines sometimes offer the choice between bulk and bagged ice (varies by manufacturer). Can offer water vending, typically at an additional cost.
Weaknesses: High initial investment. Fork lift required for installation. Too much interior capacity for production of single ice maker, additional ice makers make cost too high, difficult to find install locations due to size, custom concrete slab required.
Price Range: ~$71,500-$120,000
The most flexible option in ice vending is sized perfectly to go in front of an established retail location but also large enough to be installed in a busy parking lot. Depending on the size, these machines hold anywhere between 350-800 lbs of ice ready made ice and can create 900 – 1,900 lbs (1900 pounds of ice production can be attained with a single ice maker but some manufacturers would require the addition of a second ice maker) of ice in a 24 hour period.
Strengths: Lowest cost of entry into the ice vending industry. Size makes it easy to find a location and high production and capacity compared to footprint makes these machines ideal for most entrepreneurs. These machines are easier to maintain, have a lower initial cost making ROI quicker and they hold and produce more than enough ice for virtually all locations. These units require smaller utilities and easier machine install. Can be moved into position with a hand truck and do not require a custom concrete slab (varies by manufacturer). Does not require interior refrigeration. These machines sometimes offer the choice between bulk and bagged ice (varies by manufacturer). Can offer water vending, typically at an additional cost.
Weaknesses: Smaller size, production and capacity of ice may be inadequate for top 1% of locations.
Price Range: ~$35,000-$45,000
The Everest VX machines are the only machines in the industry to feature the VersaVend ice dispensing system. This allows owners and operators to enjoy jam-free operations and fast ice delivery to every customer, every time. Learn more about patented VersaVend system by clicking the button below.
Ice and Water Vending is an amazing opportunity for new entrepreneurs and current business owners. Starting with low start up costs, Ice and Water Vending is a great way to add to your income while still working full time. Click the button below to learn more about the benefits of joining the Ice and Water Vending industry!