Everest Owner John Barndt III

Benefits of franchising your business.Watch the interview

Everest Owner John Barndt III

Featuring Owner

John Barndt III of Ice Hunters

John Barndt III

Ice Hunters

Location: Colorado, Kansas, and Texas
Number of Machines: 6
Owner since 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Take advantage of locations where ice is in demand.
  • Investing in your business through marketing or hiring a team can add to your success.
  • Welcome in help from those with expertise.

John Barndt runs his ice and water vending business called Ice Hunters. He currently has six machines and they are located in Colorado, Kansas, and Texas. It all began when John went to Colorado on a hunting trip with a friend of his. “While we were up there, we couldn’t buy any ice, so we decided to get a machine and service a town where we had to go to three different gas stations to get enough ice.” Seeing the demand for ice and the lack of supply, John took advantage of the opportunity to start a business.

“..in the beginning, the machines aren’t just plug and play, they’re a business and you have to treat them as such.”

Building out your business strategy and plan.

John’s strategy for having multiple machines in multiple locations was in order to allow a machine to have some downtime and the others to pick up sales. However, a challenge John Barndt encounters is having his machine paced far from him, in a completely different state. He overcomes this by franchising and hiring staff to work with the machines closely or working regular maintenance into the lease.

When dealing with the ebb and flow of the year, John recommends owners ensure that they understand that wherever you’re putting your machine, you are aware of the seasons and you write your pro forma. “If it’s gong to be a six month year, account for a six month year. If it’s a twelve month year, account for a twelve month year. And if you do that, you won’t let yourself down.”

A screenshot of the Ice Hunters Instagram account
Ice Hunters logo over an illustration of a stream running toward mountains

Investing in marketing your new business.

John created Facebook and Instagram social media accounts, built a website, and hired a marketing company, “One of the big things is when we put new machines in, we do small grand openings of some sort. And so marketing plays a big role in that. If you don’t spend any money on marketing, you’re not going to get the traffic you need. And in the beginning, the machines aren’t just plug and play, they’re a business and you have to treat them as such.”

John views each machine as its own “miniature business” and preaches how people have to invest into the business above purchasing the machine. Marketing and maintenance are a couple of investments business owners are expected to make. “If you invest into the business, then the business will invest back into you. That time frame can be different for everybody and everything. So you have to put some effort into it and each machine takes its own amount of effort.”

A custom branded Ice Hunters Ice and Water vending machine outside of a public bathroom
A custom branded Ice Hunters Ice and Water vending machine outside of an industrial location

Creating a franchise.

John appreciated the expertise that Everest provides when it comes to any questions he may have. “A lot of times it’s just a matter ofu understanding different logistics. So Everest has been really helpful in the franchising and they’re very supportive in that growth plan that we have.”

John Barndt began franchising his company when he started to receive calls from people that were interest in purchasing their own machines. “We ended up deciding to look at franchising in order to be able to be a solution for people when they don’t have all the answers or they’re a little bit nervous but want a secondary income either for their current business or as individuals.” John is able to help people interested in ice vending through the process and make things more streamlined. He would educate others with what it’s going to take financially to get the site ready, how to manage the point of sale, and how to do the maintenance.

Watch the full interview with John Barndt III

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