How to Start an Ice Machine Business?

If you are looking for ideas to start your own business, investing in ice vending machines can be a great start to a profitable business venture.

Since ice machines don’t require your involvement aside from regular maintenance, this could be an excellent way to generate passive income.

In case you are looking for ways to improve your financial situation, buying the right ice vending machines may help you skyrocket your passive income.

Where to start and how to start an ice machine business?

We are providing answers to this and more questions revolving around the process of getting into the ice machine business as a beginner.

Dive in to learn how you can quickly start generating income from ice vending machines.

How Do I Start An Ice Machine Business?

Starting an ice machine business sounds rather simple, however, there is more to it than buying ice machines and placing them around busy locations.

To make the process easier for you, we have compiled this brief guide on how to start your ice machine business in only a few steps.

Follow up with the 5-step guidelines to start making income from selling ice from vending machines.   

Step 1: Choose a Location

Choosing a location is one of the most important elements when planning your ice machine business.

In case you place your ice machines in the wrong locations with low traffic, it is likely that you won’t make much money selling ice.

What you want to do is to choose a location where you are sure that there are a lot of people in need of ice.

The perfect locations would be around parks and campsites where people are usually in immediate need of some ice.

Places, where people stop on their travels to get some ice for coolers, make up for a great location strategy. Make sure to explore different locations to be able to pick the right ones.

That way you can generate hefty profits.

Here are some of the top locations for ice vending machines:

  • Recreational areas
  • Convenience stores
  • State parks
  • National parks
  • Gas stations
  • Beaches
  • Stop stations along highways
  • Supermarkets
  • Malls

Step 2: Buy Ice Machines

If you have decided to move on with the next step, and you have found the right locations to place your ice machines, the next step is to find affordable machines and accompanying products.

When looking for ice vending machines, you will see that the prices can get hefty even for used ice machines.

We recommend you check on the internet, as well as contact direct distributors so you could compare the prices.

What you need to have in mind is that refrigerated vending machines are usually more expensive than regular vending machines.

Likewise, ice vending machines can generate more revenue if placed in the right locations.

You will also need to decide whether you need indoor or outdoor vending machines.

The price will also depend on the type of ice machine you decide to go for.

Step 3: Rules and Regulations

To make your ice machine business successful, you need to understand the rules and regulations.

Regulations for running an ice machine business can be different from one US state to the next, while local regulations may also apply.

Packaged ice is considered food under the jurisdiction of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

That means that you need to make sure that the ice you are using for vending machines is in line with FDA rules and regulations.

One of the main points is to have the ice made from sanitary water.

FDA is not your only concern if you are starting an ice machine business. You will also need to check the regulations concerning:

  • State regulations
  • Business regulations and vending rules specific to your town or city
  • Taxes
  • Bookkeeping
  • Contracts and arbitration

To avoid having legal problems, you need to check all the regulations before officially starting an ice machine business. Aside from profitability, legality is crucial.

Step 4: Have a Business Plan

A business can hardly start, develop, or survive for that matter if you don’t have a business plan and clear goals ahead of you.

Business plans are not only important for plans but will also help you track your business.

The key elements that every business should have are:

  • Executive summary
  • Marketing plan
  • Key management
  • Financial plan

To help you create a plan for your ice machine business, here are some of the top points to pay attention to:

  • The summary of your business, including products and locations
  • A concise market analysis that includes competition, expected traffic, and sales
  • Potential partners and employees
  • Marketing strategy
  • Financing strategy and financial planning

To start an ice machine business, one of the first to consider is how you will finance your business.

Finance-wise, you need to have a clear insight into your sales and profits, as well as expenses. This is where bookkeeping comes essential.

Step 5: Financing Your Business

Financing your business is the final step toward starting an ice machine business.

The type of vending machines you are buying will greatly depend on your budget.

In case you have a bigger budget, you can even buy out an already set up ice machine business.

Likewise, you can invest in new or used ice machines, depending on your financial plan.

You can finance your business in more than several ways, and here are some of the most popular options:

Retirement fund

If you have a retirement and a firm business plan that could help you retire early, this option may be perfect for you. You can borrow the money you need to start your business against your retirement funds.

Personal loan

Personal loans often have high interest rates and additional fees for early repayments and late payments.

However, if you plan your ice machine business carefully, you can quickly start generating revenue and repay your loan.

Business loan

Business loans usually require collateral and a detailed business plan.

Still, this may be the best option on the list as many lenders can offer affordable rates and payback terms for business loans.


If you have savings and you are confident that your ice machine business can generate hefty income, you can use your savings to finance your business.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Is Selling Ice a Good Business?

The reason why the ice machine business is so popular is its profitability, which makes it a good business.

To explain the profitability of the ice business in a nutshell, ice machines can generate from $1.50 to $3 on a product that takes between $0.25 and $0.30 to make.

That said, selling ice is a good business as it involves low-cost products and low-maintenance machines.

How Profitable Is an Ice Machine?

The profitability of your ice machine business will greatly depend on the locations you choose.

Make sure to strategically place your machines in high-traffic locations to increase the probability of generating decent revenue.

Maintenance costs for vending machines are often rather low, while the cost of the product won’t take more than $236 a month on average.

Based on an average sales volume in the US and the price of ice from vending machines, you can generate around $3,900 a month.  

How Much Does an Ice Vending Machine Cost?

The price of ice vending machines varies based on the type and the technical state of the machines. Used ice machines will be cheaper and more affordable than new machines.

With some distributors, you can even get a discount on a greater number of ice machines.

The price can also depend on features and installation costs, as well as on the size of the ice machine. The difference in price range is more than evident.

For example, small self-contained ice machines cost between $1,500 and $5,000. Modular machines usually cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

However, the largest ice machine can go up to