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Ice vending machines

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linkre

PARKED
Oct 24, 2021
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I'm interested in the ice vending machine business. Anyone own them? What are the startup cost? How to do pick a location? How much can you realistically bring in on a monthly basis? I know every situation is different but just looking to hear from someone with experience.
 
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James90

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There's a couple of vending machines at a marina I know of. It's always sold out out, especially during the summer months when it's Ahi season. Fishermen need hundreds of pounds of ice for their big game. Also a huge homeless encampment next door fuels an equal amount of demand.

A friend of mine has an industrial size machine, and he always get's regular business from fishermen and food truck vendors.
 

ZCP

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@linkre welcome! please post an intro

for your question, this community is not for 'tell me how to do something' or 'give me the step by step'.
you will find better answers / results by doing some initial work (showing effort) and coming in with actual questions.

so for example, do some searches. find a bunch of machines or businesses doing this and bring the info back for us to look through with you.

do a google maps search for ice and find 20 locations. what are the patterns, where are they? why?

report back and build the community, brother!
give to get!
 

linkre

PARKED
Oct 24, 2021
4
0
1
There's a couple of vending machines at a marina I know of. It's always sold out out, especially during the summer months when it's Ahi season. Fishermen need hundreds of pounds of ice for their big game. Also a huge homeless encampment next door fuels an equal amount of demand.

A friend of mine has an industrial size machine, and he always get's regular business from fishermen and food truck vendors.
Thanks James90 for the info. I live in the southwest so there's no marinas in my area. But finding an area to service food trucks is a good idea. Maybe I should find an area where there are several food trucks working.
 

B.Cotter

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You should weigh your options between ice vending machines and bagged ice coolers.

The vending machines you typically find at places like hotels have very low output. I'm sure there are machines with higher output but at the end of the day from my experience in hospitality they won't have the kind of high output for something like a marina as mentioned above.

Those bagged ice coolers/freezers that are stocked typically from a third party seller have a much higher capacity, but they do not create ice at the location. So you'll have to manage manufacturing ice, bagging and delivery. But at least it would be from a central location.

We did have a beer and wine store where we purchased our own commercial ice machine (that you'd typically find in a 150+ seat high volume restaurant and bar; there are many options and sizes), and we'd freeze, bag, store and sell our own ice at the shop. I'm not sure what third party vendors that would sell the service to you charge, but after the initial investment of an ice machine and a freezer to store it, it's a huge markup on the ice itself. Those machines and freezers aren't as expensive as you'd assume, at least not in my mind.

But again, we had a beer and wine retail shop and the bagged ice was a small investment for an additional upsell with a high profit margin, not the core product.
 

linkre

PARKED
Oct 24, 2021
4
0
1
You should weigh your options between ice vending machines and bagged ice coolers.

The vending machines you typically find at places like hotels have very low output. I'm sure there are machines with higher output but at the end of the day from my experience in hospitality they won't have the kind of high output for something like a marina as mentioned above.

Those bagged ice coolers/freezers that are stocked typically from a third party seller have a much higher capacity, but they do not create ice at the location. So you'll have to manage manufacturing ice, bagging and delivery. But at least it would be from a central location.

We did have a beer and wine store where we purchased our own commercial ice machine (that you'd typically find in a 150+ seat high volume restaurant and bar; there are many options and sizes), and we'd freeze, bag, store and sell our own ice at the shop. I'm not sure what third party vendors that would sell the service to you charge, but after the initial investment of an ice machine and a freezer to store it, it's a huge markup on the ice itself. Those machines and freezers aren't as expensive as you'd assume, at least not in my mind.

But again, we had a beer and wine retail shop and the bagged ice was a small investment for an additional upsell with a high profit margin, not the core product.
It's something to think about. There are several ice distributors and stores in my area. Compared to other investments the cost is reasonable. From what I've found the mid range ice vending machines are about 65k.
 

linkre

PARKED
Oct 24, 2021
4
0
1
It's something to think about. There are several ice distributors and stores in my area. Compared to other investments the cost is reasonable. From what I've found the mid range ice vending machines are about 65k.
What were the maintenance cost for your ice machine? I don't think they would be expensive but on other forums people make it sound like the cost is high.
 

bakhman

New Contributor
Oct 5, 2021
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I wonder if there are any other products that could be vended other than ice? What about oil, bulk coffee, or tools/accessories? It's still a neat idea and good enough of a niche..
 

George B

New Contributor
Nov 23, 2021
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0
There's a couple of vending machines at a marina I know of. It's always sold out out, especially during the summer months when it's Ahi season. Fishermen need hundreds of pounds of ice for their big game. Also a huge homeless encampment next door fuels an equal amount of demand.

A friend of mine has an industrial size machine, and he always get's regular business from fishermen and food truck vendors.
I have one I am thinking of selling. Needs a new compressor went out last week. Have prices for parts everything else works great.
 

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