Starting Your Own Shaved Ice Business

Published: 01st March 2010
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If I were to tell you that you could start a business that has potential to give you a 1,500% profit from the money that you put into it, would you believe me? If I were in your shoes, I absolutely wouldn't, but I am in my shoes and I know that such a thing exists. Of course, when I let you know that this business is a shaved ice business, you still might be resistant to the belief. Here are the facts: the cost to produce one 8 ounce shaved ice serving is only about 16 cents. The average cost to the consumer is $3.00. This is where the 1,500% profit comes into play.

A very important fact to note is that there is a very large difference between snow cone stands and shaved ice stands. If you suggest to a shaved iced vendor that he is nothing but a snow cone vendor, there's a very good chance that he will be highly offended. Snow cones do not have the same ability to hold in the syrup flavors as shaved ice does. The reason being that shaved ice can only be produced with a quality shaver made specifically to produce a fine, powdery snow that will evenly hold any combination of delicious syrup flavors.

You've heard it a million times before; location, location, location! Among several other key factors that must be considered before investing in a shaved ice business, location can be the difference between a successful business and one that just isn't what you hoped and dreamed it would be. The bottom line is that you have to be where the people are, this is called volume selling. There are different reasons people will be gathered in a specific location, which is why successful shaved ice vendors choose to run a mobile operation in lieu of a fixed site.

Let's talk brass tacks shall we? You'll need to get yourself a nice, shaved ice ready kiosk or mobile cart can vary in price from around $3,000.00 to $8,000.00, depending on the bells and whistles. If you want to go big time then you'll want to buy a concession trailer, which are in general a bit more expensive, ranging anywhere from $15,000.00 on up. As always, when looking for great deals try your luck on the Internet, or even try a local flea market. You never know what treasures are to be unearthed through a little bit of digging.

There are definitely many pros of having a mobile setup. The ability to follow the crowd and maximize profit potential cannot be overlooked. The need to advertise beyond the sign on your shaved ice kiosk or mobile setup is minimal because of the high visibility of your stand. Hot spot locations for mobile setups can include flea markets, recreation areas, sporting events, school events, and even the local fair. As included with anything there will be a fee to set up shop at any of these locations, but compared to buying or renting a retail location, the cost is definitely minimal. If you can get a fixed-site location around a major tourist attraction or shopping mall, then you definitely may have hit the jackpot.

Now what else will you need to start up your business and launch yourself to shaved ice stardom? The most essential product to your business is an ice shaving machine. You will definitely not want to skimp when it comes to this piece of equipment. The real question is, why would you spare any expense on the one thing that could determine whether or not your average customer is converted to a loyal consumer. Be prepared, on average the cost of a shaved ice machine is somewhere between $1500.00 and $2500.00, and this is for shavers that will hold up to the daily volume demands. To obtain that desired snowy consistency you'll want to utilize blades that skim pre-formed blocks of ice at various settings. The commercial grade machines use crushed ice or generic ice-cubes, but this tends to lead to a more crunchy or coarse end result. You'll also want to make sure that you get a machine that does single servings, because if the traffic of business is sporadic, this could lead to wasted product.

Setting up the best method in regards to obtaining ice blocks is imperative. You could purchase a block ice maker, but these are generally pretty pricey, with an average price of $2,500.00. Setting up the best method in regards to obtaining ice blocks is imperative. You'll want to check out your local ice-vendors and see if you can setup a deliver-when-needed deal with them. In regards to syrup flavors, a trick of the trade is to develop your own unique flavor to help gain those loyal customers. Looking into making syrups from concentrates as opposed to buying pre-made syrups can help you cut the cost of running your business substantially. As for the other minor equipment needed; disposable cups, straws, and plastic spoons. Make sure to buy these in bulk so you can limit trips to the store and save that extra dollar.

The great thing about a shaved ice business is that it gives a person the opportunity to run a highly flexible and expandable operation without having to go too far into debt. Depending on the location, this type of business might be seasonal, but with a little creativity the cash flow could be coming all year long.

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