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Striking while the ice is hot

Managing Editor Phillip Lawless talks ice vending machine profit margins with Michael Little of Ice House America.


Phillip Lawless: What is the typical profit margin for ice vending sales?

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Michael Little: Ice House America’s ice vending machine’s profit margins can vary depending on many factors, including owning vs. leasing property, having technicians on staff or use of a third-party vendor, and market competition. Taking these into consideration, Ice House America owners can typically see between 60 and 80 percent profit margins on their ice sales.

Phillip Lawless: What would be a typical ROI for an ice vendor investment?

Michael Little: As with carwash locations, ROI on an Ice House America IceBorn ice vending machine can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Location
  • Overhead costs
  • Ingress/egress accessibility
  • Visibility from the street
  • Traffic flow and traffic volume. 

Taking all of this into account, Ice House America owners can typically pay for the IceBorn Ice House, the largest of the three units, in three to four years. 

Phillip Lawless: How are sales doing right now?

Michael Little: As for our smaller footprint, IceBorn Express, which costs less than $19,000, ROI can be as short as two years depending on the above variables. Typicalsales for an Ice House America Ice House does between 22,000 to 30,000 vends annually and owners can typically set a price point between $1.75 to $3 per bag — a huge savings to consumers for an 20-pound bag of ice.



Ice House America, of Jacksonville, FL, has more than 2,500 installed and independently owned ice house locations in 27 states. There are over 100 corporate-owned Ice House locations, as well as commitments for an additional 230 franchised locations, with the balance independently owned and operated. For more information call 888-388-1590 or visit

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