How much does an ice vending machine make per month?

If you want to know How much does an ice vending machine make, you must be aware that Ice vending machines provide a unique business opportunity, delivering bagged ice conveniently to customers 24/7. But how profitable are these unattended ice merchants?

How much does an ice vending machine make per month

What key factors determine monthly earnings potential?

Below we examine average ice vending machine profits and the elements impacting monthly revenue. We also detail the benefits these passive ice vendors can offer business owners.

How much does an ice vending machine make per month?

Average Ice Vending Machine Revenue

Most full-sized ice vending machines can generate between $2,500 – $7,500 in monthly gross revenue on average. However, profits vary significantly month-to-month based on these key factors:

Machine Capacity – Larger machines that can hold more bagged ice and serve more customers before needing refills earn more. Industrial units with 500+ lb capacity average $5,000+ monthly.

Bag Price – Setting optimal per-bag pricing between $1.50 – $2.50 balances affordability and profits. Location climate and competitors help determine ideal price point.

Bag Size – Offering 16 lb and smaller 10 lb bag sizes provides pricing options. But focus on selling more 16 lb bags which earn 50% more profit per customer.

Site Traffic – High visibility locations with heavy vehicle or foot traffic enables more sales 24/7. Target spots near events, highways, convenience stores, etc.

Season – Summer months see sales spike 60%+ over winter thanks to ice demand for coolers, events, camps, and warm weather activities. Adjust bag pricing based on season.

Area Climate – Hotter regions have more demand year-round compared to cooler climates where winter ice sales decline.

Marketing/Branding – Promoting your machine’s location, convenience and value attracts more buyers. Vivid wraps, signage and online ads help spread awareness.

Operational Uptime – Fully stocked, functioning machines have maximum earning ability. Quickly address outages, malfunctions issues and bag jams.

Benefits of Ice Vending Machines

Owning and operating ice vending machines provides several advantages beyond just profits:

  • Passive Income – Once sited and filled, minimal effort is needed to earn ongoing revenue. Machines sell 24/7 without staffing required.
  • Low Overhead – No expensive retail space needed. Electricity costs are reasonable. Labor consists only of loading bags and basic cleaning/maintenance.
  • Minimal Staffing – Can be operated solo at startup. Adding 1-2 employees allows expanding to multiple machines.
  • Scalability – Easily increase earnings by adding machines in new locations. Options to franchise also exist for fast growth.
  • Recession Resistant – Hot weather and events drive ice sales consistently even during unstable economies.
  • Flexibility – Operators can keep current job and run machines part-time around other commitments thanks to automation.
  • Increased Customer Convenience – On-demand automated ice improves customer experiences at hotels, campgrounds, events venues, apartment complexes and more.

With the ability to earn passive profits from a basic commodity product that customers always need, ice vending can be a smart hands-off small business model.

Factors That Increase Ice Vending Revenue

Maximize monthly profits by focusing on these aspects:

  • Prime, high-traffic locations
  • Reliable, high-capacity ice maker models
  • Competitive bag pricing based on local markets
  • Prominent branding and marketing
  • Excellent uptime via attentive cleaning and maintenance
  • Providing change for customers when possible
  • Accepting electronic payments
  • Analyzing sales metrics to adjust product, pricing and promotions


A well-run ice vending machine placed in an ideal site can generate between $3,000 – $6,000 in gross monthly revenue on average. Proper machine selection, pricing, branding, maintenance and promotion drive profits. With passive income potential and recession resistance, ice merchants represent an attractive hands-off small business model.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about ice vending machine profits:


Q: How many bags of ice does the average ice vending machine sell per day?

A: Most full-sized ice vendors sell between 60-150 bags daily on average, depending on season, location traffic, and capacity. Higher capacity units can dispense 200+ bags per day.

Q: How often do ice vending machines need to be refilled?

A: Ice vending machines typically need to be restocked with bagged ice every 2-3 days on average. Higher traffic spots may require daily refilling.

Q: What size ice bags should I stock my ice vending machine with?

A: Offering both 16 lb and 10 lb bags provides size options, but focus on selling more of the 16 lb bags which are more profitable per customer.

Q: How much does a bag of ice cost wholesale?

A: Wholesale bagged ice costs around 15-30 cents per lb. So a 16 lb bag would be $2.40 – $4.80 wholesale. Always shop around for the best regional ice supply pricing.

Q: What percentage commission do site hosts typically earn?

A: Commissions or revenue splits for hosts range from 5-20% of sales. Start with 10-15% commissions when first placing machines to secure ideal locations.

Q: Do ice machines work well year-round or just summers?

A: In warm climates they produce income all year. Colder regions see a 50%+ dip in winter season revenue. Adjust bag pricing seasonally as needed.

Q: What is the maintenance cost for ice vending machines?

A: Expect $200-400 in annual repairs or maintenance expenses per machine. Top issues include ice bridging, blown fuses, bag jams, and compressor failures.

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