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How To Start A Snow Cone Business

Updated on January 13, 2014

Deciding To Go For It Can Be The Hardest Part

Obviously you are already interested the snow cone business. Otherwise, you would not be reading this Lens. So, we will not bore you with sentence after sentence of unnecessary chatter. We are going to keep it short and simple.

You can choose either a permanent location or a mobile unit. However, after more than 30 years in the business We have found permanent locations to be more profitable and easier to operate. By the way, many independent snow cone stands perform better than franchises.

Now, a word about profit. ASTRONOMICAL. That is all that we are going to say about profit right now. We will tell you what the profit margin is later.

A Step-By-Step Guide

The 6 G's Of Starting A Snow Cone Business

1. Getting The Scoop On The Legalities

The first thing you need to do is find out whether or not your city or state will permit you to establish a snow cone stand. Contact city hall, the state tax office and the health department. They will be more than happy to tell you what the legal requirements are for establishing a snow cone business. The fee that the health department and the tax office charge for snow cone stands is minimal in most states. It would be wise to start with a telephone call and simply ask for information.

2. Getting Started

Gather snow cone business intelligence by visiting various snow cone stands with pad and pen in hand and maybe a camera. Note things such as location, volume of business, size of building, menu, cup size and price, business hours, number of employees, arrangement of equipment etc. Compare these stands and try to determine which ones get more business and why they get more business. This information will be valuable as you plan and establish your own business. If you have a friend or relative who operates a successful snow cone business you should ask them for advice. Successful people can help you become successful. Your geographical area will determine the length of the snow cone season. Some snow cone stands are open all year long.

3. Getting A Location

Without a doubt this is the most important step of all! Even if you complete all of the other steps perfectly the business venture will fail if you don't get this one right. The most successful snow cone stands get a combination of pedestrian traffic, bicycle traffic and automobile traffic. If you want your business to perform at the maximum of its potential, it must be located in an area that is conducive to these thee types of traffic. A location on the corner of two intersecting highways or busy streets with a nearby neighborhood is an excellent choice. This is the cream of the crop location, so to speak. Try to find a location with an existing building. Almost any shape or form of building can be used for a snow cone stand. However, the location must be easily accessible and It must have lots of parking space. Although you can do very well without it, a drive thru will increase the volume of business. And remember, it is better to have a building that is too big than to have a building that is too small.

Don't be discouraged if you can't get the perfect location because there are other locations that can be very lucrative. Do your homework and take note of successful snow cone stands that are doing very well in their locations.

4. Getting Equipment

Once the location is secured it's time to round up some equipment. First of all, decide whether you want to invest in used or new equipment. Don't half-step when you choose an Ice Shaver because the quality of the shaved ice determines the quality of the snow cone. The Snowie Ice Shaver is hard to beat. It is available at Ralph's SnoBall Supply. Here is a list of equipment you will need for your snow cone stand:

1. Cash Register (optional) - A money drawer or box may be used instead.

2. Ice Maker (optional) - Ice may be available locally.

3. Refrigerator (optional) - For perishable items such as cream topping. (can be kept on ice)

4. Freezer (must have) - Preferably frost free for storing ice.

5. Ice Shaver (must have) - Choose one that produces soft fluffy ice.

5. Getting Products And Supplies

This may be the last step but it is by no means the least. Superb flavors are just as important as soft fluffy ice and one won't work without the other. You must have fine shaved ice and excellent flavors to produce snow cones that will sell. And another thing, the more flavors you have the more snow cones you will sell. The easy route is to purchase ready to use syrup. However, you can purchase concentrate and make your own syrup. Having said that, we think Ralph's SnoBall Supply, Inc. http://www.snowballsupply.com is the best place to purchase products and supplies. You can get discounts on most items. Here's a list of products and supplies needed:

1. Snow Cone Syrup or Snow Cone Concentrate

2. Mixing Container - for making syrup

3. Long Handle Spoon or Paddle - for stirring

4. Preservatives - for extending shelf life of syrup

5. Cups - use several different sizes - small, medium and large

6. Spoonstraws

7. Pour Bottles or Pump Jugs - for dispensing syrup

6. Getting Customers

Snow Cone Stands attracts people almost like a magnet attracts metal. Just display your open sign and people will come. However. I recommend putting flyers on the windshields of cars and in the mail boxes of homes. We did that when We opened our first snow cone stand over 30 years ago. We have not spent another penny on advertising since then. Yet, the volume of my business has grown every single year. Warning! Be prepared to handle an onslaught of customers soon after you open.

Critical Questions Answered

What are the top 10 flavors?

Listed in alphabetical order:

Banana, Bubblegum, Cherry, Coconut, Grape, Green Apple, Ice Cream, Pina Colada, Tiger's Blood and Strawberry.

How do you make snow cone syrup using concentrate?

Mixing instructions for Ralph's SnoBall Supply concentrate.

1. Shake the concentrate well before using.

2. Use 1 oz. of concentrate to make 1 quart or 4 oz. to make 1 gallon.

3. Fill the container with simple syrup.

4. Cap the container and shake well.

How many snow cones will 1 pint, 1 quart and 1 gallon of snow cone syrup make?

The following answer is based on using 1 1/2 oz. of snow cone syrup per 6 oz cup of shaved ice. You can do the math to figure a different size cup or a different amount of snow cone syrup per cup.

1 pint of snow cone syrup makes 10 snow cones

1 quart of snow cone syrup makes 20 snow cones

1 gallon of snow cone syrup makes 80 snow cones

Can I make money in the snow cone business?

Absolutely! The profit margin of snow cones is very high. An 8 oz. snow cone sells for about $1.50 and about $1.35 of that is profit.

Go to: http://www.snowballsupply.com/faq.php to get answers to more questions.

Buy 5 Quarts Get 1 Quart Free! - Buy 12 Samples Get Free Shipping!

New Orleans Style Snoball Syrup made with 100% pure cane sugar.

12 Snow Cone Syrup Samples - 100% Cane Sugar Syrup - Free Shipping
12 Snow Cone Syrup Samples - 100% Cane Sugar Syrup - Free Shipping

Bahama Mama, Banana, Blue Raspberry, Grape, Green Apple, Lemon Lime, Pina Colada, Red Cherry, Strawberry, Tiger Blood, Tropical Medley, Watermelon

 
Snow Cone Syrup - 100% Cane Sugar Syrup - Free Quart! Normally Ships Same Day.
Snow Cone Syrup - 100% Cane Sugar Syrup - Free Quart! Normally Ships Same Day.

Red Cherry, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Bahama Mama, Green Apple

 

Your Comments Are Welcome

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What warranty does the Snowie 3000 have? And how long do the blades last?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      How much syrup per snow cone do you use?

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 6 years ago

      @anonymous: http://snowballsupply.com/faq.php#How_many_snow_co...

      Depends on the size of the cup. Please go to the link above for more info.

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 6 years ago

      @anonymous: There's a 1 year mfg. warranty. The life of the blades depends on frequency of use and sharpening.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The concentrates shows using syrup, can you and if so how do you use the concentrates to make a sugar free sno cone

    • GhostMan LM profile image

      GhostMan LM 5 years ago

      Now I want a snow cone

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How much does it take to get a business up and running?

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 4 years ago

      @anonymous: The Cost varies depending on whether you want a basic operation or an elaborate one. You must determine exactly what you need and how much it cost.

      Andrew Brown CEO, Ralph's SnoBall Supply

      Tel: 877-543-7997 | Mobile: 601-422-8783

      http://www.snowballsupply.com

      Get a signature like this.

      Click here.

      Subject: Squidoo: You have new comments!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How many customers did you average per day at your locations?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What is simple syrup?

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 4 years ago

      @anonymous: There's a recipe at the link below:http://www.snowballsupply.com/pages/Questions-%26-... can I make simple syrup?

      Subject: Squidoo: You have new comments!

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 4 years ago

      @anonymous: We were too busy making snow cones to do a head count. Probably never less than 100 except on rainy days.

      Subject: Squidoo: You have new comments!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      On the subject of simple syrup: Is the variation you use the same as everyones'? or can a person make "THE" perfect syrup?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What is the difference in your concentrate compared to Southern snow , Snow wizard or Parasol??? Do you use theirs? What is the problem,in your opinion ,with their shavers? I am very confused on who flavors and machines are the best. I a ready to go but am hesitant.

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Can't speak for everyone. Ours is an industry standard simple syrup recipe.

    • SnoBall profile image
      Author

      SnoBall 4 years ago

      @anonymous: We're not prone to criticizing competitors. We just strive to be the best. We suggest you sample flavors from each company, that way you can determine which ones yo like best. We never get complaints about the Snowie brand snow cone machines.

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