ICE BLOCK MAKING BUSINESS-HOW MUCH EXTRA INCOME CAN YOU MAKE
Water is life, so the saying goes. What they forgot to add is that COLD, CHILLED water gives it in abundance. Wasn’t that really funny? hahaha! OK you don’t agree its funny, FINE. I promise not to make another dry joke again, afterall you’re not even going to pay me for it, ahem. Ice block making business is a low capital venture, considering that the most critical input water can be gotten absolutely free!
The demanding nature of our weather in this part of the world, especially when the sun is at its most scorching highness during the harmattans has inadvertentently created a booming marketplace. The demand for cold water, and in fact everything and anything cold including soft drinks, kunu, zobo is often palpable as people look for the nearest cold drinks vendor to just chill out.
Add to that the epilepticity of our power supply system and you’ll realise why the business of ice block production is an evergreen! Of course not everybody can afford a deep freezer, and even for those who can, I can’t imagine anybody going as far as dragging their freezer with them everywhere they go. Our daily activities are already too exhausting and fluid-sapping to even contemplate such madness.
There’s hardly any major drink vendor these days whose products are not chilled-the ones worth their salt anyways. It’s very simple, if you refuse to add value to your drinks by making sure they’re always chilled, you’ll eventually lose out to your competitors. Think aboiut it; how many times have you refused a sachet of pure water simply because it was not cold? So, you’ll agree with me that there’s already a gap in the value chain between those who would do anything to get a cold drink and those selling such drinks. This gap can be filled by anybody with ice blocks to sell, from a retired teacher to a commercial drinks seller. The sllers need the ice block to add that extra value to their product. And it goes without saying that there’s some serious money to be made from this huge business opportunity.
You can easily start the business anywhere either at home or in any vacant place. You can even run another business alongside and widen your income stream posiblities. With such a very wide and deep market the only problem if you can even call it that is making the decision to start. Your product is needed at various levels of human activities, from the housewife who needs to preserve her smoked fish to an event manager in charge of a wedding ceremony who wants to satisfy her own clients. The possibilities are limitless, pure water sellers, fresh produce dealers, just think about it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO START ICE BLOCK BUSINESS
The following are the basic requirements to start your own ice block business:
1. A comfortable location which could be your home or a shop:
You need somewhere you can use as a base comfortably. You coul start out from your house especially for those who have shops or stalls in front of their compounds. Unless your neighbours are always throwing parties daily however, you might want to look for a shop in a more strategic location. This does not mean you can’t succeed from making your ice block at home. The point I’m trying to make is that choosing to do your business in strategic locations could mean more profit for you in the long run. We’ll eventually talk abouut the factors you should be looking out for in selecting a location for your ice block business.
2. Ice block machine or freezer:
Ice block making machines are like deep freezers only with a higher freezing capacity, and maybe larger capacities in terms of volume. You can choose the foreign brands or the ocally-made brands depending on your budget. You’ll also need to decide on the actual models to go for in terms of operating cappacity. There are certain things you should kep in mind when buying ice block production machines. They include:
– Ice block making machine Capacity: Ice block machines as has been explained earlier are graded in terms of the number of moulds they can produce at a time. This will determine the the number of ice blocks that a machine can produce. The number ranges from 20 to over 100 blocks.
– Freezing time: This is the amount of time taken by the ice block making machine to produce. This could range from 8 hours to 12 hours. A major determinant of this the the rating of the compressors. The kind of power you use to run the machines also plays a significant role. For isntance, running your ice block making machines on generator usually increases the freezing time compared to running it on public power supply directly from the grid.
– Compressors: The better yourcCompressor rating, the better the quality of ice produced and lesser the freezing time. Compressors are usually rated in Horse Power (HP) and are commonly available in various ratings e.g 2HP, 2.5HP and 3HP. Some ice block machines are sold with fairly used compressors. The price is then often reduced to account for this. Make sure you confirm from the dealer what exactly you’re getting before committing your resources.
3. A power generator capable of providing juice to your ice block machine or freezer:
Its almost a given that if you’re doing business in Nigeria, and indeed in many parts of Africa you should have a generator if only as a backup. This is due to the unstable electricity supply in many parts of Africa. Generally, diesel-powered generators are often preferred over petrol (gasoline) powered ones as they can produce more power that can conveniently run your ice block making machines.
Even when power is available in some instances, the voltage might be fluctuating, either too low or too high. Needless to say, this can cause severe damage to your machines’ very sensitive components, most especially the compressor. To prevent this to an extent, you can purchase industrial grade voltage regulators to smoothen out your power supply before it wreaks havoc on your machines.
4. An hygienic source of water:
It goes without saying that water is the single most important raw material in the ice block production chain. Without water, there can’t be ice-simple! You will need to find a good source of fresh and clean water for your ice block production business.
Most eople who buy your ice block will use it to cool food/drinks and may not drink it directly. Nevertheless, because your ice will eventually come in contact with consumable products, it;s only proper that you ensure the water you use is as hygienic and clean as possible. Remember, if you use contaminated water and end up infecting people with diseases such as cholera, you’ll most likely be tracked down and made to face the music. People might die too you know, little kids and all that stuff. All because of your greed or laziness.
5. Specially designed nylon bag:
Een though ice block can be made in moulds, it is also possible to produce ice block using nylon bags. The process is still the same. Also, because ice can be quite slippery and difficult to handle, these bags help a lot during transportation and in the handling of the blocks at the point of use.
Brand awareness is a critical component of any serious business in this age and time. Printing your brand on the packing will help you to create brand awareness, help prospective clients to locate you and help your customers to bond better with you and your business. Coke is not the only cola drink brand, but more than 90% of the entire world recognize the Coke brand.
TYPES OF ICE BLOCK MAKING MACHINE
There are different types of ice block making machines. Some are imported while others are locally fabricated. The capacity also varies, as well as the prices which is not surprising. Ice block making machines are usually rated in terms of number of moulds they can produce within a time frame. This typically ranges from 20 moulds to as high as 120 moulds.
Some of these machines take between 12 to 24 hours to produce ice block. The duration might vary depending on whether you use power supplied from the national grid or power from your own generator. Another critical determinant of duration is the type of compressor used. New and bigger compressors will perform better than fairly used and smaller ones. A brand new compressor ice block making machine from market enquiries at the time of making this post costs about N350,000 for a 20 mould capacity variant and N1,300 000 for 120 mould variant.
There are two types of ice block;
1. ANTI FREEZE ICE: This involves the use of chemical to make the ice block form faster even than the required time. Ice block formed with this method are called MOULDS. This is not in nylon but always in moulds or containers.
2. DRY ICE: This type of ice block is formed in nylon which are of different sizes depending on the
price. The nylon used is usually not the commonly sold ones, but specially designed for this purpose, so watch out.
TARGET MARKET FOR ICE BLOCK BUSINESS
– Pure water vendors
– Fresh produce sellers
– Beer Parlours or Drink sellers
– Event managers and party hosts
– Restaurants, fast food and the good old buka joints
– Drug manufactures, phrmacies and hospitals(they need the ice block for storing their resources such as drugs and vaccines)
USEFUL TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
1 Target high population density areas: The ice block business is a volume business; the more blocks you sell, the more money you make! Ice block businesses that sell large volumes are usually located in areas that have a high population density and experience a lot of physical, economic and business activities. This is beacause of the relatively higher demand volume in these areas.
Examples of such areas include major junctions, busy roads and streets, areas with high pedestrian traffic such as schools, markets, and residential estates.
2 Ice block is a seasonal business: At this point it is important for you to know that ice block business is a seasonal business. The cooler the weather, the lesser the demand, and it’s not difficult to see why.
The law of demand and supply now sets in as the lesser demand eventually translates into falling prices of ice blocks especially during the rainy season between March and July.
3 Customer care is very important: The way you treat your customers wil determine whether they continue patronsisng your service or not. Be courteous, especially to your returning customers. Some of your customers might be individuals or businesses that require a constant supply of ice block to meet their personal, household or business needs. Some of these habitual consumers include event/party planners, restaurant/hotel operators, petty traders and vendors in busy streets and markets. Just look around your area and identify people or businesses that fall into this category and market your product to them. Give them free samples if need be. You can also decide to offer them seasonal bonuses as your finances permit to increase their loyalty to your brand and business.
4 Be one step ahead of your competition: Ice block making business is a business that anybody can do, with the right capital and any source of clean water. Also, all ice blocks basically look the same. As a result, competition can easily arise in this business. This should however not be a source of discouragement for you.
The important factors that drive patronage are mostly differential pricing, brand loyalty and convenience (location). Some of these factors have already been discussed. You have to be smarter than your competition. Try as much as possible to reduce wastages and keep your running costs as low as possible. This will enable you to transmit the low production cost to your customers in the form of competitive pricing.
It’s important that you keep a close watch on how much you are spending on things like electricity bills, water and labour.
INVESTMENT POTENTIAL IN ICE BLOCK BUSINESS
By now you probably have a fair idea of how much you can possibly make from selling ice block to people. You can easily make back your investment in 3 months with dilligent work and dedication.
Eventually, you might need someone to help you with some aspects of the business. Product delivery is a critical aspect you should be looking into. This will enable you to increase your reach to far flung reaches of the market and improve your bottom line. You can make as much as 6,000 naira per day even as a starter.
In summary, we’ve discussed about how you can easily set up an ice block making business, include details on how to be successful. With time you can even decide to have branches or depots to serve your clients in distant locations. For further information about this business, you can contact us via phone or sms on our contact page. The comment section is free to use, let’s hear your comments.
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