A snow cone shop is a business that makes and sells different flavors of snow cones. Snow cones are a variation of shaved ice or ground-up ice desserts commonly served throughout the United States of America and Canada in paper cones or foam cups.

The dessert consists of ice shavings that are topped with flavored sugar syrup. Snow cone flavors include Cherry, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon-Lime, Banana, Tiger’s Blood, Root Beer, Watermelon, Pina Colada et al.

Statistics have it that there are roughly three hundred and seventy-three (373) licensed ice cream production companies (snow cones shops inclusive) in the United States and they can be found in all states, in major cities, and remote rural areas in the U.S. The industry is responsible for employing about 18,474 people and raking in an average of $8 billion annually.

Steps on How to Start a Snow Cone Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

It is important to state that conducting market research before starting any business is key to the success of the business hence you must not open a snow cone business without conducting market research. This is because market research provides critical information about your market and your business landscape. It can tell you how your business is perceived by the customers and clients you want to reach.

It can help you determine who and where your customers are, and which customers are most likely to do business with you. In essence, market research will help you understand how your target customers think to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.

a. Who is the Target Market for Snow Cone Business?
  • Students
  • Migrants
  • Tourists
  • Every adult and child in the neighborhood where your snow cone shop will be located.
b. Is Snow Cone a Profitable Business?

Yes, the snow cone business is profitable because the industry is valued at nearly $8 billion.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to snow cones, and here are some of them;

  • Brick and mortar snow cone shop
  • Drive through snow cone shop
  • Kiosk snow cone
  • Mobile snow cone shop (snow cone carts or snow cone trucks)
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Jerrys Snow cone
  • Shimmers Snow Cone Stand
  • Tc Shaved Ice
  • Iceberg Dive Inn
  • Sno-La Snowball Lounge
  • Sno Biz Treats
  • Chuck’s Sno Cones
  • Snoh Ice Shavery
  • New Orleans SnoBall Café
  • Oasis Shaved Ice
  • Pelican’s SnoBalls
  • Polar Chill Shaved Ice
  • Sweet Firefly
  • Aunt Stelle’s Snow Cones
  • Snowilicious Shaved Ice
  • Cardinal Snowcone
  • Jacobs SnowCones and Concessions
  • Kona Ice of San Angelo
  • Snofellas Shaved Ice
  • A.M. Enterprises Jolly Trolley Sno-Cone Factory
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Snow Cone Business?

Yes, there are county and state regulations and zoning laws for snow cones in the United States. Please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the federal Food Code. However, the FDA doesn’t oversee individual snow cones. Instead, the various states use the Food Code as the basis for their food codes. They may adopt its rules, interpret them differently or set their own rules.

Please note that in the United States, you are required to follow your own state’s food service code. Visit the FDA website for a list of food service codes by state. Use this to find the state authority handling snow cone business and view the laws that apply in your state.

f. Is There a Franchise for Snow Cone Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for snow cone businesses. Here are some of them;

  • Sub Zero Franchise Inc.
  • The Haagen-Dazs Shoppe Co. Inc.
  • Tasti D-Lite
  • Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice
  • Tikiz Shaved Ice & Ice Cream
  • Hokulia
  • Waikomo Shave Ice
g. What Do You Need to Start a Snow Cone Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • A Good Shop facility, Car or Truck
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Employees
  • Startup Capital
  1. Memorable Snow Cone Business Names

  • Your Sweetness© Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • The Treat™ Snow Cone Truck, LLC
  • Elena Davies© Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Akin Bola® Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Tina Tanya™ Snow Cone Truck, Inc.
  • Topmost™ Snow Cone Shop, LLC.
  • Boy Lawson© Snow Cone Truck, LLC
  • Kendra Norman® Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Firm Base© Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Rita Smith© Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Tessy® Snow Cone Shop, LLC
  • Pink Label® Snow Cone Shop, LLC
  • Monica Lewis™ Snow Cone Shop, LLC
  • Royalty© Snow Cone Truck, Inc.
  • Yok Troche® Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Sean Venus™ Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Benjamin ED™ Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Lorne Cooper© Snow Cone Shop, Inc.
  • Peter OK® Snow Cone Shop, LLC
  • New Heights™ Snow Cone Truck, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Snow Cone?

When it comes to starting a snow cone business, you have several options when it comes to the business structure, but the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Snow Cone Business?
  • General Business License
  • Health and Safety Permit
  • Food and Drinks Handlers’ License
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections
  • A music license if you want to play live, recorded, or streaming music in your bar or restaurant
  • A dumpster placement permit that specifies where you can put your trash dumpster outside your bar or shop
  • A valet parking permit if you plan to offer valet parking for customers
  • Sidewalk permits if you plan to offer outside seating
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Snow Cone Business?

You don’t need any certifications to open a snow cone business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Snow Cone Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering opening your own snow cone business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Snow Cone Business?

The cost required to open a snow cone business may vary significantly and it could be high, moderate, or low. For example, if you plan to use a pop-up tent, you can get started for under $5,000. If you want to purchase a trailer the cost could be between $15,000 – $100,000 depending on how many bells and whistles you want on your vehicle. The Tiki hut or stand cost can also vary greatly, but a typical stand should run you under $10,000.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Snow Cone business
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,300.
  • Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $1,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $1,400.
  • Rent/Lease – $15,000.
  • Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • Start-up Inventory – $5,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
  • Furnishing and equipping the shop – $10,000
  • Website: $600
  • Opening party: $3,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Snow Cone Business?
  • The size of the snow cone business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The type of facility
  • The type of related products retailed in the shop
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the snow cone business
  • The cost of furnishing the facility
  • The cost of insurance policy covers
  • The cost for registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the snow cone business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

The truth is that it is not compulsory to build a new facility for your snow cone business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Snow Cone Business?
  • Supplies (inventory expenses)
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Shop Manager (Owner) – $45,000 Per Year
  • Accountant – $30,630,000 Per Year
  • Snow Cone Makers and Servers – $27,100 Per Year
  • Cleaners – $25,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Snow Cone Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Our Snow cone business is a standard snow cone production company that will be based in Beaverton, Oregon, and will cover a wide range of clients.

We operate both snow cone shops and trucks. When it comes to hygiene and proper packaging, we have put plans, processes, and structures in place that will ensure that we are always at the top of the game when it comes to that. We have been able to secure permits from all relevant departments in Beaverton, Oregon.

b. Products and Service
  • Different flavors of snow cones (shaved ice or ground-up ice desserts) such as cherry, grape, blue raspberry, strawberry, lemon-lime, banana, tiger’s blood, root beer, watermelon, and pina colada
  • Snacks
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to build a snow cone business that will meet the needs of all our customers in the regions/cities where we have our outlets and to sell franchises all across the United States of America and Canada.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to be among the top 3 snow cone production companies in the whole of the United States of America.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a snow cone business are to provide a retail outlet where patrons can go to buy different flavors of snow cones.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Shop Manager (Owner)
  • Accountant
  • Snow Cone Maker and Server
  • Cleaners

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
Strength:
  • Ideal location for a snow cone business
  • Highly experienced and qualified employees and management
  • Access to finance from business partners
  • Access to ingredients and supplies.
  • A reliable, clean, healthy, and efficient method of preparing snow cones.
Weakness:
  • Financial constraints may restrict the publicity and branding of the business
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established snow cone shops and snow cone production franchises in the city.
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced and qualified employees longer than we want during the teething stage of the business.
Opportunities:
  • A rise in the number of snow cone lovers within our market space
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
Threat:
  • The arrival of a new snow cone shop within our market space
  • Weather uncertainty
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could change its regulatory status and decide to regulate and enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses like ours.
b. How Do Snow Cone Shops Make Money?

Snow cones make money by selling the following products;

  • Different flavors of snow cones (shaved ice or ground-up ice desserts) such as cherry, grape, blue raspberry, strawberry, lemon-lime, banana, tiger’s blood, root beer, watermelon, and pina colada
  • Snacks
  • Franchise
c. Payment Options
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your snow cone business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to gyms, schools, and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your Snow cone business is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products.
  • Join local snow cone associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

Depending on the location and flavors, you can charge between $2-$5 for a snow cone.

b. How Much Profit Do Snow Cone Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average, within the industry, a small to medium-sized snow cone can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $120,000 in personal income for the shop owner.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the snow cone shop
  • The types of related products retailed in the shop
  • The location the snow cone is covering
  • The management style of the snow cone shop
  • The business approach of the snow cone shop
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the snow cone shop.
  • The number of years the snow cone business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Snow Cone business?

The profit margin of a snow cone business is not fixed. However, sales for a typical shaved ice or snow cone business will average around $100 to $2,000 a day but it all hinges on many factors including location, competition, length of your season, and business history.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a snow cone business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year: $150,000
  • Second Fiscal Year:  $240,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $360,000
  1. Set Up your Shop 

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Snow Cone?
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for the snow cone in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of snow cones, and shops that serves snow cone in the location in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a snow cone?
  • Edison, New Jersey
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • New York City, New York
  • Austin, Texas
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Denver, Colorado.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Snow Cone Shop?
  • Snowcone countertop machine
  • Ice blender
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard snow cone business, you should make plans to hire a competent shop manager (you can occupy this position), account clerk, snow cone maker, servers, and cleaners.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No snow cone business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party. The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the business, you will be able to inform people in your city that your snow cone shop is open for business.

a. What Makes a Snow Cone Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and shop facility to launch the business
  • Make sure your shop is stocked with different flavors of snow cones (give your customers options)
  • Throw an open house party to officially launch the business
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your snow cone business
  • Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your snow cone business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Snow Cone?
  • The shop is open for the day’s work
  • The serving areas, chairs, and tables are properly arranged
  • Walk-in customers are attended to
  • Deliveries of orders are made
  • Stocks are taken and reports are written and submitted to superior officers
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Snow Cone Business?
  • Excellent customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in a restaurant or bar environment
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in making snow cones and also handling different types of snow cone-making equipment.