Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is special about the ice from an Ice House?
The ice is made from filtered, dechlorinated, softened water.  It is frozen in layers using falling water.  It is then chipped into pieces that fit just right into your cooler, cup, glass, or straight into your mouth. The process is completely automated from when the water enters the system to the ice delivery.  The entire system is enclosed from the environment and no human hands touch the ice during this process.  This gives you an ice that is clean, clear, chewable and tastes great.

 

Where are ice vending machine generally located? 

  • Hotels.

  • Apartment complexes.

  • Retail centers.

  • Business centers.

  • Restaurants.

  • C-stores.

  • Fairgrounds.

  • Public and commercial marinas.

  • Campgrounds.

  • Other recreational attractions.

 

How can someone become an Ice House owner?

Contact Texas Ice Express for information to see if you are qualified and eligible for a location of your choosing. 

What steps are involved with getting an Ice House operational?

  • Purchase one or more Ice Houses.

  • Purchase or lease a small plot of land (or part of a busy parking lot).

  • Apply for city building permits.

  • Arrange for electricity, water, and a phone line.

  • Average cost for 1 house with a typical installation and typical options is approximately $115,000.  

 

How is the ice purchased?
From the front customer panel, a person simply inserts the purchase amount in any combination of bills, quarters, nickels, or dimes just like other vending machines they commonly use.  The customer then presses one of two buttons to select either a 16 pound bag or, for the same price, 20 pounds of bulk ice dropped directly into their cooler.  If a 16 pound bag is chosen, the bag full of ice slides out immediately to the left of the customer panel less than 10 seconds after pressing the button.  If they choose 20 pounds of bulk ice, the customer simply pulls the chute handle on the far left to dump ice delivered to the bulk chute.

Why is the ice less expensive than that sold in coolers at grocery stores and convenience stores?
There is no middleman.  The Ice House manufactures and vends the ice in a completely automated fashion.  There are no transportation costs and no labor costs from workers handling the bags.

Can reverse osmosis purified water vending be added to a machine?
Yes, purified water is in high demand and many Ice Houses are equipped with Reverse Osmosis water dispensing systems. A customer can bring a clean 1 gallon, or 5 gallon container to the Ice House to purchase purified water.

Is the ice and water purchased from an Ice House safe?
The water comes from a certified source.  It is further treated through filtration systems to meet a high standard.  Those Ice Houses with water vending, sell the water after it has been run through an ultra-violet system to kill possible microbes that might remain in the water.  The ice itself, or even the filled bag, is never touched by human hands until the customer picks it up.
All components touching the ice are made from food grade stainless steel.  The entire system is maintained, cleaned, and inspected at regular intervals to assure safe, clean production.  The systems are inspected by the Texas Department of Health, as well as local governing agencies. Ice and water safety should concern consumers.  Dangerous pathogens can be found in water that is not properly treated.  Many pathogens can still be present in ice when it is not properly manufactured and handled.  Ice Houses reduce these hazards through regular cleaning, inspections, maintenance, and especially through the reduction of human contact.  

Who operates the Ice House?
Independent owners trained in their safe operation are completely responsible for each Ice House.  These independent business people from your community are personally active in the day to day operation.  They have made a significant investment in these facilities and their business is dependent upon providing a safe, desirable, excellent quality product 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.


Is financing available?

Owners usually obtain conventional bank financing or SBA guaranteed loans.  These loans typically are available for 80% financing to qualified applicants at most institutions offering commercial loan services.  Some owners form partnerships and eliminate the need for financing.

Does Ice House America have a warranty policy?
Yes, every Ice House comes with a 12 month warranty against defects in material and workmanship.  Some individual parts have longer term guarantees.

Once the Ice House is installed, what else must be done before it can begin operation?
Texas Ice Express handles the initial startup and our experienced personnel provide thorough training and skilled technical assistance.

 

Do I need any employees to run my ice vending business?
Not usually.  The Ice House produces and delivers ice without human hands ever touching it.  It is completely automated.  General maintenance and upkeep are simply accomplished with a few hours of time each week.  In addition, many owners derive tremendous pleasure from picking up money from their Ice Houses.  However, owners of multiple units may hire personnel to perform daily operations on a route for their machines.

FAQ - Twice the Ice - ice vending and water vending