Ice cream is a popular commodity, and one with a significant mark-up. If you’re looking to start an ice cream business, there are a number of different avenues to take, such as going mobile with a van, or opening a fixed location at a beach or on the high-street. Having a solid business plan is essential as ice cream businesses can be heavily affected by seasonal demand.

Ice cream is a popular commodity, and one with a significant mark-up. If you’re looking to start an ice cream business, there are a number of different avenues to take, such as going mobile with a van, or opening a fixed location at a beach or on the high-street. Having a solid business plan is essential as ice cream businesses can be heavily affected by seasonal demand.

Why start an ice-cream business?

Ice cream is a very saleable commodity, especially during the summer months. The initial start-up costs are not as high as some other businesses and thus may attract first-time entrepreneurs or those not willing to risk large amounts of capital. Ice-cream businesses are also very scalable; you can expand to multiple vans or locations should you succeed. If you’re looking to start your entrepreneurial path and aren’t sure what company to start, consider an ice-cream business. If you can find the right location, and pair it with a solid business plan, you’ll get a great flavour of running a business and will hopefully enjoy profitability too.

Start from scratch or buy?

Selling ice-cream can often be a saturated market depending on the location. This is particularly true around town centres on hot days and near beaches/seaside locations. As such, there are often ice cream businesses for sale that you can purchase directly. This is advantageous because you’ll benefit from already owning equipment and goodwill, as well as existing relationships with suppliers.

There are disadvantages, however. The costs of purchasing an existing ice cream business will naturally be far higher than buying the equipment separately, and if there’s considerable brand loyalty it may be difficult for you to put your individual stamp on the business, or evolve your product range to include more specialised items.

The decision to buy or start from scratch will depend on a range of factors, including start-up capital, location and how long you’re prepared to wait before you start trading.

Mobile or shop?

This is a decision you’ll need to make during market research, which is essential before starting an ice-cream business as you’ll need to make sure there is a large enough potential customer base so you can sell ice-cream in quantity. Both models have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to research both ideas fully before committing: there may be a factor that swings the balance. For example, the price of petrol may bump up the cost of running a mobile ice cream business considerably. If the price continues to rise, could you afford to cover the miles you need to cover?