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Home  /  Customer Care  /  Frequently Asked Questions  /  Business Information FAQ

Business Information FAQ


Business Information FAQ

Do you have a "how to" manual? How can I get a copy?

What is the difference between shaved ice and snow cones?

Do I need a franchise?

Do you have complete business packages available?

How long is the average shaved ice or snow cone season?

Do you sell shaved ice or snow cone buildings, carts or concession trailers?

Can I get a profit/loss analysis for a typical shaved ice business?

How can I get more information on the costs of goods sold (COGS) in a typical shaved ice or snow cone business?

What does a cup of shaved ice or a snow cone sell for?

Do you have any suggestions for advertising?

What are the state and local requirements in my area?

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Business Information FAQ

 


 

Do you have a "how to" manual? How can I get a copy?

 

Sign up for our email list and we will send you a link to our business manual entitled "Cold Cash, An Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Shaved Ice, Snow Ball, and Snow Cone Business." From the link, you may download and print our complete manual, FREE of charge. Our manual is filled with time tested tips of the trade that include how to make your own block ice, how to make your syrups, and how to turn a profit with your own shaved ice or snow cone business. Business tips, specialty recipes, and local regulations are also discussed.

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What is the difference between shaved ice and snow cones?

People ask us all the time, “What is the difference between shaved ice, sno balls, or snow cones?” We tell them it depends on the texture of the ice and on where you live.

The most common name for a cup of finely shaved ice is called, just that, shaved ice. Throughout the United States, you may also see shaved ice sold as “Hawaiian Shaved Ice”, the most popular name used. In New Orleans, a cup of shaved ice is called a snoball or sometimes spelled snowball. In eastern North Carolina, some people call a cup of shaved ice, a shaver. Again, what you will call shaved ice will depend on where you live.

No matter what you call a cup of shaved ice, people will usually agree on two things. First of all, shaved ice consists of smooth, fine ice that holds syrup. Second, snow cones are not the same as shaved ice. Usually, snow cones are made from hard crunchy ice that when snow cone syrup is added to the ice, the syrup goes straight to the bottom.

Please review the following page for more information that will help distinguish the difference between shaved ice and snow cones.

Shaved Ice

Snow Cone

  • Shaved ice is made with fine, fresh snow that is shaved with either a cubed shaved ice shaver or a block shaved ice shaver.  Ice is never crunchy.
  • Often served in various sizes in foam, paper or squat cups.  The shaved ice often rounded on top of the cup. Often served with a spoonstraw and a spoon.
  • Often called Hawaiian Shaved Ice throughout the United States , Sno-Balls ( New Orleans ), Shave Ice ( Hawaii ), Shaver ( North Carolina ) or Hawaiian Shaved Ice (most common)
  • Usually offered with a variety of flavors numbering from 20 to more than 70
  • Usually sold at dedicated roadside shaved ice stands, mobile carts, trailers or vehicles, carnivals, county fairs, or other festivals.
  • The smooth product is great for repeat business.
  • Easy and quick to produce but takes a bit more time than snow cones.
  • Ice is shaved as ordered.  Cannot be shaved in advance.
  • Often topped with a variety of shaved ice toppings or cream flavors.
  • Prices vary depending on the size of the cup and can range from $0.75 to $5.00 depending on the size.
  • Snow Cones are made from snow cone machines that crushes ice cubes (bag ice) into small pellets.  Snow cones are never made with block ice machines.
  • Ice is crunchy.
  • When flavor is added to ice, the flavor often runs to the bottom of the cup.
  • Often served in one or two sizes.  The most common is a 6 ounce cone type cup.  The ice is often rounded on top of the cone.  Usually served without a spoon.
  • Ice is crushed ahead of time and dipped with a specially made nylon snow cone dipper.
  • Usually sold at carnivals, county fairs, festivals or concession stands
  • Easy and quick to make.
  • Usually offered with a limited number of flavors, between 2 to 5.
  • Prices range from $1.00 to $3.00, depending on the container used.

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Do I need a franchise?

 

A franchise is not needed in order to operate a shaved ice or snow cone business. We feel that almost anyone, if they work hard enough, can have a successful shaved ice or snow cone business without franchising. Our company does not sell franchises nor do we require contractual agreements to be signed by our customers. You can buy directly from us and sell under any name that you choose, even Hawaiian Shaved Ice, the most common name used.


By owning your business independently, you will have better control over your prices, your product line and business management. Often franchisers will only let you sell certain products or require your location or business to meet certain requirements. You may have to pay yearly franchise fees or even a portion of your sales to the franchiser for the right to operate under their brand name. In addition, we have found that many of the franchise companies require you buy almost all of your supplies through from them at inflated prices. In then end, most franchisers profit double from your business.

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Do you have complete business packages available?

 

Please visit our complete business packages page for additional information.

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How long is the average shaved ice or snow cone season?

 

Because shaved ice tends to sell better in warmer climates, the shaved ice season for each part of the United States will be different.


Shaved ice businesses along the southern part of the United States will generally be open from March to October. The mild winters and warm summers make states like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona great for lengthy shaved ice seasons. In fact, in some places, shaved ice businesses stay open year round because of mild winters.


In the mid to upper part of the United States, shaved ice businesses generally open between April to October. The farther north you go, the shorter the season. But with almost any rule, there are exceptions. After a little experience in the business, you will have a better understanding of your area.


There will be a couple of things that you will need to keep in mind to help you deciding on the length of your shaved ice or snow cone season. First of all, take a look to see when the other shaved ice businesses, if any, in your area open? We suggest to opening around the same time, if not sooner than your competition. We have found that after a long winter’s break, customers from previous seasons are always eager to celebrate the new season with their first shaved ice purchase. The first three to four weeks of our season tends to always be the busiest because of this reason.


In early spring, some businesses may begin to open only on weekends. After a few weeks, or until warmer weather sets in, these shaved ice or snow cone businesses often begin to open daily. This again will be up to you and your geographic area.

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Do you sell shaved ice or snow cone buildings, carts or concession trailers?

 

We sell a complete line of shaved ice and snow cone concession trailers as well as a complete line of shaved ice and snow cone carts. Our most popular cart is our Shaved Ice Deluxe Cart.

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Can I get a profit/loss analysis for a typical shaved ice business?

 

Sales for a typical shaved ice or snow cone business will average around $100 to $600 a day. Of course, your sales will vary depending on a number of factors some being your location, your competition, the time your have been in business, and the length of your season. Below you will find an example of a profit and loss analysis for a typical shaved ice business. Please remember that this information is only provided as an example for those interested in opening their own shaved ice businesses. 1-800-Shaved-Ice.com, and it’s parent company Mary Mack’s, Inc., do not guarantee the performance of any shaved ice or snow cone business based on these figures.

Profit – Loss Analysis for a Shaved Ice Business

Daily Sales

COGS 18%

Overhead

Labor

Daily Profit

Monthly Profit

$100.00

$18.00

$20.00

$45.00

$17.00

$510.00

$150.00

$27.00

$22.00

$45.00

$56.00

$1,680.00

$200.00

$36.00

$24.00

$45.00

$95.00

$2,850.00

$250.00

$45.00

$26.00

$55.00

$124.00

$3,720.00

$300.00

$54.00

$28.00

$65.00

$153.00

$4,590.00

$350.00

$63.00

$30.00

$75.00

$182.00

$5,460.00

$400.00

$72.00

$32.00

$85.00

$211.00

$6,330.00

$450.00

$81.00

$34.00

$95.00

$240.00

$7,200.00

$500.00

$90.00

$36.00

$105.00

$270.00

$8,100.00

$550.00

$99.00

$38.00

$115.00

$298.00

$8,940.00

$600.00

$108.00

$40.00

$125.00

$327.00

$9,810.00

$650.00

$117.00

$42.00

$135.00

$356.00

$10,680.00

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How can I get more information on the costs of goods sold (COGS) for a typical shaved ice or snow cone business?

 

Product costs or cost of goods sold (COGS) will vary slightly from area to area. Several factors that could affect your COGS will be your ice supplier and your location. Some of your basic supplies and estimated costs are listed below. 

Supplies

Estimated Cost

Bag Ice 7 lb bag

$1.00

Block Ice  12-15 lb

$1.00 - $1.25

Sugar     5 lb

$1.80 - $2.00

Flavor Concentrate

Quart     $15.95     Gallon     $39.95

Ready-to-Use Syrup Quart     $6.25       Gallon     $13.97

Citric Acid

Gallon     $11.00

Sodium Benzoate

Gallon     $7.00

8  ounce cups (per 1000)

Paper    $34.00      Foam    $16.75

12 ounce cups printed (per 1000)

Paper    $38.00      Foam    $32.00

16 ounce cups printed (per 1000)

Paper    $60.00      Foam   $46.00

20 ounce cups printed (per 1000)

Paper    $74.00      Foam    $56.98

Spoons (per 1000)

$10.00

Spoon Straws (case of 10000)

$130.00

Napkins (case of 10000)

$37.00

Snow Cone Cups (sleeve of 200) $8.00

Take Out Trays (300)

$40.00

 

Sugar can be purchased from your local grocery store or warehouse club. Often times prices on sugar between your local grocery store and a warehouse club will not be that big of a difference, especially if you do not have a warehouse club in your area. 

Flavor concentrates and preservatives are bought directly from us. We offer over 60 mouth-watering flavors for shaved ice and snow cones. Generally for successful shaved ice or snow cone businesses, flavor concentrates are the best way to go. Your price per gallon is much cheaper and the shipping costs for concentrates are a fraction of what it cost to ship ready-to-use syrups. However, for smaller businesses or for less popular flavors, ready-to-use syrups are a great alternative.

Costs Analysis for a Gallon of Flavored Syrup

                        5 lbs of Sugar                     1.80  

                        Concentrate (4 ounces)       1.25 based on $39.95 a gallon

                        Preservatives                    .16 based on gallons of preservatives

                                                 Total $3.31/gallon or $0.80/quart or 2.6 cent/ounce

Cost (COGS) Breakdown for Shaved Ice

Supplies

8 ounce cup

12 ounce cup

16 ounce cup

20 ounce cup

Shaved Ice

.05

.07

.09

.11

Flavored Syrup

.08

.10

.14

.17

Cup – Plain Styro

.02

.02

.02

.03

Spoon

.01

.01

.01

.01

Spoonstraw

.01

.01

.01

.01

Napkin

.01

.01

.01

.01

Total Cost

.18

.22

.28

.34

 

Cost (COGS) Breakdown for Snow Cones

Supplies

6 ounce cone

Ice

.03

Flavored Syrup

.05

Snow Cone Cup

.03

Napkin

.01

Total Cost

.12

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What does a cup of shaved ice or a snow cone sell for?

The prices of your shaved ice or snow cones will vary depending on your location. If you have competition in your area, we suggest keeping your prices close to your competition. If you are the only shaved ice business around, you will most likely be able to charge a little more for your products.




The price at our shaved ice businesses ranged in the above average category. We had the only shaved ice business in town and had a fine reputation of serving a quality product. If you attend special events, like festival and carnivals, or are located in high traffic, tourist areas, your prices should be adjusted accordingly. 12 ounce cups of shaved ice can easily sell for $2.00 to $3.00 each in high traffic areas. We have heard prices reach as high as $5.00 for a 16 ounce cup. Now that is a great profit!




Below is a breakdown of suggested retail prices for your shaved ice and snow cones.

Cup Size

Competitive Areas

Average Price

Above Average

Special Events or High Traffic

Shaved Ice - 8  oz

.75

1.00

1.25

----------------

Shaved Ice - 12 oz

1.25

1.50

1.75

2.00 - 3.00

Shaved Ice - 16 oz   

1.75

2.00

2.25

3.00 - 5.00

Shaved Ice - 20 oz

2.25

2.50

2.75

3.00 - 5.00

Snow Cones -  6 oz

1.00

1.50

2.00

1.50 - 2.50

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Do you have any suggestions for advertising?

 

Visit our advertising page for additional information.

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What are the state and local requirements in my area?

 

Health Code Requirements

As with any food establishment, the handling and storage of food should be done with the utmost care. This not only will help meet you local health requirements, but will help in developing a fine reputation with your customers.


Every state has different requirements for shaved ice businesses. Some states do not inspect or regulate shaved ice businesses at all. Other states require quarterly inspections. In some states you must have running hot water and a sewage drain. Other states have no requirement for running water.


It is extremely important that before you spend a great deal of money on your business, you meet with your state’s health department or officials. This may be an inspector at your local county office. If you are unsure whom to contact, try looking in your local phone book under Department of Health. You may try visiting a local restaurant and ask the manager what government agency or department or official regulates and inspects their establishment.


State and Local Agencies 

Before you spend your first dollar towards your new business, it will be important for you to check with your state and local regulatory agencies to determine what requirements your business should to meet. Each area of the country is different so the more research you do the better of you will be in the long run.


Local Jurisdiction
If you wish to establish your business in your local city or town, you will most likely need to have approval from your town board or zoning administrator. Each city’s requirements are different. There may be local business licenses or zoning requirements that you may have to consider before opening your business. If you locate your business outside of local jurisdiction, there may be requirements of your county that you may need to know.


Building Inspectors
If you plan to have electricity or water at your location you will most likely have to meeting with your local building inspectors to determine what permits that you may need. Your local city or county officials may be able to point you in the right direction or look in your local white pages.


Internal Revenue Service and State Tax Department
As the saying goes, there are two things that are inevitable, death and taxes. In addition to filing your tax return yearly, you will need to obtain an employer identification number in order to withhold and report payroll taxes if you plan to hire employees. Check with your local accountant or tax preparer for requirements of the IRS.


State Government
Almost all states require that sales tax be collected for each sale of an item. Depending on your state and local government, these taxes may range from 2 to 9 % of the sale. Call your state’s Department of Revenue for requirements that are specific for your state or local area. There may be a local state tax office in your area.


In addition, ask your state’s Department of Revenue how you can qualify for tax exempt purchases for items that you plan on reselling (sugar, cups, ice, flavor etc.) Most like you will be assigned a tax-exempt number that you can use to purchase tax free items.

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    1-800-Shaved-Ice

    321 Goldsboro Street

    Newton Grove, NC 28366

     

    Toll Free 1-800-742-8334

    Direct 910-247-4152

    Fax: (770) 234-6333

    email CustomerCare@1-800-Shaved-Ice.com 

     

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