The US ice cream industry is already worth over $8 billion and is projected to grow 3.5% this year alone. So if you’ve always dreamed of owning an ice cream store, now is a great time to get into the business. If you’re ready to take the leap and open a shop, you may be wondering how much you can earn as an ice cream store owner. Here’s an estimate of how much your business can make and some tips to help you increase profitability.
What You Can Earn as an Ice Cream Store Owner
If you own just one ice cream store, you can expect to earn a modest but comfortable income. According to Money Under 30, ice cream store owners can make between $20,000 and $49,000 after expenses like labor and inventory. But if you run the store yourself to save on labor, you can take home more of the profits. You’ll also earn a higher salary if you live in a warm climate and keep your store open all year long.
If your first store is profitable, you may be able to grow your income by opening additional locations. Here are some other ways to increase profitability and earn more as an ice cream store owner.
How to Increase Profitability
Consider Opening a Truck or Stand
One of the highest costs of running an ice cream shop is leasing a storefront. To be profitable, you’ll need to choose a high-traffic area. But commercial rents in busy parts of town are usually expensive. Instead of forking over hundreds of dollars in rent every month, consider opening an ice cream truck or stand instead.
You can usually buy an ice cream truck or stand outright for $20,000 or less. You won’t have to pay rent or take out a loan to buy a storefront. And you’ll have the added benefit of being able to move your business around. If the first location you choose doesn’t get much foot traffic, you can easily relocate. Moving once you have an established brick-and-mortar storefront is harder.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
Ice cream stores that sell homemade, artisanal ice cream can charge a lot more than their competitors. You’ll also save money by making the ice cream yourself instead of buying it from a food supplier.
You may need to purchase extra equipment to be able to make ice cream in-house. But the investment will pay off in the long run because you’ll be able to charge more and turn a higher profit. You can save money by purchasing used equipment or leasing a storefront that already has the commercial appliances you need.
Sell Additional Products
Another way to increase your revenue is to upsell additional products to customers who visit your shop for ice cream. Stocking other items like bottled water, cupcakes, and pre-made sandwiches can help you increase your average order value and earn more revenue.
Think outside the box for new ways to expand your business. Some stores get into distribution and sell pints of their ice cream to local restaurants and grocery stores. If you’re in a touristy area, your customers may be interested in buying a shirt with your store’s name on it to remember their trip.
By looking for opportunities to expand your business in new directions, you can earn more as an ice cream store owner and support your family.
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.