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Snow Cones & Shaved Ice: Tips For Helping Your Teen Start A Small Business

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Starting a small business is an excellent lesson to help teens prepare for success as adults. A popular small business idea that lends itself well in both urban and rural areas is a snow cone or shaved ice business. If you would like to help your teen become an entrepreneur this summer by making and selling this popular treat, the following tips are sure to be helpful. 

Get the documentation 

In most incorporated cities and towns, it is necessary to obtain a city and state sales license and a permit from the health department, at a minimum. In some areas, you may also need a permit from the tax office, proof of inspection for fire safety, and other documentation. To determine what you will need, contact your local health department, codes enforcement officer, or local or state tax office for assistance. 

Consider a portable shop

Since a successful shaved ice or snow cone business requires very little space, it can be very cost effective to buy or make a portable shop that can be moved easily. Doing this is preferable for two reasons. One, it prevents you from having to make a large investment to purchase or lease a suitable location for your business, and two, it allows you to easily change locations, should you need to seek a new one. 

Obtain basic equipment

The basic equipment needed to open and operate a snow cone or shaved ice business includes: 

  • a freezer for storing the ice
  • an ice crusher for snow cones and/or a shaver for shaved ice
  • a counter and shelving to hold supplies and ingredients
  • a calculator and money drawer or cash register

If you plan to make your own ice, instead of buying it from a commercial vendor, an ice maker will also be needed. A refrigerator is not necessary unless you will be using toppings or supplies that require refrigeration. 

Purchase products and supplies

The last step in helping your teen create a business selling shaved ice or snow cones this summer is to purchase a supply of ice blocks and select and purchase the shaved ice and snow cone flavor concentrates you will need. Since you will want to appeal to a variety of customers in all age groups, you will want to stock the most popular flavors. 

Your shaved ice and snow cone flavor concentrates supplier will be able to offer you information to help you choose the best flavors, as well as offer you additional information about operating this type of successful summer business.