Making extra cash on the facet usually requires discovering methods to create leverage.
Leverage means getting paid a number of occasions for work you solely need to do as soon as, and earning money with out having to actively do the work your self.
One facet hustler who has cracked the code on leveraged income is Steve Slagle. By day, Steve works development jobs. However outdoors of his 9 to five, he now earns over $2500 a month from Beachside Ice, his ice merchandising machine enterprise.
On this episode, Steve takes us via the world of merchandising machine location negotiations, landowner compensation, and the significance of sustaining optimistic relations. We discover the finer particulars of partnering with producers, securing permits, and overseeing set up and supply.
Tune into Episode 579 of The Aspect Hustle Present to study:
- Perfect areas for regular demand with ice merchandising machines
- Financing choices for beginning an ice merchandising operation
- Native buyer promotion with grassroots advertising and marketing
- Maximizing income via upkeep methods
- Scaling ice merchandising for semi-passive revenue
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Discovering the Thought
The unique idea for Steve’s ice merchandising enterprise got here when he realized that ice is a product with inherent, fixed demand. “We see the demand there may be fixed. It’s not going anyplace,” he explains.
Whereas baggage of ice can simply be bought at fuel stations, grocery shops, huge field retailers, and many others., Steve observed that profit margins are extraordinarily skinny for conventional ice distributors and suppliers. As middlemen, conventional ice corporations make simply pennies per bag bought.
This led Steve to comprehend there might be a serious alternative to chop out the middleman suppliers and declare a lot larger revenue margins for himself by putting in automated ice merchandising machines.
This automated strategy meant minimal effort was required for top income as soon as the machines had been up and operating.
Validating the Enterprise Thought
Earlier than investing in tools, Steve validated the idea by surveying the aggressive panorama. He took journeys to go to current ice merchandising machines in his space to evaluate buyer demand and pay attention to any flaws within the person expertise.
What Steve discovered is that almost all machines weren’t situated in prime spots with excessive site visitors movement. Prospects nonetheless needed to exit of their method to entry them.
He additionally observed an absence of branding and call data on the machines. If one thing went unsuitable throughout a transaction, prospects had been left annoyed with no recourse.
Steve noticed these points as an opportunity to enhance on the present mannequin.
He would place machines instantly within the path of consumers the place ice was wished most, and he would offer an distinctive buyer expertise if any issues arose.
“We do put our cellphone quantity on each certainly one of them and we’ll get calls from some people that’ll say, ‘I put my cash in and nothing occurred.’ And 99% of the time, it’s simply us form of giving them a short instruction of use the machine.”
Startup Prices and Financing
Probably the most vital startup costs that Steve encountered had been for the ice merchandising machines themselves. High-of-the-line absolutely automated ice merchandising machines vary from $50,000 on the low and as much as $60,000 or extra on the excessive finish.
As a way to finance this main tools funding, Steve completely explored numerous choices together with small enterprise loans, loans from banks or credit score unions, and financing instantly via the ice machine producers.
With aggressive business financing lined up, Steve confidently moved ahead and ordered two model new Everest ice merchandising machines totaling over $100,000 in upfront prices.
This was a serious monetary dedication, particularly since he didn’t but have secured areas to put in the machines.
However the looming supply deadline lit a fireplace beneath Steve to start out hustling to safe properties for his soon-to-arrive investments. As he explains this sense:
“I like that somewhat little bit of a nudge by having the strain and having that deadline figuring out a substantial funding was getting delivered,” he shared.
Figuring out the Greatest Places
Arising with the optimum location technique was a particularly crucial part to Steve’s future success within the ice merchandising enterprise.
He began by brainstorming the place folks usually purchase ice after they want it. Gasoline stations, comfort shops, and comparable quick-stop outlets had been the primary choices that got here to thoughts.
However Steve knew he wanted to pursue a wiser “vacation spot ice” placement technique. Relatively than simply handy pit stops, he would goal areas the place folks naturally congregated for recreation, occasions, and through holidays. This included:
- Marinas the place folks wanted ice for boating and fishing
- Public parks and beaches the place households gathered within the solar
- Out of doors occasion venues and stadiums internet hosting crowds
- Hospitality spots like resorts and condominium complexes for vacationers
For his first two areas, Steve determined to cold-call condominium complexes in his native seashore city space. He pitched the managers on having a 24/7 self-serve ice merchandising machine completely for his or her visitors and guests.
The property managers cherished this concept of a handy new amenity for guests that required zero effort from workers. It was a complete value-add for visitors.
Steve negotiated a month-to-month flat charge round $200 – $300 per machine as a substitute of a share of gross sales. This averted the effort of amassing and accounting for gross sales information.
The condominium websites shortly proved to be unbelievable performers, validating Steve’s “vacation spot ice” placement technique.
“A number of the first issues that come to thoughts are marinas, parks, any kind of out of doors recreation areas. And the extra we thought of it, the extra we began to form of craft what we name vacation spot ice.”
Spreading the Phrase with Grassroots Advertising Techniques
Whereas location performs a serious position, Steve couldn’t depend on foot site visitors alone. He nonetheless wanted to unfold the phrase so prospects knew about his new ice merchandising choices.
To advertise the brand new ice merchandising machines to close by prospects, Steve employed a number of easy grassroots advertising and marketing ways:
- Posting flyers in surrounding companies to lift consciousness
- Putting vibrant branded indicators and banners close to the precise machines
- Creating social media pages
- Optimizing Google My Business listings to drive local SEO
Populating his ice merchandising areas on Google My Business proved to be a really highly effective free advertising and marketing channel. Now when customers search “ice close to me”, Steve’s ice machines seem proper on the map making them extraordinarily simple to search out. As Steve explains:
“The good half now could be you get on there and also you Google ‘ice close to me.’ It tells you get there. And that’s a free service. We don’t pay for promoting on Google.”
This natural search visibility permits Steve to draw prospects who’re already on the lookout for ice within the space.
Sustaining the Enterprise
Along with his machines up and operating in prime spots, Steve developed a simple repeatable course of for ongoing upkeep.
He visits every ice merchandising machine personally just a few occasions per week to deal with essential upkeep duties.
This hands-on work takes Steve about 10 minutes per location to verify provides, acquire money, clear the machines, and cope with any technical points or restocking that’s wanted.
To maximise flexibility and uptime, Steve can even remotely monitor and handle the machines from his smartphone at any time when wanted. This performance permits him to journey and take time without work with out fixed hands-on oversight of the enterprise.
After the demanding upfront work of securing optimum areas and fine-tuning operations, nearly all of revenue from the ice merchandising enterprise is now virtually totally passive. The machines reliably churn out income with minimal ongoing effort.
In simply the primary yr and a half after launching his ice merchandising facet hustle, Steve has seen outstanding progress and outcomes:
- His first two machines absolutely paid for themselves throughout the first 12 months
- He’s quickly scaled as much as working 4 constantly worthwhile machines
- Gross sales spike over $1000+ per machine round main holidays when demand surges
- He nets a stable $2500+ per thirty days in passive hands-off revenue
And the enterprise continues to speed up and compound its progress.
As phrase has unfold, new areas now proactively attain out to Steve inquiring about having a machine put in on their properties. Steve has shifted from chilly calling to warmly receiving inbound requests.
Errors or Surprises Alongside the Manner
When working a enterprise with bodily property like merchandising machines, vandalism is an unlucky threat. Steve has been lucky thus far to not cope with any main vandalism or theft points.
He attributes this to a couple key elements:
- The machines are pretty robustly constructed. They’re designed to maintain sincere folks sincere.
- All of their areas have safety cameras, both pointed on the machine or within the space.
Whereas the machines can face up to some effort to interrupt in, safety cameras assist deter crime and catch any dangerous actors. For extra safety, newer machines even have cashless fee choices to take away the lure of housebreaking for money.
General, via good placement and safety measures, Steve has averted main surprises or crimes in opposition to his ice merchandising property.
Rising the Enterprise
Given the demand, Steve plans to proceed steadily increasing his ice merchandising operations.
He’s at the moment putting machines at complementary venues like RV parks, campgrounds, development websites, and current companies with homeowners sad with their present ice suppliers.
Long run, Steve hopes to scale up the ice merchandising facet hustle right into a full-time endeavor and decrease the time spent on conventional development work.
The leverage and automation potential of the machines makes ice merchandising a a lot smoother path to income in comparison with bodily contract work.
Steve can also be exploring alternatives to develop into providing extra machine merchandising companies past simply ice. He sees including in common choices like chilly drinks, snacks, and meals as a pure subsequent step as soon as the ice machines are operating easily.
The keys to replicating Steve’s success with an automatic facet hustle like ice merchandising embody:
- Search out high-traffic areas the place demand is concentrated
- Get your corporation seen on-line by way of Google My Enterprise
- Present wonderful customer support
- Build relationships with location hosts and companions
- Search for methods to systematize operations for passive income
By placing in sweat fairness upfront discovering areas and optimizing processes, over time you’ll be able to step again and let machines do the work.
The result’s the dream mixture of high-profit margins and minimal effort required to function the enterprise day-to-day.
For these occupied with exploring the same ice merchandising enterprise, Steve’s expertise proves it may be a profitable semi-passive revenue stream when executed strategically. His Beachside Ice enterprise presents a mannequin for tapping into shopper demand for handy ice entry.
Steve’s #1 Tip for Aspect Hustle Nation
“Maintain your phrase.”