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Step By Step Guide On How To Start A Successful Ice Block Business In Nigeria

Step By Step Guide On How To Start A Successful Ice Block Business In Nigeria
In this article, we'd be going through all you need to know about starting a successful ice block business in Nigeria.
As we all know, Nigeria is located in one of the hottest regions in the world, yet most states can't boast of a stable electricity supply. So many businesses like beverages and pure water selling businesses can't sell well without being chilled, especially in the hot hours of the day.
Most of the major cities experience very hot weathers in the afternoon, coupled with the heavy traffic that can keep you on the road for hours, hence the regular thirst for chilled drinks and beverages.

Why Ice Block Business?

As with every wise entrepreneur, it's very important you explore the profit potentials of the ice block business before venturing into it. It'd help you determine whether it's really the best for you, putting factors like your locality and capital into consideration.
Below are some reasons why ice block production business is lucrative in Nigeria:

• Unstable power supply

If you're a Nigerian (or resident in Nigeria) you should be in a better position to describe the epileptic state of the Nigerian electricity supply. In many areas like my village (Orlu, Imo State), they only remember to bring the light when they want to collect the electricity bills at the end of the month.
Some areas like Owerri where I reside however get good light, we enjoy up to 16 hours electricity everyday, and it's really commendable.
So starting an ice block production business in Orlu will be more profitable that Owerri where most households are living fine, with good supply of electricity.

• Convenience

This is another reason behind the booming of the ice block business in Nigeria. One fact is that most households in Nigerian own at least one refrigerator/cooler and can afford to cool their drinks.
But are refrigerators mobile? Hell no...hence the need to buy ice blocks when the needs arise. Whether you sell pure waters, beverages or alcoholic drinks, your customers would definitely be needing them chilled, and carrying the refrigerator around might not be the best option, especially when you can just buy ice blocks from a nearby vendor.

• They're also fast

Another reason most vendors prefer ice blocks to the refrigerators and coolers is that they're faster and more efficient at cooling stuff when compared.
When comparing them to the fridge (which is too slow) and coolers (which might be limited by size), you'd notice that the ice blocks provide more flexible cooling in any location.

• What about the parties?

Who likes taking hot drinks in a party? Not Stanford, and I guess not you either. Most outdoor events' organizers prefer going for ice blocks than the refrigerator and freezers because of its convenience.
Whether soft drinks, alcohols or even water, you need to serve them chilled to your guests especially in a hot region like Nigeria.

How to start an ice block production business?

In this section, we'd be going through the steps on how you can start a successful ice block business in Nigeria. We'd be exploring the things you need to get started, your target customers, the two types of ice classification and more.

Tips for getting started with the ice block production business:

Like every other business, there are certain things you need to know about the ice block production in Nigeria if you'd want to go far in it. They'd help you in determining if it's really worth staring, beating your competitors and off course, making good profit, which is the major goal of every entrepreneur.

• Capital

You'd be needing a good location, generator, freezers, ice block making machines and a good water supply. Your capital will be determined by the quantity of ice blocks you intend producing in a day.
As a beginner, you can start with 50 blocks ice making machine and increase as your business grows and demand increases.
For more tips on raising capitals, kindly check out these 7 easiest ways to raise capital for your business as a startup.

• Who should you target?

To make good profit from the ice block production business, you need to site your business in a good location. Your business should be located in an area with a high population density that also experience a lot of physical and business activities.
Other good targets for your business include busy roads/streets and areas with  high pedestrian traffic like schools, markets and industrial/residential estates.

• Target habitual customers

Whether you call him a habitual or a recurring customer, they'd still the same in ice block business. They're those people that require ice blocks on a regular basis for their personal, household or business needs.
Some good examples are event planners petty traders/vendors and hotel owners. Do anything possible to retain them, even if it'd mean giving them discounts.

• It may be seasonal too

While considering the profit potentials of the ice block business in Nigeria, also put into considerations the fact that it might be affected by seasons. For example, during the rainy seasons, most people don't go for cold drinks because of the already cold weathers.
As a result of this, you might notice a reduction in the demand for ice blocks from even your regular customers. In this case, you might consider reducing the quantity of ice blocks produced during this period.

• Take care of your machines

As you should already know, the major components of your business include your ice block making machines and your power generator. Always endevour that they're in order always, and you stick to a regular maintenance schedule.
If for any reason your machines develop faults and stop working, you might be disappointing your customers. Always remember that many of them will be needing the ice blocks for their own businesses and might be forced to source for alternative suppliers.
You can prevent these undesirable outcomes by carrying our regular maintenance checks. In addition, having a technician on hand and spare machines might go a long way towards helping your business.

• What about competition?

As we all know, starting an ice block business doesn't require any certificates (off course, no business does) or any technical skills. Any one that can afford the machines can rent a shop, buy some containers, fill them with water and start looking for ow to get customers.
As a result of this, you should always be ready to beat your competitors with good management skills. Competitions you might be facing in the future shouldn't discourage you, rather it should help you in building smarter business running skills.
The two factors that will draw people to your business are; 
1) Pricing: How affordable are your products when compared to your competitor's own? This time around, we might not be talking about the quality of your products, you know? So try setting your prices in a way that it'll be favorable to both you and your customers. 
2) Convenience: How accessible is your business to your customers? This is also another factor you should put into consideration while siting the business. As I earlier said, you should try getting a shop in a busy area, a place your customers won't have issues reaching.

Basic things that you need to get started with the ice block production business in Nigeria:

1) Water

Water is the most important raw material in the block production business. As you should already know, the ice blocks will be made by subjecting ordinary water to a low temperature.
You'd be needing a regular water supply for your business. If you have enough funds, you can consider drilling a bore hole in a permanent location. Alternatively, you can buy a large water storage tank that you'd be refilling whenever it finishes.
Ensure you maintain the highest standards of hygiene since the ice blocks might be coming in contact with edibles like drinks and foods.

2) Ice block making machines

As the name implies, the ice block making machines are used in producing the ice blocks. They're more like deep freezers but with a higher cooling/freezing capacity.
You can see them in different forms, some come in rectangular moulds/containers that you pour the water into in order to produce ice blocks. The liquid water will take the shape of these containers when they block.
Depending on your budget, you can opt for the local or foreign ice block making machines. Some factors you should put into consideration when buying the ice block production machines are:
  - Freezing time: This is the amount of time it takes for the water to freeze when put into the machines. Some machines take longer times to produce ice faster than others.
  - Capacity: Another factor you should put into consideration is the number of blocks a machine can produce. It varies, some can produce as much as 100 blocks while others produce 20 at a time.
doesn't only affect the time taken to produce the blocks, but can also determine the quality (hardness) of ice produced.
  - After sales support: You should also consider the possibilities of getting supports from the sellers/manufacturers if the need arises in the future. A good seller will provide (or show you how to get) repairs or maintenance if the machines gets faulty. 

3) Packaging

Most ice block producers package and sell them in transparent polythene nylon bags. The nylons are good for holding them in both the liquid and the solid states.
You can consider using branded nylons while packaging your ice blocks to put your brand's name in a 'faceless' competition. It can also land you contracts from bigger companies who'd be needing your services.

4) Generators

You'd also be needing an alternative power supply since you'd be running the business in Nigeria. If you'd buying a generator, endeavour to go for one that can carry all the equipment. A generator with a low capacity will regularly develop faults and might also damage your machines in the later run.

Types of Ice Classification

Before we round up, it'd also be important you know the two types of ice classifications. They include:
Anti freeze: This involves using chemicals to make the water (liquid) block faster than the regular time. Ice blocks formed this way are called moulds and are always in containers.
Dry Ice: This is the most commonly found ice blocks in Nigeria and are formed in nylons,. They come in different sizes, depending on the price.

What more?

As you can see, ice block production business is really lucrative. If you have enough capital, you can also consider having a delivery vehicle (ie a mini cooling van or delivery truck) to aid the prompt conveyance of your ice blocks to places within your local markets.
Before you leave, also check out our next article on how to make money selling pure water in Nigeria.
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