How much does it really cost to start the Kona Ice franchise? (with fees) (2023)

Are you ready to start a franchise with great earning potential that will also help raise money for charity in your community? If this unique business opportunity sounds exciting to you, consider joining Kona Ice, Inc.

How much will it cost to invest in a Kona Ice franchise?You need $120,000 to $150,000 to open a Kona Ice unit. This is a much smaller investment than other grocery franchise opportunities where you may be looking at $1 million or more to get into the business. The main reason is that you are running a mobile truck and you don't have the monthly costs of a large commercial space. This single point reduces the acquisition costs significantly.Take our franchise test to find out if Kona Ice is the right choice for you.

Kona Ice was ranked #1 New Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and received the top honors in Franchise Satisfaction from two separate agencies (Franchise Business Review and Franchise Upgrade). The notoriety doesn't stop there: Kona Ice is ranked #1 in Entrepreneur Magazine's dessert franchise category and is on the fastest-growing list of the last five years. These awards reflect entrepreneurial satisfaction and financial growth, but is this opportunity the right investment for you?

See why Kona Ice has quickly grown to over 450 franchise locations in 43 states in 5 years and why you might want to invest in one of these locations too. As with all franchise opportunities, there are variable costs. But we've broken down some of the basic finances you'll have before starting a Kona Ice franchise and discussed the ins and outs of the business.

  • Financial Requirements and Fees
  • Average sales/income per year
  • Franchise Data
  • revenue
  • What to consider
  • Benefits of Kona Ice
  • Kona Ice Cream Challenges

Financial Requirements and Fees

Here's a basic overview of the key financial requirements for a Kona Ice Store. You'll find that upfront payments are much lower than many other competing franchises. Equity refers to the minimum amount you must have available to be considered. Net worth is the total value of all your assets combined, including investment property.

Fees/CostsRequired quantity
liquid capital30.000 $
net worth50.000 $
TRUCK89.650 $
Late Payment Fees$25 per day

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the costs and fees required to open the franchise. The Kona Ice does not have large training or storage costs, but there are vehicle and territory compliance fees. It should also be noted that the purchase of a Kona Ice Truck is non-refundable even if you decide not to start a business.

To judgelow cost costcutting costs
additional equipment600 $1.000 $
Truck Compliance Rate$ 04.000 $
Initial Franchise Fee15.000 $15.000 $
Territory Reservation Fee10.000 $10.000 $

The fees and costs of owning a Kona Ice unit may not be as high as other franchises, but it's important to remember that there are smaller, more subtle fees that can add up over time.

Here is a breakdown of the fees you may be charged when operating your Kona Ice truck:

initial inventory4.875 $
optional inventory500 $
marketing fee500 $
Your email address rate60 $
injury rate$250 for the first incident,$500 if violation is not cured within 30 days; $100 per day if violation is not corrected within 30 days
Bad Check Fee100 $
professional fees and expensesVaries depending on circumstances.
transfer rate5.000 $
Truck repairs and upgrades$ 0 - $ 15.000
Mystery Shopper Fee50 $

Average sales/income per year

On average, Kona Ice franchises bring in $94,868 per year. Of course, this depends on your business experience and your commitment to marketing your brand.

Also remember that your sales will vary depending on the season. Parfaits are a popular spring and summer staple, but are less likely to sell out in the cooler months. If you live in a warm environment like Southern California, expect to sell most of the year.

Not sure which franchise to start with?Take our 7-minute franchise business quiz!

Franchise Data

total units1200
Embedded name:them, inc.
Franchised by:2007
Industry:frozen desserts
Subsetor:frozen desserts

How Much Profit Does the Kona Ice Franchise Make Per Year?

Since 2015, the average Kona Ice owner has made $94,868 in annual sales. It's not uncommon for Kona Ice owners to own multiple units, increasing annual income. Your earnings depend on your ability to market your franchise, partner with local organizations, and find high-traffic locations in your designated area.

Things to consider at Kona Ice, Inc

Franchise Art

Kona Ice units come in a variety of styles depending on how much financial investment you can afford and where your area is located.

  • Mini-Kona:The popular, smaller, more maneuverable version of a Kona Ice unit. It is specially designed for indoor events and small outdoor events such as weddings or parties. It is a low-risk investment and can keep income flowing all year round.
  • Der Kona-Kiosk:This style of unity came into play in 2015 when semi-permanent venues and large-scale events became the sweet spot for Kona Ice franchises. It can serve the same number of people as a Kona Ice Truck but is smaller.
  • Know Trailer:This option is ideal for large areas such as amusement parks, circuses or stadiums. It is perfect for a place where it will be set up permanently.

One of the advantages of a Kona Ice truck is that you can drive it anywhere, anytime and it comes with everything you need. In fact, the entire truck is covered in advertising: it sells itself!

There's even an updated sound system that plays tropical music, adding to the fun nature of the franchise. In addition to these improvements, your truck is the first mobile food truck to be approved by the National Sanitation Foundation.

Related reading:How much does it really cost (with fees) to open a KFC franchise?


One benefit of owning a Kona Ice Truck is that it gives you large protected areas for your business. Territories are assigned based on zip code, giving you the opportunity to run your business without close competitors. There is no forced expansion of your business, which is ideal for entrepreneurs who want to focus their time and efforts on a single franchise.

It's also important to choose a location based on foot traffic and weather. While shaved ice can be popular during the spring and summer months, sales are much less likely to occur during the colder winter months, although the company has been conducting some testing with hot chocolate sales to help boost winter sales.


A positive aspect of owning a Kona Ice unit is the low setup fees and low overhead. While many popular franchises require upwards of $1 million in equity and equity, Kona Ice only requires a fraction of that. However, if you still need financial assistance, opportunities are available through Kona Ice, Inc. Just email their location and you will get more information about their financial aid requirements.

The only downside to low overhead and setup fees is that there are much lower fees that can go unnoticed. For example, you have to pay your own email address and mystery shopper fees. Mystery shoppers are sent out by corporate headquarters to determine if your service is of high quality, and you should pay for that mystery shopper even if it meets the company's standards.

Benefits of Kona Ice

The good news is that there are many benefits and perks of owning a Kona Ice franchise. Not only do you have the freedom to drive around your territory, but your truck comes fully stocked with everything you need: gear, self-service shaved ice, proprietary Flavor Wave, and customizable extra gear. Here are a few more reasons why franchising is at the top of business owner satisfaction:

The deal is extremely quick in the approval process. This means you can start your Kona Ice business in as little as 30 to 60 days, a radically faster timeframe than most franchises, which can often take up to a year to get approved. Think about it, if you apply for approval today, you could be a business owner in just a few months!

Franchise Rating:How much does it really cost to open a tropical smoothie cafe?

An established brand with over eight years in the industry means Kona Ice is well developed and respected by many. This not only helps to sell more products but also earns the trust of the business owners. In fact, Corporate Headquarters provides significant business support for your success. There is a training program where you will receive marketing strategies, starting a business, digital marketing, Q&A with the CEO, hands-on training, and one-on-one training and mentorship from experienced franchisees. Since its inception in 2007, Kona Ice has achieved the highest franchisee satisfaction rating from two different agencies; You can even read testimonials on their website to prove it.

The financial cost of opening this franchise is extremely low compared to other popular franchises. You only need a net worth of $30,000 and a net worth of $50,000 while many competitors require more than $1 million. This affordable business investment also applies to the low fees charged to franchisees. There's a flat license fee and incredibly low overhead. While the average franchise overhead is 32%, Kona Ice sits at 6%.

Kona Ice Trucks are also given their own exclusive territory, meaning other Kona Ice franchisees are prohibited from entering their assigned zip code. This means your device avoids competition from other Kona Ice franchisees.

Another advantage is the marketing support from the head office. Professionally designed emails are sent to target markets, social media campaigns and contests are implemented to promote your new brand, location-based web search directs customers to local operators, and mini-sites are assigned individually to each franchisee. In addition to this marketing support, you will receive Kona-branded merchandise, freebies, promotional materials, and social media posts to promote the brand.

Main Benefits

  • fully stocked food truck
  • quick approval process
  • established brand
  • geringer Overhead
  • Assigned Territory
  • marketing support

Kona Ice Cream Challenges

While owning a Kona Ice shaved van has many perks, there are some lesser-known fees that can easily be overlooked. For example, if you need to pay your own Kona Ice email address, as well as any bounced checks or insufficient funds. If you want to reallocate territories, you'll have to pay a hefty $5,000 fee.

The relocation fee is a hefty expense considering it's only for moving territories while keeping the franchise going. The downside of the extremely low overhead means that smaller, less noticeable charges like this are more likely to occur. Thanks to business support, it is possible to get financial help.

Related reading:How much does five guys really cost?

Added to this are vehicle maintenance and upgrade costs. Your food truck should be filled with fuel and taken in for routine inspection and maintenance to ensure it is running smoothly. The same is true of any independent food truck, but it's worth pointing out to a first-time franchisee. These costs can add up quickly, especially with the size of the units.

Another challenge is that shaved ice isn't always popular year-round. While it may have its challenges, it's akin to ice cream parlors in the winter or hot soup restaurants in the summer. While business can be a bit slower in the colder months, the strategic location of the Kona Ice franchise van makes a big difference.

The other challenge is that you are running a mobile unit. It's not a fixed place. Customers don't know exactly where you will be each day and you also need to learn how to drive a big shiny truck. These challenges are not insurmountable, but they are worth understanding before jumping into the business.

Big Challenges

  • Lots of small fees required by your company
  • Additional vehicle costs not covered by corporate headquarters
  • Shaved ice may not be popular all year round

Is the Kona Ice Franchise Right for You?

Selling shaved ice may not seem like a viable career path at first, but Kona Ice's proven track record as a business owner might make you think differently. If you have equity and wealth, chances are you can open a Kona Ice in just a few months.

In addition to the fast approval process, franchising has many advantages. With low cost, easy transportation, fully stocked food truck and marketing support, Kona Ice is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in the frozen dessert business. No wonder around 75% of franchisees purchase a second device within the first two years, further expanding the company's financial growth and success.

Keep in mind that the annual income and income of each Kona Ice owner depends on how much pressure they put on marketing the franchise and where they are located. This is a largely rushed business. If you don't go out and work at events, you won't make any money.

However, this challenge is ideal for people who are looking for a fun, mobile business opportunity that teaches them how to increase their profits in a unique way (with the help of corporate headquarters, of course). If such a unique and lucrative franchise sounds exciting to you, Kona Ice is the ideal franchise for your financial investment.

How much does it really cost to start the Kona Ice franchise? (with fees) (1)

A cup of shaved ice.

Now that you are armed with new knowledge about Kona Ice, Inc., think about what is most important to you in a company. Finally, decide if shaved ice and frozen desserts is the niche market you want to pursue. While shaved ice may seem like an unusual niche to invest in, once you and your customers try the refreshing dessert, you will never go back.

The delicious, thirst-quenching shaved ice comes in all sorts of flavors and appeals to both children and adults. The ability to change locations in a truck has its advantages, as does the ability to reach places with crowds. You can also look forward to helping local organizations raise thousands of dollars through fundraisers with your truck. This can be very rewarding for those looking to help charities and young people in the local community. You can learn more about themKona Ice franchise opportunity here.


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