By Bimbola Oyesola
Have you given thought to those business opportunities that will thrive irrespective of economic recession or boom? One of such businesses is ice block making. It is a business that people often tends to look down on, but actually it is a gold mine, especially when operated on a large scale.
Investigations have revealed that one can make between N150,000 to N200,000 profit monthly, but indeed you can even make N10,000 per day. It is a business that returns on investment is highly guaranteed. That means you can make your investment back in no time in ice block making and supply especially during the dry season.
Ice block is water in its solid state. It is produced when water is fed into some containers/nylon bags and then packed into an Ice block making machine for some hours to solidify. Ice blocks can also be produced with the aid of some chemicals, this type of Ice block is known as anti-freeze ice.
The high demand for ice blocks for cooling has created a booming business opportunity in cities, towns and villages across Nigeria. We live in a very hot environment and so we consume lots of liquid/drinks. Except on medical grounds, every Nigerian would prefer cold drinks to warm drinks any time, any day. People who run businesses that deal on drinks will attest to the fact that customers will always demand for chilled drinks and when you can give them chilled drinks at every point, then you will be their first port of call as long as drinks is concerned.
But, not all these can afford to run generators endlessly. With the epileptic power supply and high cost of fuel in the country, it is next to impossible to achieve this feat without extra exorbitant running costs which may likely put an entrepreneur out of business, hence they need ice-blocks to cool to get their drinks chilled.
At home, the electricity supply problem is forcing households to use ice blocks to preserve their food and drinks.
The beauty of this business also is that it can be located anywhere either at home or in any vacant place, while the target for this market is wide and varied, as the product is needed at various individual level as well as companies dealing with beverages and fruit juices.
An entrepreneur can equally run another business alongside it to further widen the scope of multiple streams of income.
The major users of ice block in Nigeria are hospitals, hotels, shop owners, street traders and organizers of parties.
The ice block business is indispensable due to the following reasons:
•Country like Nigeria is located in one of the hottest region in the world
•Our economy is such that majority of people involved in hard labour job to make their ends meet.
•Most of the commercial cities always experience heavy traffic couple with hot weather which make people yearn for cold and chilled drinks, beverages, snacks and so on regularly.
One can imagine the number of sachet of pure water people drink everyday.
Another convenient reason why people prefer to use ice blocks is that they are faster and more efficient at cooling liquid. Compared to cooling your drinks in a fridge or packing them in a freezer when you can’t carry your iced drinks from home every where, ice blocks can provide chilled liquid in any location; whenever and wherever you want it!
Procedure and equipment needed for a start:
You can start from home or rent a shop. Ice block is more convenient to produce from home, but if it’s on a large scale you will need a bigger space.
•Deep freezers and ice block making machines.
•Generator that can conveniently power your machine or deep freezers.
•A good water source. Water is very important in Ice block making business so, you will need to either sink a water bore hole or buy water from commercial water tankers in your area.
•Nylon bag for moulding ice block. When sourcing for nylon, you need to order correctly because there are different types of nylon in the market but, there is a nylon specially made for Ice block packaging.
•Aluminum made containers for moulding ice block.
•Beer Parlours or Drink sellers;
•Party hosts – people organizing parties;
•Restaurant and fast foods;
•Drug manufactures and pharmaceutical companies also need the ice block for cooling.
Effect of their drugs and vaccines:
The capital required to start an ice block production business in Nigeria depends on the quantity of ice block you intend to produce per day. You can start with an ordinary domestic freezer which is less expensive and less profitable. But if you want to generate say N200, 000 per month, then you need about 2million Naira and above as capital to purchase your Ice block making machines and other equipment needed. The above figure does not include the cost of renting a factory space or the building to install your machines as the cost of renting accommodation differs from one location to the other.
This is for the big player in the industry. To get new customers and retain old one, you will need to purchase one or two cooling van to aid the quick conveyance of your Ice block to places within and around your locality where you can easily sell them before the arrival of your competitors.
There are different types of ice block machines, there are locally fabricated machines and imported machines of various capacities, they are differentiated by the number of moulds they can produce, it could be 40 moulds, 60, 100, 120, 200, and it could be as high as1000 moulds. Some of these machines take 12 to 24 hours to solidify before you can sell out your ice blocks depending on the size of the machines you can afford.
This is an act of using chemical to make the ice block form faster even than the required time. Ice block formed with this method are called MOULDS. This is not in nylon but always in containers.
This type of ice block is formed in nylon which are of different size depending on the price.
Making ice block in Nigeria is indeed a profitable venture, it is highly demanded nation wide and those into it presently are constantly smiling to the bank.