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Pricing my new ice cream business

(16 Posts)
benjaminfross Fri 11-Oct-13 12:55:42

I've just set up a business called icicles on bicycles, selling ice creams from a bike, with the aim of being hired out for kids parties (especially during the winter months).

I've read a few posts about how expensive kids parties can be. I want a business that is considered very reasonable in price. I'm thinking a call out charge of £30 and then whatever ice creams I sell at the party. (which would be 1 scoop with cone and flake for £1, 2 scoop £2 etc and lollies going for £1-£2) I understand that the bill would still come to £60ish, but is this considered good value for what you are getting? thoughts would be much appreciated.

SimLondon Fri 11-Oct-13 14:34:03

Nope - I can buy a 21 pack of cornets for £1, a 2L tub of ice-cream for £3 and 16 flakes for £1.89 and serve it myself for free.

Children's entertainers on the other hand earn good rates.

amidaiwish Fri 11-Oct-13 14:41:25

no. i wouldn't pay £60 for someone to turn up and dish out ice cream.
or are you planning to entertain the kids?

HenriettaPye Fri 11-Oct-13 14:46:08

no I wouldn't pay this either. All you will be doing is providing a snack- the parents will still have to pay for the party, just with an extra £60 for a snack! I'd rather provide my own with a pack of cones for £1, tub of ice cream for £1, and but some sprinkles, sweets etc and let the children decorate their own. Would come to less than £5 and be much more fun IMO

redcaryellowcar Fri 11-Oct-13 14:47:09

I think the concept is lovely but wonder if you are not getting you'd target audience right, I would imagine at farmers markets and fetes and fairs you would be more successful.
I like the idea for children's party but would only really be happy to pay for cost of ice cream, I would happily pay this up front, e.g if I knew we had invited 10 children plus parents siblings etc, I could call and ask you to serve 30 ice creams for £30, but not sire this would be viable?

redcaryellowcar Fri 11-Oct-13 14:50:50

*sire = sure...
also wondered if you could do other sidelines such as full dessert eg jelly and fruit or party bags? might make call out charge not necessary to include up front but as a cost hidden in overall price? perhaps you could offer mobile sweet shop, think this combined with ice creams would be well received at weddings, and imagine you could just charge single large up front fee to do these?

BoundandRebound Fri 11-Oct-13 14:52:39

Nope wouldn't be interested particularly in winter

What's fun about buying ice cream from someone on a bike?

BoundandRebound Fri 11-Oct-13 14:53:38

Now a mr whippy van and serve yourself in the height of summer that'd be worth £60

GemmaTeller Fri 11-Oct-13 15:00:08

I don't think kids parties are the way to go here.

I personally think you'd be better at farmers markets, craft fairs and weddings ( I went to a wedding this year that had a slush puppy stall that did a roaring trade!)

benjaminfross Fri 11-Oct-13 16:18:57

I appreciate all the feedback, some of them made me smile, simlondon has a valid point.

so looks like no one likes this call out charge. would it sound better if it was £2 per head, the problem with that is people would just take the mick if they can order what ever they like. I currently work for tony fresko, I was merely copying the way they do things there.

I've bought this bike for my younger brother to run.
so costs are- his wages, £20 lets say for 2 hours.
- cost of ice creams (normally 50% of price) assume 30 guests all buy £1 ice creams, would be roughly £15
- i have to make a cut somewhere, cost of the bike £850 - shipping £150- industrial freezer £100 - few other bits mounting to £100

I hope I'm not being deluded in thinking that £50/60 is reasonable (dont know if you can say places on mumsnet, but ill do it anyway) especially in surrey, I've checked out all my competitors, the cheapest quote ive had of them for a party is £300 (that includes 3 hour hire and unlimited ice cream)

redcaryellowcar- how do u think I could make the kids parties work over winter, including pricing stratgey? or exclude kids parties, make some money with the bike over winter? Ive already got design students making me a free a5 leaflet ready to hand out to mums while they are waiting to pick there kids up from school.

I dont think summers going be no problem, the objective now is for people in my local area to become familiar with the crazy boy on the ice cream bike ready for summer 2014.

I enjoyed the cheaper parties when i was a kid, all the games and stuff. This bike would be hired when the parents do decide to go all out.. get the bouncy castle, the entertainer and have a bike there that serves out ice cream.

-The only problem with the farmers market is that my ice cream wouldn't be homemade, so it might struggle to fit in.


benjaminfross Fri 11-Oct-13 16:23:37

I agree weddings is a good way to go down, but again that's a summer thing. The only way I can see me making any money over the coming winter is through kids parties?

ShatnersBassoon Fri 11-Oct-13 16:34:01

I don't think children would be any more impressed by a bloke with a bike than someone's mum with a tub of Neapolitan. It is far too expensive for a children's party 'extra'.

There would need to be something else you bring to the party that would entertain the children, or you'd have to provide something most people couldn't produce themselves ie not just a standard ice cream cone.

vintagecaravanhirelady Sun 13-Oct-13 19:24:40

You've got the same problem as me in that you have a seasonal business. I can see why you're looking at kids parties for winter as they are about the only people who will scoff ice cream when it's freezing! There is plenty of cash sloshing about in Surrey so I think you could have some work but not masses in winter but is there anything else you can add to it? I.e. Making your poor brother dress up like Mr Tumble? He'll hate you for it no doubt but having that added extra might make people see it as an entertainment thing as opposed to food.

Also would it work to get the kids involved? Such as decorating the ice cream with sprinkles etc. When I sort out a party I just want them to be entertained - it takes the pressure off.

I agree with the others re weddings, vintage ice cream vans charge about £300-400 just to turn up at a wedding, but then you're looking at people who want to chuck a serious amount at their nuptials. Worth looking into how they do things. Also I know of one van who has a regular pitch in the summer, also worth looking at that to make most of your cash during the summer months.

I haven't cracked this seasonal problem yet. It's crappy working like a dog all summer and then work dries up when it gets cold. Should be the other way round...might become a Mrs Santa ;)

ChristmasCareeristBitchNigel Fri 22-Nov-13 22:43:58

You would be better off in the wedding market

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 22-Nov-13 22:54:29

You lost me when you said you don't make your own ice cream, although you might get away with it if you sell a really really good brand. TBH I'm not sure kids parties is a very good market.

Would you be better of selling high end ice cream at higher prices with no call out charge? For winter stuff you could sell themed ice cream - I'm sure someone must make an Xmas PhD or mincemeat flavour?

If you are going to be at lots of events you could sell advertising space on your bike, or even use that as a second revenue stream in winter - unboktbthe freezer bolt on billboard?

Summer fairs
Works dos
Any event with some sort of outside catering really.

RaxacoricofallapatorianCatpuss Sun 24-Nov-13 23:58:10

I am a market trader. We do a lot of shows, events and obviously, markets. I personally wouldn't sell icecream for all of the tea in China. I know some lovely ice cream vendors, but its a bloody hard bag! This year there was literally a 1 month window where they made any money! The summers recently have been flipping diabolical and people just aren't interested when it's cloudy or pissing down.
Another point to mention is that ice cream vendors are usually charged a hell of a lot of money to sell at events. They are often covered by caterer prices, an ice cream man I spoke to this summer had been charged 2k for a 2 day event in Cambridge. It rained solidly both days. And that's if you can even get into the event because the 'catering' has been franchised out to one big company.
I also don't think that your mark up is high enough. I know that 50% profit sounds a lot, but once you take out wages, fuel, pitch fee and everything else involved down to minutiae like cleaning supplies, there isn't much left.

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