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How Much Does it Really Cost to Start Kona Ice Franchise? (with Fees)

The Kona Ice franchise is one of the best in the fast food industry. Are you ready to launch a franchise with meaningful profit potential while also raising funds for good causes in your community? If this innovative business possibility appeals to you, consider joining Kona Ice, Inc.

kona ice franchise

Fees and Financial Requirements

Here is a basic overview of the financial requirements for a Kona Ice outlet. The initial fees are significantly lower than those of many competing franchises.

The term “liquid capital” refers to the bare minimum required to be considered. The total value of all your assets, including real estate investments, is your net worth.

FeesAmount RequiredLow-End CostHigh-End Cost
Net Worth$50,000
Liquid Capital$30,000
Truck $89,650
Late Fees$25 per day
Additional Equipment

Truck Compliance
Territory Reservation$10,000
Initial Franchise

Although the fees and costs associated with owning a Kona Ice franchise are not as high as those associated with other franchises. However, there are smaller fees that can accrue.

The following are the fees that may be levied when running your Kona Ice franchise:

Fee TypeAmount Required
Initial Inventory $4,875
Optional Inventory$500
Marketing $500
Kona E-mail Address $60
Non-Compliance $250 for the first offense, $500 if the infraction is not corrected within 30 days, and $100 per day if the infraction is not rectified within 30 days more.
Returned Check $100
Professional Fees and ExpensesDepending on the circumstances
Transfer $5,000
Truck Remodel and Updates$0 – $15,000
Mystery Shopper $50

Cost of Buying a Kona Ice Franchise

To open a Kona Ice location, you’ll need between $120,000 and $150,000. This is much lower when compared to other food franchises, which may require $1 million or more to get started.

The reason is that you operate a mobile truck rather than a large retail outlet, so you don’t have the monthly overhead of a big retail space. This single point reduces startup overall costs.

Kona Ice franchise was named the #1 New Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and received the Highest in Franchisee Satisfaction award from 2 distinct organizations (Franchise Update and Franchise Business Review), and fastest growing in the past five years.

These awards clearly show the satisfaction and fiscal growth of its business owners, but is this the best fit for you?

Kona Ice franchise has expanded to over 450 franchise outlets in 43 states in five years. As with any franchise opportunity, the costs vary.

However, before starting a Kona Ice franchise, we have broken down some of the basic financials and discussed the benefits and disadvantages of the business.

Annual Sales / Revenue Average

Kona Ice franchises earn an average of $94,868 per year. This will, of course, vary depending on your business competence and dedication to marketing your brand.

It is also important to note that your sales will fluctuate depending on the season.

Ice cream is popular in the spring and summer, but it may sell less well in the winter. If you live in a warm climate, such as Southern California, you can expect to sell for most of the year.

What is the Annual Profit of the Kona Ice Franchise?

As of 2015, the average Kona Ice franchisee earned $94,868 per year. It is not uncommon for Kona Ice franchisees to own multiple locations, increasing their annual income.

Your capacity to advertise your franchise, partner with local agencies, and find high-traffic areas in your assigned territory will determine your profit.

The Benefits of the Kona Ice Franchise

kona ice cream

1. Fully Equipped Truck

As a Kona Ice franchise owner, you have not only the liberty to drive around your territory, but they fully equipped your truck with everything you need, including, self-serve shaved ice, patented flavor wave, and customizable appliances. 

2. Established Brand

Kona Ice is a well-developed and respected brand that has been in the industry for over eight years.

This not only helps increase product sales but also to gain the trust of business owners. Indeed, corporate headquarters provides critical business help for your success.

You will receive marketing techniques, initial project setup, digital marketing, a Q&A with the CEO, hands-on training, and advice from veteran franchise owners as part of the training program.

3. Fast Approval Process

The company’s approval process is lightning fast.

This means you can start your Kona Ice Franchise in 30-60 days, which is much faster than most franchises, which can take up to one year to even be approved.

Consider this: if you apply for approval today, you could become a business owner in a matter of months!

4. Marketing Support

Another benefit is the marketing help provided by headquarters.

Professionally designed emails are sent to target segments, social media competitions and campaigns are used to promote your new brand, location-based web searches direct customers to local operators, and each franchisee is given their own mini website.

Besides marketing help, Kona-branded merchandise, social media posts, freebies, and advertising materials, are provided to help promote the brand.

5. Assigned Territory

Kona Ice franchise owners are also given their own exclusive territory, so some other Kona Ice franchises are not permitted to enter your assigned zip code.

This means your location will be free of competition from other Kona Ice franchise owners.

6. Low Overhead

When compared to other popular franchises, the financial costs of starting this brand are incredibly low.

You only need $30,000 in liquid capital and $50,000 in net worth, whereas many rivals require more than $1 million.

This reasonably priced business investment extends to the low fees charged to franchisees.

There is a set royalty fee and very little overhead. While most franchise overhead is 32%, Kona Ice has a 6% overhead.

Kona Ice Franchise Difficulties

1. You Must Pay Many Small Fees

If you want to change territories, you must pay a hefty $5,000 fee.

The relocation fee is a noteworthy expense given that it is only used to move territories while the franchise remains operational.

The downside of having incredibly low overhead is that small, inconspicuous fees like these are more likely to arise. Financial help is possible thanks to corporate support.

2. Additional Vehicle Expenses

There are vehicle maintenance and upgrade costs to consider. To ensure that your food truck is functioning properly, it must be filled with fuel as well as inspected and maintained regularly.

This is true for any food truck, but it is worth mentioning for a first-time franchisee. These expenses can quickly add up, especially given the size of the units.

3. Shaved Ice Might not be Trendy All Year

Another difficulty is that shaved ice isn’t always trendy all year. While there are some difficulties, it is like ice cream shops in the winter or hot soup eateries in the summer.

While a business may be slower during the cold months, the Kona Ice Franchise van’s strategic position makes a meaningful difference.

4. Fluctuating Customer Base

Another difficulty is that you are operating a mobile unit. There is no fixed location.

Customers wouldn’t know where you will be every day, and you’ll need to get used to driving around in a big bright truck.

These challenges are not insurmountable, but they should be understood before getting involved in the business.

Factors to Consider with Kona Ice, Inc.


Franchise Type

Kona Ice units are available in a variety of styles, based on your cash commitment and the location of your territory.

1. Kona Minis

The famous, smaller, and more maneuverable Kona Ice unit. It’s specifically designed for indoor and small outdoor purposes like weddings and parties. It is a minimal investment that can generate income all year.

2. The Kona Trailer

This is an excellent choice for large locations such as amusement parks, circuses, and stadiums.

It’s ideal for a location where you’ll be permanently established.

3. The Kona Kiosk

This type of unit first appeared in 2015, when quasi-venues and big events became prime targets for the Kona Ice franchise.

It can serve the same number of customers as a Kona Ice truck while being much smaller.

One advantage of buying a Kona Ice truck is that you can drive it anywhere, and it is fully equipped it.

In fact, the whole truck is ad-covered – it sells itself!

There is even improved audio that plays tropical music, adding to the franchise’s fun factor. Besides these improvements, your truck is the first food truck to receive National Sanitation Foundation approval.


One benefit of owning a Kona Ice franchise is the low starting and operating costs.

While most popular franchises require more than a million dollars in net worth and liquid capital, Kona Ice demands only a fraction of that.

If you need financial help, Kona Ice, Inc. has opportunities for you. Simple E-mail their headquarters to learn more about their financial aid requirements.

The only disadvantage of having low operating costs and opening fees is so many small fees could go unnoticed. You must, for instance, pay for your own email address, along with Mystery Shopper fees.

Company headquarters sends mystery shoppers to determine whether your service is of excellent quality, and you must pay for this mystery shopper even though you meet company policy.


Having a Kona Ice truck will provide you with large, protected territories for your business.

Territories are selected on zip code and allow you to function without being surrounded by competitors.

There is no compulsion to expand which is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to focus all of their effort and time on a single franchise.

It is also critical to select a location that is appropriate for foot traffic and weather.

Although shaved ice is common in the spring and summer, the likelihood of sales during the winter is low, though the company has conducted some testing selling hot cocoa to increase winter sales.

Is the Kona Ice Business for You?

kona ice franchise

At first, sight, selling shaved ice may not appear to be an exciting career path, however, the time-proven franchisee satisfaction of Kona Ice could make you reconsider.

If you have liquid capital and net worth, you should be capable of starting a Kona Ice within a few months.

Aside from the quick approval process, the franchise has many advantages.

Kona Ice is the ideal opportunity for business owners interested in the frozen dessert business because of its low running cost, ease of transportation, fully fitted food trucks, and marketing support.

It’s no surprise that approximately 75% of franchisees buy a second unit within their first two years.

Remember that each Kona Ice owner’s annual income and revenue will differ depending on how aggressively they promote their franchise and where they are located.

This is primarily a shady business. You will not make money unless you get out there and work events.

Such a challenge is ideal for people looking for a fun, mobile business venture that will educate them on how to boost their earnings in novel ways.

If you’re looking for a unique, low-cost franchise, Kona Ice is the best choice for investment.

Frequently Asked Questions


 ice cream

5 to 9 percent.

1,000 trucks in 48 states


Tony Lamb

$3,000 annually for the first 5 years, $3,500 for 6 and 7 years, and $4,000 for 8 years and over.

Now that you have a better understanding of Kona Ice, Inc., consider what is most essential to you in a business.

Finally, decide if you want to focus on shaved ice and frozen desserts as a niche market.

Although shaved ice may appear to be an unusual niche in which to invest, once you and your customers experience the pleasant dessert, you will never look back.

The yummy, thirst-quenching shaved ice offers a variety of flavors and attracts both children and adults.

The ability to move places in a truck has advantages, such as the ability to go where the crowds are.

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