Ice Cream Vans

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Ice Cream Van Insurance

Ice Cream Vans

Memories of childhood and long hot summers and the excitement of hearing those catchy chimes seduce some people into buying an ice cream van, others do so as a job, perhaps joining a franchise or even being salaried.  Whatever the reason for starting it is a vocation that soon becomes a way of life.  Like so many catering roles you are working when others are enjoying their leisure time.  In fact, your job is to enhance their leisure experience.

While it’s true that longer shop opening hours, lower prices and offers in supermarkets and cheap package holidays have all contributed to a decline in ice cream vans to around a third of what there were in the 1950’s, there is still the opportunity for earning a good living.

If you are thinking of going into ice cream selling and a van in particular, then bravo!  But please make sure you take off those rose-tinted glasses and weigh up the pros and cons of buying or starting up an ice cream business.


  • Depending on the license that you have, if you have a street license, then if one road or area is quiet, you simply move on to another.
  • You choose your working hours; when you work and for how long.
  • Your role is making people happy, so you can go home with a big smile on your face!
  • The profit margins are very good, possibly the best in catering trades.
  • Wastage is minimal, as long as your freezers are working and your dry goods storage remains dry, then there is very little if any food wastage, which of course in turn adds to the profit margins.
  • Most of your work will be in the summer months and if you make enough in the summer you don’t have to work in the winter.
  • The skill-set is lower than for many roles; you don’t need to train at college or an apprenticeship to prepare ice and sell ice creams. Although, realistically those who do the best do have good customer facing skills.


  • When the weather is bad, your sales could be less than the cost of running the van.
  • The van has to be paid for, even if you don’t work or make sales.
  • To counterbalance bad days you may need to work long hours on fair-weather days.
  • Local authorities in many case ban trading in some areas and it can be harder to get a street license from the local council to trade that way.
  • Your trade and profits are dependent on the weather.

Still want to carry on?

The first thing to decide is how you want to proceed: employed, franchise holder or independent?  If you choose independent you have more scope to run the business how you want to. Although that is balanced by larger start-up costs including the cost of a used van being around £12,000 and start-up cash to buy your stock in and fuel the van. 

Whatever you decide make sure you have the correct health and safety and food hygiene certificates and insurance.  For your insurance needs are waiting to hear from you.

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