Americans no longer seem to use their tap water for drinking. Go to just about any store and you will see cases of water bottles for sale. There are also plenty of add on systems for homes to “purify” the tap water. Go to many grocery stores and you will find water kiosks to fill up your five gallon jugs.
So after you have made the decision to get into the ice vending business the next question is do you add water vending to your machine. Adding water gives your potential customers another reason to visit your machine. It also provides them with one stop shopping. If you have placed your machine in a blue collar area where you have many day laborers such as construction, landscaping, etc. then you should remember that they almost always have the orange Igloo (or equivalent) that is filled up with ice and water every day. What better way to insure that they come to your machine than to provide both features.
What you need to consider is how much you are going to charge for the water and how much the system will be to add to your machine. Generally you can charge between $0.25 and $0.50 per gallon for water. If you sell 20 gallons of water (probably only 4-8 customers since water is often sold 5 gallons at a time) then you will make between $1800 and $3600 per year for the water sales. If the cost of the water dispensing system is reasonable you will have paid it off in a year. Bag of Ice can add water vending to any of their machines for only $1500.
Finally you will probably ask do I need to use reverse osmosis to get good water. The answer is no you don’t. First any RO system will add several thousand to the cost of the machine. A good filtering system with effective carbon and sediment filters will provide you with great tasting water. The carbon filters remove the organic chemicals and chlorine that destroy the taste of the water. A final pass through a UV source insures that the water is bacteria free.