8 Simple Steps to Make Money Selling Bottled Water

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On long hot summer days, I absolutely dream of having a nice big bottle of cold water to quench my thirst. Whether you are at the park, walking down the street, at a concert, or sitting in your car, most people will purchase water on the go when they become dehydrated. It’s really easy to make money selling bottled water if you provide a nice cold bottled water in a busy location on a hot day.

This business works because it’s super simple to setup and let’s you earn around 400% ROI if you completely sell out all of your water.

You can operate this business yourself or hire an employee to run it for you. College students and teens would be perfect employees for this business.

Here’s how to get started:

Step 1 – Invest in a large cooler

A large cooler with wheels and a firm handle is essential to store, cool and transport your bottled water business. I purchased a Water Cooler for $44.99 for storing the water first.

Step 2 – Buy Bottled Water in Bulk

Walmart sells “Great Value” bottled water in 36 packs for around $4. Your average cost per bottled water is 10 cents. When you resell your bottled water at $1, you gain around 900% ROI. Your customers could easily walk to the store and buy a bulk package, but you save them time, effort and energy by delivering the water to them on the spot. This is your unique selling point and gives you a competitive advantage against bigger brick and mortar businesses.

Step 3 – Get Plenty of Ice

Nobody likes hot water. Purchase a bag of ice to keep your water cool. As you sell more water, each water will get plenty of ice exposure so you don’t have to buy a huge ice bag. 10 lbs is plenty of ice.

Step 4 – Supply Yourself with Paper Towels

Paper towels are a nice extra feature for customers. I prefer to handle them their water bottle along with something to wipe their hands with. This is completely optional.

Step 5 – Find a Busy Location with plenty of thirsty customers

Location is key. I’ve found the best places to sell are:

  • Busy intersections
  • Parks
  • Recreation centers
  • Concerts
  • Parties
  • Weekend events
  • Schools
  • On the Street
  • Festivals
  • Garage sales
  • Beach
  • Events

Basically wherever lots of people pass by and need a drink of water.

Step 6 – Sell your bottled water at $1 each

You could tweak this strategy, but I found $1 each to be a fair price. If you sell every bottled water, you earn between $24 to $36 per pack depending on which company you buy.

Step 7 – Reinvest your profits in more water & more ice

Here’s a breakdown of your initial investment and revenues:

Fixed Cost = $44.99 (cooler)

Variable Cost = $4 (bottled water) + $3 (ice) =  $7

Potential Profit = $24 to $36

Net Income = $17 to $29 per bottled water pack

Rinse and repeat to continue increasing your profits. If you sell water at a popular event with lots of people, you could bring in $2,000 to $3,000 in one weekend. Use your car to transport your supplies or borrow a friend’s car and pay him a portion of the profits.

Step 8 – Consider Expanding your locations or adding upsells

Once you have some success, you can branch out to more locations & events or sell other items. I’ve gotten lots of requesting for cold beer especially in the evenings. Other popular items include soda pop and Gatorade.

Further Reading

For more real life case studies and tips on selling bottled water on the street, check out these articles:

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