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Lemonade Stand Calculator

Created by Arturo Barrantes, Madhumathi Raman and Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Hanna Pamuła, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Jun 05, 2023

On a hot summer's day, you'll need a cold drink to stay refreshed. But, instead of water, how about a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade? I am sure you just began to drool at the thought. But, what if I tell you that you can earn money 💰 on that hot day? Not even a single day, but throughout July and August, the hottest months on record? Yes, there is a way - to run a lemonade stand! 🍋

But you may be thinking: "I have never done something like this. How would I ever know how much I need to sell to be profitable?" Do not worry, we have you covered. This handy lemonade stand calculator will help you determine the right price 💲 for your lemonade based on the costs you've incurred and your target profit.

Besides, if you are a parent, this is the perfect time to teach your kids the value of money, how to pursue a goal, like raising funds for charity, or even just to earn a little extra cash. In all of these cases, we have already got you covered.

Children selling lemonade

How to prepare lemonade? 🍹

Of course, we have to start here. There are two main ways of preparing lemonade for your business:

  1. Making it from scratch by squeezing the lemons yourself. This method is by far the one that assures the best quality. However, in many US states, it is illegal to sell food or beverages without a license 📝 because health codes may be infringed.

    Once you have the permit to run your lemonade stand, we need to gather the following ingredients: water🚰 , ice 🧊 , and sugar. You will also need a pitcher, glasses, and napkins. The suggested proportions are:

    • 1 cup of lemon juice 🍋 (240 milliliters of lemon juice);
    • 1 cup of granulated sugar (200 grams of white granulated sugar); and
    • 4 cups of water 💧 (1000 milliliters of water).

    With such amounts, you should be able to pour between 3 (12 oz/ 370 mL) to 4 (8 oz/ 250 mL) portions depending on your glass size. We recommend that you check our volume conversion and weight converter tools before trying to prepare larger quantities.

The experts recommend that you mix 1 of the cups of water with the cup of sugar and the cup of lemon juice over a pan, heat it, and stir it. Once all of the sugar is dissolved, let it cool or put it into the refrigerator. You can keep this syrup in jars.

  1. Using lemon concentrate or lemon powder. In this case, your best shot is to follow the recommended recipe based on the product's concentration. If a recipe is not available, we recommend you follow this one:

    • In the case of lemon concentrate, you can prepare a gallon of lemonade with 2 cups of white granulated sugar (400 g), around 13 cups (250 mL each, 3.25 liters of water), and 2 cups (480 mL) of lemon concentrate.

    • In the case of lemon powder, we are following the recommendations of Country Time Lemonade. They suggest one rounded tablespoon per water cup of 8 oz/ 250 mL. Then, for a gallon, we would need 16 cups of water (approximately 4 L) and a bit more of a lemon powder cup (270 grams).

How to run a lemonade stand business?

Now we come to the fun part: the finances of a business. When running any company, it is natural to think that if we sell more product or earn more revenue, we will eventually be profitable. That is only true when you know exactly what kind of expenses you are incurring.

Expenses and costs can be separated into two groups: Direct and indirect costs.

  1. Direct costs are those involved in the preparation of the lemonade, such as lemon and cups.

  2. Indirect costs can be the advertising you pay for publicity on social media 🤳, the electricity for freezing ❄️ your ice, or even renting a lemonade stand at a fair 🎡 . As long as it is not directly related to the production of lemonade, it fits into this category.

Once you know all your direct and indirect costs, define your selling price per lemonade and see how much you need to sell to break even.

In any case, do not worry! You can use our friendly lemonade stand calculator to add your expenses and your desired profit to see if you need to sell more or if you are already profitable!

To conclude this section, to get more income 💸 without increasing the price too much, you can reduce your costs. Here it is helpful for you to compare your ingredient's price per unit to find out where you can find them cheaper elsewhere.

How to use the lemonade stand calculator

Our tool is extremely easy to use – it even considers average prices taken from Walmart! Take a look at the hints below to squeeze the most out of our calculator. 🤓

  1. Do you have a target goal? Are you planning to buy a special gift for your parents or donate a specific amount of money to an organization you support? Add it here.

  2. How much lemonade do you want to sell? You have to consider how many cups you would be able to sell over a specific time.

    Also, define the size of the cups you are planning to use. Here you can choose between cups of 8, 12, 16, and 20 fluid ounces (fl. oz.)

  3. Does your state require you to have a business permit? We recommend you contact your local authorities in order to have everything above board.

  4. In the costs section, 💵 define whether you want to use your recipe or one of the ones we have prepared for you.

    In the first case, you have to input the total cost of your ingredients; if you choose one of our recipes, the total cost will vary accordingly to the number of lemonade cups you plan to sell.

    Independently of which recipe ou choose, you may add any other indirect expense such as refrigeration costs or stand costs in the advanced mode.

  5. Finally, you have to input your selling price. Our lemonade stand calculator will tell you if you are making a profit with such a price 🎉 or if you have to increase ⬆️ your prices to break even.

10 tips on how to run a successful lemonade stand 🤑

We're rooting for you, so we have collected a list of recommendations to take your stand to the next level:

  1. Choose a crowded place or a place where there is a high flow of people/cars. 🚗 Of course, it is crucial to be in a safe place. Please do not set up your business in the middle of the road. Besides, consider that public places will very likely require business permits/licenses.

  2. Make your stand more visually attractive. You can install balloons and/or use LEDs to be catchy and reduce your electricity costs. Oh, by the way, LEDs can be powered with batteries to make your business more portable.

  3. Consider selling snacks, sandwiches 🥪, or even cakes. You can make sales promotions by offering cakes at a discount if the client buys certain quantity.

  4. Differentiate your lemonade by adding lemon slices or mint springs. It won't hurt your profits, so no worries.

Attractive lemonade
  1. If you are using a big pitcher, you can consider adding sphere ice instead of ice cubes to keep the temperature cool enough. The reason is that spherical ice will last longer than ice cubes. If you are curious about why, we invite you to check our snowman calculator where we explain the reason.

  2. You can perform 🎤 at scheduled times to gather an audience that can consume your product while you do your act.

  3. Always keep some spare change for clients that come with paper money.

  4. Use this calculator to determine the right price per serving based on your costs, and find out the different profit outcomes whenever you change a variable such as fresh lemons to lemon concentrate or powder.

  5. To be more time-effective, you can track the weather so you know with a high degree of accuracy when there will hot weather, or when it will be raining. 🌧

  6. And, lastly, put a jar for tips. There will be people who appreciate how nice of a business you run and will want to give you a price for it. Very well earned, indeed.

Arturo Barrantes, Madhumathi Raman and Wei Bin Loo
This calculator is designed to predict how much profit 💰 (or loss 😰) you can make by setting up a lemonade stand. It helps you figure out how best to use your resources 🍋 and price your product 🥤
Target Goal 💸
Do you have a target goal?
How much lemonade do you want to sell? 🍹
I want to sell
Size of serving cup
8 fl. oz. / 0.25 L
Total cost of cups
Would you like to modify the cost of cups?
Permit Requirement 📝
Depending on your location, setting up a lemonade stand and/or using fresh ingredients might require some permits 💵
Here's a quick guide on permits in the USA. Since there's a lot of variation in permit costs based on where you live, it's best to contact your local municipality in order to get the necessary go-ahead ✅
Does your state require a permit?
Ingredients Cost 💲💲
Do you already know the total cost?
Yes! 🧾
Cost of ingredients
Total cost
Profit Calculation 🤑
Cost per serving
I want to sell each serving for
Total profit
Dang! After all that hard work, you'll barely break even, with only $0.85 in your pocket! 🥺 Try to sell more lemonade to be swimming in cash!
You seem to have chosen an appropriate price per serving! 🍹
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