The first question to answer is: do you have a plentiful source for your water? According to the International Bottled Water Association (bottledwater.org), bottled water comes in six different forms.
These are: spring water, which comes from an underground spring; purified water, which has been cleaned to acceptable governmental standards; mineral water, which contains a minimum level of naturally occurring minerals; sparkling water, which originally contained carbon dioxide and after treatment still retains it (or has had the carbon dioxide added back to the original level); Artesian water, which comes from an underground rock unit through which water moves; well water.
Once you have a source for water, you will need bottling equipment. Bottles, caps, labels and sterilizers are some of your essentials. Many water bottles are now making the move to lighter, more environmentally friendly designs. Look for bottling machines that can accommodate this.
Consider leasing bottling equipment and machines instead of buying them – at least at first. This will free up funds for other areas of your business such as marketing.
Before you pour a drop of water into a bottle, you will have to make sure you are following governmental regulations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA.GOV) regulates the bottled water industry. These regulations are intended to ensure that the water is safe from the time it is procured through the processing, bottling and transportation process.
Research their rules to ensure you are following them. This means you must know all of the components in your water accurately to ensure consistency and purity.
If you are selling tap water, you will fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.GOV), which is equally stringent.
Fortunately, many people are already sold on the idea of buying water instead of using tap water. Now you just have to sell people on buying your water. As you plan this, think about what makes your water special.
Is it the purification process that gives such a clean, natural taste? Is it the location of the source?
Once you’ve determined how your water is different, you can figure out where to start marketing. If your purity is the selling point, try selling at natural food stores. Local stores often have more flexibility to try new brands than larger chains. Give the store managers free samples.
Consider vending at local sporting events, as recreational baseball and soccer games are filled with thirsty players and spectators. Also consider sponsoring a team, providing water for their events, giving players coupons, and telling them where they can buy more bottles.
You can also sell directly by setting up a website with a shopping cart.
By doing your research, complying with federal regulations, and differentiating your water, you can tap into success after starting a bottled water business.