8 Important Steps to Getting Your ATM Business Off the Ground

Entrepreneurship is alive and well across the US. People everywhere are looking for ways to work for themselves and have more time to enjoy life. Most people think of ATMs as being operated by a bank. In a recent study it was discovered that of the over 425,000 ATMs in the US, only half are owned by a bank. That means at least 200,000 are owned by regular people. ATMs are a very profitable business venture because there are very little to no overhead expenses. In the beginning the only employee you will need is you. Additionally, no store front or rental space is needed, and there is a low start up investment. The best part is you can manage your ATM business from home on your own schedule. If this sounds like the venture for you follow our 8 steps to getting your ATM business up and running.

Location1. Location

Think about any time that you needed an ATM and couldn’t find one. This is a great place to start. There are also tried and true locations such as malls, outdoor shopping areas and hotels. The best entrepreneur thinks outside the box. Consider fairgrounds, farmer markets and craft show locations. Vendors at events like this often times only accept cash so it makes a great location. Is there a new thrift store opening in your area that only accepts cash or a new nail salon that plans to only accept cash to avoid credit card processing fees? Start there.

2. Research

Begin by spending time in the areas you determine will make for a good location. Check for foot traffic and confirm that this spot will indeed lead to a successful transaction operation. Once you determine a location that will work, ask the store owner or venue/event coordinator if they would like an ATM set up at not cost to them. Always begin the conversation with how it benefits them. Providing access to cash will lead to more sales for people that do not typically carry cash.

3. Business Plan

You have the beginning of your business plan established, location. Other factors such as maintenance costs, return on investment (ROI), and other factors that will help you plan for the future success. 

4. Business Brand

Choose a name, create a logo, create business cards and consider creating a marketing collateral that explains why people should choose you to handle their ATM needs. If you can make these things on your own it will save money. However, if this is not in your wheelhouse there are many online services that can do this simple task for you. If you present yourself as professional and reputable you will be more likely to land locations.

5. Processing

Determine how you plan to process the ATM transactions. The two most common methods are Independent Sales Organization (ISO) and Independent ATM Deployer (IAD). You will want to speak to a few different organizations before you make your ultimate decision. Each one has different fee structures as well as various services and support. Additionally, these companies will have various contract commitment expectations. Once you have information form at least 3 organizations, choose the one that aligns best with your business plan.

6. Fill It Up

Your ATM will need to have money stocked for you to make money. The two key considerations to keep in mind to decide who will stock your ATM are safety and convenience. If your location is in a heavy traffic or unsafe neighborhood, working with a company that offers armored guard cash services may be a necessity. However, smaller locations in better areas may not require this level of service. Also, starting out with one or two locations it may not be cost effective. There may be other options that still offer safety and still fall within your budget. Next you need to consider convenience. Can you commit to restocking the machine? If not, you will need to find a reputable company to restock for you. Obviously, stocking the machine yourself saves money, however if this is a side hustle it may not fit well in your current schedule. Stocking the machine with your personal cash is the most profitable way to manage your ATMs. If you use a loader they typically require a portion of every surcharged transaction, for example $1 – $2 per transaction which may equal 25-50% of the profit. You still have to notify them when the cash is low and needs to be filled again.

7. Insure your investment

While this may seem obvious many people do not take this step initially. Protecting your investment is as important in the ATM business as any other. When choosing an insurance company, it is best to choose one that is associated with ATM Industry Association (ATMIA). The policy should protect your machine and the cash inside. There are certain situations, such as a location that has alarms or security cameras, that insurance may not be necessary.

8. Invest

Make the investment! With any business venture commitment is key. If this is something that after this research you know will be a good fit with your lifestyle and other responsibilities put your full effort into ensuring the success of your ATM start-up.

ATMs can be a profitable business venture. Like any other new business venture, it is critical to do the preliminary work, research, and planning necessary to set yourself up for success. ATMs make a great investment however, some unique responsibilities that you need to be fully committed to addressing before you get started. If you attend to each of these important steps and are ready to do what it takes you can have a successful, thriving business that you can continue to grow.