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When a consumer needs access to cash, most are willing to pay a few dollars in service fees at the nearest ATM. Automatic teller machines strategically placed in public locations around town is a profitable way for entrepreneurs to earn a comfortable passive income.
Who is this business right for?
Are you seeking a business investment that doesn't require an immense amount of time or investment? Do you enjoy interacting with other business owners throughout the community? If so, opening an ATM business may be the perfect business opportunity.
What happens during a typical day at an ATM Business?
The amount of time spent managing this type of operation varies, depending upon your skill set and the number of ATMs you own. Each machine must be kept in working order at all times. It should also contain enough cash to dispense 24/7. Anything less, and your business is losing money. Most ATM business owners have a regular route they tend to each day, where they check to ensure everything is working as it should. The rest of your team’s time is divided between administrative duties and nurturing relationships with vendors, banks, and the businesses that house your machines.
What is the target market?
Your ATM business is there to serve anyone who may need quick access to cash. Restaurants, bars, strip malls, convenience stores, and shopping malls are a great place to start.
How does an ATM Business make money?
An ATM business charges each customer a fee when they draw money out of their account.
What is the growth potential for an ATM Business?
Consumers love convenience, making an ATM business a worthy long-term investment. The potential for growth is significant, as these small machines can be strategically placed wherever customers may need quick access to cash. A well thought out business plan will help you define and reach your short and long-term goals for growth and profit.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful ATM Business?
There is no formal training for owning an ATM business. Since this investment requires a significant amount of cash be on hand at all times, entrepreneurs must be skilled at handling cash and budgeting for future needs. A business degree or background is recommended. Strong interpersonal skills would also prove beneficial, as you will need to develop relationships with vendors, banks, and business owners throughout the community.
What are the costs involved in opening an ATM Business?
While this type of business venture does not require an office space or a lot of supplies, there are a few things you will need to purchase. Total investment will be defined by how many machines you plan to start with. Each machine will cost between $3,000 and $10,000, depending upon the style you purchase. Each machine should have at least $2,000 in cash on a rotating basis. The only other items you should need is an insurance policy, a bag for transporting cash, tools for routine machine maintenance, and a reliable vehicle. Each machine must have access to a phone line or the Internet and you will need a computer for checking the status of each machine.
What are the steps to start an ATM Business?
Once you're ready to start your ATM Business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your ATM Business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your ATM Business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Save 15% when you create a business website with Weebly.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting an ATM Business?
Successful ATM business investors offer the following advice:
- Conduct thorough research prior to purchasing your machines. Choose one manufacturer and use them for all your machines. This will prove beneficial as you and your team learn how to repair and replace parts over time.
- While it will require more start-up capital, purchase a new machine with a 1-year warranty on parts. Older equipment leaves you open for potential issues and may not be equipped to handle evolving banking requirements/laws. .
- Make sure you understand EMV and that your machines are EMV compliant.
- Have each of your merchants sign an agreement.
- Map out your route with locations fairly close together to cut down on operating costs.
How to promote & market an ATM Business
Unlike most business ventures, an ATM business requires little to no marketing. While you will not be directly interacting with your customers, you will communicate regularly with your merchants. Develop strong connections with them to ensure a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Networking with business owners in the community is a great way to ensure your name is recognized. When an entrepreneur opens a new business, your merchants will pass your name along, helping to solidify your business’ positive reputation.
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How to keep customers coming back
It’s important to remember that each customer is coming to you out of convenience. Do not earn a reputation for having machines that are low on cash or always broken. Strive to deliver what they need, when they need it, at all times.
How and when to build a team
Most new ATM business owners start out managing the business alone. If your goal is to spread out over a large area, it may be necessary to hire additional team members for servicing. When considering hiring new team members, review their background and job history thoroughly, as they will be regularly handling a significant amount of cash. Additionally, each team member should have the knowledge and skills needed to perform routine maintenance on your machines.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an ATM business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
ATM businesses should consider requiring clients to sign a services agreement before installing a new machine. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and so on.
How much can you charge customers?
The standard fee is $2.50 to $3.00 per transaction.
What are the ongoing expenses for an ATM Business?
Most machines require a minimum of $2,000 cash per week. Cash should be loaded in on a rotating basis. Many banks will charge your business a surcharge and merchants charge a monthly rent fee or commission, depending upon the contract both parties have agreed upon. New business owners are urged to conduct thorough research regarding your market, so that margins are correctly set from the beginning. This will help ensure higher profit margins.
How much profit can an ATM Business make?
It’s important to choose high-traffic areas for your terminal locations. Successful business owners report an average of $500 per month, per ATM machine.
How can you make your business more profitable?
The more machines you have strategically placed, the higher your profits. Many new business owners find comfort in investing in franchises. Once you have learned the intricacies if this business venture, considering passing that knowledge on to new entrepreneurs by offering franchise opportunities.