How to Start an ATM Business

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.

Learn how to start your own ATM Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

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Start an ATM Business by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your ATM Business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business


A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

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 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.

Who 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.

How much can you charge customers?

The standard fee is $2.50 to $3.00 per transaction.

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.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

STEP 2: Form a legal entity


Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your ATM Business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.

You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?

STEP 3: Register for taxes


You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card


Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

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.

STEP 5: 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.

STEP 6: 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.

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:

Services Contract

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.

STEP 7: 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.

STEP 8: 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.

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.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

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.

STEP 9: Establish your 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.

Start An ATM Business In Your State

A cube with LLC printed on its sides

Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

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 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 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.

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Take the Next Step

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.

Resources to Help Women in Business


There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

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 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.

Next Steps

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