For anyone interested in new business opportunities, owning an ATM machine might sound enticing. It’s a good source of passive income, and if the maintenance is outsourced it can actually be a fairly low time commitment even when owning multiple machines. But what kinds of business opportunities do ATM owners have?
In general, there are two types of people who are interested in owning an ATM machine. The first are people who already own a business whose customers often use cash, such as a restaurant or convenience store. The second group is people who want to set up an independent ATM machine to profit from the transaction fees. The business opportunity for each of these groups is different, and it is important for you as a prospective ATM owner to understand these differences.
Understanding ATM Business Opportunities
Before diving into the specific ATM business opportunities, you should have a basic understanding of how ATM businesses work.
ATM machines generate revenue from the service fees for each transaction. ATM fees generally range from $3-$5. If 100 people use your ATM, you will make $300-$500. If 1000 people use your ATM, you will make $3,000-$5,000.
ATMs in high-traffic areas can be very lucrative. Of course, there are expenses associated with the businesses as well. These generally include:
- Machine Cost – Paying for the initial machine
- Installation – Paying someone to install the ATM or getting the equipment to do it yourself.
- Upkeep – Repairs and maintenance for the machines (when needed)
- Cash – While this isn’t necessarily an “expense”, you will need to load each ATM with cash for withdrawal
Add an ATM Machine to Your Business Location
If you already own a business, you could benefit from owning an ATM in multiple ways. The most direct way you will benefit is from the transaction fees that an ATM charges for use, which usually average about $4.61 per transaction. Ideally, if you have a high traffic business then you might get about 4 transactions per day, which can mean transaction income of ~$6,700 a year, which is enough to offset the cost of an ATM machine (assuming the ATM is accessible 7 days a week).
Second, providing a readily available source of cash for your customers is likely to increase the amount they spend in your existing business. Some studies have shown that up to 25% of cash withdrawals from an ATM at a business is used at that business, with this percentage being higher for businesses like bars. In addition, many customers might find it a convenient source of cash and so might start visiting your business more often to access the ATM.
So, your ATM will increase the sales and customer satisfaction of your existing business and allow you to profit indirectly. In fact, it is likely that your ATM profit will come more from indirect increases in sales at your existing business than directly from the ATM transaction fees.
As an existing business owner, you might also find it easier to maintain your ATM. Firstly, you already have a location to place your ATM where you have customer traffic and you don’t have to pay anything extra to rent the space for the machine. You or your employees are also visiting the site most days, meaning that you don’t have to make special trips to refill the machine’s cash or receipt paper. You will also be alerted to any issues with the hardware of software more quickly than if you don’t visit the site too often.
So, owning an ATM machine is probably more profitable and easier to maintain if you already have a business that could benefit from an ATM on site. In fact, you may even want to consider renting an ATM instead of buying one, as renting an ATM means you don’t have to buy or service it at all but still get all the indirect benefits of having it in your business. It will mean you get less profit from transaction fees but it might be better for you overall.
Create an ATM Machine Business
Does this mean that if you don’t already own a business that owning an ATM isn’t for you? Definitely not! However, you are going to have to approach the business differently, and probably at a larger scale to make it worth your time. While business owners mainly profit from ATMs indirectly, people who don’t already own a business need to make the ATMs themselves profitable and have to deal with some additional challenges to do so.
Keep reading to find out the best ways to start an ATM business empire.
Firstly, before you purchase an ATM machine, you will have to find a place to put your ATM. Without an existing business, this might take some time. You might be able to find a business – such as a store or a restaurant – that would be willing to let you place the ATM on their land, but likely they will want payment for doing this. Usually, businesses will want a portion of the ATM transaction fees, but others might want a flat monthly fee. Whatever the arrangement, finding and renting a location for your ATM needs to be done first.
This is the most important step, so make sure to commit some time to your research so you can be successful. The placement of your ATM machines can make or break your success. Find a successful placement and you can be profitable in a short period of time. Choose the wrong placement, and you will struggle to generate revenue. Popular locations may include:
- Convenience Stores
- Cash-only Restaurants
- Cash-only retail stores
- Office Buildings
Once you find a great location, you need to consider how to maintain your ATM. Since you are likely not visiting the business every day, if you maintain the machine yourself you might have to make special trips to refill the machine’s cash and receipt paper and to ensure there are no issues with the machine itself. This can be a hassle depending on where you live and where the machine is located. So, you are likely better off (logistically, though maybe not financially) outsourcing your ATM maintenance to another company. There are many to choose from, so make sure to do your research on what fits your need for the lowest price.
After paying for the location and (possibly) a company to service your ATM, you may be thinking that your profit from a machine won’t be too high. This is entirely possible. By the time you have paid for all your expenses, owning just one ATM probably will not bring in much profit. This is why most people who are looking to profit from owning an ATM should look at setting up a network of multiple machines. Economies of scale (and time) eventually kick in, allowing you to start seeing some real profit.
However, it should still be noted that passive income from owning an ATM is not going to be a cash cow. It is definitely a viable business opportunity, but unless you are ready to build up a very large network of machines you should probably not see it as your main source of income.
Start Your ATM Business Today
No matter your specific situation, if you have decided to own an ATM then you should start doing research. This guide from Business.com is a good place to start. After understanding all your options, decide which options are best for you in terms of buying or leasing a machine, what vendor to buy it from, where to place it, and how or if you want to service it yourself. If you would like to contact companies that sell and service ATMs to learn more about their offerings, some options include ATM Brokerage, America’s ATM, and ATM Experts.
Once you know what direction is right for you, the business opportunity is there for the taking!
- “Benefits of an ATM.” ATM Global, AM Global, www.atmglobal.net/benefits.html.
- Driver, Saige. “How Profitable Is an ATM Machine?” Business News Daily, Business News Daily, 5 Feb. 2019, www.businessnewsdaily.com/11229-profitable-atm-machine.html.
- Ann, Rissa. “ATM Machine Buying Guide.” Business.com, Business.com, 14 Jan. 2019, www.business.com/articles/atm-buying-guide/?_ga=2.164631999.1658209850.1580513045-3649661.1578862039.
- Barrington, Richard. “Bank Fees Survey 2019.” Money-Rates.com, Money-Rates.com, 27 Aug. 2019, www.money-rates.com/research-center/bank-fees/.