Many people dream of starting a business that allows them to earn passive income while they sit on the beach or even while they sleep! An ATM business can be one way to generate such passive income. However, it’s not quite as simple as buying a few machines and watching the money roll in.
While an ATM business can be very successful, it requires hard work and proper planning to get started. In addition, it will need ongoing maintenance to keep things running smoothly. Keep reading the steps below to help you decide whether an ATM business may be right for you.
ATM Industry Outlook
Before starting any business, you should always perform thorough research on the industry to make sure there is a market for your product or service. The ATM industry is no different. The latest market trends show a general increase in revenue from ATMs.
While it seems that people are using less cash as we move toward a more digital economy, actual data does not support that theory. In fact, recent data from MarketWatch shows that the ATM industry is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2019 – 2024. This would put the global ATM industry at a value of approximately $28 billion USD in 2024.
The growth in revenue can be attributed to a few factors. First, the number of ATMs continues to rise each year. Also, the fees collected on each transaction are steadily increasing. The national average in the US currently is right at $3 per transaction.
Given the industry outlook for the ATM business, you may have decided that this is the right opportunity for you. If so, keep reading to learn how to get things up and running.
Location Selection for ATMs
Before you can start making money from an ATM, you need great locations to place them. The location is extremely important to the earning potential of your machine. There are several factors that come into play when selecting a location. They are outlined below.
One of the most important considerations when selecting a spot to place your ATM is the amount of traffic the location receives. You’ll want to select a location that has plenty of foot traffic. Since most people use an ATM for convenience, they’re not likely to navigate to your location in an automobile. It needs to be in a spot that people already visit.
Think about locations where it is likely to already be a high volume of people. Convenience stores, casinos, bars, and universities can be great options. The more traffic the location sees, the higher your earning potential.
When selecting a spot for an ATM, you should target locations where people are likely to need access to cash. Some restaurants only accept cash, so these could be great spots for an ATM. Other possibilities could be farmer’s markets or street fairs. Some businesses charge higher rates for credit card transactions, so many people would likely use an ATM in there so that they could pay in cash.
In addition to traffic numbers, market studies can also provide other valuable information about your potential location. One such piece of information is the competition in a location. Placing your machine too close to an existing ATM can reduce your earnings, particularly if the existing ATM is a bank-owned machine where customers pay no fees.
There are providers available who can provide these detailed studies to you. In many cases, they will provide an aerial map of your proposed location and highlight the competitors on the map. This will allow you to see just how many machines are located within walking distance of your spot. If there are more than two or three machines already there, then consider looking elsewhere for placement!
Space Rental Agreements
Once you’ve decided on your spot, you’ll need to secure your location through an agreement with the property owner. You should always sign a contract with the owner that spells out all terms of the agreement. This can prevent disputes in the future.
Some of the things that you need to include in the agreement are as follows:
- Lease length
- Fee / Commission amount
- Servicing agreement
- Exclusivity clause
- Termination rights
If possible, try to negotiate for the inclusion of an exclusivity agreement so that no other ATMs can be placed on the property. You’ll also need to make sure that you have access to the location in order to service your machine. To make sure you’ve covered everything, it would be a great idea to consult an attorney before finalizing your agreement.
ATM Equipment Requirements
Now you must decide what type of machine you will purchase. You can buy new or used, but there are pros and cons to each.
Buying New ATM Machines
Buying a new machine is the best way to ensure that you get the latest and greatest technology available, especially with the latest EMV requirements. New machines also come with a warranty, usually about 24 months. During this period, and malfunctions in the machine would be covered, so you wouldn’t have to worry about paying for repairs.
However, buying new is the costliest option from an initial investment standpoint. A new ATM generally costs somewhere between $3,000 to $10,000. If you don’t have the capital to buy new, you may have to consider a used machine.
Buying Used ATM Machines
Buying used is the cheaper option and can allow you to purchase more machines with the same amount of capital. In fact, used ATMs can be found for as little as $500. If you decide to go the used route, make sure that the machines are in good working order and comply with the latest registrations. Also, be prepared to pay out of pocket for any repairs to the machine if something goes wrong.
ATM Maintenance and Support
While an ATM business is mostly passive income, there is work that goes along with the business. You’ll need to schedule a time for maintenance and support. Improperly maintained machines can cost you money and lead to unhappy customers.
Refilling your machines is one of the most common maintenance tasks that you will need to complete. You will want to make sure that your ATMs don’t run out of cash because this will cause you to lose business. This task usually needs to be completed at least weekly, but sometimes more often in busy areas.
Remember that you will need access to quite a bit of cash in order to initially fill your machines and keep them refilled. Most ATMs are loaded with several thousands of dollars, so that is a lot of money you will need upfront to get started.
The other consideration is who will refill the machines. You can refill them yourself, and that is the cheapest option. However, it is also the most work. You could hire an armored car service, but that is the most expensive option. Their rules also require upgraded locks on the machine, which cost anywhere from $200-$600 to purchase.
ATM Machine Repair
If you keep your machines long enough, you are bound to encounter some issues that require repair. Make sure you account for repairs in your cash flow so that you can pay for them when they arise. A broken ATM is not making money, and it could lead to problems with the property owner as well. Be sure to find a reputable and professional repair service to ensure that things are fixed properly.
On occasion, regulatory rules change that will require changes or upgrades to your machine. This is another reason you should consider buying new as the machines will be up to date with current laws. Newer machines are generally less expensive to upgrade for compliance as well. In some cases, older machines must be completely replaced.
If you’re looking for a legitimate, passive income opportunity, then an ATM business may be for you. However, it does require hard work and a moderate amount of startup capital. Be sure to do thorough research on the location you have selected, as this is one of the biggest factors that will affect your success.
Be sure to get up to date machines, and keep them serviced. Negotiate favorable terms with the property owner for the placement of your machine. With proper planning, you should be able to make a few hundred dollars per month per machine. Good luck!