Have you ever wondered how ATMs come into existence? Who puts them there? And who’s earning that fee you’re charged every time you use one? If you read on to find out how you can start an ATM machine business yourself, all of those transaction fees could be going directly into your pocket. Let’s find out how.
What is it?
ATMs aren’t always owned by banks or large organizations. Often they’re owned by savvy business people looking to capitalize on a consistent need that people have on a daily basis—the need to pull cash out of their bank accounts without running into an actual bank.
It’s pretty simple, really. You do the research to find ideal locations for ATMs that don’t already have them. These include gas stations and convenience stores, groceries and supermarkets, clubs, restaurants, bars, shopping malls, fairs and carnivals, etc. You then deal with the business owner directly to negotiate an agreement to provide them with an ATM. You buy the machine, install it, connect it to the internet or phone line, and load cash into the machine.
Every time someone uses your ATM, you’ll receive the surcharge—usually somewhere in the general vicinity of $3. That may seem like a lot, but imagine an 8-hour business day in a busy shopping mall. If only 20 people use your machine to withdraw cash, that’s $60 a day which translates to a passive income of $1,800 a month. While you’ll need to subtract costs like transaction fees to the company that processes the card and the minor costs of paper receipt rolls, that’s just a conservative figure for a single machine.
We know what you’re wondering—where does the cash in the machine come from? You have a couple of options here. The first is to use your own money, which has the benefit of allowing you to keep more of your profits. (Don’t worry—the amount of cash removed will be matched to you in a payment from the ATM user.) The obvious risks of this involve the need to carry and stock a thousand dollars or more at a time in your ATM, which might invite theft.
Another option is to use a cash service, which you’ll pay a fee in exchange for them handling the restocking of your ATM and providing cash to fill it. This will eat into your profits more, but will also insulate you against the risk of being the victim of a robbery.
Who is it for?
You’ll need some initial capital to buy the machines (or finance them), and you’ll also need enough business savvy and research to scope out prime locations and negotiate effectively with the business owners at those locations for a mutually beneficial arrangement. From there, you’ll simply need to keep the machines loaded with cash and monitor them from a distance to begin collecting your surcharges.
How does it pay?
Because of low overhead fees that come from freedom from a need for employees or business space, you’re potential for profit is significant. Income will vary significantly based on location, how many machines you own, and how many transactions you process. But many ATM business owners enjoy a profit of $4,000/year from just one machine. With multiple machines, that number increases exponentially.
Very little work involved to maintain business after initial startup
Companies available to help guide your initial setup
Relatively simple business model
No prior business experience required
Mobile monitoring of cash levels
Some startup capital required to purchase machines, which can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000
Negotiation and social skills required to land desirable locations and agreement terms with businesses that host machines
Stocking cash into machines can be dangerous depending on area; consider hiring an ATM restocking company or placing ATMs only in safe areas
How to Get Started
As with many businesses, research is key. There are many companies online that provide a complete guide to help you get set up, from data gathering to purchasing or leasing machines. We like www.ATMDepot.com as a good place to get started.
Owning a few ATMs will not make you rich overnight. But if you can place a few ATMs in high-traffic areas, you can boost your annual earnings by a few thousand dollars or more with minimal ongoing time investment on your part. Some countries for now allow banks to own ATM, so the opportunity of running this business is not there.