Starting an ATM Business: 3 Things I Wish I Had Known

Author Justin Gilmore

When I started, LLC in 2006, I had no prior experience with the ATM industry and very little money. We’ve built a successful ATM company in the 14 years since, but most of what I’ve learned about the business has been through experience, trial-and-error, and a few hard knocks. If I can help small business owners just starting out to avoid some of the mistakes I made, then the hard knocks were worth it. When it comes to starting up an ATM business in the United States, here are three things I wish I had known at the beginning.

1. Always Run the Numbers.

Automated teller machines are great for passive income, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make sure the math adds up every time you place a machine. When you’re just starting out, you can be easily tempted to place a machine anywhere someone lets you, magically thinking that machine will bring in plenty of surcharge revenue. If this new location has low foot traffic or low visibility, or if the contract makes you give up too much of the surcharge split with the owner of the location, you could spend a lot of time servicing and stocking that machine for very little profit. Always analyze which are the most high traffic areas (convenience stores and gas stations are great locations, but they’re not the only ones!) and carefully review contracts so can properly do the math to make sure your machine will be profitable enough to keep it in that space.

2. Plan Your ATM Machine Route Wisely.

Anytime you have more than one ATM machine in operation, you effectively have a route. You’re going to visit those machines regularly in a particular order to service them and keep them stocked with cash. When choosing locations, ATM owners don’t just need to consider foot traffic and visibility at one location — they also need to consider how ATM locations are situated in relation to each other. It’s a common mistake to space machines too far apart or to place them in businesses with limited hours that restrict the time of day in which you can service them. If you don’t plan your route strategically, you could be working all hours of the day and night just keeping up with the machines, and not generating enough revenue to make it worth all those hours. Consider where you put the machines in relation to each other, and plan your service route to make the most of your time.

3. Make a Plan for Cash Stocking

ATMs run on cash, and one of the most common mistakes new ATM business owners make is not keeping their machines well stocked. An ATM that runs out of money can’t generate revenue, and if it happens more than once, customers will stop coming to the machine. Make sure you have enough access to cash so your machines can keep up with the foot traffic.

The good news is, when you start your ATM business, you don’t have to go it alone like I did. With an ATM provider and ATM placement servicer like ATM National Wholesale, you have the tools and the partner you need to make your new ATM business plan a success and avoid many of the mistakes I made starting out. Give us a call at 1-866-295-2329 to learn more about how to start your own ATM business.