Put More Money in Your Pocket: Making an ATM Profitable

Make More Money

Is your ATM profitable?  There is more than one way to measure ATM profitability. Some ATM Entrepreneurs only look at the surcharge income verse expenses out. However, if you really look at the ATM business, it’s more than that.

Let’s use some easy numbers to wrap our heads around profitability.  I prefer to say, how much can my money make for me?  Do you work for your money or does your money work for you?  That means if you have a few thousand dollars sitting in a bank account (aside from emergency funds which we know is important) how much income are those funds generating.

Historically, interest rates in a savings account, money market account, or a Certificate of Deposit (CD) account can generate 1% – 3% annually. So let’s say you have $5,000 sitting in the bank if you locked that away in a CD that would get you the highest returns. Let’s say you found a bargain at 3% (not likely at the time of this writing) but that would be a whopping $150 per year and you’d probably have to lock up those funds for at least 3 or maybe 5 years.  More common is a 1% CD for a year or a Savings account at less than 1% these days. So for argument sake, we’ll say you’re averaging 1% a year which would be $50 per year on $5000. While the savings account or other bank account funds are insured and the risk of funds is very low, the ATM business is not much riskier if you work it.

There’s no magic bullet. To maximize your income, making the most on your money you do have to find a location and you do have to service the ATM. That’s the way to make the most money from the ATM business. One can expect an average of about 100 ATM transactions per month from an okay location. Poor locations might average 50 or 60 (2 uses per day) and great machines might average 400 or more (12 transactions per day). If you have a mix of locations you’ll see an average of 150 or so across the portfolio.

We’ll use an easy example of 100 transactions at $3.00 and giving the location $1 after the first 50 transactions to ensure you cover your costs. The biggest expense is the ATM itself. We’ll use $2500 for a brand new ATM with taxes and installation and $10 per month for wireless communication services.  Then, you’re going to load $2000 or so in cash but those funds are either in the ATM or in the bank so it’s not really invested cash since you still have immediate access to it in an emergency.  So, the initial investment might be $2500 or $4500 depending on how you look at it.

If you have a location doing 100 transactions at $3 that gives you $300 per month, less the $50 you pay the location for the 50 transactions over 50. That leaves you with $250 less the expense of wireless fees, travel costs to the location (gas, car payment, maintenance, etc), and any costs associated with doing business at that location. Maybe you buy food if it’s a restaurant bar, or get a haircut once a month if it’s a barber (while these are normal things you would probably do, they are considered business expenses) since you want to patronize the stores you do business with.

Let’s say of the $250 in gross income after paying the location you account for $50 per month for other expenses leaving you $200 per month. That same $2500 in the bank would take you 4 years to make the same amount from one ATM a month.  If you average $200 net income each month from one machine you would have essentially paid off your first location in a year.

So, how do you make even more money from your ATM?

Your ATM users might see an ATM as a convenient way to get quick cash; however, some ATM owners are looking to see how they can make an ATM more profitable. Now, if you’re a store owner and an ATM investor and not an IAD (independent ATM deployer) you might look at the ATM as a way to attract more customers to your store.  However, what retailers don’t often realize is that a few simple steps can turn an ATM into an additional money-making vehicle for them making the ATM even more Profitable. If you’re an IAD, these are some of the points you want to talk about with the store owners.

  • Have you ever walked into a store that has an ATM sign in the window but can’t locate the machine once you’re inside? This happens more often then you think. To maximize ATM revenue, make sure customers can easily locate the machine.
  • If you work with convenience stores you know they use every inch of available space to shelve products. This can often make it harder to locate the ATM as they often put it in the back of the store. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase location, location, location in real estate. Well, it doesn’t only apply to houses.
  • The number one step to maximizing revenue and making more money when operating an ATM business is to make sure the ATM in a visible and easily accessible location. The best place is right inside the front doors of the store or near the front of the store at the highest traffic aisle such as the water and soda aisle.
  • Maximize ATM usage by making sure customers have to pass the machine before they shop. If their main purpose wasn’t to come in and get cash, it might trigger them to do so since the machine is so convenient.
  • In a bar, quick service restaurant, brewery, or any place where customers walk up to a counter to plan an order, placing the ATM machine in an area that gets the most foot traffic before the user gets to the ordering area will be most profitable. Typically, this will be the entrance or along the area where customers may line up or congregate to order. Keep in mind that customers have many uses to have a few extra dollars while ordering and after ordering. At a bar — the need for another drink, playing the jukebox, another game of pool, paying for parking, a valet, or a taxi on the way out.
  • Signage is another simple step to maximize revenue. Advertise that you have an ATM located in the establishment. I can’t tell you how many locations don’t say they have an aTM because they think it will create a target. Trust me, criminals will know they have an ATM anyway. The sign is to increase legitimate use. Anyone that thinks a sign is going to invite the criminal won’t maximize revenue.
  • The location of the sign is also important; it must be visible from the street or to passers-by on the sidewalk. Many storefronts, bar windows, liquor stores, and popular convenience locations can be cluttered with lottery posters, sale posters, or neon lights, so placing the sign where it is clearly visible will improve the ATM usage.

ATM owners make money from the convenience fee that is charged (the surcharge); therefore, the more conveniently located your ATM is, the more people will be driven to the machine. Some locations like barbershops, nail salons, ice cream shops, smoke shops, and even some bars & restaurants do not accept credit cards due to the high cost of taking that payment method. Those locations will generate the most ATM revenues.

An ATM owner making a conscious effort with advertising and placement should maximize profits vs ATM owners not doing those things. Smart ATM operators can get their ROI (make money back) “return on investment” much sooner than sometimes anticipated.

There are also many other ways to make your ATM profitable.  From on-screen advertising to dispensing coupons and discounts on the receipt, to complete ATM branding by wrapping the ATM with a custom skin from one advertiser.

  • Put more money in your pocket with advertising on the ATM screen and coupons.  If you have several locations in an area, cross-promoting the stores can also generate more money.
  • Would the barbershop like to advertise or offer a coupon on the ATM you have located a few blocks away at the bar?
  • Would the bar want to advertise on the ATM at the barbershop?
  • While you can set your own pricing for coupons, welcome screens, and processing screens, generally $25 – $30 per month (a buck a day) you can cross-promote and generate additional revenue.

Obviously the nail salon isn’t going to advertise on your brewery ATM, but they might be interested in advertising on the ATM at a coffee shop or the small boutique or that farmers market where their demographics hang out. When thinking about advertising and coupon opportunities, think about the locations you have as well as potential locations that might be interesting candidates for advertising. If you can get advertising interests prior to meeting with a location owner you can even use some of that info to close the deal (I have a barbershop that would let you advertise on there ATM). This can lower your costs of acquiring the location. You can even use advertising funds to secure a good location by offering the location free advertising on another ATM of yours. Present the real value. Advertising is a great incentive.

One of the simple ways to increase profits is to load the ATM with 10’s instead of 20’s in some locations. This lowers the average withdrawal amount, often increases transactions, and reduces funds needed in the ATM.

Should you need more ideas about how to maximize profits from your ATM or your network of ATMs if you operate multiple ATMs as a business, please give ATMDepot.com a call at 888-959-2269 to speak with one of our associates.

[VIDEO] Explosives Used to Break into Machine during ATM Robbery, Thieves Caught on HD Camera

On August 11, 2017, two criminals drove their SUV up to a Gas Station ATM Kiosk with a plan. They planned to execute an ATM robbery by blowing up the ATM with some sort of liquid explosive. It is clear from this video, it’s not the first time they are attempting this. They are wanted by the FBI. The authorities were very excited to see the quality of our security footage.


Authorities at the Crime Scene of the ATM Robbery in San Diego, CA

When you start using explosives on an ATM, you attract a lot of attention. You get the local police, sheriffs, SWAT, the Bomb Squad, ATF, and the FBI involved. That’s a lot of manpower hunting you down.

These guys are wanted by the FBI. It’s not just a local crime.  Is a few grand worth having to hide and run for the rest of your life? I don’t think so.

The suspects think they got away with it. However, as time will tell, and with the help of this HD video, and the enhancement tools Federal Law Enforcement agencies have available, they will most likely do time behind bars for this ATM robbery.  Maybe they will save all the money they stole to pay for their lawyer. They will need it.

I’ve been in the ATM business since 1994. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of Independent ATM Deployers (IAD’s) start, run, and maintain successful ATM businesses. I’ve personally sold or installed hundreds and hundreds of ATM machines. I currently manage thousands of machines and hundreds of thousands of ATM transactions nationwide and I’ve never, ever seen anything like this.

This location has been a customer of ours for over a decade. We’ve never had any issue until we installed a new kiosk.  While this small kiosk does not appear to be bomb proof, the old kiosk building we used previously onsite was. Unfortunately for us the gas station – car wash is undergoing a remodel and needed to demolish the building, so we had to move the ATM to the other side of the parking lot.

In order not to inhibit the authority’s investigation, we won’t go into the details of what the authorities knew in this article.

However, now that we know all the details we can help others.

So, if you plan to install a kiosk and you are one of our customers (or want to be), please contact our office for some additional help.

We learned an expensive lesson, so we hope to use it to educate our customers.

ATM Depot can certainly help you avoid the same fate. We thought we prepared for every security scenario but they proved us wrong on this one. The key is that we learned an awful lot from this and can now assist our customers even better when dealing with outdoor ATMs.

**** UPDATE ****

September 28, 2017

After many calls between the account manager, Jeremy, and the FBI and ATF, on this situation, we learned that the authorities were able to issue a subpoena at the home of Scott Michael Petri. We are not sure how all this went down but we speculate that the FBI was able to leverage the information obtained in the video of the ATM robbery. According to law enforcement, one of the suspects bragged to a confidential informant about the crime. Upon serving a subpoena at the suspects home, the Law enforcement authorities say they found a drill, a gas cylinder, clothing and other incriminating evidence in his home that matched the items in the surveillance video during the crime.

Court documents allege (and video shows) Petri used a cordless drill to make two holes in the ATM machine’s housing. A second unidentified suspect (now in custody) approached the ATM with an open flame (see video, looks like a cigarette) and lit a fuse.  The suspects drove to the other side of the gas station and the ATM exploded. See the entire ATM robbery (edited for time) in the video above.


The suspect (circled) is searching for the cash box after the ATM robbery explosion

The August robbery was the second time this year an explosive device was used on an ATM in San Diego, according to the FBI.

**** UPDATE ****

October 5, 2017

Scott Michael Petri faces a charge of using an explosive to damage property relating to a robbery at the Chevron Station and Pit Stop Car Wash on Miramar Road just south of the 15 Freeway entrance. The suspect was picked up and booked on October 5th and transferred into Federal custody and is being held in the Federal Prison in Downtown San Diego by the ATF. Bail has been set at $250,000.


Public arrest records for Scott Michael Petri. One of the suspects in the ATM robbery.

Do You Have Seasonal Allergies or Is It Just a Cold?

I’m the pill popper in our office. Don’t worry, it’s not like I’m on all sorts of medications. I take vitamins and supplements to stave off Seasonal Allergies and Cold Season.

What’s the difference between an allergy and cold symptoms?

Allergies Diagram

The differences and similarities between allergies and a common cold.

Seasonal Allergies

Fall allergy triggers typically include different weed pollens. Damp leaves that start to get moldy also trigger mold allergies. That’s why my so many folks rake their yard each fall. Except those of us in California desert where we don’t have leaves that fall or much yard for that matter.

When your body encounters these triggers, your immune system treats pollen or mold as the invader which produces antibodies to defend your body. This is what causes our stuffy nose and/or headache, sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing.

What’s more, as we get older our immune system gets weaker. In fact, a weaker immune response can also reduce allergic reactions. According to Dr. Richard Lockey at the University of South Florida, since more folks are now healthier later in life, he’s seen plenty of 80-year-olds still “having symptoms or developing new allergies.” That’s typically why so many of us say “I never had allergies growing up”.

Want to practice good allergy “hygiene” to keep sniffles at bay this time of year?

For starters, use a HEPA air filter in your bedroom. Keep one in the bedroom and clean the filter once a week. It filters out mold, pollen, and other allergy triggers.

  • Keep windows and doors closed during higher-pollen times. You can check pollen counts through Weather.com’s Allergy Tracker or Pollen.com.
  • If you are outside all day, jump in a shower and change clothes when you return home.
  • Try to avoid going outside on dry, windy days, especially when the pollen count is high and it’s blowing all over the place.
  • Try to exercise later in the day, pollen counts are highest in the morning.

A Neti Pot can also cut down on seasonal allergies, if you’ve never heard of one, check them out here. It’s an old Hindu device used to wash the sinuses and works great but be sure to follow the directions and use only distilled water and the proper salt additive designed for its use.

Seasonal Allergies

This image shows the four most common seasonal allergies.


The drop in temperature this time of year is the perfect temp for viruses to attack. There are about 200 different viruses that cause colds, however, the majority of us get sick from just the one called rhinovirus (aka, the common cold). No, it has nothing to do with Rhinos.

According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the chilly air weakens your body’s defenses. So, the lower the outdoor temps, the weaker our bodies’ response is to a virus. Which means we are less able to resist the rhinovirus.

My mother was a health nut in the 70’s before it was the in thing. She’d tell me that the only two supplements to help with a cold are zinc and vitamin C. You need to pound them when you first feel a cold starting.

Here’s why: Supposedly, Zinc strengthens the body’s “T-cells,” which fight off invading bacteria and viruses in the body. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, can reduce symptoms of a common cold within hours if the dose is high (I take 1,000 mg daily but 5000 mg of a powder for rapid absorption per day for 2 – 3 days when I feel a cold coming on or a tickle in my throat). This is meants to help combat inflammation and regulate blood flow. Of course, you can get vitamin C through proper diet like citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, etc), green, red, & yellow peppers, and broccoli, but not in the amount you need to fight off a cold.

When my son had a sore throat last winter he was miserable. I tried to get him to take 3,000 mg of Vitamin C but that’s a tough one for a teenager. His cough got so bad he couldn’t sleep and I was so desperate that I tried several different cough remedies and formulas. This one was the only thing that helped him sleep through the night.

Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, which is needed to carry oxygen via red blood cells through your bod. This is the central element in the hemoglobin molecule.

Studies found in the Cochrane Library, one of the most prestigious database systems, evaluated many trials involving vitamin C and the common cold. They found taking higher doses of vitamin C cut the duration and severity of common cold symptoms.

Other Tips

Other tips can include:

  • Getting exercise
  • Washing your hands more frequently
  • Avoid sharing of drinks or utensils
  • Don’t eat food or touch your eyes or mouth after touching things in public areas (door knobs, doors, countertops, items when shopping, money, etc).

Zinc is also a known supplement that helps reduce the duration of the cold virus.

Obviously, If a cold turns into the flu or you don’t start feeling better 3 – 5 days out, please seek out your doctor. Antibiotics won’t help knock out a cold virus. If there’s something else going on, your doctor would know best.

Boosting your immune system now can cut down on symptoms and complications should you get sick or suffer from seasonal allergies.