How to Get Your First ATM Placement (Without Any References)

Your first ATM placement is always going to be the most challenging.

Even with the best ATM business resources, the best guidance, and an incredibly supportive ATM processor, you’re still working from limited experience.

But, you’re also working without any references. You don’t have any other placements, yet. So, you have no track record to showcase. That often makes people nervous about signing contracts.

However, there’s a solution to this problem. And, you can absolutely get your first ATM placement without any references.

Here’s how to do it (and exactly what to say).

How to get credibility without references

People ask for references because they want to check your credibility. It’s normal human behavior to assume that if other people trust you, you must be trustworthy.

But, here’s the thing: you can borrow credibility.

In the ATM business, the easiest way to do this is to borrow credibility from your business partners. The easiest partner to borrow credibility from is your ATM processor.

If you think about it, as an ATM operator, you’re essentially selling the ATM processor’s service. The ATM machine is just the computer. But, it’s the connection to the bank that makes the money transfer possible. And, that’s what your ATM processor provides.

So, you can position yourself as a local representative for your ATM processor. That way you can borrow your ATM processor’s reputation to build credibility for yourself.

Obviously, this only works if your ATM processor has a reputation. For example: ATMDepot operates thousands of ATM machines nationwide. We’ve been in business for 15 years. And, our CEO, Noah Wieder, wrote a book about the ATM business. He’s been helping ATM businesses since 1996.

That’s a solid track record. If you work with ATMDepot, you can position yourself as a local representative for ATMDepot to borrow some of the ATMDepot street cred.

Showcase the advantages of being your first ATM placement

Which employees always work the hardest? That’s right. The brand new ones. The new employees are always eager to prove themselves and show that it was a good idea to hire them.

Your first ATM placement is like a new job. And, you’re like that new employee. You’ve got the most to lose. So, you’re going to work the hardest.

Also, since you only have one ATM, that one ATM machine literally gets 100% of your attention. That’s a benefit. So, point that out to the client.

Restate the benefits of working with an ATM operator

Even if you’ve already told them why working with an ATM operator is good for their business, reiterating these benefits will help you close the deal.

Remind the client that your ATM machine will:

  • Reduce their credit card transaction fees.
  • Encourage customers to spend money in your client’s business.
  • Generate ATM transaction fee income (if you give a portion of your transaction fee to the business owner, which is a good idea).
  • Take the ATM maintenance responsibilities off the business owner’s plate.
  • Add potential ad space to the client’s business.

This is a classic sales formula: tell them, tell them what you told them, then tell them again. When you restate these benefits, you’re doing the “tell them again” step.

It strengthens your position when you remind the business owner that working with you is an investment, not an expense.

And, depending on how your ATM deployment service is structured, they may not even have to invest much money. The investment might be just the floor space for your ATM and the (very slight) increase in their power bill.

What to say to your first ATM business client

So, we’ve covered the principles that you need to apply. But, we’re going to make it easy to apply them with a script.

Our script covers all these fundamental principles, and applies them in the best order to close the deal.

You can modify this script based on your business and your ATM deployment service. But, if you follow it, you’ll have your first ATM placement in no time.

Here it is:

Where else do I have machines?

That’s a great question. And, I understand why you’d be interested in knowing that.

Well, I work with ATMDepot. And, they run thousands of ATMs nationwide.

They’ve been in business for over 15 years. And, the CEO wrote a book about the ATM business. He’s been helping companies like mine since 1996.

I’d be your local operator. So, I’ll be servicing you personally.

This would be my first ATM in the area. So, you know I’ll be diligent.

Rest assured, it’s an investment for me. And, since you’ll be my first location in the area, you’ll get my undivided attention.

I hope to be able to use you as a referral for my next location. And, the only way I know to make sure you give me a good reference is to provide top notch service.

If you give me a shot to run your ATM, I’m positive you won’t regret it one bit.

Within a few months you’ll be telling your friends how you made one of the best vendor decisions of your business life!

I’d like to help you start saving on credit card fees and give your customers more cash to spend in your store as soon as possible.

Now, how about we sit down for 10 minutes. I’ll go over the program, and we can do some paperwork.

That’s it. Very straightforward. Feel free to tailor it to your needs. But, print it out and practice it. That way you never stumble when it comes time to overcome this classic objection.

What to do now

Want to read Noah Wieder’s book about the ATM business? Get your copy.

Need an ATM processor with a reputation that you can use to get your first ATM placement? Get ATM processing through ATMDepot.

How to Write an ATM Business Plan

So, you’re going to start an ATM business? That’s great! But, you need to have an ATM business plan before you dive in.

As businesses go, an ATM business is relatively simple. There’s not a lot of equipment to maintain. You don’t have to stock any physical inventory. And, you can run the business yourself, if you want.

However, an ATM business plan is still very important, despite that simplicity.

Writing an ATM business plan helps you map out the first years of running your business. And, your ATM business plan forces you to think about all the aspects of running an ATM business, helps you anticipate costs and problems, and creates a checklist for getting your business off the ground.

Additionally, having a written business plan can help secure loans (if you need them) and bank accounts.

Really, your business plan is the first asset you build for your business.

So, let’s get started.

The anatomy of an ATM business plan

An ATM business has all the same high level considerations of any other business. So, the contents of your business don’t need to be special. Your contents page can look just like this:

  1. Executive summary.
  2. Company summary and funding needs.
  3. Products and services.
  4. Marketing plan and analysis.
  5. Management team.
  6. Financial plan and forecasts.

There will be subsections for each of these sections. But, everything will fall under one of these umbrellas.

Your business plan doesn’t need to be a manifesto. As you add the information for each section, a good tactic is to use short headings followed by bullet points. Use the question as the heading, and list the answers to each question in the bullets. That way you can easily reference your business plan when you need it.

These are the questions you need to answer as you fill out each section.

Executive summary

There are three main subsections for your objective summary:

Objectives

The objectives don’t have to be anything super corporate. It’s your business. What do you want your business to do for you in the first year? The first two years? The first five years?

The purpose of your objectives is to set measurable goal posts, so that you know when your business has achieved what you want and if you’re meeting your timeline.

Mission statement

The mission statement is related to what your business does for your customers. The mission should be a direct line to your objectives. What will you do for your customers that will help your business achieve your objectives?

Keys to success

What are the most important things that you’ll need to do to make your business successful?

Be very honest with yourself here. You’re going to be doing most of the work in your business. So, there may be some personal development that’s critical to making your business successful. Or maybe you must secure some additional funding before you can do anything else.

Your keys to success should be mandatory things, the non-negotiables that make the whole thing work.

Company summary and funding needs

Your company summary and funding needs defines who’s going to do what and how you’re going to cover startup and operating expenses.

Company summary

Obviously, you need to define your own responsibilities. But, also define what responsibilities you’re going to outsource.

  • Are you going to hire a vaulting service for your ATMs?
  • Will you hire someone to perform routine maintenance and cleaning?
  • Are you going to perform every installation yourself or have the installation done for you?
  • Will you pay for accounting and bookkeeping or learn to do it yourself?
  • Which ATM processor will you use? Will you need to pay processing fees?

You don’t have to do everything. But, everything needs to get done. And, you need to plan out who’s going to do it, and how you’re going to pay for it…

Funding needs

Startup costs

The most obvious funding needs are your startup costs. Typically, you can budget about $5000 for each ATM machine. That covers the cost of the ATM itself and the cash you need to stock it.

However, $5000 is just a general guideline. Identify which ATM machines you’re going to purchase and plan out how much cash you’re going to put in them. That way you can calculate specific costs.

ATM machines vary in price. And, you need to fill them with more money if you want to refill them less often. Define these variables, so you can very precisely define your funding needs. You’re less likely to run into surprises this way.

Operating costs

Also, calculate your operating costs. Be very specific in this category, too. Think about the gas and vehicle maintenance, if you’re driving to restock your ATMs. Include the cost of vaulting your ATM machines, if you’re paying a vaulting service. And, remember to include payroll if you’ll be hiring anyone.

Business formation costs

Lastly, consider the costs of starting a company (C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, etc.). You can operate ATM machines as a sole proprietor, without filing any paperwork with the state. But, working as an individual, rather than a business, has some drawbacks.

First, you’ll be personally liable for anything that goes wrong. Raising a corporate veil is outside the scope of this post. But, if you’re operating as an individual, everything you own could be at risk.

Also, it’s very difficult to get a business bank account without a business tax identification number. Actually, it might be impossible (but we’re not bankers or lawyers).

Without getting too far into the legal weeds, suffice to say that owning and operating ATM machines without a corporate entity will be very tricky. It’s better to just start a company.

Corporate startup costs vary from state to state. But, you should figure at least $1000 to cover the filing and state fees. But, again, do some research to get precise numbers.

The purpose of this exercise is to determine exactly how much money you will need to get the business started, and how much it will cost to keep things running. That way you know how much you need to borrow, if you’re borrowing your startup capital. And, you’ll know how much revenue you need to keep the ship above water.

Products and services

This one is pretty straightforward for an ATM business: you provide ATM machines to businesses and events.

But, get more specific than that.

  • How much will your transaction fees be?
  • What will you do as part of your ATM services?
  • Will you provide additional products with your ATM machines (i.e. ATM toppers that advertise for businesses)?

As you negotiate contracts with business owners, you’ll find that each ATM placement has its nuances.

The purpose of clearly defining your products and services is to establish boundaries. You need to know what you will definitely NOT do.

Once you have an agreement and a contract to do something, you have to do it. So, you need to plan out your services. That way you don’t end up bound to a contract that’s not good for you or your business.

Having a clear picture of how your services are structured will also help you with the next step.

Marketing plan and analysis

The target market for ATM businesses is fairly predefined. Or, at least more predefined than many other business markets.

However, it’s still a good idea to narrow your focus and gather some intelligence about the businesses you’ll be targeting. There are a couple of ways that you can select a target market for your ATM business:

    1. Focus on a certain area. If you live in a populated area, you can focus on the businesses near your residence. That way your ATM route will be familiar and maybe even walkable. Or, you can just focus your efforts on an area with a lot of eligible businesses.
    2. Focus on a certain type of business. In reality, an ATM owner can help almost any business by providing ATM services. But, if you narrow your scope to a certain type of business—like casinos or gas stations—you can learn about the business, identify some benefits that are unique to those types of businesses, and position yourself as a specialist in that industry.

This may seem counterintuitive. If you only focus on one area or type of business, you’re missing a lot of opportunities, right? Not quite.

First, you can always expand in to serving new businesses and new areas as your ATM business grows.

But, narrowing your focus also works as a sales lever. You can build a unique selling proposition (USP)  around being nearby and therefore easy to reach. Or you can use your specialization in helping certain types of businesses as your unique selling proposition.

In short, focusing on a smaller target market makes it easier for you to get your first ATM placements. You can always widen your scope as your ATM business grows.

Management team

The management team might be just you. But, if you have additional team members, define their roles and responsibilities. Don’t leave anyone out.

This is a bit different than defining who you were going to hire. Now, you need to define what parts of the business each person is responsible for and how you’ll measure success.

If you’re the only manager. That’s fine. Define responsibilities and standards for yourself. Starting a business always involves at least a little bit of personal development.

Financial plan and forecasts

The most important part of this section is ensuring that you have a plan to cover all of your expenses and pay off any debts the business has. There are three parts to developing this plan.

Income statement

Your income statement is just a statement that shows your business profits and losses. Before you start a business, there’s obviously not going to be a lot here. But, be sure to prepare one and keep it updated. Most accounting software will run an income statement for you.

Balance sheet

Your balance sheet shows your assets and liabilities. Your ATM machines are assets. If you took out a loan to buy your first ATM, that loan is a liability.

Setting up a balance sheet is pretty straightforward. And, most accounting software will help you construct a balance sheet.

The general rule for balance sheets is that anything which generates revenue is an asset. Anything that does not generate revenue is a liability.

Use a balance sheet template if you want to manually create your balance sheet.

Cash flow statement

Your cash flow statement just shows where money is coming into your business and where money is going out. This enables you to get a high level view of your income and expenses.

Your account software can also help you with this. But, you can use a cash flow statement template to write out your own cash flow statement.

The point of putting together all these reports is first to prepare for tracking your business finances. Things get messy really fast if you have no idea where your money is coming from or where it’s going. And, building these reports once you’ve been operating for several months is a nightmare.

But, as you construct these reports, you’ll be able to estimate your projected revenue and establish a plan for paying off all your debts, coving your operating expenses, and maximizing profits.

As a note, most successful ATM business owners report that they make about $500 per ATM machine each month. Your numbers may be different. But, $500 per ATM per month is a good starting point for estimating your revenue.

It’s just like personal finance. You need to have a plan for what you’re going to do with your money.

One last thing…

That’s it. Your business plan is all done. There’s just one more thing. And, this is the fun part…

Go back to the cover page of your business plan. Think up a name for your business and add it to the cover page. It might seem weird to do this last. But, it’s a lot easier to think up a clever, relevant business name if you know everything about your business.

Now you’re done. And, it’s time to start putting your plan into action.

Copy and paste the following text into an MS Word or Google Doc to create a template for your business plan:

[ATM BUSINESS NAME]

  1. Executive summary
    1. Objectives
    2. Mission statement
    3. Keys to success
  2. Company summary and funding needs
    1. Company summary
    2. Funding needs
  3. Products and services
    1. ATM service packages
  4. Marketing plan and analysis
    1. Target areas and business types
  5. Management team
  6. Financial plan and forecasts
    1. Income statement
    2. Balance sheet
    3. Cash flow statement

Then fill out each section to write your ATM business plan (remember to add the name LAST). Then, all you have to do is get it done.

If you need help executing your ATM business plan, become an ATMDepot member to get training on how to start and run your ATM business.

How to Pull Reports Before the WorldPay Portal Shutdown

What’s Happening with WorldPay Portal?

Were you a WorldPay Portal user?

Many ATM entrepreneurs consistently used WorldPay’s Portal site before the company was acquired by a U.S. fintech group, Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), back in 2019. According to CNBC, The company was sold for around $35 billion, the biggest deal to date in the booming payments industry.

Slight changes started to roll in on the site. And, changes occurred in how ATM Operators were managing their TIDs. However, since then, ATM owners and operators have still had access to reporting on the site. Unfortunately, this is coming to an end.

Check Out Our Email Announcement | Sign Up for Our Emails

The last day to pull data from your WorldPay Portal is February 21, 2020. Once the portal shuts down, you will no longer be able to access any reports or transaction histories. So, grab what you need!

It’s strongly advised that you pull any reports—such as Month End Statements, Merchant Statements, and Settlement Reporting—BEFORE THIS DATE.

Why Should I Pull My ATM Reports?

Is it required? No. But, it’s a good idea to keep historical data. You never know when you might need to refer back to previous transactions for trends, reference, or for future tax or business purposes. It can’t hurt. So, why not?

Remember, after February 21st you’ll no longer have the option, so grab them now. 

How Do I Pull My ATM Reports from WorldPay Portal?

There are many reports that you can pull from the WorldPay Portal before the permanent shutdown. The three main reports you may want to pull are:

  1. Month End StatementsShows complete transaction data and settlement totals selected for each month
  2. Merchant StatementsShows complete transaction data and settlement totals for each merchant
  3. Settlement ReportingConfirm your settlement deposit amounts by selecting a date range by week or month, then view the settlement amounts deposited into the bank account each day.

1. How to Pull My Month End Statements

Terminal Reports > Transaction Reporting > Terminal Statement > Choose Date > Press “OK” > Want to Print? Scroll down to “Printer Friendly Version” > Report shows in PopUp “Printable Terminal Statement” > Hit “Ctrl + P” (* Note: May have to accept pop-ups on your computer from Worldpay.com)

WorldPay Portal Dashboard - Transaction Reporting Dropdown

WorldPay Portal Dashboard - Terminal Statement

  

WorldPay Portal Dashboard - Enter Date for Terminal Statement

WorldPay Portal Dashboard - Month End Statement - Click to Print

2. How to Download My Merchant Statements

Terminal Reports > Transaction Reporting > Merchant Summary by Terminal > Choose Date > Press “OK” > Report shows in PopUp “ReportPDF” (* Note: May have to accept pop-ups on your computer from Worldpay.com)

3. How to Pull My Settlement Reporting

Terminal Reports > Transaction Reporting > Daily Terminal Activity > Choose Date Range (best to select by month; the report cannot be more than 40 days)  > Press “Submit” > Report is submitted to you via email (at your user email address)

WorldPay Portal - Daily Terminal Activity for Settlement Reporting WorldPay Portal - Daily Terminal Activity - Enter Date to Request Settlement Reporting WorldPay Portal - Daily Terminal Activity - Email Confirmation

What’s Next?

At this moment, nothing is actually changing. Why? Because most IADs have already moved over to review their terminals using new portals. Luckily, we’ve all known that the WorldPay Portal would be shutting down soon, we just didn’t know when. 

If you’ve already started to use your new portal account, after pulling your reports, you may return to using your new dashboard. 

If your terminals haven’t been moved from WorldPay to another portal yet, contact us and let us know. We may be able to help you get you access to a brand new portal dashboard.

Transaction World Magazine Article, Volume 1 Issue 6 – [2001 Revisited]

Are ATMs the New Plastic

Merchants and Consumers are Choosing Cash Over Credit

From Transaction World Magazine – Volume 1, Issue 6 – Cover Story 2001

The customer has spoken. More than ever, cash is king.

A cautions economy, the high cost of credit and the growth of the ATM industry have spurred a purchasing revolution. As a natural occurrence, customers are moving from credit card purchases to debit cards as their preferred payment method. According to a MasterCard consumer segmentation study, among people that use both credit and debit cards, debit cards are used more than five more often 5.9 times per month vs 5.1 times per month for credit cards.

In a reverse of financial trends a decade ago, many experts believe the credit card industry is showing stagnant growth. By contrast, the booming ATM Marketplace is finding its machines in an unprecedented number of locations. In fact, a recent Nielsen report predicts that by the Year 2005, the number of ATMs will double from 1997 numbers. For bank card ISOs, this presents not only a challenge but also a significant opportunity.

ISOs and Merchants alike are finding that ATMs mean sales. Credit union industry experts estimate that more than 60 billion consumer transactions flowed over ATMs in the year 2000 and the customers are using this platform more than any other Financial Service delivery point. At the same time, trade Publications in the restaurant, quick-serve, hospitality, and convenience store Industries report that ATMs increase foot traffic, boost per visit spending, cut down on check fraud and reduce credit card fees.

Statistics tell the story. In the restaurant industry, for example, Association reports show that colon

  •  ATMs increase traffic up to 30% and increase per visit sales 10% to 20%.
  •  Up to 80% of cash obtained at ATMs in host bars and restaurants is spent on site. 
  • At Quick Serve restaurants, we’ve seen the average check increase up to 58%.

In addition, experts predict that demand for kiosk ATMs will grow exponentially as the population of Internet Savvy, self-service oriented customers grows. An August 2000 overview by Dove Consulting observes that consumers under 55 are particularly likely to use ATMs and are “completely comfortable conducting ATM transactions”

The evolution of a revolution

On the downside of the ATM opportunity, even the industry’s most ardent supporters admit that it has had its share of unscrupulous dealers. Salesman with an eye to make a quick buck often promised outrageous returns while failing to deliver on those promises. Other abuses resulted in customer service nightmares through the place of undependable equipment. While some of those businesses still exist —and need to be warned about — you can find ATM specialist firms that are sophisticated, dependable partners.

The strongest ATM organizations are those with solid institution affiliations. The scrutiny, Financial backing and network capabilities offered by these relationships established an unprecedented level of professionalism. At the same time, ATM companies with strong ISO support have become increasingly attractive to banks, which recognize the need to penetrate markets and establish quality representation in the field. 

Business stability and financial reliability within the ATM industry have accelerated the acceptance of merchant ATMs as has the proven recurring income stream generated by ATMs. However, recognizing the competitiveness within the ATM industry has increasingly demanded a higher level of ISO accountability, profits, service, and support. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), Internet-accessible transaction report, fast lease approvals, and equipment installations, as well as capabilities to accept cards from major networks, are common expectations. 

ISOs have had to rely on solid corporate relationships in order to deliver on these demands and still generate significant returns.

ATMs have also proliferated because manufacturers have built machines to be easy loading, secure, reliable and virtually maintenance-free. In addition, the size of the equipment has decreased and lease/purchase costs have come down; the newest machines have footprints smaller than two square feet and pay for themselves with as few as four swipes per day!

ISO Opportunity

While ATMs have boomed, experts predict there’s still plenty of room for growth. Certainly, independent stores remain a strong ATM market. But you can also expect ATMs to pop up in nontraditional locations. . .tennis courts to courthouses, beauty parlors to bingo parlors. In addition, there’s a growing interest in system branding, where companies such as McDonald’s, major hotel chains, American Express, Safeway and Winn Dixie install ATMs reflecting their unique corporate identities.

At the same time, ATM fees are also becoming widely accepted. Market research tracks that younger users are much more willing to incur charges for the conveniences provided by ATMs. And as technology continues to expand ATM capabilities and deliver new services to consumers, one can easily predict that additional features will translate into additional usage… and additional residual income to boot! For the ISO, ATMs dispense opportunity. Because if cash is king, ATMs are the keys to the treasury.

Choosing the Right Partner [Still holds true today – in 2020]

Choosing the right ATM company is crucial to the success of an ISO. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your partner is a strong organization.

Financial Strength

Is your ATM company affiliated with a major financial institution? Has that institution supported technology development and system upgrades?

[2020 update – Yes, ATMDepot aligned itself with several major institutions that have all supported technology and continue to look to the future. Noah Wieder wrote this article almost 20 years ago and the future is today!]

Track Record

Who are the ATM company’s customers? Can you talk to affiliated ISOs and merchants for references? [2020 update – ATMDepot runs one of the most active ATM Entrepreneur groups on Facebook. You can join and talk to many of our customers and affiliated IADs as well as read reviews online. Want to talk to one of our customers, no problem, just ask and we’ll be happy to give you as many references as you want].

Responsiveness

Are approvals handled in a timely manner, creating a quick turnaround between the time a lease is signed, a machine is installed and when you get paid? [2020 update – very few ATMs are leased since pricing has come down to less than 1/2 of what they were almost 20 years ago. Machines are typically shipped within 5 – 7 business days of order].

Program Scalability

Can your ATM company provide service to any size merchant, from single locations to hundreds of sites? [2020 update – of course ATMDepot can. We manage thousands of ATMs. From single store owner locations to multi-family routes run by some of the best IADs in the country!]

Support

Is there a dedicated sales support team for distributors? Are problems handled promptly? Are machines kept operative? [2020 update – Absolutely. We wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t. ATMDepot has been helping ATM business owners since 2003 and Noah Wieder is the Owner!]

Reporting 

Will you have ongoing Internet access to daily activity reports? Are detailed statements provided? Are residuals tracked and paid in a time1y manner? [2020 update – of course, Noah Wieder wrote this article almost 20 years ago and still maintains all of the important partner qualities that he looks for and provides to all ATMDepot customers – IADs and Merchants alike.]

ATM Factoids [unable to verify these same stats in 2020, however, the first one is close, unsure about the next two]

  • The typical ATM customer spends 20%—-25% more than a non-ATM customer. 
  • 40% of regular ATM users use the ATM an average of ten times per month. 
  • 60% of Americans 25-34 years old and 51% of Americans 25-49 years old use ATMs eight times a month and withdraw an average of $55 each time.

How Much Does it Cost?

The average cost of various payment methods (based on time to make a payment, backroom time to prepare deposits, bank charges and other charges such as collection fees) are as follows [from 2001]

Cash  $0.07
Electronic Benefits Transfer  $0.15
Food Stamps  $0.16
Debit Cards  $0.29
Electronically Authorized Checks  $0.37
Checks  $0.43
Credit Cards  $0.80

ORIGINAL ARTICLE – IMAGES FROM ACTUAL PUBLICATION

Transaction World Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6, 2001 page 7

Transaction World Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6, 2001 page 8

Download Are ATMs the New Plastic from Academia.edu