ATM Business Profit: How Much Can You Really Expect to Make?

It’s very simple to make ATM business profit. However, the amount you can make will vary based on your goals, investment, and resources. The good news is that most of these factors are in your control. 

If you’re strategic, patient, and willing to undergo a little trial and error, you can discover the perfect formula for running an ATM business that brings in the revenue you’re hoping for. 

Before we get into specific details, we’ll answer some quick questions:

Is it easy to make ATM business profit? Yes.

Will it require hard work? Yes.

Are there opportunities for growth? Yes.

When we say it’s easy to make ATM business profit, we mean that as long as people use the machine, you will make money. Pretty simple, right? But it does require a little bit of effort on your part to get people to use your machine. That’s where we can help.

In the following sections we’ll share tips for maximizing your profit and growing your ATM business once you get the hang of operating your first ATM machine. At the end of the day, though, the most successful ATM business is the ATM business that works for you. 

How to Run an ATM Business

Starting an ATM business is one of the easiest businesses to set up and start making money immediately. We’ll prove it to you by breaking it down into a few simple steps.

Step 1: Buy and set up an ATM machine

You might want to do a little bit of research to find the equipment that best suits your needs and your goals to ensure you make the right choice. Then, make sure you have a place to put the machine whether it’s in your own store, a space you lease, or in someone else’s store (more on this later).

You don’t need to establish a business entity immediately. You can just do business as yourself at first. And the company you purchase the ATM from can help with the setup, so you don’t even have to worry about the bulk of the technical details.

Step 2: Make your ATM available to the public

Once your ATM is set up and fully operational, all you need to do is make sure it continues to work, keep it loaded with cash and receipt paper, and you might want to do a little bit of advertising or promotion to let people know about your machine.

Step 3: Collect a surcharge for each cash withdrawal transaction

The surcharge you set is your number one revenue source from your ATM. That means you make more money with the more transactions that are made on your ATM. In a couple of sections we’ll discuss some strategies for setting a surcharge.

Once you make back your investment, you can start to profit off of the surcharge fees. And that’s it! Next, we cover the specifics.

How Many Transactions Do You Need to Make ATM Business Profit?

Unfortunately, we do not have a magic number for you. Each independent ATM deployer (IAD) will have different goals and varying initial investments. You cannot make a profit until after you’ve reached your return on investment (ROI). And the timeframe you set for yourself to reach that goal will determine how many transactions you need at what surcharge.

We do, however, have some average numbers based on our experiences and the experiences of the IADs we work with. To give you an idea of what to expect, consider the following scenario:

Let’s say you set your surcharge at $2.50. That means that you earn $2.50 for each cash withdrawal transaction made on your machine. For the purposes of this scenario, we will estimate that you get an average of 6 transactions per day. 

That equals 180 transactions/month. Multiply 180 by $2.50 and you are looking at about $450 monthly gross revenue from your ATM machine. Now think of that in relation to your goals.

First of all, if you spend $2,000 on ATM equipment, it’s going to take a few months to make that back with 6 transactions a day before you can start to make a profit. Second of all, if you want to grow an ATM business and make it your main source of income, you’ll need to invest in a few machines.

IADs that own and operate 5-10 ATMs make about $1,500-$2,000 monthly in profit. So if you’re looking to make thousands of dollars with ATMs, you will need more than one. 

However, in terms of one single location, you can expect 40%-70% annual ROI from any location that warrants 80-100 transactions monthly.

And don’t be afraid to experiment with your surcharge.

Surcharge

The number one rule of setting a surcharge is to be competitive. You can set a higher than average surcharge ($3.00 or $4.00), but customers might pass you over for a machine that only charges a couple of dollars. Now, if you have the only ATM around, of course you get the luxury of raising that surcharge.

You might also consider starting with a lower surcharge than the competition at first to entice people to use it over a location they might be used to. It might require a little trial and error to get your surcharge just right. Find out whether people are using your machine more for convenience or for a competitive surcharge fee.

The good news is that you are in control. And with no backend communication costs, bank sponsorship costs, or any other operational costs, the surcharge fees generated are pure profit for you. For more tips on setting your surcharge, check out our article How to Set Your ATM Surcharge.

Location and ATM Business Profit

Location is very closely tied to your ATM business profit. Where you place your ATM needs enough foot traffic to be profitable. The more people pass by your ATM on a daily basis, the more likely you are to get transactions. 

You also want to make sure passers-by feel safe and comfortable using your machine. If your ATM is in a well-lit, monitored, highly populated area, you can expect more transactions than an ATM that is hidden or dangerous to use at night.

You also need to consider profit sharing when calculating your total profit from your ATM. That will depend on who owns your ATM location.

Site Location Agreement

If you partner with the owner of a retail store or business you’ll want to create a site location agreement. This serves as a contract between you and the site location owner and outlines roles and responsibilities as well as compensation. 

Some store owners might be content with the increase in sales an ATM can provide their businesses and agree to let you have a larger share of the surcharge fee profit. Others might only agree to give up space inside their store for your ATM if they get a share of the surcharge profit.

It can be helpful for you to have an extra pair of hands available to refill the machine and keep an eye on it, but keep in mind that the more responsibilities you share the more profit you’ll likely have to share. 

You get to draft this contract however you see fit, but it’s a good business practice to make sure it’s a win-win situation.

Your Own Store

If you own a business already, adding an ATM can be profitable for you in a number of ways. First of all, there is the surcharge fee profit. And since you are the site location owner, you won’t have to split that profit with a third party.

Second, an ATM can attract customers to your store which increases the opportunity for passers-by to make impulse purchases. Additionally, you can add coupons to your receipts to encourage future visits and purchases. And third, promoting cash sales saves you money on credit card fees.

The Best ATM Locations

If you have ever used an ATM at a bar or casino, you might have noticed that the surcharge fee is much higher than that at your local gas station or grocery store. This is because certain locations can get away with charging higher fees because they know their customers will pay it.

What you offer your customers with your ATM business is convenience. That is the service they pay for. So different locations can support different surcharges. 

Some locations are also more densely populated than others. These are going to be at the top of the list for some of the best locations as well due to the fact that more traffic creates more opportunities. You can check out the 9 best ATM locations we have identified through our experiences with IADs here

Equipment and ATM Business Profit

The type of equipment you purchase determines how quickly you can begin to make ATM business profit. Of course, the lower your investment, the quicker you can meet your ROI and begin pocketing the rest. However, you don’t want to end up spending more on repairs because you opted for cheap equipment. 

So you’ll have to figure out a balance there. But we can help you choose the right equipment for your needs in our ATM Buyers Guide so that you know exactly what to look for and what your options are.

You have to decide also if you want to purchase additional features like keyboard lighting or toppers to help advertise and draw in customers. Depending on your location, it might be a good idea to invest in cameras and security as well as insurance for your machine. 

Whatever you decide you need to make sure your ATM is the preferred location in town, just add up all of the costs and adjust your surcharge accordingly so that you can meet your ROI and begin profiting as soon as possible.

Choosing the Right Denominations

If your machine facilitates removable cassettes, you can store two different currencies (10s and 20s, for example) which gives your customers more options for cash withdrawal amounts. This enhances the convenience your ATM offers and can result in a larger ATM business profit for you.

Removable cassettes also allow you to store more cash, so you can service very busy locations reliably without worrying about running out of bills or having to inconvenience yourself by making extra stops to refill the machine. The less time you spend on your business, the more profit you make, too. Would you rather make $450 in 20 hours or 30?

You also want to consider the demographics of your ATM location as well. Low income neighborhoods are more likely to need smaller ATM cash withdrawal amounts, so the better able you are to accommodate that the more business your machine will get. Keep this in mind as you choose what denominations to store in your ATM.

Choosing the Right Bank

You want to make as much ATM business profit as possible, so that means you need to keep costs down. Different banks have different fee structures and typically offer a variety of requirements to avoid those fees. You want to avoid them if possible to increase your profit.

Since you will be filling your ATM machine with your own funds, you need to find out what the minimum balance is for your funding account so that you don’t drop below it when refilling your machine. If you drop below the required minimum balance, you might have to pay out $10 or so in bank fees for that month.

And you want to choose a bank that will work with you and that communicates well. Because again, the more time you have to spend running around town and waiting and facing obstacles, the less profit you make because that’s all time you have to pay yourself for. 

It’s Easy to Make ATM Business Profit

Making ATM business profit is easy compared to many other businesses. It’s relatively inexpensive to start; just purchase the equipment and possibly lease a space. You can start making money immediately after the machine is set up.

You don’t need any specific entrepreneurial or business experience. In most cases you don’t need to hire any employees unless you want to. And you don’t need to set up a business entity (like establishing an LLC) to get started.

You don’t have any products to sell in person or online. There’s no multi-level marketing (MLM). And there aren’t any franchise fees associated with owning and operating an ATM business.

So as far as getting started, making money quickly, and establishing a routine that’s convenient and profitable for yourself, an ATM business is the way to go. If you still have questions or would like to speak with a representative from ATMDepot.com, contact us today!

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