Starting Your ATM Business: ATM Business Contract and Other Documents

Do you need an ATM business contract to start your ATM business? What regulations apply to running your ATM? What do you need to do before you order your ATM machine? We’ve got the answers.

Making the decision to start an ATM business is a big step in and of itself. Completing the required paperwork can be a daunting next task. But don’t let it stop you from making money.

In this article, we cover the first steps in planning your ATM machine purchase. We want you to know what to expect so that you don’t waste any time and you avoid unnecessary stress.

As an independent ATM deployer (IAD), once you’re prepared, you can start making money with your ATM!

What is an ATM Business Contract?

An ATM business contract is a documented agreement between you—the ATM owner—and the proprietor or merchant where the ATM will be placed. This is also referred to as a contract agreement, placement agreement, or site location agreement (SLA).

Rather than retain sole ownership of the machine by renting or owning your own space, you create a partnership with the third party merchant when you use someone else’s business or space to house your ATM machine. 

So, depending on where you plan to place your ATM, you may or may not need one of these contracts or agreements. If you do plan to work with a third party, you will need more than a verbal agreement. 

An ATM business contract or SLA details the ins and outs of the ATM placement and operation. This protects you if you ever have any issues working with the third party.

Common clauses include

  • Where the ATM will be placed
  • Responsibilities of each party 
  • Length of time agreement is effective
  • Revenue split
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance

There are two ways we recommend getting one of these contracts:

First, you can work with a lawyer to draft a contract that lists the protections you need. However, as you can imagine, this is the costly route. Lawyers can cost upwards of about $1000.

Or, you can use a contract template. Again, make sure it lists all of the protections you need. You can find contract templates with an ATMDepot membership.

But, if you won’t be working with a third party, you can skip this altogether. However, choosing your ATM location is the very first step you need to take before ordering your machine. In the next section, we’ll tell you where to start.

ATM Location

Before you order your ATM machine, you need to have a location for it first. This will help you determine whether it will be indoors or outdoors, what size machine your location can support, and whether or not you need an SLA (more on SLAs below).

If you place the ATM in a business or location that you own, you don’t need a placement agreement or SLA. However, you will if you want to work with a third party merchant.

Document Checklist for Starting ATM Business

These are the forms you will need to complete and send to your ATM provider to make sure they have all of the information they need and that you are in compliance. 

You might not complete the equipment order form until everything else is finished, but deciding on equipment is an important step. It requires you to really think about your plan and your needs for your ATM, so we’ll start there.

Equipment Order Form

Once you have your location set, you can order your ATM machine. However, there are two more decisions for you to make before you can submit this form. 

First, you need to decide how much your surcharge will be. The surcharge is the fee associated with conducting a transaction (typically withdrawal transaction) on your ATM. Usually the fee is $2.50, but you want to make sure you keep up with other ATMs nearby. 

For example, a surcharge of $2.50 might not be wise if the ATM across the street only charges $2.00. Alternatively, if the ATM across the street charges $2.50, you might want to charge $2.00 to increase traffic to your machine. 

Second, you need to know what cash denominations your ATM will dispense. The standard is 20s, but you might want 10s if your ATM is located in a low-income neighborhood. This way you accommodate the needs of customers who might have lower account balances.

You will need both surcharge and denomination to complete your equipment order form. You will also need to decide if you will do the installation yourself or if you will have it professionally installed.

Finally, you’ll need to link a bank account. 


An ACH form documents your account information. You will need to provide account and routing numbers and give permission to have funds electronically transferred to your account.

When you open this account, or if you change an existing account, there are some requirements the bank has to meet to get your account set up for your ATM business.

The USA Patriot Act was passed in 2001 in order to vet bank account owners. This act applies to you as an ATM business owner because you will be under scrutiny for its anti-money laundering provision. 

Additionally, because running an ATM machine means you are conducting money wire transactions for other people, you are not allowed to operate this type of business if you have committed a felony or financial crime.

Section 326 of the USA Patriot Act requires your financial institution to obtain, verify, and record information about you and your business before setting up an account for your business. Therefore, you will need to provide them with your name, address, date of birth, and other identifying information.

The bank will need your driver’s license to identify you, and you’ll need to provide a copy with your ATM purchase documentation.  

Driver’s License

Your ATM processor will need a copy of your driver’s license for many of the same reasons as your bank. You will have to pass a basic background check to be approved for owning and operating an ATM machine. A copy of your driver’s license is the best way to verify your identity.

Voided Business Check

A voided business check verifies the legitimacy of your linked account. Your linked account must be a checking account, not a savings account. And it must be a check—with account and routing numbers—not a deposit slip.

ATM Operator Agreement and Application

Your ATM application is also known as the ATM Operator Agreement. This form tells banking partners who they are working with and makes sure all federal regulations are met.

W-9 Form

Since you will be earning revenue from your ATM machine, you will need to complete a W-9 form to report residuals for tax purposes.

ATM Processing Agreement

The ATM processing agreement lists your rights and obligations as the ATM owner as well as the rights and obligations of the ATM processor. This will be the legal contract between you and the ATM processor that runs your ATM machine program. This contract also ensures your payment as agreed upon.

Other Applicable Documents

These documents depend on your specific needs and situation. Check with your local courthouse to see if you need any special licenses or permits before operating your ATM. And remember, you only need an SLA if your ATM will be in a location that someone else owns.

Business License and Permits

While you can operate your ATM machine as a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation, you might need to check with your local government about specific requirements. The most common route is to register as a sole proprietor under a “doing business as” business name. Then, you can open your bank account under that.

Some ATM processors will license you the rights to use their name as part of your company name. This might be an option for you as well. It will of course require additional paperwork and a fee for usage rights. However, the nominal fee is often worth the instant credibility and trust you get by associating your business with one that’s more established and well-known.

So you don’t need a specific license to operate an ATM business. When you are ready to purchase your ATM, you will simply complete the ATM Operator Agreement form which serves as the contract between you and the ATM processor. 

Placement Agreement or Site Location Agreement (SLA)

This also refers to the ATM business contract we opened this article with. It’s a good idea to have this to protect you against any potential disputes. The SLA makes your agreement legal and binding before you install the ATM machine. This is a win-win for you and the location owner.

You can work with a lawyer to create a personalized contract or agreement, or you can use one of our templates on if you are a member. You can also find scripts here for pitching and selling your idea to business owners you’d like to work with to get them on board!

ATM Insurance

Purchasing ATM insurance is not mandatory, and you can purchase it on your own timeline. It might be a good idea to get insurance once you have your machine set up and filled with cash. There are coverage options for equipment and cash or one or the other.

When searching for insurance companies, look for ones that are associated with the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA). That way they can better guide you toward a policy that meets your specific needs.

Keep in mind also that if your ATM location is owned by someone else, that party might have insurance requirements for you to follow. And you might opt out of insurance altogether if your ATM location is open 24 hours or if it’s under constant security. 

Wireless Agreement

Completing this agreement allows the ATM processor to send you a wireless modem which converts your signal from Internet to cellular. This provides a faster connection speed.


There are a number of steps necessary to get started with your ATM business. However, they are all relatively simple. Use this article as a checklist to prepare and make the process as seamless as possible.

Getting the ATM business contract, or SLA, and setting up your account with your bank are the two steps that will take the most time. That’s only because you have to coordinate with those other parties. Everything else is up to you to fill out and submit. Check out our article on choosing the right ATM equipment here. You can even speak with a representative if you still have questions. ATM Depot has everything you need to start your ATM business today!

The Side Income Idea That Could Replace Your Full-Time Income

If you need extra money, creating a side income stream is an excellent option. The problem with most side income ideas is that the pay model is that you trade your time for money.

If you have a full-time job, finding the time to work a side gig can be tough. And, trading time for money is simply a losing proposition, in the long run.

The best side income ideas (and the best full-time incomes) are those that aren’t capped by how much time you can spend making money. In short, you need income streams that can be scaled. Otherwise you’re severely limited in how much money you can make, because time is an incredibly finite resource.

With that in mind, the best side income ideas are usually some type of business.

To get right to the point, an ATM business is one of the best side income ideas out there, if not the best overall. Here’s why (and how to turn your ATM business into full-time income, if you want).

Why an ATM business is the best side income idea

There are a few things that make an ATM business unique, as compared to other businesses. Your ATM business can be as large or as small as you want. It’s truly a lifestyle business. Build your ATM business any way you want.

But these are the three characteristics that make an ATM business an ideal side income idea:

  • The upfront investment is very low.

No matter what, you’ll need to put some capital into your ATM business to get it off the ground. However, it’s a minimal initial investment, compared to other businesses. The upfront cost is low enough that you could easily borrow all the money you need.

You can get an ATM machine for $1500 to $2000. And you’ll need $500 in cash to stock your ATM. So, on the high end, you’d need about $3000 to get your first ATM up and running.

It might not be ideal, but you could conceivably put the entire upfront cost on a credit card. We don’t recommend this. But it’s an option. This is a good article about how to fund your ATM business.

No matter how you do it, the benefit here is that you just don’t need that much money to get started. So, an ATM business is a great side hustle to start with little money.

  • The time investment is asymmetrical.

If you’ve read the blog of Tim Ferriss, you’ve probably heard the word “asymmetrical” a few times. That’s because it’s a relevant business term, especially for those who want to create lifestyle businesses. Here’s what it means in the world of ATM businesses:

What we mean here is that the return on the time you put into an ATM business is not one-for-one. Meaning that if you invest one hour working on your ATM business, you’ll get more than one hour’s worth of income out of it.

That’s because your ATM (or ATMs) keeps working even when you’re not. The income that you get out of your ATM business scales with the number of ATM machines you own, not the time you put in.

Of course, the time requirement of your business will increase slightly as you add more ATM machines to your fleet. But, the income will scale much faster than the time required. It’s an asymmetrical investment.

Once you’ve got your ATM business humming along, you could spend a few hours a week working on your ATM business, and get part or even full-time income out of it.

  • The business can eventually run without you.

The ultimate goal for many business owners is to have a business that runs and generates income without them.

It won’t happen right away. But, your ATM business can easily become a self-contained enterprise if you set it up right.

The majority of the work in your ATM business is maintaining and stocking your ATM machines with cash. These tasks can easily be outsourced. There are ATM vaulting companies that can take care of filling your ATMs with cash. And you can easily set up a maintenance contract with an ATM technician.

All of this will add some overhead to your ATM business. But, you can easily figure out how your business needs to be structured to be self-sufficient. Here’s what to do:

Establish your target revenue from your ATM business.

Calculate your average revenue from each machine (most successful businesses rake in between $400 and $500 per month from each machine).

Calculate the cost of outsourcing your ATM vaulting and ATM maintenance. You’ll need to do a little research, since the costs vary by area. Remember that the cost will go up a bit for each additional machine.

Use the average revenue from each machine to determine how many ATM machines you would need to cover your overhead expenses, while hitting your revenue goals.

For the math minded types, it looks something like this:

(Target revenue + overhead expenses) / average revenue per ATM machine = total number of ATMs required

That will tell you how many ATM machines you need to get up and running to create an ATM business that’s almost completely hands-free (sorry, there’s no such thing as truly passive income. You’ll have to get your hands at least a little bit dirty at some point).

If that sounds like creating full-time income, that’s because it is. However, it’s also the perfect formula for creating a side income stream. That’s because your target revenue doesn’t have to be your total life income.

You can set your target revenue at just the additional money you’d like to make from your side business. That will tell you how many ATM machines you need to build a side income stream that’s almost entirely automated.

All this goes back to the fact that you can build your ATM business any way you want. It’s a flexible business that you can build to suit your needs and your life.

What to do now

All this sounds pretty good, right?

It is. And it’s easy to get started. If you want a quick guide, check out our guide to getting your first ATM placement.

Or get the book on how to start an ATM business here.

And, if you want the most in depth training and guides that will help you start making money fast, become an ATMDepot member to get all the training and templates you need to become an independent ATM operator.

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:


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:


  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.

The Best Business to Start with Little Money

Whether you’re running behind on your bills or you just want to increase your income faster than the linear promotion schedule of a 9-to-5 job, you’ve probably spent some time wondering how you can improve your financial situation without a lot of capital to work with.

And, you’ve probably brainstormed some answers to the question, “What is a good business to start with little money?”

There are a lot of options. But, there are not a lot of businesses that you can start with little money and that generate passive income as you scale up. Most businesses require you to work more or hire more people to grow.

However, there’s a business that you can start with little money and use to generate full-time income with part-time work.

You probably already guessed it: an ATM business.

ATM businesses are some of the most successful small businesses. And, an ATM business can be a lifestyle business, if you build it that way.

So, if you want to start a business, but have no money to invest upfront, here’s what to do.

How to start an ATM business with no money

We know what you’re thinking.

So, to be completely transparent, it’s nearly impossible to start any business with a true zero dollars invested. Even if you start a service-based business that requires nothing but your body to do the work, you still need to pay for gas to get to the clients, or your internet bill, or something else.

And, even if providing the service were somehow 100% free, you’d still have to pay the government to form your business entity.

So, if you think it sounds a little far-fetched to claim that you can start an ATM business without spending any money, you’re right.

It takes some money. But, you don’t have to have all that money in your bank account in order to get started. In fact, the first few steps can be done while you’re doing other errands, if you want to keep the expenses at zero.

Here’s how to start:

  • As you’re going about your usual days, keep track of which businesses don’t have an ATM.

Not every business will be a good candidate for an ATM. To give you an idea of your best options, here’s a short list of businesses that make good ATM machine locations:

  • Gas stations.
  • Restaurants.
  • Bars.
  • Nightclubs.
  • Barber shops.
  • Casinos.
  • Any business that only takes cash (they still exist). 

Make a list of these businesses, so you can patronize them more often.

  • Talk to the owners of the businesses that don’t have ATM machines.

This can be tricky. The business owner often won’t be there, or they’ll be too busy to talk.

However, you do have one advantage: you’re a customer. Smart business owners will usually take an interest in talking to their customers.

So, you can usually at least get the name of the business owner from the staff. And, with some clever conversation, you can probably get information about when the business owner is usually there.

Then, you can more reliably show up when the business owner is there.

It can take some time. But with a consistent approach, you can usually get a few minutes of face-to-face time with business owners.

Here’s the key: once you’re able to meet with the business owner, don’t immediately try to sell them an ATM machine. People dislike that.

Take some time to talk to them, learn about their business, and develop a relationship. Take the opportunity to find out what their needs are, and develop a way to show them that an ATM machine will help their business.

Then show them how they’ll benefit from an ATM. And, offer to help them get those benefits by operating the ATM machine for them. So that all they have to do is keep the lights on (which they’re already doing).

This won’t happen overnight. But, taking the time to build a relationship is hands-down the most reliable way to get someone to agree to an ATM placement. And, it makes it much easier to work with the business owner once you’ve placed the ATM, because they know you. You’re not just a vendor.

Which ATM machine you’ll provide. What percentage of the fees the business will get. The timeline for placing the ATM. Cover everything.

Make sure you cover all the details. You can get templates for an agreement to ensure you don’t leave anything out.

At this stage, you can sign a contract. But, remember that you don’t have an ATM, yet. So, another option is to use the agreement as a proposal, get signatures on the proposal. Then wait to sign the actual service contracts until you’ve placed the ATM.

There are pros and cons to each method. If you sign a contract up front, but then you can’t meet the timelines or requirements for placing the ATM, you’ll be in breach of the contract.

On the other hand, if you just have a signed proposal, the business owner isn’t obligated to go through with placing the ATM machine. So, he or she could back out (an agreement isn’t legally binding), leaving you with an ATM you need to place.

Some prefer to sign the service contract up front, because they have more control over whether or not they get the ATM placed within the requirements of the contract. But, it will depend on your situation. Regardless of if you use an agreement or a contract, get it in writing. You may need it later.

Check out this Facebook group for personalized advice.

  • Get funding for your ATM.

There are several ways to go about this. But, you’re going to borrow the money for the ATM machine.

There are ways to get ATMs for very little money (used and refurbished ATM machines). But, we’ll assume you’re getting a new one.

You’ll need the ATM itself and some cash to stock it. So, $3000 will cover it. $2500 for the ATM, and $500 in cash to fill it.

In terms of business capital, $3000 is not a lot of money. Consider the millions that Silicon Valley startups must raise to get off the ground.

You could finance everything with a credit card. That may not be the best choice, considering the high interest rates on credit cards. But, it’s an option.

More likely, you’ll go to a lender an apply for a loan. This is where the agreement or contract comes in handy. It’s often easier to get a loan if you can prove what you’re going to use it for and that you’re going to be generating revenue to pay the loan back.

Once you’ve got your funding…

If you didn’t sign a contract before, make sure you get a service contract signed before you turn your ATM machine on. At this point, you must have a contract. An agreement won’t do.

Also, make sure you have a bank account setup to accept your ATM revenue. It’s best to talk to the bank before you start processing ATM transactions, so they know what’s going on. Otherwise, they may get suspicious with the frequent transactions.

Once your ATM is installed and running, you’ll be getting a cut of the ATM fee every time someone uses your ATM. All you have to do is keep your ATM machine stocked with cash.

Depending on your needs, you can either divert all of the revenue from your ATM machine to paying off the loan, to start making 100% profit faster. Or you can pay the loan off more slowly, if you need to use some of the ATM revenue. Regardless of which way you do it, paying off the loan as quickly as possible is the best choice.

When can you start?

That’s it. Five steps to starting an ATM business with no money. And you can start working on the first two steps right now.

And one more thing: since it takes time to develop a relationship with business owners, you could just save up the money for an ATM while you talk to them.

If you get an agreement sooner than you expected, an ATM business is a great business to start with 5K (you could place two ATMs for $5000). Or 2000 dollars. Or $1000. You could start an ATM business for under 500 dollars.

The point is that starting an ATM business is incredibly flexible. You just have to stop Googling “small profitable business ideas,” and get out there and check out some businesses and get in touch with business owners.

You can start right now.

If you’re hesitant. We understand. Learn all about the ATM business before you put yourself out there.