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.

How an ATM Business Creates Residual Income

Here’s a four-second finance tip: if you want more spending money, you need to create residual income.

If you’re not sure exactly what that means, we’ll help you out. But—spoiler alert—an ATM business will help you create residual income if you build it right. This is how it works.

Residual income vs passive income: What’s the difference?

We’ve talked about using an ATM business to create passive income before. But, passive income and residual income aren’t quite the same thing. Though, they are related.

Passive income

Passive income is money that you earn through an asset or a business that requires very little ongoing effort.

Income from an ATM business is an excellent example of passive income because it takes very little time, effort, and energy to keep the ATM up and running once you get it setup. Your ATM machine just sits there and makes you money, while you do other things.

That’s a textbook example of passive income.

Residual income

Residual income is different. The term “residual income” is a bit misleading, because it’s technically not income.

Residual income is money that you have left after subtracting all of your debts and expenses. It doesn’t matter if that money is from a passive income stream or from a full-time job. But, passive income is the best way to create residual income.

Creating residual income

In personal finance, there are two ways to create more residual income:

  1. Get paid more for what you do.
  2. Add additional sources of income.

If you only earn money by doing work as an employee, there’s a cap on both of these methods. There’s probably a top end of how much you can get paid for doing your job. And, because you have to spend a certain number of hours every day at work, you can also only take on so many jobs.

So, traditional labor isn’t an ideal way to build residual income.

Adding passive income streams is a much better way to build residual income. A passive income source, like an ATM business, won’t interfere with your full-time employment. But, it adds income on top of your full-time salary.

Ideally, income from just one source should cover all of your debts and expenses. It’s best if your passive income pays all your bills. That way, any time you invest in making money is pure spending money.

But, when you first start building passive income streams, it’s most likely that your full-time salary will be the breadwinner.

Building residual income with an ATM business

Building residual income with an ATM business has a lot in common with using other passive income streams to build residual income. But, operating ATM machines has a few advantages of other passive income sources:

  • You invest money, rather than time.

The smartest financial experts—from Benjamin Graham to Robert Kiyosaki—advocate spending money to make money rather than spending time to make money. And, it makes sense.

Think about it. You have a limited amount of time. And you don’t know exactly how much time you have in your life. AND you can’t get more time. It’s a fixed resource.

But, you can make more money.

Also, buying a money-making asset, rather than building one, enables you to start making money from that asset faster.

Now, your ATM business as a whole is an asset that you have to build. But, you can simply buy the thing that makes the money—ATMs. For a few thousand dollars, you can have an ATM that’s generating income. And, it takes very little time to get an ATM machine going.

  • You truly own your money-making asset.

Many passive income sources rely on platforms and services that are owned by other people and companies.

YouTube channels have been completely shut down by YouTube. Blogs have been ripped from the internet by the website hosting provider. That’s a really quick way for a passive income stream to disappear.

But, when you own an ATM machine, it’s yours. No one can legally take it from you (unless you do something crazy illegal. But, we’re sure you can avoid that). Even if the business where your ATM is located shuts down or gets sold to a new owner, the ATM is still yours. You can simply move your ATM to a new location and start making money again.

Your ATM business is dependent on you. So, it’s much more stable than many other passive income methods.

  • An ATM business scales easily.

One of the best things about owning ATMs is that adding more ATM machines doesn’t significantly increase your time investment, if you build a good route. You can easily manage several machines with just one day a week.

And, if you want your ATM business income to replace your full-time job, it can easily do that. It’s totally up to you how big your ATM business gets. You can build it around your lifestyle.

That’s why an ATM business is the perfect passive income idea for building residual income.

How an ATM business generates residual income is even simpler, and you’ve probably already figured it out.

Since it takes very little time to operate ATM machines, you can easily run an ATM business and hold down a full-time job.

If your full-time salary covers all of your expenses, the income from your ATM machines is entirely residual income. Or, if your ATM business generates enough revenue to cover all your expenses, all the money you earn at work is residual income.

Then there’s a third option: if you build your ATM business to the point that it pays all your business and personal expenses, every additional ATM that you buy brings in more residual income.

With some careful planning, your ATM business could be a self-perpetuating cycle of income expansion. Every machine you add brings in more money. Then you have more money to invest in new machines, which bring in even more money, and on and on… Imagine how cool it would be to simply pay a few thousand dollars every month to give yourself a raise.

But, the point is that an ATM business is a steady, reliable income stream that empowers you to generate income that greatly exceeds your expenses, which is—by definition—residual income.

That’s how an ATM business creates residual income.

What to do now

Ready to start your ATM business? Learn everything you need to know about building an ATM business.

Or become an ATMDepot member to jumpstart your ATM business.


An ATM Business Can Save Your Marriage (It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds)

The title statement may sound outlandish. But, consider these stats about gray divorce (divorce among couples over 50):

  1. Gray divorce has doubled since 1990.
  2. Gray divorce has increased by 700% since 1960.

Those are startling numbers. And, it probably seems unlikely that an ATM business is the solution. But, if you look at why the gray divorce rate has skyrocketed, it becomes clear how an ATM business can help.

Here’s a quick story to illustrate the most common cause of gray divorce:

A young couple meets, dates, and gets married early in life—shortly after college. For the next few decades, they spend most of their time building careers, raising children, and preparing for retirement. There’s a lot to do, and they’re both happy to be doing it together.

Then it comes time to retire. Suddenly, the shared goals are gone. And the man has dedicated the majority of his life working. He spent very little time building relationships or hobbies. Or maybe both of the people in this couple spent very little time pursuing things other than work.

The struggle is that retired people often find themselves with nothing to do. And, this can severely strain marriages. When all the work is done, it’s easy to feel that there’s no need for a team anymore.

But there’s more: having nothing to do is no fun. Retirement is supposed to be enjoyable—at least as enjoyable as a fulfilling career, if not more enjoyable. So, it’s easy to feel unhappy in retirement.

That’s what’s caused this spike in gray divorce: a lack of shared goals and things to do in retirement.

An ATM business solves that problem.

How an ATM business can save your marriage from gray divorce

Being an ATM owner is not a way to get rich quick. When you start an ATM business, you’re playing the long game. And, this long game affords people opportunities to build relationships and develop a routine that can sustain them throughout retirement.

Older Couple having CoffeeBuilding relationships

One of the most important aspects of owning an ATM business is building a successful route. An ATM route is just the common path you take to refill your ATM machines with cash and ensure they’re in good shape.

The benefit of this ATM route for older people is that it provides a place where you show up regularly and get to know people. Socially, it’s like a bar (but far more productive and profitable).

Additionally, each ATM machine will be located in or near a business, and maybe even a bar if that’s something you’d enjoy. And, you have to develop a relationship with that business owner, because your ATM is on their property. And, these business owners may want to be involved, to some small degree, in the operation of that ATM machine (coupons, promotions, lowered credit card fees for them, etc.).

Developing quality relationships with these landlords, business owners, and property owners is key if you want to have an ATM business that’s all about service. And, your ATM business should be all about service. That will make your business successful and will ensure you keep your customers happy so they’ll stay with you for a long, long, time.

But, more than being an important part of your ATM business, these relationships give you people to do things with once you’ve retired. Your ATM business creates a circle of friends that will last a lifetime.

Productive routines

An ATM business also solves the problem of idle time in retirement.

Once you’ve set up your ATM route, you’ll obviously need to run that route regularly to keep your ATM machines up and running. This creates a routine that helps retain a sense of purpose and offers shared goals for you and your partner.

But, the best thing about the routine of an ATM business is that your routine can be as busy or as minimal as you’d like. If you want, you could work nearly full time in your ATM business. Or, it can be as part-time as you like.

And, you’re not just keeping busy. Your ATM business gives you productive work. It’s even better than a hobby, in many ways.

Reaching retirementOlder Retired Couple Enjoying Retirement Early via the ATM Business

Although this focuses most on how an ATM business can protect you from a gray divorce, an ATM business can also help you stay married until retirement.

As we mentioned earlier, an ATM business is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a long game.

But, running an ATM business can provide reliable income that doesn’t require you to grind it out day after day. And, it’s income that you can earn in addition to your professional income. So, an ATM business can certainly make it easier to retire when you want to.

And, the additional income of an ATM business gives you time to develop relationships outside of work and build a marriage that’s ready for the realities of retirement. It’s also a business that gets you out of the house which is a big plus for decreasing the chance of a grey divorce. Plus, you get to enjoy any neighborhood you wish to pursue, make connections, and have fun at the same time. 

So, your ATM business isn’t just a marriage failsafe for retirement. It’s also something that can sustain your marriage and life until you reach retirement.

And, what about those who are retired or near retirement right now? You can start an ATM business at any time. Yes, the ATM business is a long game. But, it’s a long game that you can start right now, regardless of where you are in your life. Besides, you can start and ATM business with less than $5,000 and the returns on that money will be much better than the bank and much safer than the stock market. You’re investing in yourself and in your retirement. 

If you’re ready to start now, learn more about starting an ATM business.

ATM Business Basics Part II: How to Start Up and Operate an ATM Business

Understanding how to start up and operate an ATM business might be one of the most overlooked parts of owning and operating ATM machines.

Yes, the ATM machines are important. But, most of the time investment actually goes into operating the business. After all, it only takes a few minutes to load cash into an ATM.

There are plenty of resources that explain how ATM owners make money. So, we’re going to focus on the process of starting and running your ATM business.

How to start up and operate an ATM business

Contrary to how it might seem, buying an ATM machine is not the first step. First, you need a place to put it (that isn’t your garage). These are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Identify potential ATM locations. There are plenty of options—gas stations, convenience stores, bars, and so on.
  2. Talk to the business owners and negotiate an agreement to provide an ATM for the business. You will need a contract for this agreement.
  3. Buy the ATM machine.
  4. Install the ATM machine, and secure it properly.
  5. Fill the ATM with cash.
  6. Tell people about your ATM.

Three of these steps actually have very little to do with the ATM machine itself. These three steps are major cornerstones of any business. And, these are the steps that most new business owners struggle with.

So, we’re going to break them down.

Identify ATM locationsGreat ATM Locations

In other businesses, this would be called “lead generation.” And, in many businesses, it’s a tricky process that some people never quite master.

But, in the ATM business, identifying leads can be as simple as visiting nearby businesses, choosing good candidates for an ATM placement, and asking if they have an ATM machine.

If the location already has an ATM machine, that doesn’t mean that you can’t place an ATM there. But, it’s an additional hurdle, since you’ll have to replace the current ATM provider. The business owner may or may not be willing to do that.

Either way, you can generate leads simply by visiting businesses and tracking which ones have ATMs and which ones don’t. Keep notes on locations, and remember locations that may be worth the extra effort to replace an existing ATM.

This list of businesses is essentially your leads database.

Negotiate with business owners

In traditional business terms, this would be the “sales” stage. This is where you actually sell your ATM services to the business owner. And, this can be the most challenging and time-consuming part of the process.

First, you have to convince the business owner to talk to you at all. Business owners are busy. And, people generally don’t like being sold to.

But, even though this is a sales process, it doesn’t have to be salesy.

Approach this as a relationship-building process. It’s important that people trust you and are willing to work with you. Focus on understanding what the business owner needs and helping them solve their problems. The agreement is beneficial to both you and the business owner. Be willing to make the arrangement lucrative for the business owner, and help them understand how it benefits them.

If you struggle with negotiation and sales, it’s wise to develop a script for starting the conversation. It’s impossible to predict how any interaction will play out. But, it’s easier to start the conversation if you at least know what you’re going to say first.

Using a script or some sort of plan also enables you to optimize your negotiation and sales process. If you’ve tried something several times, and it’s not working, try something else. Once you find the thing that works, put it in your plan and stick with it.

You’ll also need a contract for this step. A verbal agreement won’t cut it.

You can get a lawyer to draw up a contract for you. However, this will usually cost about a thousand dollars.

Or, you can use a contract template, which is much more affordable. We offer contract templates as part of our membership at ATMDepot.

You can probably find other templates on the internet. But, if you download a free contract template, make sure that it has all the necessary recitals and protections you need. Your contract is the only thing that protects you in a dispute.

ATM at a Gas Station via StockPromoting your ATM

This last step is otherwise known as “marketing.” You’re going to get some organic transactions simply by having the ATM placed.

But, more transactions are better. And, the more people that know about your ATM, the more transactions you’ll get.

You’ve probably seen the “ATM” signs in the windows at gas stations and convenience stores. Adding one of these signs will raise awareness about your ATM.

But, if there are nearby businesses that don’t have ATM machines, go tell them about the new ATM. That way, when people ask if they have an ATM, these other businesses can direct people to your ATM machine.

As a bonus, it’s a good reason to have a conversation with more business owners who don’t have an ATM of their own. It could lead to installing a new ATM.

The business cycle

These three steps will essentially be your ATM business. Yes, there will be accounting and service calls. But, the vast majority of growing your business will be going through these three steps over and over. If you master these steps, your business will boom.

Get leads.

Negotiate an agreement.

Support and promote your ATM.

The rest is just the manual labor of installing the ATM machines and filling them with cash.

It might seem daunting. But, the first step is the easiest: just go out and visit businesses and find out which ones have no ATM. It’s simple, and you’ll start building your book of leads.

After that, you just need to follow up with your leads. Then, go through the core business steps to start up and operate an ATM business.

Need more help mastering these core business cycle steps? Get contract templates, sales scripts, and tons of other resources for starting and scaling your ATM business from ATMDepot.