Posts

How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

Want to know how to run an ATM business successfully? Running a successful ATM business is simple. As long as you are willing to do the work, there is money to be made. But when it comes to being successful in the ATM business, it’s important to remember that not all ATM businesses look the same.

Someone else’s success might not look like yours. What that means is that you have a lot of decisions to make that no one can make for you. You have to decide which processor to work with, which machine to purchase, where to place your ATM, and how much to set the surcharge.

The answers to all of these questions will depend on your specific lifestyle and goals. The most successful ATM business is the one that works for you. All you need is a little strategy and patience to run an ATM business that brings in the revenue you aim for.

Here we share 5 tips that show you how to run an ATM business successfully. Follow these tips to make sure you have all of the pieces in place to run a successful ATM business.

1. Find an ATM Processor That Meets Your Business Needs

The first thing you need to do is find an ATM processor you want to work with. There are many things you will want to consider in terms of overall cost, support, and perks. If you aren’t sure how to run an ATM business, you want to find an ATM processor that acts as a good business partner, not just a service provider.

ATM Sales

One important factor is whether or not the ATM processor sells ATM machines as well. If you purchase your machine from an ATM processor, your machine is guaranteed to be compatible with their service. 

An ATM processor that sells machines might even have used and refurbished options that are compatible. This saves you time purchasing the machine first and then having to find a processor that will support it.

Automated Payments

You are earning passive income with your ATM business. That means you sit back, relax, and let the business work for you. But if you have to initiate transfers yourself, that’s time and energy you’re spending unnecessarily. Especially if you need to split the payment.

You might have a business partner with a separate account or you might have multiple accounts yourself that you use for different reasons. An ATM processor that offers automated ATM payments and payment splitting can save you the hassle of online banking to manage this yourself.

ATM Vaulting

It’s important to keep your ATMs stocked with cash. You have three different options when it comes to vaulting:

You can vault the ATM yourself which will save you money but cost you in time. If you vault yourself, you’ll want to work with an ATM processor that provides monitoring services to alert you when your machine is low on funds.

You can have the location owner vault the ATM. This is convenient since the location owner should be near the ATM regularly anyway. The location owner may or may not negotiate compensation for providing this service.

Or, you can have your ATM processor vault for you. There will be a charge for this, of course, but working with an ATM processor that at least offers the service can provide you with more options as you add more ATMs to your business and need to reduce your workload while also keeping your machines stocked.

Installation and Setup

You will want to work with an ATM processor that provides instructions for setting up and programming your ATM. The best ATM processors will offer to send a technician out to install an ATM in a new location for you. This might be convenient for you if you’re a first-time ATM owner who isn’t familiar with the technical side of owning an ATM machine.

Service Agreement Templates

A good service agreement leaves no room for error. You don’t want to have to hire a lawyer to settle a discrepancy in your service agreement if there is an issue between you and the location owner. 

You also don’t want to hire a lawyer to draft a service agreement for you. So if you aren’t qualified to draft a fool-proof service agreement, and you don’t want to spend money on a lawyer, you want to be working with an ATM processor that has templates for you.

By using a template, you ensure that all of your bases are covered while still saving yourself money by not hiring out and by avoiding long-term losses in the case of an incomplete service agreement.

Low Fees and Short Contracts

Some ATM processors charge more than others. Those that offer low prices on the sale of their ATM machines make up for the difference by locking you into a long-term contract and charging fees throughout the duration of the contract. 

There are ATM processors that do not do this. Try to find a good balance between fees and contracts when comparing ATM processors.

Support

Your relationship with your ATM processor doesn’t begin with ATM setup and installation and end with payment. Anything can go wrong at any time and you will need a resource to turn to for help. Make sure you have an ATM processor that will be available for you when you need technical support. There are ATM processors that offer 24/7 support should you need it.

When it comes to choosing an ATM processor, look at the options the processors provide. Which do you need at the current stage of your business?

Are you a new ATM owner who will need a lot of support? Do you plan on adding more ATM machines to your business? Are you an experienced ATM owner dissatisfied with your current ATM processor? What do you need that you don’t currently have?

In the end, you want to work with an ATM processor that will help you build the ATM business that helps you meet your goals.

2. Choose an Appropriate Machine

There are three factors you need to consider when purchasing an ATM machine: type, manufacturer, new vs. refurbished.

ATM Type

The type of machine you purchase is going to depend on the space you have available. A free-standing ATM generally has a small footprint. It can be placed anywhere there is a power supply. 

Through-the-wall (TTW) ATMs are typically quite bulky and you will need to invest in a little bit of construction if you don’t already have the space available. This is because the bulk of the machine, the interface, sits inside of the wall and extends into an adjacent room.

You might want a TTW ATM if you want more controlled access to the vault. If the interface extends into a room you can lock or where there is little foot traffic, you make the machine more secure. It isn’t accessible to the public and makes it safer for you when loading the machine.

TTW ATMs also work well when you have a space where the front (the chassis) can face outside. This makes the machine available 24/7 to all passers by, not just in-store customers during hours of operation.

Finally you have the option of a wall mount ATM. This is going to be the smallest option which is optimal if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. It can be placed on a countertop or hung on the wall. It’s going to hold less bills, so this is a good option for a low-traffic location. 

ATM Manufacturer

Some of the biggest names in the ATM industry are Hyosung, Genmega, Triton, and Hantle/Tranax. They all produce sturdy, reliable machines; that’s how they put themselves on the map. So you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Hyosung and Genmega are the best of the best. However, they still vary in size and features. So the decision still comes down to what you are looking for in terms of price versus features.

New vs. Refurbished

Next you want to consider purchasing a new vs. refurbished ATM machine. This decision might depend on your budget, experience, and concern for the environment. 

Purchasing a refurbished machine could save you money up front. You want to make sure that you purchase a certified refurbished machine, though. “Blow and go” refurbishments only clean up the surface of the machine. So you might end up spending more money down the line on repairs than you would have if you’d just purchased a new machine to begin with. 

You also might not get your ideal machine if you purchase refurbished since they are based on availability. You do, however, save on the 63 million tons of electronic waste when you purchase refurbished.

New machines are going to be easier to use. Usability constantly improves with each new model. Manufacturers want their machines to be user friendly, so if you are new to the ATM business, you might want to try a new machine first.

3. Place Your ATM Machine in a Profitable Location

The more people who use your machine, the more profit you will make. So you want your machine to be where people will pass by it, where they need the convenience, and where you aren’t competing with a bunch of other machines.

The most profitable locations tend to be those that are cash only, have liquor licenses, get a lot of foot traffic, and have good reviews. You want your machine where people are and where they need cash. 

You also want your machine in an area where there isn’t any competition. Or, if you see an area that already has ATMs but they are outdated, ask around and see if the location owners would be interested in updating.

Consider the convenience of the location for you, too. You want the machine close to where you live or work. The more time you spend getting to and from the machine, the less profit you make. And you need to be aware if your machine isn’t working properly, so you will need to check on it often. 

4. Determine a Fair Surcharge

You are completely in control when it comes to setting the surcharge. You want a surcharge fee that entices customers to use your machine but that also earns you a profit.

If your ATM is close to one across the street, you might want to set a competitive surcharge to bring more customers to your machine. If your ATM is the only one for a number of blocks, you might be able to set a higher surcharge. People will pay for the convenience.

You also need to account for profit sharing. If you place your machine in a location someone else owns, he or she might negotiate for a share of the surcharge profit. 

ATM surcharge fees range from $0-$8. You can offer a surcharge-free ATM service if the ATM itself brings more customers into a business that you own and encourages cash sales. More cash sales save on credit card fees. 

However, if your ATM is in a location owned by someone else, the surcharge is the only way you will make revenue. The average surcharge fee is $2.50. At an average of 6 transactions per day, that equals 180 transactions per month for a total of $450 a month. 

If that number sounds good to you, try starting with $2.50. If you’d like to try to make more, increase the surcharge. You can use trial and error to get the perfect number that satisfies both you and your customers.

5. Stay Compliant

If you purchase your ATM machine new, it’s going to be fully compliant automatically. This means that it meets ADA and EMV requirements. If you purchase a refurbished machine, depending on its age, it might not be fully compliant.

Often you can make upgrades to make an older machine compliant, but you have to weigh this cost against just purchasing a new machine. In any case, your machines need to meet these compliance regulations:

  • The top working button should not be higher than 48” off the ground.
  • The area in front of the machine needs to equal 48″ x 48″ (16 square feet).
  • There must be one unobstructed side of the clear floor space that adjoins an accessible route or another clear floor space leading up to the ATM and connecting to the clear floor space in front of the ATM.
  • All ATMs must be speech enabled. This may require that a 3.5mm female jack be accessible for headphones.
  • The display screen must be visible from 40″ above the center of the floor in front of the ATM. Characters on the screen must be in Sans Serif font, a minimum of 3/16″ in size, and must contrast with their background.
  • Braille instructions must also be provided.
  • Function keys must be designed to contrast visually from their background surfaces.
  • Input device control key surfaces must be raised above the surrounding surfaces.
  • Keypads must be arranged in an ascending or descending layout. The “enter” key should be marked with a raised circle, the “clear” key with a raised left arrow, and the “cancel” key should be marked with a raised X. The “add value” key should be marked with a raised plus sign and the “decrease value” key should be marked with a raised minus sign.

Upgrade kits are sometimes available for machines that do not meet these requirements, but not always. Make sure any machine you purchase meets these requirements or can be made compliant with an upgrade kit. If you already have a machine or two, check them for compliance to avoid hefty civil penalty fines.

How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

We’ve shown you how to run an ATM business successfully. There really are only 5 things you need to focus on to make the most amount of profit from your ATM business. There is some strategy involved, some trial and error, and you might have to make changes from one machine to the next. 

Considering these 5 tips before you jump into business can significantly increase your chances of running a successful ATM business that brings in the kind of revenue you expect.

But even if you’re already in the ATM game, it’s important not to forget these tips. It’s never too late to go another direction, especially if you plan on adding more machines to your business! ATM Depot specializes in ATM processing, sales, service, and independent ATM deployer (IAD) support. Give us a call and we’ll let you know if we think you have a good location. We can also help you figure out what you can expect to make from ATM processing with your machine. Contact us 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:

Objectives

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

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

Mission statement

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

Keys to success

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

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

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

Company summary and funding needs

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

Company summary

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

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

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

Funding needs

Startup costs

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

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

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

Operating costs

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

Business formation costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Products and services

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

But, get more specific than that.

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing plan and analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Management team

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

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

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

Financial plan and forecasts

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

Income statement

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

Balance sheet

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

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

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

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

Cash flow statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

One last thing…

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

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

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

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

[ATM BUSINESS NAME]

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

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

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

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.