ATMs, also known as automated teller machines, are an appealing business to operate due to the passive nature of the business. But the industry has faced unexpected changes over the past few years that should cause pause before moving forward with the idea.
ATM manufacturing alone is an $185 million dollar industry in the United States according to reports. Independent owners of these machines take a small fee from each transaction that occurs with the unit. The more machines you’re able to acquire and position in high-traffic locations, the more revenue you can generate.
The challenge within this industry has been impacts of the global pandemic. People aren’t going to be gathering in crowds, attending baseball games or fairs the same way they used to. In turn, cashless payment options are becoming more prevalent, cutting the need for paper assets where germs could spread more easily. As a result the industry size is expected to shrink through 2025.
In spite of this global shift, ATMs will continue to work in some areas. Just like magazines and other industries on that have been on the decline decades, you can still build a profitable business with the right approach. You’ll just need to be more creative and aware of the changing consumer behavior. According to major news outlets, cash is still the most used method of payment in the United States.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a set of machines, be sure to write a detailed business plan first so you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the business model. This post we provide detailed instruction on how to write a business plan in this industry. We even include free templates you can download and update. Let’s do this thing!
Start with a brief description of your proposed ATM business by writing down an introduction for it in this section. Include a little bit about the company as well, a quick rundown of the services your ATM business will offer, and the customer focus you’ll be reaching with this kind of business.
Introductions are important in a formal business plan. This gives your readers a quick run-through of what your ATM business is without getting too technical. A simple introduction of your business name, location, and the services you’ll be offering will suffice since more details will be thoroughly explained later on.
A sample introduction can be like this:
Cash 2 Go is an ATM business center located inside Pennsylvania Station, New York. The ATMs deployed will have cash withdrawal functions, balance checker options, bills payments services, and fund transfer services. The ATM center is accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Just by this introduction, you can already tell the name of the business, where it will be located, the services the machines will carry and the hours it is going to be accessible to the public. Assuming the venue is open, the machines could be making you money 24/7 365.
You do not have to provide extreme amounts of detail in this section. You’ll tackle the details in the next sections of the document.
Why have you decided to put up an ATM business? Who will be the ones running this? A little background on your company will be of great help. This gives your reader an idea of what your business setup will be such as who is in charge of accounts, who will handle the replenishing of cash, and who is responsible for machine repairs and maintenance.
Again, just list down the roles briefly for you will have the opportunity to list down a detailed management structure later on.
ATMs are already known to dispense cash but what other services will your ATM business cover? In this section, write down an introductory list of services your business will be offering.
In this case, you service is simple. You provide access to cash. However, be sure to offer any unique aspects of your vending machines that could be used to differentiate the service.
- Distribution of bills in different denominations ($10, $20, $50)
- Some machines will allow you to make specialty purchases like stamps.
- Does a certain portion of your proceeds go toward charity? That could be a differentiator.
- Does you ATM machine have a green element and use less energy than competitors? This could sway environmentally aware consumers to use your service.
You’d be surprised to know that not everyone uses ATMs. The younger generation has adopted the ATM more than senior citizens. Also be aware of the location you plan to place the ATM. If you’re installing the machine into an international airport, you may want to consider adding paper assets from other countries. Understand what the customers of your area truly need and adapt.
In this section, briefly state your customer focus for your ATM business since this will come in handy in visualizing the entirety of the business for your readers.
Even a simple ATM company business will need a mission statement. It will serve as the business’s goals so you can be steered in the right direction when you’re making important business decisions. It also helps you achieve success.
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Here is a sample to give you an idea of how a mission statement would look like:
Cash 2 Go promotes ease of banking. We aim to provide cash for your needs as well as other banking services such as fund transfers and bills payments all at the convenience of one machine. One unique element of our machines is that we allow donate 5% from each transaction to the the Planetary Whale Fund. We also aim to make every transaction as secure as possible and to have our machines up and running twenty-four seven.
With this statement, you can tell how Cash 2 Go’s objectives are to dispense cash, provide basic banking services, and to ensure all their machines will be online all days of the week.
Any shortcomings will mean that the ATM company business has failed in following their mission statement. So make sure to practice and meet these objectives to provide a one hundred percent satisfaction rate from your customers.
ATM company businesses have a fairly simple concept. The main concept is to be able to provide cash for those who need it and cannot go to the banks at the moment. But if you need anything more to add, now is the time to write it down here.
Other concepts you might want to consider:
- Providing a deposit function for both cash and checks
- Viewing and requesting statements
- Adding the option to buy cryptocurrency
- The ability to buy lottery tickets or stamps
Do note that you’ll have to look for machines’ that can accept cash and checks since basic ATMs will only dispense cash.
The ATM company business has been around for a while and everywhere you go, you’ll probably spot a machine. But that shouldn’t hinder you from putting up your own. Writing up a market analysis will help you figure out if the ATM industry in your desired location is feasible or not so this will give you an idea of what to expect of your ATM business before you decide to operate.
In this section, expound further on the customer focus you mentioned above, study the industry around you, and do a competitive analysis to size up the competition you will possibly meet.
Who are the people you are targeting for your ATM company business? Determining this before you start your operations helps you decide the services you’re going to offer, where to place your ATMs, and how to market your business.
Let’s take for example the people who need cash. That would be the people living in rural areas that have no access to banks within the vicinity and would be in need of ATMs. You can also include tourists and young adults who are relying on their parents’ debit cards.
Just be clear which market your business is catered to so you’re not lost on how to advertise your ATM business.
Are ATM businesses feasible? More importantly, is there a growth in ATM businesses around your proposed location? Studying the ATM business industry is crucial to the success of your business. An analysis will help you determine if you should push through with it or not, or if you should change some factors such as location to help your business become a success.
Remember that if you come across any results that show your business is not feasible, don’t blame the industry analysis. In a way, it helped you to stop putting up your business before you can push through with it otherwise you would have lost a big investment. So don’t skip this section of the business plan.
There will be ATM businesses around your area so it’s best to note their pros and cons. Do they operate twenty-four seven? Do they accept deposits? How about bills payments? What rates do they have? These are the things you can take note of and compare with your own ATM business so you know which areas you can improve upon so that your business will be better than theirs.
An ATM business may not have a lot of staff since you’ll be letting the machines do all the work for you. But the maintenance behind it takes a few people.
Here are just some of the crew behind getting an ATM business to operate:
- IT Admin or Maintenance Team
- Sales and Marketing Manager
- Customer Service Representative
The number of departments or staff will vary depending on how big your company will be.
Product Line and Services
As mentioned above, ATMs aren’t just known for dispensing cash. If you wish to have fund transfers, bills payments, cash, and check deposits, then you may also add them in this section.
Just be sure that the machines and system that you get for your ATM can carry all the features you wish for it to hold. Make sure you get the right specifications so you won’t have any trouble fixing things up in the future.
Also, make sure your system is secure. ATM hacks are common and hackers evolve through time. Have your IT admin do updates and security patches if need be. Make sure your security alarm and CCTV cameras are also functional so if anything happens, you can find the culprit fast.
Sales and Marketing
How do you market your ATM company business? Well, for a service that’s more of a necessity for a lot of people, advertising your ATM business shouldn’t be difficult.
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Location plays a great deal. Choose one where there is a lot of foot traffic and with shopping and food establishments around you. Chances are, people will need cash to pay for something so when they’ll spot your ATM conveniently within the vicinity, they’ll use it at once.
You can also advertise on social media and in print so you can reach a lot of people whether young or old.
A financial plan helps you check the supplies you need to purchase, how much to charge for rates, and how long will it take you to reach break-even. This may seem intimidating but with a proper breakdown and a careful analysis, it will help you estimate how much to provide for your capital.
Business startups get their money by asking for a loan from the bank, inviting friends and families to invest in you, or simply to use a portion of your savings. But the most common one is usually to loan from the bank.
Banks will need some documents and even a business plan from you before they analyze whether or not to grant you a loan so prepare everything you need and make sure this plan will be able to convince them.
List down all the materials you need in building that ATM company business. Here is a list of things you might need and things you will be spending on:
- Permits and licenses
- Automated Teller Machines
- ATM System
- Rental space
- A head office
- Marketing materials
- Armored vans or delivery vans to transport your money in and out
- CCTV cameras
- Payroll for your staff
- Maintenance Fees
- Revenue splits with other businesses
Make sure your rates will also match the competition surrounding you so you do not overcharge. With these rates, you can then compute how long it will be for you to reach break-even per machine. By offering revenue splits with business owners, you can increase your chances of being placed in high-profit locations.
Plan out a schedule for when you want to put your business plan into action. Don’t worry if the dates are all tentative. An operational plan just gives you a timeline for a possible startup date.
Here’s an example:
[Insert Date Here] – Finalize the permits, licenses, business registration, and location for your ATM business.
[Insert Date Here] – Start purchasing all your machines and system.
[Insert Date Here] – Hiring and training your staff.
[Insert Date Here] – Load money unto your ATM and start operations.
[Insert Date Here] – Achieve objectives and reach break-even.
Every business will have a lot of references and documentation going on which includes photos, a list of expenses, permits, and many other legal documents. This is the section of the business plan where you’ll be able to file them.
Here are the ATM business templates you can download for free in PDF or Word Doc file types.
- ATM Businesses may be costly due to the machines and systems you will be purchasing. But note that with a proper business plan and a good location, you’ll be able to profit off of it soon.
- Automated Teller Machines can be purchased brand new or second-hand. Just make sure it’s not broken down if you decide on a second-hand machine to use to fit your budget. Buying used ATMs is a smart approach since you’ll invest less to start the business and will have lower financial risk.
In conclusion, an ATM business has the flexibility to be a small business venture managed in your spare time with the ability grow into a large corporation with thousands of locations. What matters is building a network of consistent locations that are profitable and an operation planning for filling machines with cash and making repairs. After all you won’t make a nickel in this business if the ATMs aren’t stocked with cash or operating correctly.