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New Business Ideas: Starting an ATM Company

Have you ever wanted to earn income like the Banks? Owning and operating an ATM company can be a very rewarding and lucrative opportunity and re-occurring residual income is the game.

How will owning an ATM Generate Income for me?

ATMs charge a fee called a surcharge. This fee is normally $1.50 to $3.00 depending on the location and the surrounding ATM competition. The nationwide Average is around 300 transactions, so if you had a machine that did 300 tx/mo x $2.00= $600/mo income. This income is usually shared with the location owner.

What are the Costs?

1. The ATM Machine- The ATM machine itself is a small piece in the puzzle. There are many different manufacturers, different configurable options, etc, but a good quality new machine will cost around $2000.

2. The Cash- You load the ATM with your own money. This money is constantly recycling itself. What is dispensed today- you get a deposit in your bank account the next business day.

3. Communication- ATMs need a way to communicate via telephone line, internet, or wireless. In some instances it is recommended that you either share the merchants existing internet (if they have internet) or share a phone line. If this option is not available, wireless is a very easy add on. Wireless fees range from $15 to $30 a month depending on carriers and options.

4. Your Time- It takes 3 to 5 minutes to replenish the vault cash in an ATM. If you are adding ATM services to an existing route- this time may be meaningless- but if you are starting from scratch- I recommend having ATMs in a close geographical area. This will make your life easier- as well as be more productive. Once you get a feel for the business, and understand whats involved, then diversify to different areas if you feel comfortable.

5. Compensation to the Location Owner- Pay for performance. Set an agreed upon payment schedule that you are comfortable with. I would recommend a something similar to: Less than 100/ transactions per month the merchant does not receive anything. If the ATM does 100-200, the merchant will get 30% of the surcharge, if the ATM does 200-400 transactions/mo the merchant will get 50% of the surcharge, if the machine does over 400+transactions/mo the merchant will receive 60% of the surcharge. Its easier and good business to give the merchant more money if they are entitled to it, but if you are not making money- there is no point to be in the ATM business, so be careful in what deal you cut. Remember- you are the one doing the work, and taking the risk and making the investment. The merchant gets to reap the benefits all your $20 bills go into his or her register and reducing credit card fees.

What to Look for In A Location?

Foot Traffic! The more customers the better. On average 1 in 30 people will use an ATM. Or ask the merchant how many customer’s they have each day. The number of customers each day will equate to the estimated number of transactions the ATM will perform each month. So if a merchant says they have about 200 customers a day- you can expect the machine will perform 200/ withdrawals a month and so on.

Cash Businesses- Businesses that either want to reduce their credit cards, or do not take credit cards are no-brainer’s for ATMs. Bars, clubs, convenience stores…etc. These businesses will encourage customers to take money out of your ATM, because they would rather have cash in their register!

The Do’s and Don’t of the Business

Do- Invest in proper hardware in the beginning- if you have a location that you know will be busy, it may make sense to get that extra capacity cassette, or have an internet connection so the machine will do more transactions in less time.

Do- Be competitive in your surcharge- if all the surrounding ATMs are $1.99, then you be $1.99. Don’t be more, and don’t be less.

Do- Keep your machine full at all times. No inventory – no transactions. This is the most important thing!

Do- If you have a machine that is not making you money- remove it immediately! Pull it out and find a new location ASAP. I have spoken with countless ATM owners over the years and they have excuses like “well I don’t have any place to put it”. Bring it home with you, put it in your living room, put in on your back porch- it will make you find a new location that much sooner. If its not making money- its wasting your money.

Do Not- Give a Sign Up Bonus- The math almost never works! Giving away your money to sign up locations will only hurt you in the end. I can not tell you how many ATM companies have gone out of business because they have run out of capital. An ATM Business is an investment. Invest wisely, and give away only what you have to. No deal is too good that you can not walk away.

Do Not-Give away all your profit to the location owner. Cut a deal that is fair for both of you.

Do- Have the location owner sign an agreement, with their responsibilities, and your responsibilities.

5 New Business Ideas For 2010

As the economy starts to improve, many people are considering striking out on their own in the near future. Here are five ideas for a new business which you might consider:

A web-based business
With only a very few exceptions, much of your prior experience in previous businesses can lend itself to creating a web-based business to provide a source of income. Although this does still require careful business planning and research, many of the essential infrastructure features (such as shopping carts and drop shipping) have now been standardized, making this one of the easiest businesses to start successfully. It is also possible to take a hobby or other specialized field of interest, and appeal to niche audiences in ways that traditional businesses will overlook as not being profitable enough to be worth the effort. Limited inventory costs and the ability to create information products as demand requires makes a web-based component something every new business should consider.

A franchise business
Franchises have much higher rates of longevity than many other businesses which you might start on your own. One of the biggest advantages of a franchise is that the chain has already figured out many of the mistakes you might make when starting a business, and has procedures in place to prevent these from occurring. Franchises also make use of wider-scale advertising than you could manage when starting out on your own. The only downside? Franchises can be more expensive to start.

A software development business
Software development can take many different forms. Many of the newest smart phones have application stores, and so there is strong demand for a variety of programs, from games to productivity enhancing tools. For those who have the technical background, software development can be a great way to enter a high-margin business with low or no inventory requirements, and a multitude of opportunities available to the enterprising.

A consulting services business
Consulting is another field where you can re-purpose knowledge acquired in other fields, and use it to improve a different business. Some of the challenges posed in starting a consulting business are that it involves delivering an intangible service, and that it can be difficult for customers to realize how good your service is, when compared with others.

A specialty care service business
A specialty care service can range from taking care of someone’s pets or children while they are out-of-town, to a service business which helps the elderly who are not yet ready for a nursing home. Since the United States has a significant portion of its population which is growing older, these businesses should experience growth in the coming years. If your business also has specialty skills (such as first aid or physical therapy), these can be additional selling points when marketing your services.

Therefore, if you plan on starting a new business, you should consider a web-based business, a software application business, a franchise business, a consulting services business, or a specialty care business. Each is highly attractive, and should well in 2010 and well into the future.

Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays