Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are an excellent way to bring in a little extra income, and for cash-only businesses, they also offer a convenient way for your customers to get the cash necessary to pay for your goods or services. Once you’ve decided to host an ATM at your business, you’ll have to decide whether to buy a cash machine or lease one, then select a machine and choose a suitable place inside or outside your store to install it.
Earnings and Costs of ATMs
If you buy a cash machine or lease it, you’ll earn a service fee. For example, if an ATM charges a $3 fee and it’s used by 10 people per day, the machine will bring in $10,950 in fees per year. If you add in a $.40 surcharge per transaction, the total revenue from the ATM would be about $10,512 per year. However, owning an ATM comes with the responsibility of keeping the machine well-maintained and operational, and always loaded with cash.
Furthermore, ATM owners must pay for a phone line for the machine, receipt paper, statement fees and more. To counter the risk of the machine being damaged or stolen, many owners choose to purchase insurance for their cash machines. Finally, most owners choose to hire a company that provides the service of loading the machine since carrying that much cash from a bank to the ATM yourself can be risky. All these additional costs can dig into the profits from a cash machine.
The best way to determine the profitability of owning an ATM machine is to weigh-in the benefit it provides to your existing customers. Keep in mind that even if the cash machine fees don’t bring in significant revenue, the presence of the machine does have the potential to increase your customers’ spending habits with such handy access to more cash.
ATM Leasing Versus Buying
For some people, it makes sense to buy an ATM outright, but even inexpensive cash machines can start at $2,000. Generally, leasing a cash machine will cost $50 to $100 per month. Carefully scrutinize the leasing document since many ATM leasing contracts have lengthy terms. For example, ATM machine rental contracts that cost $100 a month for four years may end up being more expensive than buying the machine outright. Of course, ATM owners are responsible for keeping your leased machine in working order, so many business owners still opt to lease the machine to avoid these hassles.
If you do not want to deal with the hassle of maintaining a machine, but want your customers to have access to an ATM, you can also choose an ATM placement service if you have enough foot traffic. Under these agreements, you make no direct revenue from the machine, but simply offer a location for it. Cash machine owners will only install devices where they feel they can make a profit, so if you have insufficient foot traffic, this might not be an option.
How to Buy an ATM Machine
Once you've decided that you'd like to buy a cash machine, you need to decide where it will be installed. Ideally, you want to install it somewhere where there are a lot of people who need to access cash. Bars, liquor stores, cafes and quick service restaurants tend to be opportune places for ATMs.
You will also need to decide whether to install the machine inside or outside. You may be able to earn more by installing the machine outside, but it can also be more easily damaged or stolen. A phone jack and power outlet are required for a cash machine's operation, but you can always have these installed if necessary.
Next, decide on the type of machine you would like to buy. Various features and benefits will be of prime importance, such as appearance, screen size, vault size, technology, reliability and more. These features will influence the cost of any given ATM machine for sale.
Whether your ATM will be located inside or outside and whether it will be accessible outside of business hours are important factors when you buy a cash machine. For instance, the security necessary for a machine located in the back of a deli is a lot different than that required for one installed in the front of the store.
Finally, get your cash machine installed. Most ATM companies provide free installation as long as you have the outlet and phone line in place. Once the machine is installed, you just need to fill it with cash and you're ready to go.