Do you want to start an ATM business on your own? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an ATM business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample ATM business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample ATM marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for ATM businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting an ATM business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start an ATM Business on your Own?
The Automated Teller Machines (ATM) have come to be very helpful especially when one wants to pay someone or collect a few dollars from the bank; it is for this reason that the ATM business has become a very lucrative business for any innovative and enterprising entrepreneur. If you have therefore been thinking of a lucrative business to start up that will enable you earn over a long term, then the ATM business is one of the businesses you should consider.
The first thing you will need to decide on when starting the ATM business is if you intend to start your business from the scratch or get involved with an ATM franchise. This decision is one that needs to be carefully thought out considering what your end goals and objectives for your ATM business is.
If you intend to buy a franchise, then you should know that most of the ATM franchises available usually sell a brand name and provide the ATMs needed. Some even go as far as pointing out good and strategic locations so that you are able to recoup your investment faster.
If you intend to start any business in the United States of America, it is important that you are legally registered so as to run your business without having to face any sort of run-ins with the law. The decision of what legal entity to use for your ATM business can be pretty confusing as each legal entity has its own pros and cons.
The next thing you would need to consider is the equipment you need fort your ATM business. If you are strained on capital you might consider going for just one ATM and then slowly build your business from there. If however you intend to start on a larger scale, then you may consider buying as many ATMs as you want for your business.
Next you would need to find appropriate locations for the ATMs you have bought for your business. It is important that you choose locations where there is a lot of foot traffic as this is likely to mean that there will be more usage of your ATMs than if it were in an area where there is little or no foot traffic.
Starting an ATM Business on your Own – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
In 2015, the ATM market was valued at more than $12 billion with a predicted 10 percent CAGR for a 7 year period (2016 to 2023). The ATM market in the United States of America has dominant market share revenue for the whole North America. Most of the activities that will drive revenue for this 7 year period include; aging machines replacement, integration of the capabilities of the machine to biometrics and video conferencing as well as remote assistance.
According to statistics from the World Bank from sources such as Financial Access Survey and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), automated teller machines saw an increase of more than 22 percent from 2012 to 2015. According to the information, as at 2012, there were 33 ATMs per 100,000 adults globally; this later increased to 40 machines per 100,000 adults by 2015.
According to statistics from the US Federal Reserve, nearly 75 percent of individuals in the country make use of an ATM for their everyday banking activities; this is as physical branches for banks have increased as well as mobile and online banking. According to statistics from the Retail Banking Research (RBR), there are more than 432,000 automated teller machines in the United States in comparison with 110,000 bank branches.
Further evidence showed that the ATMs saw a total cash withdrawal of $691 billion which is contrary to reports by conventional banking channels of the usage of ATMs being on the decline. According to the RBR estimates, there will be 438,000 ATMs in the United States by 2019.
The ATM industry which came up in the 1960s has continued to evolve especially in parallel to internet banking and mobile banking. The market has gone global due in large part to a huge demand by consumers for withdrawal services especially in emerging markets.
There are several key trends that have been observed in this industry and they include increase in electronic transactions, technological innovation as well as an increase in Bitcoin ATM investments by entrepreneurs. This is not to however say that the industry has not witnessed several challenges as well such as an increase in cashless transactions and increasing costs of operating retail associated with the ATM business.
The ATM market has always had security issues from the onset and even though there have been breakthrough in technological advancements, it has not totally solved the issue arising from possible security breaches. Earlier on, security issues affecting ATMs have been physical especially amongst those using the machines in areas that are unsafe and highly insecure; however, the security issues have now grown and become sophisticated as criminals are now making use of software to hack and retrieve financial data transmitted by the ATMs in order to get the sensitive information of customers.
Globally, the ATM market is to expect a 7.6 percent CAGR between 2014 and 2020 that will see a generation of nearly $22 billion. This is majorly going to be due to the diverse services and offerings in financial transactions. Also, the fact that ATMs have been deployed offsite, onsite and at worksites and have been made easily accessible has helped to facilitate the seamless services of banks.
Therefore, the introduction of white label ATMs in developing countries will grow the ATM markets and cause a CAGR of more than 11 percent during the period of 2014 to 2020. Reports also have it that the Asia-Pacific represents the most lucrative market for this industry in terms of revenue and deployment.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, it was noted that attacks on debit cards users in the United States in the first quarter of 2015, increased in at least two decades. Also, ATMs that were compromised on bank properties jumped to more than 174 percent paling in comparisons to the 317 percent increase on ATMs compromised outside the bank’s property.
These compromises have continued to increase despite the issuance of chip cards to consumers in order to forestall these attacks. This is largely due to the fact that hackers have also advanced in the technologies used to steal sensitive information from clients.
In Europe, there has been a 15% increase in the first half of 2015 of ATM fraud. Also attacks resulting from card trapping have increased by 18 percent. Card trapping is usually the physical card being captured inside the ATM to be later retrieved by criminals for fraudulent purposes. There has also been an increase of 985 percent in Transactional Reversal Fraud (TRF). However, skimming attacks have decreased in Europe by 18 percent.
Starting an ATM Business on your Own – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those that require the services provided by automated teller machines are dependent on the location of the machines and how close it is to its target market. Most of those who use an ATM are those who suddenly run out of cash when they are on dates, out for an event, want to purchase something or have an immediate need which is deemed an emergency.
List of Niche ideas Within the ATM Business That one Can Specialize in
The ATM is a machine that doles out cash for customers who want to withdraw a certain amount of money or perform other services as well. The ATM business is a market that operates under the financial institution and therefore has a lot of rules and regulations guiding those that are in this industry.
However, because of the convenience which it offers customers and even the banking institution, there has been a wide and growing adoption of the services it offers. Most of the restraints hindering the expansion of the ATM business hinges on concerns regarding theft, fraud, privacy and security. There are however niches that have stood out in this industry.
- ATM Supply Business
- ATM Installation and Management Business
- ATM Servicing and Maintenance
- ATM Manufacturing Company
- Software Solutions
- Bitcoin ATMs
The Level of Competition in the ATM Business Industry
The level of competition in the ATM business market is one that is very dependent on the location of the machines. It is not important that the owner or the operators of the machines be at the location every time a customer needs to use the machine as this is a business that does not require the presence of anyone to function except that of the machines.
When it comes to the ATM business, distance is not a barrier when competing with other competitors as long as you can get your machines out to where those of your competitors are. What clients want from automated teller machines are that they get a service that is fast, seamless, safe and secure. Once these attributes can be linked to your ATM machine, then you are likely going to be able to compete with your competitors.
If you however choose to locate your ATMs within the same locality instead of scattering them all over, then you are likely to operate your business at a low cost, no matter how many ATMs you own. The United States of America is a place where its citizens have high awareness of the uses of an ATM and so competition amongst operators in the ATM market is usually stiff. Companies who have the capability to place their ATMs in several locations are usually able to compete more than those companies who are only able to install a few ATMs or just one.
List of Well – Known Brands in the ATM Business
Even though financial institutions and banking systems have joined in the ATM business, there are still independent brands that stand out on their own. The reason why certain brands are well known is due to the fact that they provide quality machines which can last long, the franchises they offer, they rarely have issues with usage from customers and they improve upon their software and hardware regularly.
Therefore, below are some of the well-known ATM business brands in the United States of America and even globally;
- National Cash Systems
- DPL – Managed Connectivity
- Cash Connect
- NCR Financial Solutions
- Elan Financial Services
The ATM segment in the financial industry has been forecast to grow till 2023 especially as there has been growing initiatives in the financial industry as well as increasing research and development in order to increase security for users during transactions.
Even though the ATM market has penetrated into developing nations where there is rising demand for cash with financial institutions looking to set up more ATMs in order to reach the target market, the number of people able to access these machines are still low, which has led to positive growth being forecast in these nations as more people become aware and are able to access these automated teller machines.
Even though banks were initially concerned with catering to their customers from their premises and leaving the ATM businesses to entrepreneurs, growing technological advancements have allowed banks to begin to enter into this market in order to leave most of its monotonous tasks of cash deposits and withdrawals, balance enquiries and certain bill payments to the machines.
This has therefore freed the banks and its personnel up to be able to handle other value-added tasks. On the flip side, it has also caused a lot of job losses to certain personnel in the banking industry.
However, the ATM market has several factors that has restrained it from growing to achieve its full potentials and these are; theft, online fraud through online and mobile banking and network connectivity issues. However, the leaders in the industry are being proactive enough to tackle these issues so has to allow the ATM market to grow unhindered and reach its full potential.
Starting Your ATM Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
The question of whether to start your business from scratch or whether to buy a franchise depends entirely on the goals and objectives of your business and what your budget is. If you are one who intends to be in charge of the key decisions you want to make for your business such as where to locate your machines, where to get your machines, how you will get customers attracted to your machines amongst several others that might be located in the same location and how much per transaction fee you will charge, then you might need to start your business from scratch. In starting from the scratch, you are bound to meet with challenges but if you are determined that should not deter you from growing your business and then making it a success.
If you however prefer to buy a franchise, then you will need to conduct a thorough study of the company where you intend to purchase your franchise from. The factors that should be considered are, how popular they are and what they will offer your business in terms of machines, locations and the right customers for your ATM business. Compare different franchise companies so as to settle for the best. You should ensure that whichever franchise company you choose should be one that falls within your budget so that you do not end up spending more than you bargained for.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting an ATM Business
Every business that is established to make profit and compete favorably against its competitors will at one time or the other run into challenges and the ATM business market is no different. As an entrepreneur going into this business, you should be prepared and be proactive enough to ensure you face and overcome any challenges and threats your ATM business might face so that your business does not go into extinction.
Therefore, some of the threats and challenges you are likely to face when starting your ATM business are; thefts, online frauds, network connectivity issues and changes in technological trends.
Other threats and challenges you are likely to face are from entrants of new competitors, competition from already established competitors as well as changes in government policies.
Starting an ATM Business on your Own – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
The decision of choosing a legal entity for your ATM business is a very serious and important one as the legal entity you eventually choose for your business will have an impact on your business in the short and long run. There are several factors that you would need to consider when making the choice of a legal entity and the factors are; ease of set-up, liability, tax issues and the structure of the liability.
If you are however confused on which to go for, it’s best you consult with an attorney or a certified public accountant with experience in this industry to help you choose the best legal entity for your ATM business.
It should however be noted that the ATM business industry is one that is in a sensitive industry and so there are rules and regulations guiding entrants as regards how they start the business and what kind of legal entity is acceptable. For example, you cannot run your business as a sole proprietor because while this is an easy legal entity to start up, there is no protection from any liability for you as the owner especially in a sensitive industry like this.
The three kinds of legal entity options that you should therefore consider for your ATM business are; the Limited Liability Company (LLC), the S Corporation and the C Corporation. The LLC kind of legal entity is one that is chosen by most entrepreneurs due to the fact that it has less formality with setting it up and has less regulatory requirements. In an LLC, the owner is regarded as a separate entity from the business, which means that the personal assets of the owner is protected in case the business incurs any liabilities during its operations.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for an ATM Business
Choosing a business name for your ATM business is one task that must be taken seriously because this is the name that will be projected to your target market. The name you should consider choosing for your ATM business should be one that is creative, unique and memorable. While it is important that you do a name search within your city in order to find out if your proposed business name has been taken, you should also have other names as backup.
Below therefore are names you should consider choosing if you intend starting your ATM business in the United States of America;
- Crunch Cash Services
- Integrated Services
- Domina’s Bulk Services
- GHI Financial Services
- Doi Services
- Franklin’s Financial Services
Choosing the right insurance policies for your business is very necessary and considered very important by the authorities. Any business that operates in the United States of America is required to have insurance in order to be able operate efficiently.
Insurance policies are very important and so you would need to create a budget for your insurance policies. If you are not sure of the insurance policy covers you can engage the services of an insurance agent or broker who would then advise you on the appropriate insurance policies to use for your ATM business.
Below therefore, are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you intend to start your own ATM business in the United States of America;
- General Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Overhead Expense Disability Insurance
- Payment Protection Insurance
- Errors and Omission Insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Auto Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
The ATM business is one that has undergone so many technological innovations and as such has had issue of intellectual property protection. Even though the aim of most ATMs is to ensure that the machine dispenses cash to a customer as fast as possible through a vent that opens up to dispense this cash, many people have tried to change the way this is done and only few have been successful. For instance, there are now ATMs that also take in cash as well.
If however you are in the business of just installing your ATMs and making money from it, then you might not need to bother with applying for an intellectual property protection. Some entrepreneurs in this industry usually aim to protect their logos, software and other materials like that. You would need an experienced lawyer to help you with filing your IPP with the USPIO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run an ATM Business?
Even though the ATM market is in the financial industry and has lots of regulations and stringent rules for new customers, having professional certification before you can start this business is no requirement in the industry.
If however you intend on concentrating on the niche that deals in software, then you or the ones who will build the software will be required to possess certification of some sorts in order for your software to be accepted by the regulatory bodies and other stakeholders in the industry.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run an ATM Business
Some of the basic legal documents that you would require in order to successfully run your ATM business in the United States of America include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Business License
- Business Permit
- Zoning License
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Documents
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement
- Federal Tax Identification Number
Financing Your ATM Business
Financing one’s business is one hard task that an entrepreneur must undergo, for without having the right finance, your business is either unlikely to start up or fail midway. This is why having a business plan in place is very important as your business plan, if comprehensively written – is what you can use to convince intending investors about your commitment towards the new business you are about to start and get them to lend you the required money needed to start your ATM business.
Therefore, here are some of the options that you can explore when you intend sourcing for start-up capital for your ATM business;
- Raising part of your start-up capital from personal savings and sale of properties
- Raising part of the capital from private investors and business partners
- Sourcing for soft loan from family members and friends
- Applying for loan from the bank
- Getting business start-up capital from ATM machine suppliers
- Getting loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA)
Choosing a Suitable Location for your ATM Business
Finding a suitable location for your ATM is very important as what differentiates a good location from a bad one is the ability to recoup your investment as fast as possible. Any serious entrepreneur knows that it is best to put ATMs in areas where there is high foot traffic such as community centers, shopping malls, movie theaters, bank compounds, schools, office complexes, restaurants and hospitals.
Also, the location where you choose to install your ATM must be one that is in a well-lit area and safe enough for customers to use at any time. If customers have to avoid your ATMs especially at certain hours, then it would take you a long time to recoup your investment.
While you can run this business from home, if you are going to own more than one ATM and are looking to employ people to work for you, then it is totally necessary that you rent or lease an office in an environment that is not only convenient but easily accessible for your employees.
It is important that you rent or lease a facility that is within your budget. You can engage the services of a real estate agent to help you choose one that is within your preference and budget.
Also, when choosing a facility for your ATM business, you must ensure that it is located within the hub where your machines are located so that you don’t have to drive too far to get to your machines.
Starting an ATM Business – Technical & Manpower Details
The ATM business is one that requires you to have a substantial amount of cash before you can start the business; this is even though you might not necessarily have to get all new equipment in order to start your business. You can get fairly used ATMs from those who no longer intend to run the business. You can also get a fairly used vehicle that will allow you or your staff to make the trips to and from the ATM.
Where you choose to locate your ATM is very important because if you locate your ATM business in a place where there is little or no traffic, you might likely not get enough people to use the ATM and enable you recoup your investment. Also, if your ATM is in an area that is unsafe, there will not be many people willing to use your ATM.
The equipment you will need in running your ATM business include; the ATMs, clip, software, phone, computer and a vehicle. As earlier stated, some of the equipment can be gotten for brand new or fairly used, depending on your budget.
The number of people you would need to employ in order to run your ATM business successfully – especially if you are going to have more than one machine – includes; chief executive officer (owner), an admin and Human Resource Manager, a system administrator, customer service officer, accountant, marketing executive and driver.
In summary, you would need at least 7 key people in order to effectively and successfully run your ATM business.
The Service Delivery Process of an ATM Business
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have helped greatly in enhancing financial services such as transfer of funds, withdrawal of cash, mini statements, cash deposits, bill payments and other forms of financial enquiries. There is no technical process involved in this business, except if the entrepreneur wants to go into the niche of manufacturing these machines.
Once a good location that is safe and secure with high foot traffic has been found for an ATM, the entrepreneur goes ahead to install one and then proceeds to fill the ATM with enough money so that customers who need certain amounts of cash daily can withdraw from it.
Once the plastic card which has a magnetic strip that contains the customer’s identity and personal identification has been inserted into the ATM, the machine which has a software that is linked to a database in the financial institution processes it in order to ensure that the information is genuine. Once it has verified the information, the customer can go ahead to input the cash needed and then withdraw the amount from the machine by pressing several buttons.
Starting an ATM Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Conducting market survey for your ATM business is very important as marketing helps your business not only achieves revenue generation but also ensure that you get the publicity needed for your business. Before creating marketing strategies for your ATM business, it is important that you conduct a thorough survey of your intended market as this will help you determine the right strategies to deploy for your business.
Seeking the help of a marketing consulting firm to help with creating the right marketing strategies for your business is not out of place as the expert will help you to effectively penetrate the market. Any marketing strategies you create must align with your corporate goals and objectives so that you remain on track. Below therefore are some of the marketing strategies that you will need for your ATM business;
- Engage in direct marketing
- Introduce your ATM business to industry stakeholders
- Advertise your ATM business in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Distribute handbills and paste fliers in strategic locations
- Advertise your ATM locations on your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus
- Associate with fellow ATM owners and also attend conferences and seminars relating to your business in order to know about new trends in the industry.
Possible Ways to Increase Customer Retention for your ATM Business
Even though the banking and financial institutions have rolled out strategies that would allow customers to use mobile and internet transfers to conduct any financial transactions, there are still a lot of customers who need ATMs for the convenience that cannot be offered by these other channels. However, while there are several customers who do not care what ATM they use, others are particular about the brand probably due to the ease of transactions and having little or no issues when using the ATMs.
This therefore means that for you to be able to increase customer retention for your ATM business, you would need to deploy a lot of winning customer strategies because the more people trust and use your brand, the more money you get to make for your business.
One of the best ways to retain customers to your business is to remain proactive by putting in checks that will allow you to know when the machine needs a cash refill. Once customers come to know that they can always get cash when they use your ATM, it is likely to increase those who would remain loyal to your brand.
Also, it is important that you conduct preventive maintenance checks on your machines at the appropriate time and as often as possible. Carrying out preventive maintenance during the night or very early in the morning, will free up the machine during the day, thereby not allowing your customers go away in irritation during the day because you are carrying out preventive maintenance checks on your machine at an inconvenient time.
Strategies to Boost Your ATM Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
Every entrepreneur who knows the importance of remaining relevant in the business knows how important it is to engage in strategies that would ensure that the brand is well publicized. The importance of boosting one’s brand awareness and creating a corporate identity for a brand is why companies are ready to spend a fortune in order to ensure that they achieve all their branding and publicity objectives.
The aim of creating strategies in order to boost the awareness of your brand and create a corporate identity for your business is to ensure that you position your business to be able to stand out and get your target customers to notice your business.
Because of how delicate publicity is as the wrong publicity could dent a brand’s reputation, entrepreneurs are usually willing to hire a branding and promotions consultant who understands the industry thoroughly and have successfully helped others in the industry to achieve their publicity goals, to draft effective publicity strategies that would allow the public’s perception of the business be positive.
While you must set aside a budget to publicize and promote your business, you must also know what channels will be very effective in enabling you reach your goals and objectives within the shortest possible time.
Below therefore are some of the platforms you can use to boost your brand awareness as well as create a corporate identity for your ATM business;
- Ensure that you place adverts in local, national newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations about your ATM business
- Attend financial seminars, conferences and symposiums in order to network with stakeholders in the industry as well as know about new trends in the industry
- Use unique colors for your ATMs so that it can easily be identified
- Install flexi banners and billboards in strategic locations all around the state about your business
- Ensure that your truck is well branded and that your staff wear customized tee-shirts whenever they are out to refill the machine or carry out maintenance
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus to promote your ATM business