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The ATM Business: Breaking down the start up cost

Everyone wants to own a business, be their own boss and have control of their lives. The ideas are fairly simple to come by, half the time they're some form of a passion. The problem is that would-be entrepreneurs can't seem to get passed that first barrier: start up cost.  

People are always intrigued when I tell them we sell ATMs, not knowing that you could in fact own an ATM.  And that initial hint of curiosity is usually followed up with a question: How much does it cost to get involved? And the answer is the same everytime, "not as much as you think".

Your largest expense will be the ATM itself, the great thing about running your own ATM business is you have the ability to work from home, so you don't need to purchase or lease office space, or atleast not at this time. When it comes down to your first machine, start simple. A base model will run you about $1,700 - $2,000 for a brand new terminal. You can find some machines online (i.e. Craigslist or Amazon) but in my experience there is usally something wrong with them or not compliant and may in fact end up costing you the same amount in repairs as a new machine.  If you do take the online route I strongly recommend utilizing ATMTrader.com to search for used equipment.

Now, we're at $2,000 and we need to ensure out new ATM has some form of communcation.  Most machines are still connected through a dial up connection, which at one point was the standard, but it's 2013, and Cat 3 (telephone) technology hasn't had a major advancement since the 60s. So I recommend connecting your machine through an internet connection. How? You purchase "conversion boxes" for upwards of $200 that will convert an internet connection into a dial tone, allowing your machine to connect to it's host through an internet connection, or you can go wireless. Using a device like the 8100-IP from ATMTrader will allow your ATM to connect wirelessly.

Cash is another hot topic that most people are worried about. "How can I make money when people are taking out MY cash from my ATM?" Let me clear this up. The cash you're using, whether it's $500 or $5,000 is not lost to you. In fact the cash you use to load your machine gets recycled back into your bank account so that you always have cash handy. Most start up companies will get small personal or business loans to get the cash to load their machines with, then overtime use the profits from the business to pay back the loan.  

The over all cost will run about $2,500 for your equpment, a relativaly small amount for starting your business.

Next week I'll go over some other processing costs you may encounter as well as negotiating the division of your surcharge.

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