The Best Business to Start with Little Money

Whether you’re running behind on your bills or you just want to increase your income faster than the linear promotion schedule of a 9-to-5 job, you’ve probably spent some time wondering how you can improve your financial situation without a lot of capital to work with.

And, you’ve probably brainstormed some answers to the question, “What is a good business to start with little money?”

There are a lot of options. But, there are not a lot of businesses that you can start with little money and that generate passive income as you scale up. Most businesses require you to work more or hire more people to grow.

However, there’s a business that you can start with little money and use to generate full-time income with part-time work.

You probably already guessed it: an ATM business.

ATM businesses are some of the most successful small businesses. And, an ATM business can be a lifestyle business, if you build it that way.

So, if you want to start a business, but have no money to invest upfront, here’s what to do.

How to start an ATM business with no money

We know what you’re thinking.

So, to be completely transparent, it’s nearly impossible to start any business with a true zero dollars invested. Even if you start a service-based business that requires nothing but your body to do the work, you still need to pay for gas to get to the clients, or your internet bill, or something else.

And, even if providing the service were somehow 100% free, you’d still have to pay the government to form your business entity.

So, if you think it sounds a little far-fetched to claim that you can start an ATM business without spending any money, you’re right.

It takes some money. But, you don’t have to have all that money in your bank account in order to get started. In fact, the first few steps can be done while you’re doing other errands, if you want to keep the expenses at zero.

Here’s how to start:

  • As you’re going about your usual days, keep track of which businesses don’t have an ATM.

Not every business will be a good candidate for an ATM. To give you an idea of your best options, here’s a short list of businesses that make good ATM machine locations:

  • Gas stations.
  • Restaurants.
  • Bars.
  • Nightclubs.
  • Barber shops.
  • Casinos.
  • Any business that only takes cash (they still exist). 

Make a list of these businesses, so you can patronize them more often.

  • Talk to the owners of the businesses that don’t have ATM machines.

This can be tricky. The business owner often won’t be there, or they’ll be too busy to talk.

However, you do have one advantage: you’re a customer. Smart business owners will usually take an interest in talking to their customers.

So, you can usually at least get the name of the business owner from the staff. And, with some clever conversation, you can probably get information about when the business owner is usually there.

Then, you can more reliably show up when the business owner is there.

It can take some time. But with a consistent approach, you can usually get a few minutes of face-to-face time with business owners.

Here’s the key: once you’re able to meet with the business owner, don’t immediately try to sell them an ATM machine. People dislike that.

Take some time to talk to them, learn about their business, and develop a relationship. Take the opportunity to find out what their needs are, and develop a way to show them that an ATM machine will help their business.

Then show them how they’ll benefit from an ATM. And, offer to help them get those benefits by operating the ATM machine for them. So that all they have to do is keep the lights on (which they’re already doing).

This won’t happen overnight. But, taking the time to build a relationship is hands-down the most reliable way to get someone to agree to an ATM placement. And, it makes it much easier to work with the business owner once you’ve placed the ATM, because they know you. You’re not just a vendor.

Which ATM machine you’ll provide. What percentage of the fees the business will get. The timeline for placing the ATM. Cover everything.

Make sure you cover all the details. You can get templates for an agreement to ensure you don’t leave anything out.

At this stage, you can sign a contract. But, remember that you don’t have an ATM, yet. So, another option is to use the agreement as a proposal, get signatures on the proposal. Then wait to sign the actual service contracts until you’ve placed the ATM.

There are pros and cons to each method. If you sign a contract up front, but then you can’t meet the timelines or requirements for placing the ATM, you’ll be in breach of the contract.

On the other hand, if you just have a signed proposal, the business owner isn’t obligated to go through with placing the ATM machine. So, he or she could back out (an agreement isn’t legally binding), leaving you with an ATM you need to place.

Some prefer to sign the service contract up front, because they have more control over whether or not they get the ATM placed within the requirements of the contract. But, it will depend on your situation. Regardless of if you use an agreement or a contract, get it in writing. You may need it later.

Check out this Facebook group for personalized advice.

  • Get funding for your ATM.

There are several ways to go about this. But, you’re going to borrow the money for the ATM machine.

There are ways to get ATMs for very little money (used and refurbished ATM machines). But, we’ll assume you’re getting a new one.

You’ll need the ATM itself and some cash to stock it. So, $3000 will cover it. $2500 for the ATM, and $500 in cash to fill it.

In terms of business capital, $3000 is not a lot of money. Consider the millions that Silicon Valley startups must raise to get off the ground.

You could finance everything with a credit card. That may not be the best choice, considering the high interest rates on credit cards. But, it’s an option.

More likely, you’ll go to a lender an apply for a loan. This is where the agreement or contract comes in handy. It’s often easier to get a loan if you can prove what you’re going to use it for and that you’re going to be generating revenue to pay the loan back.

Once you’ve got your funding…

If you didn’t sign a contract before, make sure you get a service contract signed before you turn your ATM machine on. At this point, you must have a contract. An agreement won’t do.

Also, make sure you have a bank account setup to accept your ATM revenue. It’s best to talk to the bank before you start processing ATM transactions, so they know what’s going on. Otherwise, they may get suspicious with the frequent transactions.

Once your ATM is installed and running, you’ll be getting a cut of the ATM fee every time someone uses your ATM. All you have to do is keep your ATM machine stocked with cash.

Depending on your needs, you can either divert all of the revenue from your ATM machine to paying off the loan, to start making 100% profit faster. Or you can pay the loan off more slowly, if you need to use some of the ATM revenue. Regardless of which way you do it, paying off the loan as quickly as possible is the best choice.

When can you start?

That’s it. Five steps to starting an ATM business with no money. And you can start working on the first two steps right now.

And one more thing: since it takes time to develop a relationship with business owners, you could just save up the money for an ATM while you talk to them.

If you get an agreement sooner than you expected, an ATM business is a great business to start with 5K (you could place two ATMs for $5000). Or 2000 dollars. Or $1000. You could start an ATM business for under 500 dollars.

The point is that starting an ATM business is incredibly flexible. You just have to stop Googling “small profitable business ideas,” and get out there and check out some businesses and get in touch with business owners.

You can start right now.

If you’re hesitant. We understand. Learn all about the ATM business before you put yourself out there.

How an ATM Business Creates Residual Income

Here’s a four-second finance tip: if you want more spending money, you need to create residual income.

If you’re not sure exactly what that means, we’ll help you out. But—spoiler alert—an ATM business will help you create residual income if you build it right. This is how it works.

Residual income vs passive income: What’s the difference?

We’ve talked about using an ATM business to create passive income before. But, passive income and residual income aren’t quite the same thing. Though, they are related.

Passive income

Passive income is money that you earn through an asset or a business that requires very little ongoing effort.

Income from an ATM business is an excellent example of passive income because it takes very little time, effort, and energy to keep the ATM up and running once you get it setup. Your ATM machine just sits there and makes you money, while you do other things.

That’s a textbook example of passive income.

Residual income

Residual income is different. The term “residual income” is a bit misleading, because it’s technically not income.

Residual income is money that you have left after subtracting all of your debts and expenses. It doesn’t matter if that money is from a passive income stream or from a full-time job. But, passive income is the best way to create residual income.

Creating residual income

In personal finance, there are two ways to create more residual income:

  1. Get paid more for what you do.
  2. Add additional sources of income.

If you only earn money by doing work as an employee, there’s a cap on both of these methods. There’s probably a top end of how much you can get paid for doing your job. And, because you have to spend a certain number of hours every day at work, you can also only take on so many jobs.

So, traditional labor isn’t an ideal way to build residual income.

Adding passive income streams is a much better way to build residual income. A passive income source, like an ATM business, won’t interfere with your full-time employment. But, it adds income on top of your full-time salary.

Ideally, income from just one source should cover all of your debts and expenses. It’s best if your passive income pays all your bills. That way, any time you invest in making money is pure spending money.

But, when you first start building passive income streams, it’s most likely that your full-time salary will be the breadwinner.

Building residual income with an ATM business

Building residual income with an ATM business has a lot in common with using other passive income streams to build residual income. But, operating ATM machines has a few advantages of other passive income sources:

  • You invest money, rather than time.

The smartest financial experts—from Benjamin Graham to Robert Kiyosaki—advocate spending money to make money rather than spending time to make money. And, it makes sense.

Think about it. You have a limited amount of time. And you don’t know exactly how much time you have in your life. AND you can’t get more time. It’s a fixed resource.

But, you can make more money.

Also, buying a money-making asset, rather than building one, enables you to start making money from that asset faster.

Now, your ATM business as a whole is an asset that you have to build. But, you can simply buy the thing that makes the money—ATMs. For a few thousand dollars, you can have an ATM that’s generating income. And, it takes very little time to get an ATM machine going.

  • You truly own your money-making asset.

Many passive income sources rely on platforms and services that are owned by other people and companies.

YouTube channels have been completely shut down by YouTube. Blogs have been ripped from the internet by the website hosting provider. That’s a really quick way for a passive income stream to disappear.

But, when you own an ATM machine, it’s yours. No one can legally take it from you (unless you do something crazy illegal. But, we’re sure you can avoid that). Even if the business where your ATM is located shuts down or gets sold to a new owner, the ATM is still yours. You can simply move your ATM to a new location and start making money again.

Your ATM business is dependent on you. So, it’s much more stable than many other passive income methods.

  • An ATM business scales easily.

One of the best things about owning ATMs is that adding more ATM machines doesn’t significantly increase your time investment, if you build a good route. You can easily manage several machines with just one day a week.

And, if you want your ATM business income to replace your full-time job, it can easily do that. It’s totally up to you how big your ATM business gets. You can build it around your lifestyle.

That’s why an ATM business is the perfect passive income idea for building residual income.

How an ATM business generates residual income is even simpler, and you’ve probably already figured it out.

Since it takes very little time to operate ATM machines, you can easily run an ATM business and hold down a full-time job.

If your full-time salary covers all of your expenses, the income from your ATM machines is entirely residual income. Or, if your ATM business generates enough revenue to cover all your expenses, all the money you earn at work is residual income.

Then there’s a third option: if you build your ATM business to the point that it pays all your business and personal expenses, every additional ATM that you buy brings in more residual income.

With some careful planning, your ATM business could be a self-perpetuating cycle of income expansion. Every machine you add brings in more money. Then you have more money to invest in new machines, which bring in even more money, and on and on… Imagine how cool it would be to simply pay a few thousand dollars every month to give yourself a raise.

But, the point is that an ATM business is a steady, reliable income stream that empowers you to generate income that greatly exceeds your expenses, which is—by definition—residual income.

That’s how an ATM business creates residual income.

What to do now

Ready to start your ATM business? Learn everything you need to know about building an ATM business.

Or become an ATMDepot member to jumpstart your ATM business.