How to Set SMART Goals for Your ATM Business

Have you heard of SMART goals? It’s no secret that goal-setting is a tried and true method of making sure stuff gets done. But if you’ve set goals before without success, you might have missed some key steps.

Setting goals for your ATM business is a good way to make sure you are successful. You might need to set goals to help get your business started to begin with. Or maybe you need to set some goals to increase profits. Or maybe you want to set some goals to help you balance your ATM business better among your other jobs and your personal life.

Whatever the case may be, SMART goals are a good place to start. We’ll show you how.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are specifically designed to help you actually achieve what you set out to do. Rather than just jotting down some items on a to-do list without any accountability, SMART goals allow you to monitor your progress toward a big-picture goal. 

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By making sure your business goals fit these categories, you set yourself up for success by ensuring that you have a plan to actually accomplish them. Let’s take a look at some examples of SMART goals you can set for your ATM business.

How to Set SMART Goals

How to set SMART goals is already outlined in the acronym. Think of a goal and make sure it fits all five categories. If it doesn’t, then tweak it until it does. We’ll start with a basic example—increase profit—and see how it can be turned into a SMART goal.


First, your goal needs to be specific. “Increase profit” is a good start, but it would be even better to assign a number to it. If you make just one penny more, technically you will meet this goal. But is that really what you mean when you say you want to increase profit?

Take a look at how much you have already been making. Then, decide how much more you’d like to make. Give yourself a specific number to reach. Track it along the way to make sure you are on track to meeting this milestone.


Once you make your goal more specific—increase profit by X% or increase profit to $X—you need to make sure it is measurable. Because, like we mentioned before, you want to be able to track your progress toward reaching your goal. And you want it to be clear at the end whether or not you succeeded.

Assigning a dollar amount or percent to the “increase profit” example not only makes the goal more specific, but it also ensures that your goal is measurable. Percents and dollars can be calculated. You can do some accounting at the end of the quarter or the end of the year to see if you have increased profit from last quarter.

By setting a measurable goal, you are able to keep it on the forefront of your mind. You can create a chart or graph to visibly display your progress toward your goal. Don’t blindly wait around until accounting time to see if you magically made more money. 

Measuring and tracking progress makes working to achieve your goal a constant activity and therefore increases the chances that you will actually succeed. If you are actively measuring and tracking your progress toward your goal, you can make adjustments along the way if the numbers start going the wrong direction or plateau.


This one is tricky because you have to find a balance between shooting for the stars and grounding yourself in reality. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that is completely out of reach, unrealistic, or unachievable. On the other hand, we want to encourage you to set high goals for yourself and to believe that you can and will achieve them.

So let’s look at our example. Increasing your profit by 10% or by $1,000 are examples of achievable goals. These numbers are realistic, and reaching them will have an obvious effect on your business, your income, your lifestyle, etc. 

Earning a million dollars, for example, is not realistic. If you’re in the ATM business, you know you aren’t doing it to get rich. So you aren’t selling yourself short by lowering your goal from a million dollars because this business isn’t designed to earn you that much. It has nothing to do with your abilities, passion, drive. Just keep that balance in mind as you set your SMART goals.


Next, you want to make sure your goal is relevant. This means that whatever goals you set for your business should align with the goals you set for yourself, your family, and your personal life. If your goal is to increase profit by $1,000, but to do so means placing an additional ATM machine, then you have to consider whether the time it will take you to maintain that ATM machine will cut into other important obligations.

Say you want to increase profits. So you place an additional ATM machine. But now you have to add a few hours a week to your route. Normally you would be spending that time at home with your family. Is that business goal still relevant? 

If not, adjust it! Maybe lower the profit goal to a number that could be reached by adjusting the surcharge or advertising the machine. That way you can still reach your goal, make more profit, and stay on track with the other areas of your life.


Finally, you want to set a time frame. Without it, you could be working blindly day in and day out without ever knowing for sure if you were making good progress toward your goal. 

A time frame holds you accountable. And if you’re measuring or tracking your progress, you can see how what you are doing in your business now is affecting the trajectory of your business toward reaching your goal. 

This also plays a part in making sure your goal is achievable. Increasing your profit by next year is an example of an achievable time frame. Increasing your profit by 10% by next week is a little unreasonable. It doesn’t give you enough time to measure the actions you are taking and the changes you are making to ensure that your efforts continue to move you forward.

But the bottom line is to make sure you set a goal that can realistically be achieved in the amount of time you determine. 

Why SMART Goals?

You can make a list of goals all day long. And if you’re really focused and motivated, you can accomplish them. But the best way to make sure you are productive is to set SMART goals. 

SMART goals are ideal because they are designed to be achieved. They clearly state what it is you’d like to do and force you to create a plan to get it done. For example, your goals should be measurable, but then you have to assume the task of measuring your progress. Your goals should be timely, so you need to pick a timeframe and stick to it. If you are ready to step up your ATM game, try setting SMART goals to see just how successful you can be. Need help? Contact us today to see how ATMDepot can help you reach your goals!

Improve ATM Performance and ATM Attractiveness to Maximize ATM Profits

Owning and operating an ATM business is a simple way to earn passive income. But what if your ATM performance isn’t as high as you expected? Is there anything you can do to maximize ATM profits?

You have to keep in mind that although an ATM business is unconventional in many ways, at the end of the day it is still a business. For instance, what do store owners do during slow periods? They run sales, offer coupons, and take out ads. You can do the same for your ATM. 

If your ATM isn’t performing well, don’t worry and don’t quit. There are things you can do to improve your ATM performance, maximize ATM profits, and get that passive income flowing.

Why Isn’t Your ATM Performing?

Before you look at the ways to improve your ATM performance, you need to diagnose the problem. After you identify the reason(s) why your ATM isn’t performing, then you can determine an appropriate solution.

The first factor you want to consider is the location. Is your ATM placed in someone else’s store? How much traffic does it get? Does the location have good reviews? You want your ATM machine in a store where a lot of people pass by and drop in.

What about hours of operation? Is the location 24/7? If not, is your ATM machine inside or outside of the store? Your ATM might not be serving your customers at the times when they need it most.

Think about the placement, too. Is the ATM in a place where people feel safe using it? If the ATM machine is hidden, poorly lit, or not under video surveillance, this could be deterring customers.

Finally, consider your surcharge. Is it too high? Is there another machine close by that offers a lower surcharge? If so, you might want to experiment with a lower fee.

Of course, you might not be sure what the problem is exactly. In that case, there’s no harm in trying all of the following ways to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits!

How to Improve ATM Performance

1. Advertise

The first thing you want to do to get customers to use your ATM is make sure they know it’s available. Is there a sign at the location that passers-by can see from the street? If not, add one.

Advertise inside the location as well. Add a topper to the machine that catches the attention of customers and patrons of the location. There should be a clear path to the ATM machine as well. If it’s in patrons’ line of sight, it will be easier to access and therefore will attract more customers.

Does the location or store have a website or Facebook page? If so, you might want to list “ATM” online as a service offering. That can spread the word to people who aren’t even on site or nearby. 

2. Offer Incentives

You might want to partner with the location owner to offer some sort of incentive to customers for using the ATM machine. Coupons can be printed on the ATM receipts to encourage both ATM use and in-store purchases. This creates a win-win situation for you and the location owner.

3. Upgrade Features

Adding upgrades to your ATM machine is an easy way to spruce up an older ATM machine. Even if your machine is new, adding additional features could help customers notice your ATM machine and set yours apart from the competition.

Add a topper to run graphics, messages, store promotions, ads. Install a lighted keypad to make the machine more attractive. And if you don’t already have a camera on the premises, adding one will make customers feel more comfortable using your machine.

You can also invest in a UV-C light device that scans the keypad to sanitize it. This could impress your customers by looking out for their health and safety and set you apart from the competition.

4. Lower Surcharge

You have to set your surcharge strategically. The average ATM surcharge fee is around $2.50-$3.00. If your surcharge is higher than this, it could be deterring customers.

If your surcharge is too high, you might lose customers to a machine with a lower surcharge. Scope out the surrounding area and see what other machines are charging. (If yours is the only ATM nearby, then surcharge likely isn’t your issue.) You want to offer a competitive rate: high enough for you to make income but low enough to encourage transactions.

You can experiment with this. Lower the surcharge for a while. If transactions don’t increase, then this probably isn’t the issue. So raise it back to the original surcharge so that you at least continue to make the same amount of money from the transactions you do get. Only lower the surcharge if it draws in more customers. 

You might also consider offering lower denominations from your ATM machine. Customers in the area where your machine is may need to take out less than a $20 bill. Dispensing a different denomination than the other ATMs around you could also help you stand out from the competition.

5. Move the ATM

If all else fails, move the ATM. This is one of the unique benefits of running an ATM business: it’s mobile. If your location is slow, hidden, going downhill, then it might be a good idea to move the ATM to a different store when your agreement is up. However, let’s not jump to switching locations just yet. Strategic placement of the machine at its current location could do the trick. 

First of all, can passers-by see the ATM before entering the store? If not, is there a place that would make this possible? People have to know that an ATM machine is available in order to use it.

Second, is the ATM machine easy to get to? You might consider moving it close to the front door or straight ahead from the front door without any shelves, lines, or other obstacles. Not only should the machine be easy to get to, but ATM users don’t want to be hidden from cameras or the public eye when they access their accounts. An obscure ATM machine isn’t safe, and your customers are attuned to this.

Third, can the ATM machine be moved outside? If this is feasible, it could extend the hours of operation of your machine if the store isn’t open 24/7. This also solves a couple of the other problems: visibility and accessibility.

Finally, is the ATM in an area where people need cash? There might not be a need for an ATM at its current location. Maybe there are other machines in close proximity that are proving to be too much competition. Or maybe there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people to make cash purchases at any other businesses in the area. If this is the case, it might be time to look for a new location.

How to Improve ATM Attractiveness

Would you rather use a dingy ATM or a shiny new one? Not only does shiny grab users’ attention, it also suggests a certain degree of safety and trust. We aren’t saying you have to purchase (or should have purchased) a brand new ATM. There is nothing wrong with a properly refurbished ATM machine.

What we are saying is that customers are more likely to use a machine that’s clean, attractive, and safe. Users don’t want to use a machine that looks old, run-down, poorly maintained. They might fear losing their debit cards if the machine doesn’t look trustworthy.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your ATM machine is attractive and enticing to customers. First, clean it. Wipe it down regularly. Replace the decals if necessary. Clean the area around the ATM, too. You want people to approach the ATM, not shy away from it.

Second, upgrade some features. Add a topper to run messages and advertisements. Get a security camera. Install a lighted keypad to attract customers and make the machine more attractive. Especially if your machine is used or refurbished, adding a lighted keypad could be a nice touch. 

Third, make sure your machine is functional and has little to no down time. An out of order sign could lose customers’ trust and prevent them from returning to that machine. So if anything ever goes wrong, address it immediately. This includes keeping the machine stocked with cash and receipt paper at all times.

Finally, regularly update your software. You want your machine to run as quickly and smoothly as possible. And you don’t want to run into any technical issues. The more available your machine is, the more potential there is for transactions.


If none of these tips are possible or effective for you, you might want to consider moving to a new location while keeping this list in mind. In order to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits, people have to know that the machine exists, they have to need cash, and they have to feel comfortable using the machine. 

It might require a little trial and error to get it just right. There are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of decisions to make. Be strategic and don’t be afraid to try and try again. That’s the beauty of the ATM business: it’s easy to be flexible. Want to know what locations experience the best ATM performance? Check out our article “Choosing an ATM Location: 9 Best Locations for ATM Machines” here.