The Digital Signage Insider

Budgeting for an Interactive Kiosk Project

Published on: 2004-12-08

Back in September, my article on budgeting for a digital signage network (Budgeting for a Digital Sign or Electronic Sign Network) generated a lot of interest among readers -- and a lot of requests for a similar budget for interactive kiosk projects.  While I certainly intended to provide a similar analysis, my research was hampered by the fact that there are so many kinds of kiosks out there, with so many unique properties that can wildly swing costs in either direction.

Fortunately, the good people at Kiosk Magazine have done some of the heavy lifting for me, with their article "Cost: How much can you spend--and avoid spending?"  The article does a good job of explaining the various parts that commonly go into a kiosk, and gives median prices for each based on a survey done with vendors.  One thing to note is that their pricing results reflect orders in quantities of one, so your mileage will likely vary depending on your order size.  Here's a summary of their analysis (taken right from their page, so you really should read the whole article):

Full KioskTouchscreen, CPU, Enclosure (only)$3,440
Touchscreen17" lcd$1,180
Touchscreen15" lcd$872
Thermal PrinterAcross all models$630
CPUWith OS$736
Enclosure (only)Across all materials$1330
UPSAcross all models$114
Card ReaderAcross all models$113
Bill ValidatorAcross all models$368
Fully Loaded Kiosk*$6,583

This takes care of the kiosk hardware.  By and large, the services and ongoing costs of managing a digital signage system are the same for a kiosk, excepting other services for changing printer paper or toner, or loading and unloading cash collectors and dispensers.  The typical kiosk will have a useful life of between 3 and 5 years, so you can easily amortize the cost over 36-60 months if that makes sense for you.  So what does our final tally look like now (for a single kiosk for 3 years):

Kiosk (median price)$3,440
Kiosk Software$400
Management software (36 months)$1,800
24/7/365 technical support (36 months)$3,600
Initial project management$300

That brings us to a cost of right around $300 per month for the 36 month term.  One thing that is missing from the stack, though, is your application software.  While I've included fees above for your operating system and kiosk software package, that's not going to be enough unless you're doing a simple Internet kiosk.  You'll need to develop your front-end application or pay to have it done for you, and that can cost anywhere from  hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars depending on what you need.  Obviously this could have a big impact on your budget planning, so think ahead and focus on your kiosk application software before doing anything else!  That's a rule taken right from our "Top 13 Deployment Mistakes...and How to Avoid Them" guide.  If you haven't read it yet, I suggest that you do so :)


+7 # shirley 2008-04-03 17:18
I am doing a project for school and I was wondering how much it would be to have the program translated into four different languages, thinking that the customers come from almost all over the world. Thank you
+1 # Benjamin 2009-06-13 20:52
Need exterior model self powered. Is this possible
-2 # sunheri 2009-09-07 17:05
i m going to make a coolege project which will be working on kiosk. How can i implement this project on kiosk..??
-3 # Zariah Betten 2013-02-06 19:57
I am interested to find out how much would it cost to install a small kiosk with touchscreen showing only our weekly City Council agenda with printing capability. The application software will be created and managed by our IT Dept. I will need a storage enclosure (not accessible by public) to store paper for printing purposes similar to this link below: Thank you.
+2 # Mandy Oviatt 2013-07-23 18:14
I think it is highly important for a kiosk company to consult with their clients while working on at every point of a kiosk project
+1 # Ciara Clawson 2014-05-07 15:13
For my school's senior gift, we want to get a kiosk where people, graduates, students, and parents can use it for free. They can come up to the kiosk and see pictures of old yearbooks, senior class pictures, state champions and all the awards and pictures of award winners on the screen. Maybe access the school's website and see upcoming important dates.
+3 # Zhaohua Mei 2015-11-13 11:56
Touchscreen kiosks are no more than a computer: it couldn't be so expensive if the good service is imposed by a decent local technician.
+7 # Bill Gerba 2016-04-14 20:37
Hi Zhaohua,
The main difference between a "kiosk" and a tablet or PC with a touch screen attached is longevity. If you don't mind repairing/replacing the commodity hardware on a regular basis, you can go with off-the-shelf consumer equipment. However, it's often preferable (and ultimately more affordable) to pick hardware that can stand up to unmonitored public usage.
-2 # Medhini 2016-06-15 12:07
Great Article with Detailed info on best Kiosk price. It would be great if you could provide price lists of interactive kiosks in India as well . .

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