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Thinking of opening a Internet cafe

Discussion in 'Serious' started by kye, 26 Mar 2008.

  1. kye

    kye New Member

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    I found a good place for a internet cafe. It is where an old internet cafe was before shutting down (the owners personal reasons). I think it is 6000 Euro a year rent, and has enough room for around 6 computers. If it is 6000 a year, then I could easily fund it.

    Anyway, a few issues that Google can't help me with. How fast should the connection be? A business package from an IP is 69 Euro a month for 4mb download, 2mb upload (Ireland is a bit behind with the broadband speed). Would that be enough? Also, would it be viable to have this connection through a telephone line, into a netgear wireless router?

    The connection and server side of things is my weak point. If I don't know what im talking about let me know. If it can, and is done with just a router, then I pretty much have nothing stopping me.

    Any help will be deeply appreciated.



    Kye.
     
  2. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    For 6000 euro's a year you just get the building - don't forget you have many other costs to go in there as well:
    Electricity bills, hardware bills, software bills, connection fees, allsorts.

    I'd say a 4MB-2MB would be enough for a normal 'net café, perhaps something a little faster would be needed for 6 different online games to be played at once.

    I'd say you should think long and hard about if you can make any decent money from only 6 computers.

    As far as hardware goes I'd say a decent router with QoS would do fine for 6 computers, just make sure the clients are decently restricted to stop any messing about by customers. One of those restoring chip-thingies could do quite nicely as well (restores back to a pre-boot setting on startup).
     
  3. TheCherub

    TheCherub Member

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    From personal experience, I would highly recommending hardwiring the connections to the router, rather than going down the wireless route. Whilst wireless is great at home if you have a laptop etc, it isn't reliable enough when you are making your money from it.

    Also, connection speeds. 4Mb per user would be fine, but divided between 6 computers means that you are only looking at 750Kb each, and that is not very high at all.
     
  4. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Have to agree - wire it up rather than wireless.

    Not sure about the connection speed though, it depends on what the computers will be used for. Simple mail checking and general web-browsing would be fine, but if you start thinking about things like YouTube, on-demand video, or games (which usually want low-latency connections), then maybe it's not enough.
     
  5. kye

    kye New Member

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    This is the software i had in mind for running the client PC's.

    I have yet to do the math, but i can charge 5 euro for 1 hour. The last cafe was very busy, with around 7 computers being used most of the time. Its a great business oppertunity and i can be my own boss. Im hard working as it is, and would happily be a one man show for as long as it takes.

    I am a system builder, but networking is my weakness. If i can do it with a simple router via the telephone line then i can do it myself. Im looking at a wireless router at the moment, but i think it will be a nuisance since its a building with 4 other businesses operating there. Im not sure how it would effect there internet or anything else like phones or microwaves.

    I have yet to do the math, but it looks promising.

    Kye.

    Edit: noted on the wireless issue! Didnt think people would respond so fast.

    I plan on a simple internet cafe, and later down the line have 1 or 2 dedicated game machines with various games, and a office PC.
     
  6. Tomm

    Tomm I also ride trials :¬)

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    I'd reiterate the wired suggestions. Wireless is just another thing that can (and therefore WILL) go wrong, and I can't see a good reason for needing it in a place with permanently static computers. Buy a decent router - that should easily be enough for 6 computers. I ran a D-link home router (4 lan/ethernet ports) with 8 clients just by using a simple ethernet switch, but I'd suggest something more reliable if it's going to be in use a lot of the time.
     
  7. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    I question whether anybody ever uses internet cafes anymore? I just carry an EEE pc and look for a Starbucks, Wetherspoons, BT Hotspot, Decent Pub or Maccy Ds. Even before I had the EEE it was ussually more convenient for me to browse on my phone then bother finding an internet cafe (which would require google maps anyway)
     
  8. DreamTheEndless

    DreamTheEndless Gravity hates Bacon

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    Other's have said it, but I will too: Wired is the way to go. You can make your own cables easily and having an understanding of how cat5 wiring works is handy knowledge to have under your belt for when you have to throw something together in a pinch. You might offer a wireless router for those who bring their own laptops, but the machines that are permanant should all be wired.

    Now - something that hasn't been brought up yet: The coffee. If you plan on running a "cafe" you will need to pay at least some attention to the coffee. Do you have any experience with coffee? There are lots of ways to do bad coffee and only a few ways to do it right. Before switching to full time software dev, I spent about 5 or 6 years working at various coffee shops here in the US. I don't know if any of my experience could help you, but if you have any specific questions let me know.

    What are your plans in this area? What food and drink do you plan to offer? Espresso drinks, pastries, and sandwiches? More? Less?.....
     
  9. Rocket733

    Rocket733 Austerity - It's the only way

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    Before you start getting bogged down in details like wired vs wireless you need to consider the larger picture. Is operating an internet cafe a viable business model for you? You mentioned that networking isn't your strong point so you'll either have to spend a lot of time learning the skills you need or hire someone else to do it for you.

    One thing you need to do is create a set of financial documents for your business. You want to probably create a set for the first three years to get an accurate view of if you can actually make money with this business. If you take out a commerical loan to buy equipment this will be a requirement for the loan as well. The most important part of this is to be realistic, if you delude yourself into thinking you're be making $100,000 the first year I imagine you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you can contact the former owners to get more accurate cost estimates for taxes, rent, equipment, etc that would be a great help. Since the internet and computers will be your source of income you want to ensure you can provide these services. This means you will probably want computers with service contracts for the same day or have a spare system up and ready to be plugged in in a moments notice if a computer dies, you'll want backup routers, UPS's, and internet connections. Additionally you'll have to consider hiring some employees eventually and then that requires more legal and government regulations that you have to comply with. While there is a lot of information to go through and a lot of costs there is quite a benefit from owning and operating your own business.
     
  10. kye

    kye New Member

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    I have been very conservative with the math so far. At 1.25 Euro per 15 minutes, I believe i would make around 90 Euro a day for the 6 days i would be open. 3 or more PC's would have to be used for 45 minutes each for every hour to make a profit. The last Internet cafe had 6 PC's, and it was very busy every time i went there, although i am not sure about peak and down times during the day.

    I have been conservative so far. I am taking in account electricity bills, Internet bills, loan and rent cost. I would make more then enough to pay my own bills and rent as well as the cafe.

    I might be able to have a loan from my girlfriends mother. It would be for the amount i would need to buy everything. I do not know if the last owner stripped the place or not. I think the furniture is still there. If it is, then its only the PC's, router, cables, software that i need to buy.

    Anyway, sorry about being a bit incoherent there :D I have a serious question about the type of PC to buy. The Dell PC i have in mind is;

    C2D E2160,
    2gb of ram
    Vista basic
    80gb HDD
    DVD+ RW combo drive
    floppy drive

    This will only cost 500 Euro + delievry. Would that be good enough? I do not have an option to select 1gb of ram, but im sure the price difference would be tiny. Also, should i buy the modem (Dell™ v92 Data/Fax Modem)? Would there not be a ethernet port on the back of the PC to start with?

    I also plan on buying a printer, scanner and a fax machine once things get going, charging around 15 cent per sheet of paper used.

    Thanks for the advice so far. I am taking it all in. I am currently working as a deli assistant, and i would of never dreamed of doing this. Since i have been persuing this a week ago, it seems like it can become a reality very soon. Any help given is really helping me get to the point where i am offically open for business. Thanks again :rock:

    Kye.

    Edit: I do not plan on making ANY money for the first year or so. I would put any money made back into the business in the form of paying of debts and emergency funds etc. I do not see this as a way of getting rich quick. I believe i have good business acumen, and this is a great way of finding out for sure.
     
  11. oasked

    oasked Stuck in (better) mud

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    People sure do still use internet cafe's. Most people don't carry around laptops. Having said that, in my experience most people will only go to an internet cafe if they are away from home/office and cannot access a computer for extended periods of time. Last summer I used loads of internet cafe's when I was travelling. I would expect that a large number of tourists use the internet cafe's in the major cities.

    The main point than needs answering is whether there are enough customers (on a regular basis) to make the whole project viable. :)
     
  12. kye

    kye New Member

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    I think the consumers would be 40% foreign, 40% school kids, and 20% Mr/Miss joe blogs. Once i have a gaming system set up, i will have a few games like WoW and UT installed. Got to be one internet cafe gaming addict in this place.

    Kye.
     
  13. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

  14. kye

    kye New Member

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    I would have a week without being paid, from when i quit to opening the place. I wouldnt have time to build 5 PC's. Could you recommend a good router?

    Kye.
     
  15. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    It doesn't take long to build computers. Do it all at once. Get all the cases, lay then out. Then install the mobo x5, then etc.
    I've been interested in doing a WebCafe/Computer shop for a while.
     
  16. Agamer

    Agamer Member

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    I used to work in an Internet Gaming Center / Cafe sort of thing, I don't any more as it closed down so I guess thats not a good sign but never mind.

    For the question of software/management, have a look into a piece of software called "Smartlaunch". And as many people have mentioned lots of people have there own laptops so if you do open one consider strongly offering places for people to hook up there laptops and such.

    If I can be of any more help feel free to PM and will be happy to help if I can.
     
  17. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    Ireland is finally catching up with the rest of Europe for broadband speeds - Eircom are slowly realising that the entire country is sick of being held to ransom at the ridiculous rate of €50/month for 2mbps DSL :rolleyes:
    To that effect, they're doubling/increasing all of the speeds of their broadband packages over the next few months (1mbps package becomes 1mbps, 2mbps becomes 3mbps, 3mbps becomes 7mbps), and you can expect the other providers to follow suit eventually.
    Whether Eircom will actually bother their arses tidying up the substandard lines around the country to make these packages feasible for anyone outside of Dublin City is another matter, but there you go - Keep it in mind when choosing your service package.

    To give you an idea of the competition and market, I work part-time in a Video store in a town of about 35'000 people outside Dublin County and we have an internet café set up alongside the video rentals; We charge €2 per hour for net access (or €1 for the first 30 mins).
    On most days the usage usually varies between 0 and 12 users depending on the time of day, and I've only twice seen all 24 computers in use by customers.

    Consider including some 'loose' ethernet cables (say, 2) connected to your network for Laptop users to get wired access from the shop, but think and long and hard about how much of a security risk that could pose, as it gives a form of anonymity to someone intending to use your connection for Piracy, Child Porn or other illegal online activities.
    If you provide laptop connections like that, consider implementing a system whereby the customer must show a Garda Age Card or Passport, and leave a phone number, before using the connection.

    Obviously, the kind of customers we get using the computers in our shop may be a different market to those who go into a dedicated net café, but hopefully those figures are helpful to you.
    Expect the customers to be mostly Polish or from other Eastern European countries and be sure to cater for non-english speakers as much as you can.
    I recommend providing Skype + headphone/mic headsets on the computers too, as this is a popular request from the 'foreign national' market.

    We use the CyberCafePro management software, which honestly seems to be rather glitchy and prone to crashes - But a lot of that could be down to the computers being full of junk and going without updates or AntiVirus for years.
     
    Last edited: 27 Mar 2008
  18. notatoad

    notatoad pretty fing wonderful

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    i dunno about hardware costs in ireland, but here in canada you could probably get a computer equivalent to that dell assembled and shipped for about half that price
     
  19. pranks7er

    pranks7er mange tout

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    make it something unique tho i dunno were your based but if its dublin there flippin internet cafes in every hole in hedge so you need a uniqueness to get customers. i remember thinkin before about a console cafe etc but never did anything bout it
     
  20. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Backpackers and poor people (that is, austrailians) all use 'em. Can't take a lappy when travelling, and 'net cafes are generally quieter, cheaper, and allow you to stay for longer for the money.
     

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