Starting An Internet cafe. A Small Guide For The Businessman

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If you are a small business or a chain of regular cafes in the world. These days you most definitely have an Internet connection of some sort. You may use it for running cash registers and connecting to the credit card processors, exchanging emails with vendors and services and many more things the Internet is good for.

How would you like to monetize on this connection you are paying for anyway. It will pay for itself and will also pay some extra to you as the business owner. You probably know I am talking about an Internet cafe and you know what it is, but your question is: “What will it give my business”?

Even if you have a regular cafe, many of your visitors will love this additional bonus. You can give access to the Internet, free of charge or you can charge for it. Either way, you would have an additional edge and unique angle your neighbor doesn't have. There are hundreds of cafes and restaurants, but not all of them are equipped to give their patrons Internet access in addition to food and drinks.

Now you are wondering, how in a world I go about starting an Internet cafe? What do I need and how to open an Internet cafe?

Well first of all, you need some computers. There is a lot of places you can get cheap PCs, that are not top notch and modern, but are good enough for putting in a cafe. As a good resource, try going to eBay and type: “used computers lot”, you will see, that there are many sellers, that would gladly sell you 8 identical used computers in a package for peanuts. Another good source is to type: “used computers off lease" in Google. It will give you a list of local suppliers. There are many office firms, that lease their computers instead of buying and when these machines lease terms finish, these companies recycles and resell them. You can get dirt cheap prices on a good used computers lot that are good for starting Internet cafe. The more units you buy, the deeper discount you will get from the reseller. Try to go as local as possible, because a lot of computers will require packing and shipping, it weighs a lot and so your shipping charges will be higher. You might want to modify your search for your locale in eBay or include your city in a Google query like so: “used computers off lease Toronto”.

Computers in the Internet cafe, need not be pretty and you do not require a dozen of them right away. Many businesses start with just two or three and build from there. You can add computers as you go. Now we have that out-of-the-way, we go to the software.

When starting an Internet cafe, it is good to have your computers protected, because you will have all sorts of people coming in every day and you never know who is going to be using them. People will try to break in, try to gain unauthorized access to the system and generally screw your system. Of course it is only a handful few people out of general population, that have these destructive tendencies, but it is enough to give you a headache.

There are multiple options you have depending on your skill level. If you or someone you employ knows computers very well, you may get by without any software of any kind, however it will be hard to charge people for access to the computers and hard to limit their abilities. It is much better to use some specialized software you can find on the Internet to do this.
I would recommend running a search like: “public kiosk” or “internet kiosk” and looking at the list of alternatives for setting up a good system. Many of them have the ability to bill and charge people for usage, which is what you want.

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