How to Start Your Own Internet Cafe Business

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With the growth of the online gaming industry and the influence of the internet in our daily lives, a lot of people are in need to be “connected”. Unfortunately, not everyone here in the Philippines has access to good hardware and a decent connection. But all of that is changing now, especially with the frenetic rise of Internet Cafes in our country.

For the local MMORPG industry, roughly 80% of our business comes from the cafes. So it’s important to have a good relationship with our “partners”.

Meanwhile, I’m certain that a lot of individuals or friends (mostly thru gaming) are considering opening up their own shop. Mind you, it’s no joke. A business is always serious.

I thought I’d share with you some practical tips on how to start (and maintain) your own Internet Cafe.

One more click, faps…


  • Budget – An internet cafe with around 20 seats will push you back P700 to P1M in capital. Of course, the more seats, the more money you will need. If you don’t have the cash, you can find partners to pool in money. I believe that the optimum number of partners for this project will be 4. Expect an ROI (Return of Investment) of 1 to 2 years. Also, I would suggest against forming a business with your close friends. The chances of ruining your friendship is high. Just note that.
  • Location – Aside from the moolah, location is one of the KEY FACTORS FOR SUCCESS. Keywords to look for when scouting; near a school, heavy foot traffic, not too many competitors in the area. You should try to look for a place that’s easy to spot (from the customers perspective, ok?). A good monthly rental is P15,000 to P25,000 a month, more than that and you’ll have to work double time for the return.
  • Hardware – Try to budget P25,000 to P35,000 per PC. Remember, I always tell potential entrepreneurs to “invest for the future”. Do not scrimp out on memory, processing power or video cards. The logic here is that a) okay, so you save a few bucks but your computers will be trash in less than a year and b) you should have a faster PC than your competitors – it’s your “edge”. And hey, if you can get LCD monitors for all computers, do so! The cost savings on electricity will more than pay for itself.
  • Connection – again, a faster and decent connection in your cafe will be a key selling point. Don’t worry too much about marketing, if you have the best computers and the fastest connection in your area, sheer WORD-OF-MOUTH will drive customers through YOUR door. It’s a fact. So try to get the best kbps package that you can afford. Also, if you have the money, you can always get another as back-up in case your primary connection goes down.
  • Set-Up – if you’re a techie, you can probably do the wiring and the setup of the routers and switches yourself. But if you can’t, there are professionals who can do it for you. If you can’t find one in your province or city, grab a copy of Buy&Sell or discreetly ask the tech guy at the PC shop where you bought your hardware if he can do a little moonlighting for your new shop.
  • Software – if you plan to start small, you don’t have to pay to install MMORPGs. The installers are free. Just tell me if you need it delivered to your new shop and I’ll get the Sales boys on it right away. For office applications, openoffice is free and mimics Micro$oft. For a good, free billing solution, try handycafe
  • Other services – Food is always a good extra source of income. Check out my post on Gamer Food 101 and you’ll see what gamers need and want. Printing, Fax and Xerox (photocopying) are other good sources of supplementary revenue.
  • Staff – If you’ve formed a partnership, take turns with your partners manning the shop. Just make a schedule. If you’re going to hire someone, hire someone you can trust. You have to set “check and balance” systems (such as an advance billing system) to avoid fraud and theft. It may be tempting to hire an avid gamer to staff your shop but if he has friends and he let’s them play for free… you know what that will bring you. Speaking of free play, tell your all your friends that you can’t allow them to play for free. It IS a business after all. But tell them you can give them a discount. If they really are your friends, they’ll understand.

So there you have it…

Best of luck in your business. Questions? Type ‘em below.

Strength and Honor,



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  • Keneth

    do you have any website that i can see all your computers and see how much they worth? or do you have any promo for each 10 or even 20 sets of computers? let me know if you do tnx.

  • princess alpha

    Hello! Im looking for sites like this. And thank you so much for the info. Im not a techie pero alam ko naman po ung internet, and basic. Lahat ng factors na nabanggit, probably pwede ko gawan ng paraan. Hire ng tao, etc..ang problema ko is nasa province ang bahay namin and that is the CONNECTION. marami ang gumagamit ng smart usb sa kanilang mga laptops. Ang kaso pwede ba un sa internet cafe? I would start cguro sa 5 unit lng kc im planning sa bahay lng po..

  • Wyndell Barrientos

    hi good afty. What if my budget is more or less than 50k? is fair enough for me to start a very smaal one? please advys

  • Anonymous

    this is a very interesting forum it really open my eyes to a number of questions, but i am not only going to open a internet cafe but a internet cafe and restaurant in one. i would really like some advice on how to go about with it.

    thanks in advance.

  • michael yerro

    for online games free po ang pagdownload kaya ok kahit gano karami ilagay mo, kaso if lan games i-install mo like dota, gta or nba u need to buy it for legit at mahal yun. kaya ung sikat lang na lan games i-install mo like dota para makabawi ka.

  • Jonathan Jearim Alix

    hi GMT nbasa ko po ung thread nio s haba ng binasa ko may question pdin ako n d nsagot? about s hardware or pc specs..which one is better amd or intel s processor s pasok lng n budget mga 20k per unit mostly gaming..if amd ok n po b ung athlonx2 3.0ghz or nid ng phenomx2 3.2ghz? if intel nman ok lng pb dual core or nid core 2 duo for gaming preho po may 1gb video card..ilan po b unit pede s 3mbps n dsl kng sbay sbay may user? tnx a lot GMT

  • Anonymous

    what is the law for distance of a gaming cafe and university? thank you :)

  • exzoyted

    Sir its okay lng po ba if boyfriend ko yung business partner ko.preho po kce kaming IT graduates ako po forte ko ung networking sya naman po forte nya hardware troubleshootng .kaso nagdalawang isip poko dun sa sinabi nyong ..”I would suggest against forming a business with your close friends. The chances of ruining your friendship is high. Just note that.” hehehe

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