Q&A What makes a Successful Lan Center

This post comes from a forum post by Hedg3s found in the forums here.

Q: What made your lan center successful?

A: That’s an extremely broad question.  I don’t believe anyone one thing makes a lan Center successful or a complete failure.  I believe Lan Centers have a high failure rate due to the fact it attracts a younger business owner.  The lan center they start is their first business and they make several costly mistakes and a Profitable Lan Center cannot afford to make many.

But I digress, what makes a lan center successful is a good business strategy, great marketing, good social skills, and a goal.  Most people wanting to open a lan center believe they need to be some big IT guru and that is not the case.  Me personally I’m a big IT guy but other then it cut SOME costs for me what really helped me is I was a people person and could make friends with everybody and get them coming into the store.

So I believe you provide a good, clean, and fun environment, well maintained machines, and advertise effectively you have a real shot at being successful.

Q: How much did it cost to start your lan center and run it for 6 months?

A: It differs for everyone but my first center I started on a 50K budget.  One month in I had used another 10 -15K in expansion.  That’s on the very low side.  I would suggest more starting funds now.  I was lucky my monthly operating cost was around 3K (Not including loan repayments) so to of survived 6 months without making a dime I would have had to have 18K.  My monthly operating costs were extremely low compared to most.

Q: What did you do besides the hourly rates/snacks to make money?

A: Probably would be easier asking what I didn’t sell to make money.  Lets see, at my first center I did PC repair for consumers and small businesses.  I also did network consulting.  Mostly addressing storage needs for small businesses.  At the gamcenter I sold apparel for games, I sold the local high schools team shirts and swag.  I sold the state I was located in big college’s swag.  I sold games.  I had a coffee shop at one point.  Sold wireless access. I did travelling lan party setups (Big failure).  If I could sell it and it did well I sold it.

Q: How many computers/consoles did you start with?

A: Started with 8 PCs.  Within 1 month I went to 16 computers and 8 xboxes. I really believe this is a minimum number to start with in the midwest.

Q: Did you do the labor yourself or pay somebody to put everything together?

A: I did it myself on both centers I directly owned.  If I had to do it again now I would pay someone.  It saved me SOME money but my time could have been better spent drumming up more advertising.

Q: When you started your center did you have any degrees/certificates?

A: Hrm, well I consider myself having a Bachelor of Management Information Systems, and Computer science.  But unfortunately I never actually graduated.  I was recruited into a company that was offering to much of an incentive. (And at senior level my damn teachers were friggin dumb for the amount of money I was paying to be there)

I’m now CCNA certified.  That was useful for starting my LAN Center and the accounting I learned with the MIS degree was useful.  But honestly, I really didn’t need any of it.  Made it a little easier in some areas but it was nothing I couldn’t have googled the hell out of and learned.

These are all pretty commonly asked questions and good questions at that.  Most of the information I gave here was of a more individual nature but it will give you at least some idea of what to look forward too.

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Comments

  1. Very thorough, this advice has definitely helped and encourages me to keep researching and working until my center is up.

  2. Me and a friend are looking into starting a gaming center in our area, we were just wondering how to go about obtaining the 50k or so that we will need in order to start it. We appreciate the help!

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