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.