Do you want to start an internet cafe in the Philippines? If yes, here is a 7-step guide on how to start a profitable internet café business.
What Is An Internet Cafe?
Essentially, an internet cafe is a place that provides customers with high-speed internet access, PC games, and other computer services.
This business deals with internet time that can be sold per minute or hour, and sometimes longer to customers. The size of an internet cafe varies, ranging from a small room with 5 computers to a hall with hundreds of computers.
7-Step Guide to Start an Internet Cafe Business
When planned well, an internet cafe can be a lucrative business venture. If you’re planning to start your own internet cafe business, here’s a 7-step guide that may be able to help you.
- Create a comprehensive internet cafe business plan.
Writing a business plan for your internet cafe business has several advantages. An internet cafe business plan will help you figure out if starting your business is feasible in the first place. It will help you analyze the market and the competition.
Your business plan will serve as a guide through the process of starting and running your business. When writing your business plan, make sure that you include every detail regarding your internet cafe – from your target market, the services your internet cafe will provide to customers, the equipment you will need to purchase, to long-term operational costs.
It should also include your business concept, marketing plan, operations plan, and financial plan. Make sure that your business plan is clear and understandable – someone without knowledge of technical jargon must be able to understand it.
- Choose a suitable location for your internet cafe.
Finding the right location is crucial for any business, and this is true for internet cafes too. Ideally, you’ll want a location that’s likely to attract stable, as well as casual customers.
Opening up your internet cafe near a school or university may attract younger customers, or if you open up near other food cafes or small shops, you might be able to attract pedestrians in the area.
Opening your internet cafe near large hotels may be an advantage too – many business travelers stay in hotels and most of them will need computer and internet access to get work done.
You will want a place that is likely to attract stable as well as casual customers. Locating near a school or college may attract younger customers, or if you locate near other food cafés or small shops you might be able to catch pedestrians in the area.
It could also be advantageous to locate near large hotels where many business travelers stay. You will want a place that is likely to attract stable as well as casual customers.
Locating near a school or college may attract younger customers, or if you locate near other food cafés or small shops you might be able to catch pedestrians in the area. It could also be advantageous to locate near large hotels where many business travelers stay.
- Choose a name for your internet cafe.
Establish a unique, catchy name that resonates with customers and sets you apart from your competitors. Also, search databases such as the Web and the Better Business Bureau to find information about other business names. That way, you don’t choose one that’s already taken.
- Set up the necessary hardware and software.
For your internet cafe setup, you need to have the right hardware and software. Here are some things you need to set up.
- Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your cafe’s Internet connection will likely need to have a higher grade, more robust connection than your normal home set up. Talk with your preferred ISP as they may offer special deals for businesses, particularly for Internet cafes.
- Purchase the necessary equipment. Following your business plan, purchase all the necessary equipment for your internet cafe. This includes computers, routers, printers, and network cables – just to name a few. If you are including amenities, you should also purchase any food and beverage preparation items, such as microwave ovens, plates, and cups.
- Set up your internet cafe design and layout.
Your internet cafe must be comfortable – a space where people can stay and work or game as they like. It should also offer a semblance of privacy for each user. If possible, work with a professional designer.
Ideally, you should hire a designer with experience in setting up and internet cafe as they understand the special requirements necessary for the space (i.e. how to keep food and beverages from damaging computer equipment).
Also, hire an electrician to ensure that the infrastructure will be able to handle the load of all the electronic devices in your internet cafe. Setting up your internet cafe include all the construction and renovations, electrical work, computer and software installation, network setup, and a security system. You can also add any other specialty services, such as an area for food and beverage preparation.
- Manage your software.
To start, the computers provided in an Internet cafe should definitely have a desktop security suite installed. The suite should have, at a minimum, antivirus, firewall, and antispyware programs.
Having security software installed is in the internet cafe’s best interest to ensure that its computers run safely and efficiently.
Other software include any application systems for operation, such as Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Gaming Software. You should also install internet cafe timer software to effectively keep track of usage.
- Obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
You’ve secured your capital, you’ve found a great location, and your internet cafe setup is good to go. Launching your internet cafe may seem like the next step, but opening a business in the Philippines requires obtaining several licenses and permits.
Here are some of the essential business licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your internet cafe.
- Bureau of Internet Revenue TIN
- Department of Trade and Industry Business Name (DTI) Registration Certificate
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Registration Certificate
- Business Permit/Mayor’s Permit
- Barangay Clearance
Further, businesses with employees must secure government-manded permits:
- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
- SSS Employer’s Registration
- Pag-Ibig Employer’s Registration
- PhilHealth Employer’s Registration
Get a legal adviser if you don’t know how to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Remember, it’s better to pay small costs upfront and have peace of mind, rather than have expensive legal complications later on.
Internet Cafe Regulation Act Philippines
House Bill No. 4740, also known as the Internet Cafe Regulation Act, is “an act regulating the operation and maintenance of internet cafes or computer rental shops, and other establishments offering computer services to minors, providing penalties for violation thereof, and for other purposes.”
The goal of the Internet Cafe Regulation Act is to:
- Prevent minor from loitering, playing offline or online video games, and browsing the Internet in computer rental shops during school hours and school days;
- Prevent minors from excessively playing online and offline video games and access the internet in computer rental shops on non-school days;
- Protect the safety of minor by limiting the time period within which they may be allowed access to computer rental shops.
- The owner, proprietor, manager, or attendant of internet cafes, computer rental shops, and other similar establishments providing computer services shall be strictly prohibited from admitting or allowing minors within school hours and during school days as determined by the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, or the Local Government Unit concerned to enter and use the computer facilities in their establishments;
- The owner, proprietor, manager, or attendant of internet cafes, computer rental shops, and other similar establishments providing computer services shall be strictly prohibited from admitting or allowing minors to be present or to use the computer facilities inside their establishments during weekends, holidays, cancelled schooldays, and during vacation between the period of 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
Exceptions to this Act
Authorized purposes or activities for minors:
- Any internet cafe, computer rental shop, and other similar establishments that allow a minor to enter and use its computer facilities during schooldays but after the designated school hours, shall not be covered by this Act: Provided, That the minor presents an identification card and a written permit or clearance signed by the parent of the minor or either the school principal or teach in charge of a minor student permitting him or her to utilize the computer facilities in their establishment: Provided, further, That in no case however, shall the minor be allowed to stay inside the establishment beyond 7:00 PM unless accompanied at all times by his/her parent or legal guardian;
- Any internet cafe, computer rental shop, and other similar establishments that allow a minor to enter and use its computer facilities during schooldays or within school hours, shall not be covered by this Act, Provided, That the minor is accompanied at all times by his/her parent or legal guardian;
- Any internet cafe, computer rental shop, and other similar establishments that allow a minor to enter and use its computer facilities during weekends, holidays, cancelled schooldays, and during vacation between the times of 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM shall not be covered by this Act, Provided, That the minor be accompanied at all times by his/her parent or legal guardian.
To learn more about the Internet Cafe Regulation Act, visit https://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2446421049!.pdf.
The Bottom Line
As the popularity of using computers for everything continues to rise, people without their own computers, those on vacation, and business travelers need to use computers more and more. An internet cafe may be a great opportunity for you to turn your skills and passion into a lucrative venture. Good luck!