Lately, there has been a lot of racket about starting a computer business centre in this website. Questions are posted on this website on a daily basis. In this article you will know exactly the amount you will need to carry out the business, the amount of profit it yields and other factors that relate to the running of the business in Nigeria and other similar African countries where this article is highly applicable such as Ghana, Benin Republic and Kenya.
Photocopy shops widely known as computer business centre are shops that render services relating to documents and office or school work such as scanning, printing, photocopying, laminating and online registration. It produces a good income stream, it is especially profitable if it is located in a busy town or near an educational institution.
Please note it is different from a cyber café, a cyber café is where you pay money to browse the internet, some business centres do however extend their services to cyber cafes and instruct computer courses whereby you will receive a certificate at the end of the course.
Here, we will be talking about business centres where you photocopy documents. The data provided is based on the assumption you will run the shop during normal business hours every day (from 8am – 6pm).
Location: Get a Suitable Place
Location is of utmost importance in this line of business, sufficed to say it is easy to find. It could be located near educational or major government institutions, near a district with office buildings, inside university campuses is also a very good idea.
Computer business centre run successfully in any urban city or suburban town, as far as Nigeria is concerned Abuja and Lagos are the main urban cities of this nation. Others like Kano, Ibadan and Port Harcourt are just in reality really big towns when it comes to computer affairs. So if you live in a modest town there is always the need for these services among the populace, it is scarce in Nigeria except perhaps Lagos mainland where it is saturated there, you have to have an edge to beat off the intense competition, but anywhere else you will be making easy money.
Location is also key in determining shop rent prices, usually for a shop the size of a garage it starts from N50,000 – N150,000 Naira ($149 – $476) annually in some places and even more in Abuja city, but don’t be put off by that.
Although you should take heed, business centres don’t run well inside a market, because as a rule schools and offices are never built in a market. Preferably, it should be located outside the main market area, in a plaza or complex, and right smack in the middle of town.
Products and Services
Here is a complete list of all the services carried out by a computer business centre below;
- Spiral binding
- Laminating (optional)
- Online registration (optional)
- Disc burning (optional)
- Digital passports (optional)
These are all the essential services that are expected from a computer business centre. Some of the items listed above are optional means you can start the business without really offering that particular service or you could, maybe at a later date. Also ‘online registration’ is not a cyber café, this requires you to check exam results for people, fill online application forms, etc, and note that taking passports doesn’t mean you are now a photographer, this one implies taking passports and cutting them only, you cannot mix this job with photography.
List of Required Items
There are mainly of two categories of items; the ones that are capital intensive (e.g. printer) and those that need to be restocked every time they are finished. Here’s an estimate of all the items updated this year. Price estimates is sourced from online resources (such as jumia.com) and directly from individuals in the business;
|Items:||Model:||Price (Naira):||More Information:|
|Generator Set||1.1KVA Sumec Firman||48,500|
|Shop Rent (Annually)||50,000 -150,000|
|Laptop Computer||Acer Aspire Mini||66,000||If you prefer a desktop computer, you should get a UPS.|
|Printer||Sharp AR-M201 or any similar Sharp AR model series.||65,000||All-in-one purpose printer.|
|Inkjet Printer||HP Deskjet Ink 115.||13,000|
|Sign Post||5,000||By arts and prints in your locality.|
|Furniture||Three plastic stools, one wooden table.||10,000|
|Wiring/Electric installation||8,000||For the generator input.|
|Spiral Binding Machine||For simple plastic binding.||17,000||Other models include ones for metal binds.|
|Digital Camera||Sony Cybershot model series.||17,000 – 21,000|
|Plain Fabric||White 1 yard||200||For passport backgrounds.|
|External CD Drive||3,500||Since the Mini laptop doesn’t have a CD drive.|
|USB Flash||1,500||4GB flash.|
|SIM Card||250||For data subscriptions.|
|Bio-metric Scanner||3,000||You won’t otherwise need it unless you are registering students for JAMB or other similar program.|
|Sum Total =||349,250|
The smaller amount was used for the sum total in places where there are alternate prices (e.g. under shop rent, 50k was used). You should choose between the available networks in Nigeria for the internet subscription and decide which data plan will work for you.
You can save a huge amount of the total cost if you salvage some items from the second-hand market (please do not attempt to buy a second-hand printer), and by being creative like using your smart phone’s hotspot capability instead of buying a dongle. It is recommended you have a backup SIM because sometimes one network just seems to vanish but not the other.
Below is a list of items that need restocking:
|Items:||Amount||Price (Naira):||More Information:|
|Internet subscription||Monthly data plan||2,000|
|Plastic binds||Different sizes and colour||1,500||Depends on your needs.|
|Laminating film||3,000||Depends on your needs.|
|Gen. service||Monthly||1,500||Depends on your mechanic.|
|Ink Toner cartridge||15,000||Contact your dealers.|
|Inkjet printer cartridge||Coloured||6,000||Contact your dealers.|
|Stapler pins||Small pack||250|
|Hired Help||Monthly Full-time||15,000 – 25,000|
|PHCN bill||5,000||Depends on location.|
|Average monthly expenditure =||45,450|
On average, you will be spending a total estimate of N45,000 Naira ($143) each month to run the shop efficiently. If you add basic items like paper from this list to the total capital you will find out you need about N360,000 Naira ($1,143) in capital.
Note that the changing of ink cartridges for the printers is a very delicate exercise, always contact your dealer (the person who sold to you) for its maintenance or learn directly from someone with experience, and knowing the right cartridge size for the right printer is important.
Hired Help for your Computer Business Centre
Usually the work is too much for just one person to handle, besides the fact that you will be doing yourself a favour, an assistant makes you more efficient which is extremely important in this business. Usually you allocate shifts between you and your assistant, or sit through the whole business hours together. The second method is more tiring and not suitable for people with other jobs, but you decide which method works best for you.
Expected Profit Margin
About 66%, that is an average of ninety thousand Naira ($286) monthly in your pocket.
Capital to start business: approximately N260,000 – N363,250.
Expenditures (monthly): N45,000.
Profit Margin: 66%.
Potential customers: Students and office workers majority, and others.
Potential growth: Business can expand to other branches and/or cyber café.
Suitable location: Cities and suburbs.
Business hours: on average 10 hours daily, 8am – 6pm.
Hafiz is a young designer, that loves anything creative. I dabble in poetry, electronics and graphic design. Enthusiastic about physics and computer-technology, a big fan of blogging. Connect with Hafiz on Facebook.