Business-Entrepreneurship-Internet12 Comments

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;

  1. Photocopying
  2. Scanning
  3. Typing
  4. Printing
  5. Spiral binding
  6. Laminating (optional)
  7. Online registration (optional)
  8. Disc burning (optional)
  9. 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.
Extension Wire 1,200
Furniture Three plastic stools, one wooden table. 10,000
Wiring/Electric installation 8,000 For the generator input.
Laminating Machine 20,000
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
Photo Printer 15,000
Plain Fabric White 1 yard 200 For passport backgrounds.
Fuel Container 500
External CD Drive 3,500 Since the Mini laptop doesn’t have a CD drive.
Stapler 300
USB Flash 1,500 4GB flash.
SIM Card 250 For data subscriptions.
Internet Dongle 4,000
Bio-metric Scanner 3,000 You won’t otherwise need it unless you are registering students for JAMB or other similar program.
Scissors 300
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:
A4 Paper Pack 3,500
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. fuel Monthly 8,000
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
Photo paper 5,000
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.

Brief Summary

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.

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12 Comments

  • Darlinton Omeh May 16, 2017

    This is a great eyes opener from Hafiz Mukhtar Mahmud. You really went deep into the business and brought out the best of well articulated information on this business.

    Very special is how you break down the prices and cost implications of starting a computer business center. Weldon!

    Reply

    • Hafiz Mukhtar Mahmud May 17, 2017

      We should be the ones thanking you for creating such a platform Mr CEO. tnx for the encouraging comments

      Reply

  • Chinwe May 16, 2017

    This article is well articulated and a whole lot more informative. This will really help those who are planning to venture into computer business cos it will be a lot easier for them to start. It is really indeed an eye opener.

    Reply

  • I like your article Hafiz, its enlightening enough but to add to it. The challenge we have in Nigeria is the electricity aspect. The amount (8,000) on fuel will only depend on your location if you are lucky enough. I run a small Business Center and it costs me at least N1,000 to fuel my generator daily and Nepa bills are also not stable. I pay as much as 12k monthly as an estimated bill. Also depending on the volume of work you do in a month, the only fixed expenditure there is the salary of your assistant.

    Also, like any other business, your attitude will also make or destroy it. You must be ready to keep your promises to your clients by getting their jobs ready in time so they can keep coming back.

    Thanks for this write up, I got a lot from it even though I am already into the business without any experience and I must say I’m not regretting it.
    I also appreciate Mr. Darlington for this platform.
    Ifeanyi.

    Reply

    • Hafiz Mukhtar Mahmud May 28, 2017

      Experience is always better than book knowledge. Thank you Ifeanyi for that very helpful addition.

      Reply

  • AbdulazIz August 27, 2017

    Thank you guys for you are really

    Reply

  • AbdulazIz August 27, 2017

    Thank you guys, u r really genius and good hearted people to be sharing such a useful information without asking for a penny, and am so happy to join this Nigeria’s proudly platform, once again thank you and God bless you all.

    Reply

    • Hafiz September 6, 2017

      You are welcome Abdulaziz

      Reply

  • Ezekiel September 1, 2017

    I love this so much really am good to go

    Reply

  • oluwadaisi samuel opeyemi September 3, 2017

    Hello hafiz I say a very big thank you to your inspired talks, I really appreciate but the thing is am in the business already but it seems as if things are not working, although I have competitors around me what can I do to improve more than them and what can I do to be unique. Thank you

    Reply

    • Hafiz Mukhtar Mahmud September 13, 2017

      You are welcome Oluwadaisi, you can try painting the shop prefarably white it makes you stand out. 2- or put up a sign besides the general sign that lists all your services, this sign should list only one service for example it should say “SCAN YOUR DOCUMENTS N100 HERE” or “WE DO SCHOOL PROJECT” it is informative and very helpful if you havent done that already please try it out. (put up as many signs/billboards/banners as possible). Till I hear from you again.

      Reply

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