Internet?

koffeekettle

New member
Jan 3, 2006
5
0
Ft. Collins, CO
Right now we have free wireless access for our customers with laptops. I am thinking about setting up a station (1 to start, but maybe more depending) with a computer for people to use and charge $5 every 30 minutes or something like that. The way I see it all I would need is:
-a computer (which I might be able to pick up for a couple hundred from a friend of mine)
-a wirless PC card (about $50)
-a virus program/firewall ($100)

since the store is small I'm thinking that we can just have a sign up sheet to log the time that someone gets on the computer to the time they finish and charge accordingly. With a single station I don't see the need for any additional software or much difficulty in keeping track of this. From what I know, there aren't any places in town that offer computer use (besides the library which limits time to 20 minutes and is ALWAYS busy) and Kinkos, which charges like $12/hr or something like that. We already have a few regulars that I know do not have a home computer and go to the library as it is, so this seems like an easy way to make some extra income.

Am I missing anything? It seems too simple. Thoughts? Expreience? Thanks.
 

chad1f

New member
Jan 9, 2006
7
0
TX
It sounds like a good idea to me!!! I am in the technology field and the items you listed are basically what you would need.

Something to think about though. You may want to offer this a free service. You may actually win more business this way....or maybe a punch card, and as people buy coffee they can also use the internet free of charge. That way they are not having to spend $$ on coffee and internet. Since you already offer free wireless....no since in making some folks pay for what is already free to others.

Either way it sounds like a good idea....Good Luck!!

If you decide to try it let us know how it works out.
 

Muddycup

New member
Dec 4, 2005
201
0
New York
computers

we have two computers at each store, we charge a min 1/2 hour for $2 and $3 for an hour and time them.

We use regular desk top computers that are plugged directly into the modum and we added a wireless modum to that for the laptop users, its very simple.
 
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koffeekettle

New member
Jan 3, 2006
5
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Ft. Collins, CO
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That way they are not having to spend $$ on coffee and internet.
Isn't that the point? Getting customers to spend more money while in the store?
Since you already offer free wireless....no since in making some folks pay for what is already free to others.
For those that use the wireless, they have their own laptop. So for those that use my computer it would be more like they are paying to use the computer, but still get free internet :D I like the idea of a punch/discount card though.



Jim, Do you get a lot of business from your computers? Ever have problems with "adult content" or people downloading things that they shouldn't?

Thanks.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
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Des Moines, Iowa
I've been running a paid kiosk since 1997. The one thing I have learned is if you try to set up a kiosk that has to be monitored it can cause big headaches.

The issues I have found start when you get busy; you tend to forget about the person using it. If a few hours pass by and you try to charge them $30 when they leave they will refuse and walk out.

I have been using Netstop Pro for the better part of 4 years and haven't found anything that I really haven't liked about it. http://www.kiosklogix.com/index.asp

With this version you can do just about anything you want. You can give bonus's for the amount of money they put in. $2 = 5 minutes, $5 = 15 minutes, or even $10 = 30 bonus minute. You can state how much for how many bonus minutes you want to give. You don't even have to give bonus minutes.

You can charge for printing, support credit card payments, setup accounts for people who don't use all their minutes on the 1st try, and all this is wrapped up in a secure shell which doesn't allow the end user access to the critical area's on your computer. Thus keeping your equipment safe from people who like to hack your box.

Like I said, there are so many features the program will make your head spin. Heck there's even a feature that allows you to sell advertisement.

What I wouldn't do is try to compete with Kinkos. There is a Kinkos a few blocks over from my kiosks and people would tell me all the time that they preferred to use mine for $6 hour vs. Kinko's for $12. Half of the time they just wanted to check their email and leave.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
0
Des Moines, Iowa
I didn't address adult content, sorry.

Our computers were placed in a case made for just this occasion. Basically its a box on wheels that allows a person to sit down, pull out the keyboard tray and put money in the bill acceptor box to the right side of the machine.

There is a viewing window the same size as the monitor. So the patron has to look down in to the kiosk. The top of the case is slightly angled around 20 degrees upwards so you don't feel like your bending over to play Pong on those old arcade game from the late 70's.

This helps to make the patron feel more secure, as to keeping inquiring people from trying to read the screen.

Netstop Pro has built in keyword and URL blocking methods. I have tried them in the past and they do work great. But the trade off was our profits dropped by 50 to 60%. I hate to say it but blocking porn wasn't profitable.

Most people who looking at porn were hugging the top of the kiosk so nobody could see what he or she was viewing. The one thing we did a way with was the headphones. This way they couldn't sit and watch porn videos with sound. We didn't need other people hearing it.

I guess my line of thinking was out of sight out of mind. In the end the kiosks make enough to pay for the Internet, support the free WiFi, and to keep the machines running.

A while back there was a report about some guy who ran WiFi in a few of his stores. He found that the average person was spending about $7 when they were able to sit down with their laptop. So far this seems about right for our patrons use as well. Matter of fact we have several people who use are shop as their second office.
 

Muddycup

New member
Dec 4, 2005
201
0
New York
internet

koffeekettle - quick answers

1. these are low prices to charge $2-$3 and you are right it is appropriate to charge when a customer uses your computers.
with two computers. we generate about $600-900 a month.
pays your phone,internet and some of your utilities.

2. Adult content: this is an issue: you can set your operating system to filter these web sites, as well as set your spyware program and virus scan to run each night.

This is just how we do things its simple and seems to work well for us.
 

chad1f

New member
Jan 9, 2006
7
0
TX
Sorry Guys I know you are in the business to make money. I just know that I would never pay money to use the internet at a coffee shop. However I would be more likely to buy coffee somewhere that had free internet.

I was just saying that if you are not charging your wireless customers why charge the non-wireless customers. I know you have up keep on your hardware but lets face it.......your up keep does not cost that much does it?

But I guess if I owned a coffee shop I would probably feel the same way you do. :)

Happy money making!!
 

Muddycup

New member
Dec 4, 2005
201
0
New York
the small fee limits the usage, you have to be careful of those that will sit on your computer all day for a cup of coffee.

Those of us in the business all know that customers need limits and boundies.
 

deltahinge

New member
Feb 12, 2006
1
0
Clarksville, TN
Great posts, all.... :D

Fresh Cup magazine (February 2006), page 36, very informative Pros and Cons of a wireless cafe. Check it out.

P.S.
I'm not trying to sell magazines--just trying to open a coffee shop. :lol:
 
Feb 14, 2006
27
0
Duluth, Minnesota
I love going to the cafe with my wireless and cranking down as much stuf as possible while drinking a few cups of coffee. I do have the bad habit of having bittorrent and or soulseek running in the background, which brings up ome piracy issues, but the shop is not the one who is sharing so it should not be an issue. In all reality it does not matter where I am if I am downloading stuff, the internet is evrywhere now that anyone with fifty bucks can set up thier own wireless network. I run netstumbler on my laptop for jokes and drive around and it is incredible some of the places that are wide open, banks, businesses, homes, all wide open.

Since I am a huge geek I would actually use linux as a base station for the wireless as it will eliminte those nasty virus issues. I consider windows to be the bane of the computr world, that and windows is obcenely expensive whereas linux is a free download, I would recommend finding someone who knows how to set it up, but you should have no problem finding some overcaffinated geek who will gladly setup your entire network for a month worth of free regular coffee drinks.
 

ConfusedVorlon

New member
May 15, 2006
5
0
uk
chad1f said:
Sorry Guys I know you are in the business to make money. I just know that I would never pay money to use the internet at a coffee shop. However I would be more likely to buy coffee somewhere that had free internet.

I was just saying that if you are not charging your wireless customers why charge the non-wireless customers. I know you have up keep on your hardware but lets face it.......your up keep does not cost that much does it?

But I guess if I owned a coffee shop I would probably feel the same way you do. :)

Happy money making!!

well, I just spent ~$10 to get wireless internet access at starbucks for an hour. I was quite happy to pay for the access, though it was annoying that I had to go to a starbucks, rather than any of the 4 independants that I tried first.

There are definitely some folks who expect free wifi (I'm delighted when I find it!) and I'd certainly pick the shopwith free wifi over the one with paid wifi - but then I'd probably sit there for hours with only one coffee as well!
 
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