Howdy folks -
How is anyone out there making wireless work as far as a business plan?
I have $400+ in each customers equipment. Don’t make any money for a LONG WHILE.
I know being small does not help any thing. I am still less than 100 customers. I need to order another 25 pack of radios, but the only way I can get them is to lease. So, I run out of gear way before it is paid for.
Also, I am out of bandwidth already. I need to go to 2 T1s, but I really need to be able to take home some money, if you know what I mean.
At what point did all of you well established WISPs turn a profit that you could live off of? Nevermind paying an installer, I am a one man operation…
Howdy folks -
It took me 5 years before I was making a decent take home.
You need to figure out your business plan with equipment/customers/internet/service packages/expect take home/over sell rate/how much work you want to do/etc the list goes on and on. And the variables will dramatically change your business plan.
You should get a business for dummies book, it includes a sample business plan. My buddy bought it for another project he was working on.
Can I ask how many customers you have?
What do you charge for install?
What are your monthly rates?
I have ran a dial-up ISP for about 12 years - going to phase it out as soon as the wireless gets to a “reasonable” level. (when it does?)
~1300 Wireless Customers and ~200 DSL customers
$150 for normal install also first and last months service (average is ~$250)
$44.95 - $59.95 - $74.95
Even with $100k into the start up we still had to put most of our monthly income into new equipment.
I have one other wireless provider here who I compete with for rural access people. They are using cheapo 2.4 gear (not motorola), so they undercut me on install. Its all I can do to meet or get close to their monthly rate.
Of course in town I have cable/DSL to compete with also.
we can charge $399 for installs, which really helps. we cover a lot of area. that first 100 customers for you generates 15000. for us it generates 39900. that pays for quite a bit of dinners and rent.
I would LOVE to be able to charge that much, but there is no way it can be done and anyone pay for it (here).
you might talk to an equipment leasing company then. you could then charge your customers a nominal fee to cover your leasing costs or just absorb it. it will cost you more in the long run, unless you can add a surcharge to the bill, but it beats self financing if you can’t afford to do it.
Leasing is the only way I can get this equipment right now. I charge $125 for a “normal” install without a router.
Yah, I pay more b/c of leasing. Have to.
You could always try more cost effective gear. Canopy is expensive. Works good but expensive. There are many cheaper alternative out there.
Frothingdog.ca wrote: You could always try more cost effective gear. Canopy is expensive. Works good but expensive. There are many cheaper alternative out there.
Coming off a cheaper platform, I recommend against that. We had many, many issues with the Tranzeo, smartbridges and *gasp* senao units we deployed. The switchover to Canopy made all the difference in the world for us.
It's definitely a tough business - it takes a while to get on your feet, but once you're there you can really run with it. We're fortunate that we're funded by a successful grain marketing/agronomy business.
It may be tough to do as we never want to give up something, but you could possibly look for an investor to help fund you while you get off the ground.
Another possibility if you have the free time is to look at freelance networking/computer work. If you have the skill set for this it is an excellent way to bring in some extra revenue. Of course the biggest thing is to make sure you're not burning the candle at both ends and overworking yourself.
Just my $0.02. Good luck!
The company I work for went about things the right way. Dirt cheap installation fee, less than 150. We also offer a 10 dollar a month discount if they pay for the whole year in advance. High end gear at the time they started (Alvarion BAII) good alvarion Backhauls. What the cheap install did was got the customers in, generating monthly revenue. What the good equipment did was got the customer in and left that way withou having to service them constantly. It took them a long time to get to a profit state, and they constantly looked for an edge. The best edge is to provide superior service to you customer, this means little to no downtime, which alvarion provided. If there is downtime, get them back up ASAP, none of this week or two til service call, try to get there that day or the next, better yet, know your equipment well enough to be able to get them back up hobbling remotely so you can have time to get there and do a permanent fix.
We have probably six competitors in our area, their service is terrible, they push service calls out a couple of weeks, they use cheap gear. They charge huge upfront installation fees. This all adds up to a bad reputation, thats why three to four of my installs a month are to go replace them as a service provider.
We have a good enough reputation that even though we havent advertised in over six months, we still get 4 to 6 new customers a week.
What does all this come down to? The answer to your question. My bosses dont eat spam, and they dont drive 1997 ford escorts.
Customer service goes a long way. We do the absolute best we can do with installs and treat the customers like we would want to be treated. Going out of you way once in a while will almost always help out. For us the customer pays an install fee up front and then the monthly service (discount for one year up front) and nothing more. If we need to return for any reason there is no service charge. I remember when we first started out a few years ago almost giving up on a customer that really wanted the service, but it just wouldnt work at the home. I walked out through waist deep snow three hundred feet into a clearing in the woods and setup to test. It worked! Im so glad for that determination because I can not tell you how many customers she has recommended us to! We do not advertise, our wireless service is all spread by word of mouth. If the customer is happy, they will speak highly (and vica-versa). We have been a Motorola Two-way Sales and Service station since 1961 and dont plan to go anywhere soon but starting out a successful WISP takes lots of time, money, and determination from my experience.
Yah - I stress good customer service.
Its just frustrating getting past the “getting started” phase. I cannot afford to pay someone to help with installs. I guess when I get past 100 customers, get more bandwidth, and get the gear payed for everything will be in a much better state.
Yesterday I saw some SMs dropping randomly. Turned my APs into SMs, scanned, and now I have 3 Canopy APs facing me from competition.
But, word is getting out. Everyday I have several calls from people outside our town looking for access.
Just takes time…Got to get more bandwidth!
Picked up my newest furthest out customer today - 13.7 miles using M2 Yagi - Yah!