I’ve always had an interest in small business, I guess it’s because of how I grew up…raising my own pocket money from primary school. I was always selling something to my fellow schoolmates such as sweats and popcorn.

It’s now an opportune time to share business ideas that can be started without breaking the back. #Covid19 has shown us that relying on a single source of income is not enough. I’ll be sharing business ideas to help the unemployed to income streams they can try out in their backyards. Such business ideas are not limited to the unemployed, even those with a regular monthly salary can add a new source of income to make ends meet.

The business opportunity – Arcade Games

Today we’re shining the spotlight on arcade games which offer video entertainment through paid playing sessions. Users insert coins on the arcade cabinet to start playing games. This form of entertainment appeals to the younger generation since they’re competitive by nature. They want to attain high scores to get their bragging rights.

Arcade games offer gaming classics such as Pacman that have been popular for decades.

This type of business provides the operator with a passive income stream since these machines generate income remotely. Without lifting a finger, weekly you will be collecting cash.

Weapons of trade – Arcade Games

Arcade games vary in size and offerings…but mainly come in cabinets which are housed in a controlled environment such as a games room, or part of an establishment like a restaurant, bar, hair salon, shop.

Bar Top Arcade Game
Bar Top Arcade Game
Floor Model Arcade Games
Floor Model Arcade Games

Capital investment

The capital outlay depends on the type and size of arcade games concerned. House of Arcadia in Pretoria www.houseofarcadia.co.za, their floor model arcade games coin operated starts from R12,000 per unit. While their bartop model starts from R9,000 per unit.

Revenue sources

Your revenue stream as an arcade games operator comes from users inserting coins to play on the cabinets. You therefore need to locate your games in an area with high foot traffic to get more customers.

This type of business is easily scaled, it’s a matter of finding more suitable locations and increasing your inventory portfolio. With R50,000 you could have 5 taverns hosting your bartop models.

Location Rental or Revenue Share

As an arcade games operator, you’ll need to work out how you compensate the venue owner who’ll be hosting your machines. You have two options namely sharing all takings collected per machine or paying a flat rental fee.

It’s important to realise that venue owners play an important part in your business and therefore to keep a healthy partnership they must be rewarded fairly for their part. Without a venue partner, your business is ZERO.

Share split can vary accordingly:

1. 50/50
2. 60/40
3. 70/30
4. 80/20

If a venue hosts multiple cabinets then it makes business sense to have a reduced percentage compared to where only a single unit is hosted.


Arcade games if not cared for properly can be damaged especially the playing console by liquid spillage. Drinks are the main culprits and repairing them will cost you money. Ideally, it’s an investment to have a technician inhouse or nearby to attend to any faults…if that is not available, that means your machine will not make money if kept broken for a while until it’s repaired.

Author Muzi Mohale

Welcome to StarterJourney.com where I showcase small beginnings to inspire the next entrepreneur in you. It's a journey worth tapping into, many life lessons get to be experienced, money made and money lost...You're welcome to share your entrepreneurship journey with my audience.

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