We currently manage all client domains on their behalf (and in most cases supply web hosting too), billing as appropriate.
If a domain & hosting were set up together, their renewal is obviously due at the same time. If we only supply domain management (registration/transfer-in) then obviously such dates may not be.
We mark up domain renewals by a small amount (usually £5-10 depending on the extension) to cover the cost of the ‘management service’ which can involve anything from creating new forwarders, mailboxes, framing, DNS changes to general tech support and consultancy when required, etc.
- Do you prefer to manage and control your clients domains to make your life easier (for you) when changes are needed, or do you leave the domain under the clients control (in their own account, with their own provider)?
- Do you mark up your domains? and if so by how much?
- and what would you say if a client asked what the benefits of buying or renewing their domains through your company are, as opposed to via 3rd party and managing them, themselves? (a price-focused question of course, how would you educate on the value of the management services?)
I wouldn’t bother, it’s not worth the hassle IMO. I’m a web developer, not a domain provider, so I’m never going to manage enough domains to make any worthwhile cash out of this. Seems like a lot of bother and responsibility for a £10 management fee. I personally feel the client should manage this themselves and if they need my help, I can bill them my hourly rate to sort it out for them, or do it for free if they are a good client.
But I personally wouldn’t offer it as an official service, for me it’s about drawing a line over what I want to get involved with.
I’m with shadowbox, it isn’t worth it. At various times in my companies history I have pushed this service, with a markup of up to 100%. If you are service focused customers are not that price sensitive, as long as you stay within certain boundaries. I think you are better off either off loading it to the client. Alternatively you may find a reseller account that allows you to white label the selling, so that you actually don’t have to do any work. Here are some reasons that I came up with during the last 8 years why it is good to do it yourself:
- if the domain purchase is first, may bind the client to you (it does, but they still may not purchase anything)
- single point of accountability is good selling point
- not confusing the client with another supplier (most domain registrars offer websites as well)
- client uses 5+ domains, so renewal is efficient because of scale (still do this)
- client buys ad renews all domains for 10 years (still do this)
I see nothing wrong with handling domain registration/updates or SSL registration/updates if the client want you to handle that.
With that said, the way we approach this is that we pass along the actual cost to the client for the domain/SSL + any billable time. I.e. we also charge them for the time we spent on doing this update (billed at half hour intervals).
With the hourly fee we charge, the additional fee we would need to append for these services would make it look more expensive than billing it this way (hourly). So make certain you compare the time you require to do this vs your hourly rate, when deciding on what additional fee you charge for this service.
Remember if you can spend the same amount of time doing billable work at a higher rate, you should do so! So unless you charge the same for doing this service, it would not be a good idea to offer it.
On a side note, the type of clients you have also decide how much you can charge. With the right type of clients, you can have a markup on over 10 times the price or more compared to if they purchased it themselves, which is why you want to bill according to your hourly price compared to with a set fee. Since if you tell the client it will cost $10 for the domain, and $100 for you doing it, it sounds expensive since they compare the price of the item vs your fee. While if you tell them it cost $10 for the domain + hourly on the time it takes to set it up, they will have no problem paying $110 even when the record is noted separated on the invoice. (This is of course assuming the client is already familiar with the hourly rate you charge and have no problems with paying your invoices.)
I do not like managing domains for clients. I simply direct them to my domain and hosting reseller site and tell them to register it directly. If your name is is listed in the domain registration you dont want to be engaged in any legal issues related to the domain. Because if any URDP / Case is filed against the domain holder / content of the website, the responsibility rests with the domain name holder as per the Who Is info, so my suggestion would be to stay away from directly registering domains for clients instead either direct them to your reseller site or provide an affiliate link so that they can register it themselves.