Perhaps somewhat of a monologue here but thought to ask what was your path of choice and experience.
Every so often customers (and friends) will need a ‘full solution’ that includes hosting plan and for the most part I would just direct them to Hostgator or any other decent and cheep shared hosting simply because “I don’t want to be bothered”. On the other side, I always end up holding their hand in the process anyhow :). We are talking about personal (blog/portfolio) to small-mid sized business.
Reality is that becoming a reseller is not that difficult from organizational and technical perspective…and at the end of day why not be able to bill additional $30-$50 with maintenance and all. Another huge ‘pro’ is dodging crazy hosts and setup that customers might have in-house and therefor speeding up the development process.
So anyone care to share their experience and ‘cons’ I have overlooked?
…is it worth the hassle? what are some of the common obstacles you encountered?..regrets?..monetary worth?..time?
Dear level99, Yes you can become a hosting reseller it will benefit you in two ways. First, if you are having a good knowledge about Designing and development, you can simply put these services as an add-on or a free service to attract clients. This way you can generate huge revenue and it will help in branding your reseller hosting business. Also, if any client needs some extra designing or development work you can charge them at extra cost. But, before that you should mention it in the SLA. Trust me reselling is the best way to generate good revenue.
I agree the reseller accounts are designed for front end / designers.
All the setup / back end stuff is done automatically when you enter the new domains details.
There might be a little bit of leg work pointing dns etc but at the end of the day if you are suggesting hosting to more and more of your friends then it might end up being a good little money spinner for you.
Right, understood. It would be just a lead…as in go to mysite.com and click on link x then give me a ring when you have purchased a plan or need help guiding through the setup.
Definitely not looking to drive massive traffic just a few accounts here and there that I end up creating for them. I think it is bit nicer process than just slapping a banner and hoping for hits…and is a form of a service
Good point, I have not even tough of using affiliation links when setting them up.
Careful there. Most affiliate programs don’t allow you to get commissions for accounts that you buy, or accounts that they deem fraudulent (having all your commissions from orders from the same of very similar IP may raise suspicions). In other words, you’ll want the customers to order themselves, using your affiliate link. You can then handle their hosting/setup for them.
If you have some time and you will be able to spend that on the supportof you web hosting customers I believe reseller hosting is better. But if you do not want to support them I believe affiliate program is your opportunity.
This is a big if, I do not know what type of customer base you currently have or plan on having in the future, if you have enough of a customer base to justify it though there are companies out there, and believe it or not native English speaking at that, that provide technical support for a per basis or a monthly rate. Using this type of back up support allows you to have a form of help in the event you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by customer support calls, or your reseller host fails miserably in the support department.
Just though I would add that to the consideration pool…it is easy to feel quickly all alone and overwhelmed but remember this is the world of the subcontractor There is always the ability to subcontract out what you find yourself unable to keep up with, the trick is finding the quality and affordable subcontractor to have in the index for easy access during such times.
I think a lot of people willing to have all-in-one solution as they often do not have time at all for the web hosting search and trust you. Does not matter what you do: provide web hosting service or refer to the web hosting company.
Thanks bluedreamer, those are definitely things on my list of concerns as well…on the other hand, it seems like I end up doing a good part of the work anyhow - granted not at the same level of responsibility. As far as support…well, I would imagine since it still is shared hosting environment that my host/seller would have to honor the same level of support as they do to individually/directly sold shared hosting plans - no? Atleast from perspective of managing the server not necessarily of components - scripts, databases, end user use of CP etc.
To extend your kindness to share…can you recommend and good resellers preferably with data centers in US?
Reseller hosting is effectively the same as shared hosting. What generally happens when you buy a reseller account is that you share the same server with other resellers, and you all share server resources such as memory and so on. You’d get a control panel with which you can create and maintain individual accounts for you clients.
Because you are essentially acting as a “host” in your own right you are responsible for all your hosting clients, including billing and support - the buck stops with you
The host whom you buy reseller services from will support you but not your clients, so if you one of you customers contacts you with a problem that you can’t fix you’d need to contact your host for support, resolve the problem at hand, then go back to your customer to say it’s fixed.
That is how reseller hosting works, in a nutshell at least!
If you can charge the customers a proper amount for that hand holding they need (by getting hosting from you, they’ll likely feel entitled for extra help, the webmaster kind). I’ve read multiple times about web designers appreciating the recurring income from the hosting side of their business, especially when new web design projects were lacking.
Thanks ldcdc for the advice,
‘Holding hands’ happens no matter what so rather than extending ‘free help’ to full install for free…it would be nice it a few coins dropped in a bank.
The biggest hurdle so far have been in-house hosted and heavily locked down IIS boxes where simple things (such as installing module or ftp service or php support) have taken weeks-months…let alone getting something done on the actual project.
Thanks for reassurance, sounds like it would worth taking a dip into 10-15 hosted accounts especially if the server support and maintenance is passed-on by the host rather than provided by myself.
Once you start down the route of offering hosting to your clients then you the take on the burden of offering support and the problems associated with taking holidays and so on. If you can deal with that then it’s well worth considering.
In general the better reseller hosts won’t provide support to your clients, there are some that do but imagine your clients dealing with someone who hardly speaks in your customers native language from a distant country - how will that reflect on you and your business? Your customers will expect to deal with you and they may feel cheated otherwise.
The one thing to make sure you do is find the best reseller host you can afford. If you have hosting issues that you can’t resolve yourself you will be 100% reliant on your provider, any major delays or repeating problems will reflect badly on you by your own customers.
If you want to offer this type of service, offer the best you can!
Thank you gents and thanks for the links as well. Perhaps reseller account would be something to consider as ‘backup’ plan…naturally, only if I could pass the support of the host as I am 1man team.
Many thanks for your input, great stuff.