What You Need To Run a Reseller Hosting Business
Getting in to the business of reselling web hosting may sound like an easy way to make money, but the market is very crowded right now so you need to think about a few things first. This short guide will hopefully point you in the right direction, and provide some of the initial steps you need to take before you start bringing in your first customers.
A Good Plan
You can’t just rush in and hope to start reselling web hosting without any kind of plan. There are thousands of individuals and large businesses that have already made a name for themselves, and the hosting business in general is extremely competitive.
While coming up with your plan, you need to figure out where your place will be in the hosting market. Are you going to try to offer very simple hosting packages at the lowest prices you can reasonably sell them for? Or will you seek out a smaller niche such as fully managed WordPress hosting? Who will be responsible for the customer support? Can you handle that alone or will you need to hire extra help?
Before you go much further with this, you will also need to register as a business in the United States (or with the relevant authority in your country). You may also need to register it on the state or local level, depending on the requirements where you live. Be sure to evaluate the different types of business you can register as, and choose the most appropriate in your situation.
Knowledge and Experience
As you can imagine, it would be harder to sell someone a house if you do not own one yourself, because you don’t have a full grasp on what would motivate them to buy. It would be even harder to help them maintain that house if you lacked the tools and experience necessary to do the job. The same concept applies to the reseller hosting business.
At the very least, you should have a good understanding on how web hosting works and what makes each method of hosting unique. You should have experience with running your own websites over a long period of time. It is not necessary to have a degree in computer science, or even a high level of experience with networking, because the hosting provider you are buying from should be handling most of the technical issues.
Access to Potential Customers
Your reseller business will go nowhere if you have nobody to resell to, so you should start building a web presence for yourself and your new business as soon as possible. Register a good domain name – get it designed and hosted – setup new social media profiles – and start networking with others.
A lot of the more successful resellers already have access to these potential customers through other means. For example, web designers and marketers can often “upsell” their existing clients and offer hosting as a part of their business. The price of the hosting can be either built in to the total cost of a website design, or offered as an upgrade for an added monthly fee.
If you do not have access to potential customers yourself, you could consider partnering with someone who does. This means you will have to work out a deal to split the money with them, but it will probably work out better than having no customers at all.
Finding a Good Host To Work With
This is a very important step, of course, because you will be entering in to a partnership with this host for the foreseeable future. Take your time to research this, and consider the following:
Does the host own the data center, or are they reselling for someone else? If you are reselling for a reseller, your profit margin will most likely be smaller.
Do they have a good reputation? Search long and hard to make sure they haven’t been involved in any major drama.
What do they offer in terms of support, for you personally? If you can’t get in contact with them in a hurry when things go wrong, your customers may leave.
Which operating system do they use? Windows hosting is not very popular at the moment, which makes it harder to sell.
What about the control panel? Do they offer something such as cPanel to your customers so that they won’t rely on you for support so much?
Can you make a profit on this? Work out how you will split the resources that you buy from this host, and then work out how much you will need to sell these plans for. Is it going to be competitive with what others are offering right now? For me personally, if you’re serious about reselling, you should consider HostPresto!.
Finally, you need to make sure that you have enough spare time to handle everything that goes in to running an additional business. The main time-consuming factor can be customer support. If you are going to be the one responsible for that then you will need to be available constantly or have others working in shifts.