Getting Your Fair Share

Steve Wood

Web Hosting is growing at over $16 million a day. If you are in the business of designing websites for small business clients, you should be offering your clients web hosting services as well. It’s only logical – most of your clients don’t know what they need as far as hosting, they are already relying on you to provide design services, they will also trust you to provide the best hosting service for them as well.

Let’s take another look at that number -- $16,000,000 in growth every day! Think about that. Then think about how many small businesses in your area are still in need of these services. As I look around my city, I am amazed at how many businesses do not yet have a website, but will surely obtain one in the next 5 years. Probably 95% of the small businesses fall into this category. The prospects for our design services are phenomenal! Smile ~ for we are in a field that is experiencing unprecedented growth!

We all know that the hard part in obtaining clients is selling them on our design ideas and the investment required to make it happen. Once that is done, selling the hosting service is easy and can increase your sales and profits dramatically. Not only that, but you now have a residual income source – after you have around 100 clients, your hosting fees alone could bring you an extra $2000-$3000 per month – with NO additional work!

“Sounds great!” you say, “but how do I offer hosting services without a huge investment in hardware, ultra-fast, redundant connectivity and costly technical geeks to run it all?” The great thing is that you don’t need all of that. Most hosting companies have reseller programs that allow you to sell their services while earning some of the profit. Of course, this probably is not news to most of you…heck, the majority of you are most likely already involved in a reseller program. But again, I ask you, “Are you getting your fair share?”

Not all reseller programs are the same. There is a wide range of features you’ll find when checking out the reseller programs of the many hosting companies out there. Discount plans tell you how much the hosting company will charge you, as a reseller, for their accounts – you then charge your clients whatever you want. Some companies have discount plans based on how many reseller accounts you have sold. I’ve seen discount plans ranging from a paltry 3% to up to 65% for reseller accounts. But you have to know what you and your clients get for that.

Here’s what makes a great reseller program (not necessarily in order of importance):

• A generous discount plan (30% - 50%) – after all, you will be providing most of the hard work in obtaining and retaining the client (the most costly expense for the hosting company).

• Great hosting plans – you need to be able to offer your clients everything they will need to maintain an effective website, including reliable connectivity and state-of-the-art data center. Each resold plan should be a full-featured plan with its own IP address, ftp access, control panel, etc.

• Anonymity from your hosting company – your clients will see you as their host, so you will be able to offer and charge whatever you believe is fair for your value-added services. You should be able to have your own name servers, and handle your own billing and support.

• Full automation for you – this is extremely important. When you sign on a new client, you need to be able to tell them when their site will be up. You should be able to set up new clients on your reseller program automatically and instantly. You should have full control of it and not have to rely on the hosting company to set up your new accounts (usually days later).

• Full automation for your clients – this is also extremely important to limit support issues you will have to deal with. Your hosting plans should provide your clients with a Control Panel that truly enables them to control every aspect of their hosting plan. That way, they will not have to call you (and you won’t have to call your hosting company) every time a plan feature needs to be manipulated.

If you have all of these features in a reseller program, you’re doing pretty well. If you don’t, it may be time to look a bit further to ensure that you are getting your fair share!