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The other night I had dinner with a friend who mentioned knowing quite a few people needing websites for their local businesses. Despite being a software engineer, my friend is not a web designer nor does he know enough about servers to actually host (store) websites. On the other hand, he suspected there was a way to translate contacts into some money on the side. That's when I told him about reselling.
Reselling is basically the business of selling web space that is already established by a web space provider (known as a host). A host sells you their space and, in turn, you sell it to your client. This arrangement is like buying at wholesale and selling at retail prices. It's also like subletting an apartment for more than your own rent. In terms of websites, the ideal reseller scenario is one where you buy web space at a low enough rate so you can sell it to your client at your own price and make a profit.
More specifically, if you purchase a web hosting plan for $5 per month and sell it to your client for $15 per month, you are making a 200% profit instantly each month. Who wouldn't like spending $5 in order to make $10 profit? Ten such arrangements bring in around $100 per month or $1,200 per year. Sounds like easy money on the side.
But what exactly is required of a reseller? This article isn't meant to provide quick ways to simply make money off your friends and business contacts. It's a legitimate way to provide them with something they need for a fair price. While you need to have a basic knowledge of what a host does, you won't have all of the answers, not a first. This is where the experience and professionalism of your host comes into play. For instance, if your client has questions about setting up an email account, you need to respond in a timely manner with the answer. If you don't know the answer to a support issue raised by a client, this is where you host can assist you.
I have seen the roles of resellers vary depending on the host. One host may have direct contact with your clients and answer all their questions. This could be dangerous for you (the reseller) as one day your clients may wind up a direct client of the host and leave you out of the arrangement completely. More commonly, the web host has no dealings with your clients at all. The host bills and supports you (the reseller) and, in turn, you bill and support your clients. If your clients have a problem you can either handle it directly with them or, if you're not sure of the solution, you can ask the host who will take care of it for you. Once you have been reselling for a while you will likely notice two things. First, you will find that clients ask the most questions early on. Once your clients have been setup and their site is running smoothly, you probably won't hear from them much. Secondly, after you field some of the more common support questions from clients and see how your host handles them, you will soon be resolving many issues on your own.
Now that we have established what is involved in becoming a reseller and the importance of good customer support, let's talk about how to widen the profit margin. At the beginning of this article I mentioned my friend was not a web designer, but what if he was?
What if you are a web designer looking to earn more money? Why build a website and then hand it over to someone else to host when you could be offering that service to your clients? Becoming a hosting reseller would be the perfect match for you. The more services you can provide your clients, the more money you will make. Earlier I mentioned that with only 10 reseller accounts you could be earning $100 per month. Imagine if you added fees for web design. The cost for web design is often a one-time fee, but if your client requires monthly updates to their site you could be adding $50 to $100 per month to your monthly profit. Add a few of these type arrangements and you could be earning $500 per month or more.
If you have access to people interested in starting websites they can quickly become a paying client. Web hosts are there to handle everything you don't know how to do; including the management of servers, ensuring your client's data is not only backed up, but protected from natural disasters and hackers. Just because you don't have a degree in server management doesn't mean you can't get into the web business.
Many hosting companies offer reseller packages and most are unique arrangements so shop around and find out which works best for you. Reselling can be very rewarding in that you are genuinely helping others get a website and also you can quickly start earning some money on the side. The trick is to partner up with a host you can trust, one that provides you with the same quality of service and professionalism you want/need to show your own clients.
Copyright 2005 Anthony Vita
Anthony Vita started his own successful web hosting business, Web Feat, Inc, in 1997. Since then, Anthony has been helping businesses and individuals worldwide ahieve their online presence.
Contact Anthony today:
Email: [email protected]
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