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Reseller Business Tips

Secure Your Brand Name

This is the first baby step you will take towards your ultimate financial freedom. You can start business in two ways:

  • Do Business As (DBA)
  • Corporation or LLC

Do Business As

According to http://BizFilings.com, DBA filing allows a company to transact business using a different name. DBA filings often take place at the county level, but some states have state-level DBA filings. For sole proprietorships and general partnerships, unless a DBA is filed, the company name is the same as the name(s) of owner(s).

For example, John Smith is operating a landscaping business as a sole proprietorship. He files a DBA to transact business under the name Smith Landscaping instead of as John Smith.

Corporations and LLCs

Corporations and LLCs can also file DBAs to transact business under a name different from the name registered with the state when the business was incorporated. For example, a corporation formed as Smith and Sons, Inc. may wish to transact business under a name that more clearly states what the company does, such as The Corner Market, and could file a DBA to use the more descriptive name. A DBA filing does not change the official name of the corporation or LLC. It only allows the business to use a different name in trade, which can be in addition to or instead of the official corporate or LLC name.

Keep in mind that for sole proprietorships and general partnerships, filing for a DBA does not provide the same benefits that forming a corporation or LLC does. Filing a DBA merely allows the company to transact business with the new name. For corporations and LLCs, filing a DBA does not create a new business entity, it just allows the existing entity to use a different name.

We would recommend that you spend some money to register it as a proper company as it puts a positive impression on any potential client. Look at it by putting yourself on the customer side. Would you rather do a business with unknown or a properly registered firm?

This article is specifically made for resellers working out of United States. The individual laws of the given country can differ accordingly. No matter where you are located a proper company can be way more advantageous in the long run. For resellers in the US, I have listed the following sites offering quick affordable incorporation services. Clients in other countries should consult their respective local authorities to register their business. I have used google.com and few other search engines and recommend www.bizfilings.com

It is also considered wise to register your brand name as your trademark. It is optional, though; as resellers, it is assumed that you would have a limited budget but whenever you do have the available funds, it is recommended that you take this step.

For web hosting resellers based in the US please visit
http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html
You can also file it online yourself or ask your lawyer to do it for you.

For resellers based outside the United States please contact the concerned authorities for guidance.

Website Design and Creation

The next basic step is to make your website.

If you have skills in web development, then you can do it yourself. You can also choose to hire a web designer to do it for you or you can use pre-made templates from websites like http://templatemonster.com to download and edit.

Needless to say template based sites are turnkey, however, they do not give a professional image of the website because a single template may be used by tens if not hundreds of other web hosting companies.
A good navigation structure is very important. Your clients should be able to see what you are trying to sell them. Do not burry your products deep down in your pages.

Try to portray a simple yet comprehensive portfolio of your services. Links should be clear and the text should make sense to ordinary people who have limited knowledge of web hosting. The easy thing to do is to put yourself in client’s shoes.

Setting up your Web Hosting Plans

One of your main selling points would be your web hosting plans. The amount of disk space and bandwidth allotted for a given price will totally depend upon your business plan and specifically your target market.

If you want to start a budget hosting company then your web hosting plans and pricing should reflect that. Similarly premier web hosting should reflect respective pricing.

  • Make sure to always mention how X web hosting plan is different from Y

Why should I pay you $60 per month for something that I can get for mere $5 from another company? A good explanation on the website always helps the potential visitor to make the right decision.

  • Do not setup your web hosting plans just because you want to fill up the page.

You can have 100 hosting plans and then again just one and make no difference on sales. The difference should be in terms of their pricing, quotas, type and effectiveness.

How do I bill my Web Hosting Clients?

You would need two basic things to begin billing and managing your clients: payment processor and client management script.

Payment Processor

The most basic step towards billing your clients would be your ability to take online payments.

For US residents, it is easy to get a merchant account if you are over 18 and maintain a US bank account. You can also charge your clients through http://paypal.com.
Besides Paypal there are other ways to bill your clients. You can bill them using *http://stormpay.com

Folks that cannot get their own merchant account or their business plan does not dictate the need for one, can use http://2checkout.com

Fees for 2checkout revolves around 5.5% of the total amount processed but it is quick to setup and you can begin selling in minutes.

Most merchant accounts charge around 2.5% to 4% which can be good for the savings, but one has to go through several hurdles like mailing the required documents for verification. Additionally, it can take several days, if not weeks, to get it up and running.

You can contact your bank to get a merchant account or any one of these recommended sites below. Please note that these sites take clients from the US which means that you have to be a US resident to take advantage of their services.

Client Management Script

There are many client managers available. You have the option to lease them on a monthly basis or buy the owned license for a high-priced one-time fee. Here is the list of the popular ones out there. Lease would cost you around $25 per month with $150-$1000 for an owned license depending upon the product.

WebHostingBuzz uses WHMCS and Ubersmith for managing its clients.

How to provide support to my Hosting Clients?

Being a reseller you will not have to worry about managing your server. This is the job of your reseller web host. While this thought may provide some relief, you also need to remember that there is something more important than just providing web space on a web server. It is called service.

Although dependent upon your business plan and resources, it has been found that online help desk support is probably the fastest and most efficient way of providing technical support to your web hosting clients. This may not be universally true but it does apply to most of the web hosting companies on the Internet today. A more direct approach is to provide support through phone which can, of course, increase the overhead costs; however, if your resources allow you to do this then it acts as an excellent plus point over the ones that are unable to provide it.
You can provide support through

  • email
  • phone
  • online help desk.

Adding tutorials and a proper knowledge base helps in reducing the number of tickets that are quite common for example:
How do I update my credit card?
How do I change my password?
How do I setup email in Outlook?

You get the picture?
Stressing on the importance of a good help desk system, if your budget can spare a little, you should definitely go for Kayako Support Desk Software. It’s very intelligently created and satisfies the need of any modern and highly demanding help desk environment.

Leased licenses can cost up to $40 per month with owned versions selling at $500.

There are many FREE web hosting help desk software on the Internet. WebHostingBuzz provides many one click install help desk software through an auto installer called Softaculous, which comes with every web hosting account we sell.
Following are the few good free ones in the market:

  • osTicket (available in Softaculous)
  • PHP Support Tickets (available in Softaculous)
  • Support Logic Helpdesk
  • Support Services Manager
  • Crafty Syntax Live Help
  • Help Center Live

Kayako Help Desk is a paid version but worth the funds. We at WebHostingBuzz use the same help desk.

Thank you very much for reading this basic guide to the world of Web Hosting and we wish you the best of luck.