So what should you think about when becoming a reseller? While we hope the blog is of general help to people wherever they host, for expediency we’re just going to focus on our reseller program the way it’s set up and what we feel you should think about when you’re thinking about becoming one of our resellers though much of this will be applicable to general decisions to become anyone’s reseller as our policies and practices are not all that different from most hosting companies.
Right now, they’re our problem. Become a reseller, and they’re all yours.
Once you take on an account as a reseller, that account ceases to be (or initially is not) our account. Your client is not our client, your client is your client, and they will come to you for any and all support that they need for domains that you install or gather up under your umbrella. If they email support for help, we will direct them to you. We have no contract with them and, in fact, our contract with you spells out that we will interfere or interface with your clients only in the event of your total abandonment of your reseller account. We will not deal with them directly for any other reason.
Do you have the time to answer those tickets within an amount of time that your clients will be satisfied with? Do you have the expertise to answer most of them and only come to us for minimal support for things that you cannot fix? If you don’t, are your clients the type of clients that will be patient after the submit a ticket to you, you pick it up and then submit the request to us, and then we pick it up and respond? You’ve added lag time to those responses if you are going to depend on us more and not less.
Are you ready to have your tickets answered with directives on how you should fix something rather than having us fix it for you? As a reseller, you’re getting a fairly steep discount, and a lot of tools – if you have the ability to do something, we will not be doing those things for you anymore. You’re expected, in exchange for that discount, to take the initiative and manage many of your issues yourself for you, and your clients. The only password reset you would ever email us for is your own – your clients forget their password? You need to reset it. Your clients need an upgrade? You need to do it. Anything you need fixed that you don’t have access to, we will do – anything you have access to, or can get access to, is considered your responsibility to fix. If you email us and say you don’t know how, we’ll tell you how – but we won’t do it for you.
We bill you, and you bill your clients – we don’t really care what you charge them, or if you charge them. But if you decide to actually charge them, you’ll need to invest in billing software, which can run $25 a month for a lease on up to $300 at one time, and more. Do you have the money and the time to set up a billing system for your clients? (We will go over some billing choices later on in the series). Will you be able to afford the set up fees for a merchant account? Do you have a business bank account? Will you just go through PayPal (which, frankly, isn’t the most professional sole choice you could make.) Are you ready to sit down and make all these decisions before you open up and take a single client?
Are you comfortable combining all your clients into one account from a security standpoint? What we mean by that is when you take orders, do you feel comfortable installing them and potentially having to deal with a spammer, or a client that breaks our TOS and potentially threatens your reseller account? Have you come up with a TOS for your clients that incorporates our rules (which applies to everyone, including your clients)?
You can open up a reseller account and fly by the seat of your pants – many do. If you are going to have clients, though, you really need to approach this like any other business start up. If you’re a web designer, you need to decide whether you are prepared to offer the same type of service they could get from the hosting company directly and, if that answer is no, whether the service you feel you could provide will be acceptable to the type of clients that you have and that you market to. Sometimes that answer is yes, and sometimes that answer is no. It really depends on your target market.
Next time, we’ll go into some of the start up costs for things like billing software, ssl certs, merchant accounts, and so on.