View Poll Results: Will this idea work?

Voters
28. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, everything is perfect.

    4 14.29%
  • Sounds good, but could be better.

    14 50.00%
  • Good luck, you'll need it.

    6 21.43%
  • Your wasting your time, my time, and your money.

    4 14.29%
Results 1 to 30 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682

    Suggestions for a small startup company

    I currently attend Mission Veijo high school and was at one time in their Ecore Program (fancy way of saying us students bring laptops to school, post our work on a website we are required to have, for others to "borrow", and play UT2k4 durring class.). However durring my years at the school I have seen many students using the free website hosting at Geocities and after talking with many teachers now understand that they hate "This page is to active, try back later", and that the students hate the "your out of space" alert when they try and post the latest homework to the site. With all of that being said, I decided to try my hand at a small company that hosts students at mine, and maybe some other local schools.

    Currently I plan on giving lots of space (500m or so, thats 50x what they have at geocities) and lots of bandwith (unlimited seems to scammish, so ive yet to decide on a concreate number). Plus I will have larger plans for those who want them. On top of all of that I want to keep it at about 5$ a month so everything is affordable and people actualy use my server. So, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions to help me out? I plan on presenting it to my school aswell as having tons of startup promotions to bring students in, but I have yet to figure out exactly what I can tell that explains why this is a good deal and why they need it.

    Suggestions or Emails would be great.
    Thanks,
    -Scott

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    338
    Sounds like a good plan. At a school(not HS but oh well) that I attended we do something similar. All of the classes are online material. Turn in work that way ect. WE however house our own servers for the program. Keeps it being online within the school at 100% which is required for testing ect.
    you could get a resellers account or even go dedicated(if there are that many students using the service).
    Tough to make money on the deal if thats what you are shooting for. If its just something you want to do to give people more space, than I would go for it. Make sure you arent losing money on the deal though.

  3. #3
    My suggestion would be to keep it simple and start with a reseller's account and provide an easy to understand brochure of your webhosting service.
    The main question to answer would be: why should they pay $5 for this service when they can sign up for Geocities? As far as I can tell, you'll have to be convincing in terms of providing support and guidance for these students, because they're not going to know what to do.
    ++++++++
    Providing free cPanel web hosting for over 2 years to community of webmasters
    An independent Burst.net Review

  4. #4
    $5 a month will just barely pay for a reseller account. you would have to charge more or provide a little less space for the same pirce to make any money.
    Cheap Web Hosting: www.supersweethosting.com
    Website Design - Scripting: www.adrenalinepcs.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,345
    The reason they go for these free website hosting accounts is beacause they want to save money, so what makes you think they will pay for your hosting?

    I am sorry if that sounds a bit harsh but I think you should think and maybe even ask people if they would ccome over to you

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    766
    Hello Scott,

    First, let me applaud your shrewd business plan - you've found a niche market, you know the market and you do have plans on what to do. That already puts you ahead of half the hosting industry

    My opinion is that as students, they will not need 500mb of space. In fact, it sounds like trouble to me because 500mb of space is very tempting... who knows what they might use the space for, hmmm? I'd say 100mb is more than enough for most students (unless they are media students, in which case you might want to offer special, larger packages for them). Bandwidth, if used solely for project submissions and such, shouldn't exceed a few Gb a month (I am saying this from experience - I had a friend who needed to host a series of powerpoint slides for her lecture group of 200, and I gave her some space and bandwidth. She barely pushed 50mb of space and 3gb of bandwidth).

    I'd advise conservative limits on basic accounts (dare you make these basic ones free of charge?), and then offer larger ones priced differently. Support can be restricted to only the paid/larger accounts. I doubt you'd get much of support in this case because if everyone uses it only for homework submission, ftp and some firewall issues should be about it. Do watch for possible content problems, though. I'm not saying that this is a problem specific to a certain age group (I'm probably in that group too if you look at it from a certain angle), but giving people too much space for too little will no doubt result in some abuse.

    Interesting idea, could potentially be a sizable money-maker. I wish you all the best!
    Last edited by code_renegade; 06-01-2004 at 09:41 AM.

  7. #7
    *moving to running a web hosting business*
    www.square-network.com www.squarenetwork.com
    Now available in regular and dehyphenated.
    May 2003 Member of the Month
    Useless Community Liason Ever Since.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    4,612
    I'll second code_renegade. You might want to rethink those specs.
    Scott Burns, President
    BQ Internet Corporation
    Remote Rsync and FTP backup solutions
    *** http://www.bqbackup.com/ ***

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    First, I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions, I have considered what everyone said and rethought alot of the idea.

    As far as the stats issue goes, I have decided to offer a trial account. It would last for one month, allow 100m of storage and 1g of transfer. Plus it would have the usual 1 Email address (with autoresponder and forwarder).

    The next plan would be a basic 5$ one. Plans for that are 300m storage, 5g of transfer, and 5 emails (autorsponders, etc).

    For the more advanced students their would be a 7$ plan that has 500m storage, 10g of transfer and 10 emails (autorsponders, etc). Then additional stats could be purchased if they need the (1$ for 100m storage, 1g of transfer, 1 MySQL Db, or a set of 5 email addresses).


    The question of why people would want me of other services is still being a pain, but thus far I have:
    • Because it is a service setup specificly for students that will provide them what they need while making things easy for them by removing the extra junk they don't want or need.
    • Its cheap enough that no one will mind 5$ for all the time and energy it saves over free programs like geocities.
    • Because I am availble at school every day to provide support should anything happen. There is no need to wait for my email reply and unlike geocities I am an actual face that you can talk to. (I know this will bite me later, but all in all its a good thing for them)



    The server I plan on getting is the Power 2600 from serverbeach.com ( serverbeach dot com /catalog/powerline.php?os=redhat#2600)* With Cpanel and the setup fee for a total of 160$ a month. This is where I expect problems to happen becuase 160$ a month would require 32 users just to pay for the server. But I think things will be ok.


    Lastly im still looking for promotion ideas... I plan on working with the school to offer some kind of a 3 month advanced package for their "jumpstart program" (students come in durring summer, get their laptops setup and make websites) where the package is included in the price of jumpstart. But any other ideas to get 32+ people in quickly would be great.


    Sorry this was so rushed and poorly put together but I wanted to get it out before I had to go. As always any additional suggestions, comments, ideas, etc would be very helpful especialy if you know about taxes, business licenses, or other legal issues.

    Thanks again,
    -Scott

    * Sorry about bypassing the URL filter... Im not trying to sell for them, just showing the server I plan on using...
    Last edited by ScottSwezey; 06-14-2004 at 01:32 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    246
    Your rates are awfully high, I would recomend lowering them just a little, especially since you will probablly recieve cash payments and not have to worry about cc fees.

    Also, why not consider a reseller account? For those specs, you could get a big reseller account and make more money, plus you don't have to manage the server.

    I am also interested about the business licenses.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    4,612
    Originally posted by maxdf
    Your rates are awfully high, I would recomend lowering them just a little, especially since you will probablly recieve cash payments and not have to worry about cc fees.
    What? I wouldn't lower those rates any more than they already are.

    I'd also suggest starting with a Reseller account.
    Scott Burns, President
    BQ Internet Corporation
    Remote Rsync and FTP backup solutions
    *** http://www.bqbackup.com/ ***

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    It would be hard for me to go much lower on the rates....


    As for the reseller account, I have yet to find one that I liked that would allow me the freedom of good prices, good features, etc. On top of that im fine with managing the server and think it would be cool to get a few other server programs (like team speak) on there... Ill debate it though. Let me know if you know of any good resellers (let you choose all stats, price, etc. and is cheap... I dont think I can afford 5$ accounts on most resellers.)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    246
    try vonetwork.com (I am unaffilliated)

    Very good service, Linux(cpanel) or Windows(Helm) both on dual Xeon machines, I have used them for over a year, awesome host:
    2 gigs space/20 gigs traffic, unlimited everything(WHM resseller access)- $10.00 a month

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    Looks to good to be true? any complaints or problems with them?
    Last edited by ScottSwezey; 06-14-2004 at 07:00 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    246
    Well, lately there has been some problems with support (admin in hospital or somethhing...), but overall I'd have to say that they are awesome.

    I even have the basic reseller plan split between Windows and Linux servers, I can offer both for only $10.00 a month.

    I have had no downtime in 6 months, both servers are total control dual xeon's from the planet. This is the greatest host I have ever had.

    I would recommend at least starting with a reseller account from somewhere, you can always upgrade to a server in a month.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    346
    Great business planning skills. You have set out what you want to achieve before you have even started. Thats great. As long as you implement technical planning on the same level as your business planning you should be all good. Good luck!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    Originally posted by maxdf
    Well, lately there has been some problems with support (admin in hospital or somethhing...),
    You might want to be careful choosing a host that will go downhill if just one person in the company is unavailable.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    You might want to be careful choosing a host that will go downhill if just one person in the company is unavailable.

    --Tina

    I would have to agree...

    Anyways, I just lost the school as backing me in this (by somehow combining their jump start thing with my hosting package) so now I need to figure how to get lots of users fast. ideas??

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,301
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showth...hreadid=284100

    Get some ideas from there and you can search for more advertising ideas

    Well there is no quick way of getting lots of users/customers.

    Put up your service flyers along your school, tell your friends to talk about it and maybe you can start a hosting community in your HS best of luck

    thanks, Yaser.
    "Web Hosting is not just about selling space, it is about facilitating customers needs with your plans and supporting the customer for a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship."- Yaser

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    "I need to figure how to get lots of users fast"

    Famous last words.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,301
    Famous last words of many startup hosts hehe right Tina?
    "Web Hosting is not just about selling space, it is about facilitating customers needs with your plans and supporting the customer for a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship."- Yaser

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    Perhaps a pyramid thing??

    I tell 7 of my friends who want a year free.... get 7 ppl to sign up and stay for 3 months and ill give u a year free. then i do the same thing with the second stage ppl, get 7 ppl to sign up and i give u a year free....

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,301
    Call it what you like

    Wont be easy find alot of 7s but its a good way since you wont be paying out cash so you can offer them free hosting.

    Best of luck
    "Web Hosting is not just about selling space, it is about facilitating customers needs with your plans and supporting the customer for a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship."- Yaser

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    Now this isnt normaly my style, but if anyone can match this ill sign up in a heart beat (http://abadox.biz/convo%20-%20hosting.htm -- its an AIM convo of someone who offered me hosting.)


    Funny eh?

  25. #25
    I really like your plan. As was pointed out, you've targetted a niche market, which is crucial in achieving success.

    As far as ways to get people to sign up for your service, you could offer the same exact plan as GeoCities for free. They get 10 megabytes, and whatever the bandwidth limit is, for free. Giving away 10 megs isn't going to cost you much at all, and it gets people looking at your server. You already know that 10 megs isn't sufficient for a lot of the students, so they'll pretty much have to go for something bigger. Perhaps you can register yourschool.org or yourschool.net, and then you can offer students whatever.yourschool.org. Then you say, "You can get the same plan as GeoCities, for free, with a customized domain. Why wouldn't you use it?" And nobody would be able to justify not using it. Then you offer your other packages for more space.

    Basically, you need to show your potential clients value. Offering the same package as GC, but with a customized domain, no ads, etc, provides them with a better value than GC does. From there, you can expand to the paid-for packages, and show that they offer great value for the money.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    246
    The guy in the chat is full of BS, vonetwork is operated out of dallas, and most of it's support and admin are out of the US as well.

    All regular servers(very good ones) are run out of the planet in houston, but they do have at least one in every (major)continent, so maybe this is where he is confused.

    Glad to see you like my suggestion...

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    lol, I know, chat was funny huh? hehe. Loved the suggestion and plan on using them (you got a referal code) at least untill I grow bigger. I also love pergesu's idea and plan on trying that out. Thanks again.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    479
    Honestly this wouldnt be to bad of an idea. Although onething is that i would talk to some students and teachers to see if there is an interest in this and also talk to the school to see what they could offer you. There is plenty of potential behind this You just have to look at your options and weigh out the pro's / con's.

    Thanks
    - James

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    The school isnt interested, however I might be able to get some teachers independantly. I know the students hate geocities and several have asked me for hosting on my current server. I think the potential is there, its just a matter of can I convince enough people to sign up to pay the bills. But out of 300ish students, im sure I can get 32... (# I need to cover the dedicated server I -want-, per month)


    Anyone (companies) interested in some kind of a joint venture... I could understand the school being weary of doing something like this with a "steriotipical trouble making high school student ...."

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    682
    that was meant to be (or companies)....


    ...silly lockout on how long you can edit your posts.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •