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Due to a combination of unexpected family situations which will be taking up a great deal of time and a change in future business plans, I am considering selling the hosting "division" of our small family owned business.
This potential sale would include all client domains, client accounts, servers, control panel licenses, billing script and several (but not all) of our own domains. Any offers MUST be for the entire package to make the transition easier for our clients and not require any of them to be moved causing them downtime. I will NOT "part out" the business or sell just the clients. If you do not want everything offered, do not respond!
NOTE: All figures quoted in this offer are in US Dollars ($).
Several Hosting & related domains (9 total).
11 leased servers (most are Dell PowerEdge), all at the same Data Center.
All paying client accounts (active, past-due and suspended).
11 DirectAdmin lifetime licenses (1 for each server, a $3000+ value).
ModernBill Owned 500 license ($279 value - support expired, license domain will have to be changed).
All 27 client domains controlled by us (20 @ godaddy, 7 @ enom).
2 packages of templates, files, etc purchased off eBay with resell rights (used to offer clients free site templates).
Primary business name and domain (nameservers under this domain will remain for 6 mo so buyer can slowly transition clients off & all future hosting traffic will be sent to buyer's site).
Any non-related business ventures or domains/sites.
A small handfull of friends accounts (all are free accounts).
Merchant account or PayPal account.
Any domains/sites not part of the hosting business.
GoDaddy domain account (all included domains will be transferred to your account).
eNom domain reseller account (all included domains will be transferred to your account).
Current Income Figures:
According to the automatic ModernBill "reports api", we are showing $2080.54 monthly gross ($24,966.51 yearly).
According to manually figured Excel spreadsheet, we are showing $2057.46 monthly gross ($24,689.52 yearly).
The only recurring expenses that will be transferred to the buyer are the 11 servers which run roughly $1000/mo (+/-) and of course domain renewals. Most other expenses are typical business related and are not transferred to the new owner (phone, cell phones, office internet connection, etc). Note: One of the servers may be eliminated in the next few days as the client may be moving from that server to a reseller account (which would lower the expenses by approx $100 per month and increase profit by approx $70 per month). Client is considering the move and has not yet decided.[/I].
We see roughly $1,000 per month profit ($12,000/yr), minus payment processing expenses (PayPal and Merchant Account) and before other typical business expenses.
Approximately 98% of our clients are billed monthly with all invoices due on the 1st of each month (considered late on 5th, typically but not always suspended on 7th) Only a small handful that were inherited through buy-outs of other hosting providers were yearly but have already been transitioned to monthly as they came due for renewal. The exception is a few (roughly 4) that we have granted special arrangements with because of payment limitations (no paypal account or CC, etc). The majority of our clients pay via PayPal or credit card. There are a few that mail their payments and one that currently pays cash in person locally.
Support levels & averages:
We currently offer support via ticket system (built into ModernBill), email, phone, instant messenger and forums. We average between 2 and 14 requests per month with most months being under 6 requests. Most requests are made via the ticket system with a few via IM and phone on occasion. Most clients never need support unless it is server, account or billing related. We've been very lucky to have some very easy to manage clients.
Client Breakdown (as of this post - according to ModernBill stats):
105 total clients in ModernBill
7 Dedicated Server clients (2 clients have 2+ servers each)
63 active accounts
4 suspended accounts
5 fraud attempt accounts (left in for record keeping)
38 cancelled accounts (left in for record keeping and collections of past due amounts owed)
There are 2 servers for hosting & reseller accounts and 9 servers for dedicated server clients. Standard/Virtual hosting accounts vary in size and price due to us honoring existing plans and prices when we bought out other hosting companies so it's impossible to list here. They range in price from around $4.00/mo to over $550/mo for our largest client who has 2 reseller plans AND 3 dedicated servers. Two or three of our clients are big names and well known both here on WHT and in the hosting industry (script developers). Most of our clients have been with us for over 6 months and many for between 1 and 2 years.
Now for the most important part:
We have always had an excellent relationship with our clients. Most of them are extremely loyal to us and we've earned a 5-star rating from them at HostRatings.com. Because of this, who our clients end up with is of major importance and I will NOT turn our clients over to just anyone. I will close the hosting division, give 30 days notice to the clients and let them find their own new host Before I would turn them over to just anyone (and if a qualified buyer is not found, that is what I may do)! So, before I will consider ANY offers, the company making the offer MUST meet the following minimum criteria:
MUST offer Personalized service (likes to get to know the clients on a less formal basis)
MUST provide 24/7/365 support and must offer a phone number for support!
MUST be an ADULT over the age of 18 (no "kiddie-hosts")
MUST have a Minimum of 2 years experience in the HOSTING business.
MUST use DirectAdmin control panel for hosting and be very familiar with it.
MUST guarantee to honor and not to increase or change any current client plans or prices for a minimum of 1 year.
MUST believe in free speech and allow legal adult content! We do have several adult accounts (9 total, including 1 who has 2 dedicated servers)
MUST agree to keep clients on their existing servers for at least 3 months (this means keeping the existing servers that long).
If you do not meet ALL of the above criteria, do not bother to inquire as I will be verifying everything!
In case you haven't already figured this part out, It should be noted that who our clients end up with is more important than how much we get for them. That said, I will accept no less than 1/2 of the yearly gross as a price. That would put the starting figure for offers at $8K which is less than 12 months profit. I will consider immediate "BUY NOW" figures of $10K+ if offered by a company that meets the minimum criteria I have given. I am not looking to get rich from the sale of our hosting business, only to find someone who is serious enough to invest a fair price and to get back a fraction of what I have invested.
If an agreement is made, I will be expecting fast payment (in full) of the agreed price and a fast transition for us and our clients to prevent and/or ease any fears the clients may have once the deal is publicly announced to them. Those who do not have the means to provide this should not respond or make offers. If an agreement is made, payment will be in the form of guaranteed funds such as cashiers check or wire transfer only and payment in full must be received before anything is turned over to the buyer. No "payment plans" or "revenue share" offers will be accepted so don't even ask.
Lastly, once a final deal is agreed on, the buyer must agree to at least 3 months from the agreement date of hosting at no charge for moving our own domains and sites off the server to a new one. During this time, we will also move the few free client accounts that we will be keeping as stated previously.
1. I reserve the right to back out of any deal that I do not feel is in the best interests of our clients.
2. I reserve the right to refuse any offer made by anyone who does not meet the minimum requirements above.
3. THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS TO MAKE A LEGITIMATE CASH OFFER DO NOT BOTHER RESPONDING! SUCH RESPONSES WILL BE REPORTED TO WHT MODERATORS!
With all of the above said, I will now consider offers. All inquiries are to be made via PM here on WHT only. By requesting further information or making an offer, you are agreeing to non-disclosure. If you do not agree, do not inquire!.
UPDATE: Added one new account last night. Shared account @ $9.95/mo so increase the figures by one more.
Are the leased servers property of the datacenter, or is there a buyout? It would seem to me that is a tremendous cost for nothing. We would be interested, but I need clarification on that point. As far as DirectAdmin knowledge, it takes a couple of months to figure out any CP, but in the end they all do the same thing. We offer personalized service to all of our clients (about 2000 last time I checked), so I don't see a problem meeting your requirements. I have the hardware and the facility to move your clients. I'll even keep hosting your friends free if you want. There are alot of unanswered questions in your post though, so If it's OK with you, I'll have my CFO post them later.
While you may think it's a tremendous cost for "nothing", I disagree. My minimum asking price is less much than 1 year profit so I see it as a very good deal for anyone looking to recoup their investment fast.
Server specifics or any details beyond what I have posted here are only available privately. No further specifics will be givin publicly.
Also, moving the clients is not an option. I do not want this to cause my clients any downtime whatsoever and that is not negitiable. So while you may have hardware and facility, it is irrelevant. I will not sell to anyone who will not agree to keep the clients exactly where they are for at least 3 months and this was clearly stated in my initial post.
If you would like to discuss this privately, you are welcome to use PM or EMAIL options here on WHT to provide me with your contact phone number and best time to call.
Leaving them there for three months is part of the bargain when you're planning a smooth migration. We wouldn't move them over night, and we certainly wouldn't do it without notifying them well in advance.
Understand that who you sell to is up to you, but how they run their business isn't. I wouldn't pay someone somwhere else to watch my equipment if I'm already paying to have somebody to watch my equipment at my own facility. It's not cost effective, and we like being in control of our servers at the hardware level. That way if one of our clients is a hardware perv...we can tell him/her we're touching it when they call. Your asking price is fine. I just need to know if there is a buyout option on your lease, or if I can move to my own hardware.
11 servers (most are Dell's, not junk "white-boxes" at $49/mo!) at an average of +/- $100/mo each including HD/memory upgrades, bandwidth (large allowance per server), control panel licenses, etc. is not too high.
The servers are "leased" but do have options and that is all I will say publicly. If you want to know more, you can do as I have already asked you to do and send your contact information for further offline discussion.
OK That changes things a little. I don't like Dell, but they are a necessary evil. I won't however give them a nickel of interest for anything, so the buyout thing is important. I don't mind paying your colo, but paying Dell is another thing completely.
If you don't like Dell, that's your right. But, they are not junk boxes.
As for who your money would be going to, it's not Dell. Dell got their money for the servers a long time ago and are no longer involved in the situation. It would be to me for the buyout then the data center for the servers for at least 3 months. If you say the the clients would stay there for at least that long anyway to allow for a slow migration to your own boxes, then I don't see where the make of the server is any issue at all. Although, I doubt the clients who have both shared accounts and dedicated servers would want to move so you may not have that option anyway.
While I do understand that it may be your money that I want, I don't NEED your money. It's my client's future that is most important to me, not what kind of servers you or I like or dislike. And, as I have stated in both of my other replies, no more details will be given publicly. I have given much more than most who make offers here on WHT so that should be enough to decide if you would like to discuss it further offline or not.
I should have stated this initially and my apologies to those who may feel they have wasted their time because of my failure to include this -
Due to the majority of our clients being US and Canada based and phone support being one of the required forms of support any buyer must give to our clients, we would prefer only US or Canada based companies or individuals make offers.
If you are a company/individual primarily based in another country but can prove and guarantee a US phone number for support to our clients, we will be more than happy to consider your offers.
Many of our clients simply do not have the ability to, or interest in dealing with a provider who is in a different country and would require an expensive international phone call in the event of a support need. I am sure all of you can understand and respect this.
Because I want it clear that money is not the issue here and the future care and support of our clients is, I am going to modify part of my original offer request as follows:
Important Modification to Expected Price:
Because I am not interested in a "bidding" war to get the highest possible price, I am placing a specific set price on my offer of $7000 USD. This amount is FAR, FAR less than one year's profit (right at 7 month's profit!), not much more than the value of the included domains and software licenses and will not decrease or increase due to "bids". This is a great oportunity for any qualified person/company to not only recover but more than double their investment in less than one year!
With this set figure in mind, we will continue to accept offers based on ability to pay the set amount in one lump sum and meet our minimum requirements as originally stated. Anyone who feels the price is too high need not bother with any comments or further contact. Anyone who feels the price is more than fair or even too low is welcome to request further contact for OFFLINE discussions. Once we have found the company or person we feel is best for our clients, I will close this offer and make the sale.
Set time frame:
I did not include a set time frame for offers in my original post. This was intentional because I did not want there to be a "bidding war" or rushed process although I would prefer a fast transaction once an agreement is made.
I will, however, state that I would like to finalize a deal, including completing payment and the transition of ownership, before the end of this month. Also note that we are scheduled to be out of town this weekend, starting Friday afternoon, until late Monday night of next week (20th) which means any offers/requests not made before we leave tomorrow (Friday) may not be answered until we return or may have a delayed answer. Please keep this in mind should you wish to have your offers/requests handled before that time.
I would be completely thrilled if a suitable buyer is located today and this situation can be settled before we leave town tomorrow. I would much prefer have the peace of mind knowing our clients are going to be well cared for instead of an ongoing search for a qualified buyer when we leave on our trip as I am sure you all can relate.
I own Easy Internet Solutions (www.abouteasy.com) - we are interested in your venture and would like to make you an offer. A gentleman called Tim should be contacting you shortly with a view to finalising a deal.
Originally posted by contractdata
Due to our PERSONAL comfort level with the deal we opted out of the deal after signing the paperwork.
Ummm... why did you sign the papers if you weren't comfortable with the details?
Changing your mind AFTER a contract is signed is not a good way to do your business.
Are you publically admitting that any contract you sign is worthless? If so, that will surely be interesting to know for any future person who desires to do business with you.
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I find it interesting how quickly they came here in an to attempt to make themselves look better before I could say a word since I was stuck with a 2 hour drive back? Guilty conscience maybe? I honestly had no intention of saying anything here other than the deal had fallen through simply because I believe in maintaining a professional attitude and our private dealings didn't need to be made public. But, they jumped the gun and I have no choice but to post the facts in response. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I have been a member of WHT in good standing since 04-24-2003 and I have always been completely honest in my dealings here without spreading "dirty laundry" or making unsupported claims or accusations.
Here are the facts:
Not only was the paperwork signed, but access to billing system, servers and other sensitive data was provided and I provided everything they required at that point or else they would not have handed me the check and let me walk out the door with it. The deal was done and as far as I am concerned, they were bound to it. As I was leaving (WITH THE CHECK), they even offered me an affiliate link for generating additional income from future hosting traffic to our sites which tells me I had satisfied the immediate requirements and they were satisfied with the deal and remaining obligations. Not once was any statement of concern expressed about any aspect of the deal at that point.
When I stopped at a branch of the bank which the check was drawn off of, I was not able to cash the check due to problems with how the check was made out. It could not be cashed because it was made out to my name AND a business DBA when the prior arrangement was for it to be made out in my name only and even the DBA information was incorrect meaning I could not have deposited it in my bank either. This is one of the reasons I attempted to go ahead and cash it before the close of business and before I completed the remaining obligations of the deal - to make sure there were no problems with the money before I got 2 hours away and it would be harder to resolve it. I do not see this as anything other than protecting my own interests and good business sense.
When I contacted them via cell phone from the bank I was told that they would call the bank and find out what needed to be done to resolve the situation. I returned to their office (which I was told to do), waited roughly an hour before they would talk with me about it, then was informed that "they would have to pass on the deal" because I wanted to cash the check so soon they were no longer comfortable with the deal. They also claimed that they were uncomfortable with my not yet having turned over the data center account to them (my only remaining safety net to make sure the check was good PLUS it was not a problem with them at the time the papers were signed and I left with a check that ended up being worthless). The agreement was that I would make the final changes to turn over the data center account once I returned to my home office. They had no problem with this at the time and I was never told that my decision to cash the check, should I choose to do so for my own peace of mind, would play any factor. Once the check was given to me, it was mine to do with as I wished, how I wished and when I wished regardless of the time frame I did it in.
I answered any question they had, clarified any concerns and did my part in the deal before he even handed me the check and we signed the papers. Any concerns or requirements they had should have been stated and addressed before signing papers or handing me the check. The fact that I was in fact handed the check and the papers were signed tells me I did everything they required at that time and anything left to do was already arranged Am I wrong??? To top it off, when I attempted to retrieve the check which at that point was rightfully mine from the desk in front of me where it was sitting, I was wrestled for it and it was pried from my hand (red marks on my wrist to prove it!)!!! Who's in the wrong here?
The real truth here is that according to the person I was dealing with, IN HIS OWN WORDS, one of the "partners", which he had been spoken to AFTER I LEFT WITH THE CHECK IN HAND AND THE AGREEMENT SIGNED, was not happy that the data center information was not yet provided and that I was attempting to cash the check "so soon" and he wanted out of the deal because of this. If you ask me this should have been an internal matter between them if one partner did not like the agreements made by the other partner and it should not have involved me but I guess in their eyes it justifies my time and money being wasted, me being physically assaulted and sensitive data being potentially compromised. Real professional, huh?
So, that's the situation. Having wasted over 6 hours of my time, fuel in my vehicle and then beginning to make arrangements via cell phone to fulfill my remaining obligations, I have nothing to show for it but lost time & money and sore wrists.
I will be consulting local law enforcement agencies about the physical assault on me when the person re-took the check by FORCE and I may consult an attorney about their having signed the agreement, handed me the check and been given access to sensitive client and business data (which has been re-secured at an additional expense to me) then quite sneakily using THEIR mistake on the check as a way to get out after the fact. I have not yet decided since this would undoubtedly lead to a long, drawn out and expensive court battle. Their actions are underhanded and unprofessional to say the least and the physical force used to take the check from me is considered illegal physical assault in both my state and theirs.
What if I HAD gone ahead and turned the data center account over to them (which would have been irreversible), transferred the client and hosting domains (which they had not even provided me their account information for transfers yet so they can NOT claim this was my failure to provide them), etc. etc then they pulled this when I found out the check was not usable? Yet they claim this as their grounds for being uncomfortable with the deal??? I thank god that I had not yet transferred these things and the things I had transferred I was able to recover.
As for this person's statement that I "would be posting unpleasant things regarding our decision to withdraw", everything I have stated here is both fact and common sense. If it's negative then they alone are responsible. I am the one who has been wronged and who has lost money and time due to their actions. I have the original signed agreement as well as the printouts of server information, client information and billing system information I provided them with in my possession to prove that the deal was final. They are wrinkled and creased from the forceful re-taking of the check and at least one page has scribbled notes on it where it was used as a "note pad" when working on something else while I patiently waited for the situation to be addressed (shows how much importance they put on the agreement documents!), but they are intact.
As for the business sale offer...
The sale offer remains open and those who are still interested can let me know. Because of this situation, the expenses I have incurred and the headaches of it all, I am looking for a fast transaction with a company that will stand by their agreement once the deal is done, any verbal agreements during the negotiation and will not resort to underhanded tactics such as this. Also note that NO sensitive data access other than unspecific client information and income/expense figures will be provided until I have payment in full, cleared and by irreversible means. I am sorry if this is a problem for potential buyers but after this situation, I must protect my clients and my own interests.
Moderators: Should the person or company involved in the situation make any further posts in this thread, I request that they be removed as an attempt to interfear with my sales offer. Should this person or company wish to discuss the situation with me they may do it via private conversation only as they are no longer welcome in this thread.
Forgive me if this post is long winded but I am honestly disgusted with this whole situation and the company involved and I want to make sure the facts are stated.
Also note that NO sensitive data access other than unspecific client information and income/expense figures will be provided until I have payment in full, cleared and by irreversible means. I am sorry if this is a problem for potential buyers but after this situation, I must protect my clients and my own interests.
I reckon this rules us out then. With due respect, I cannot see anyone in the right mind departing with money without going through a due diligence process. What recourse does one have if the figures don't add up? Will you be issuing a refund???
Thank you for the kind words, John. I appreciate your taking the time to let everyone know I am not the scam artist I was made out to be. And, I honestly believe our clients are in the best of hands now. Take care of them for me!
And, thank you to all who inquired or made offers. I appreciate your taking the time to do so and I wish you all well in the future!
The sale is complete so this offer is closed. Moderators, thank you for your assistance in my offer. You can lock the thread now