Profitable UK Windows host for sale (turnover £80,000+ / profit £60,000+)
Business type - Sole trader since 1999, VAT registered.
Reputation - Very well regarded, a Google search on our company name will turn up plenty on unsolicited recommendations on forums, usenet etc.
Domains - We hold the .co.uk / .com and .net versions or our domain name which is VERY relevant to the services we offer. The main domain is PR5 at Google, numerous other related domains many of which are PR3 or PR4 in their own right.
Customers - We currently have 560 customers with 720 hosting accounts. There are approximately 1250 domains resolving to our servers and 950 of these are registered through us. UK domains are registered under our own Nominet tag, non-uk domains are registered through UKReg / OpenSRS.
Customer base - The majority of customers are businesses or web developers hosting on behalf of their business clients though we do have customers that cover the whole spectrum from hobbyists to PLC's, councils, e-commerce sites and universities. We do not host any adult sites or content.
Customer location - except where we're contacted in advance we currently only accept orders from the UK and EC based customers, due to this 95% of customers are based in the UK with a few in various other countries including Spain, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia and others. We chose this to cut down on attempted fraud and it's worked with only 3 chargebacks in 7 years (!) but there is certainly potential there for many more customers if the new owners wish to open it up.
Account types - All hosting accounts are direct hosting accounts with us, we do not offer reseller accounts. Around 2/3 of the accounts are annual and 1/3 monthly as most businesses prefer an annual invoice - we hold credit card details for the majority of customers and invoice / bill automatically when due, annual accounts are spread throughout the year and most will have already had at least one renewal.
Servers - 13 servers in U.S. data centre, 2 mail servers, 2 SQL Server 2000 servers, stats server, 8 web servers - total monthly cost at todays exchange rate £1216.00 per month ($2283). Because we are remote from our servers we have always believed in having many servers lightly populated so should there be an issue with a server the minimum number of customers are disrupted - our web servers each hold between 60 and 130 customers and there is considerable scope to cut down on the number of servers used. Servers are currently standard 2.4Ghz / 1GB Windows / Intel machines and are very lightly loaded (typically <10% cpu). One SQL Server and one web server are Windows 2000, the rest are Windows 2003. Servers are leased on a month to month basis with no penalty for cancellation.
Turnover - £82,000 in last 12 months which equates to an average annual income per customer of £146.43
Profit - turnover in last 12 months is £82,000 server costs are just under £15,000 p.a. and other costs such as domains / ssl certs etc. are around £5,000 p.a leaving a gross profit of £62,000 p.a. roughly 75%
Staff - the business is run solely by myself (technical) and my wife (financial) - this business could be operated by a single person though obviously you'd need to provide timely support.
Support requests - Support is provided via e-mail only and is pretty light, probably averaging no more than 200 tickets per month including both support and billing queries. If the new company was to offer telephone support this would definitely be welcomed by our customers and would be an excellent introductory bonus for customers when taking over the business. Our web site has a very comprehensive support area which covers all of the commonly asked questions.
Sales - We receive on average 20 to 30 new orders per month and on average cancel 4 or 5 accounts per month so without any changes you'd be looking at adding around 220 new customers in the next year which at an average of £146.43 per customer indicates that the turnover will grow by a further £30,000+ in the next 12 months. This is consistent with growth over the previous year. In August we received 30 new orders, 12 monthly payment, 18 annual payment and 4 existing accounts were closed.
Advertising - We've never used paid advertising and all new signups are returning customers, referrals or have found us through the search engines. Again there is definite scope to bring in additional customers with advertising.
Plans / Usage - Customers are on various plans from under £10 per month to £35 per month with odd custom accounts up to £200 month. The largest amount of webspace used for one customer is 1250MB and no customer uses more than 30GB bandwidth per month. By far the majority of customers are using under 100MB of webspace and 2GB of bandwidth.
Total webspace used across the 8 web servers currently is : 30.6GB (average 42.5 MB per account)
Total bandwidth used across all 13 servers in August last month is : 802GB (average 1.1GB / month per account)
Control Panel - We don't use a commercial control panel though we do have a self developed customer portal / basic control panel where customers can change their contact details, view their web space / bandwidth / mail / SQL Server usage, request account changes etc. The customers have been happy with this but some have also suggested they would prefer a full control panel such as Helm to give them more control over their site settings - this would be another feature that a new owner could offer which would build loyalty from the customers.
Upselling - We believe there is considerable scope for upselling to our customers of services that we ourselves don't provide and we are often asked if we can supply reseller packages, dedicated servers and ADSL connections - if the company was taken over by somebody offering these services there are definitely additional sales to be made to the existing customer base.
What's included in the sale - The whole business lock stock and barrel including all customers and customer records, web site(s), list of windows hosting related domains, software licenses, custom scripts, Nominet Tag etc. etc. the only thing we can't / won't transfer is our merchant account though we do have card details for the vast majority of our customers and these will be included in the customer records which are passed over. I will also offer to be available for a month following the sale to explain anything about how the system is set up, help provide support etc.
Reason for sale - We need a rest and to put some money in the bank for a rainy day - myself and my better half have been involved with this 24/7 for the last 7 years or so and we need a break, the kids need a decent holiday and we all need to kick back and just spend some time together for a couple of months before deciding what we're doing next. We have a couple of other smaller online businesses going but may well need to return to hosting later on a smaller scale to pay the bills - we would be happy to sign a contract prohibiting us from contacting any of our old customers or from responding if they ever contacted us.
Terms of sale
This is a very profitable, very stable business and we are looking for offers around £100,000 - if you cannot raise sufficient funds please do not contact us. If we fail to find a buyer at that price we will simply carry on as we are, we do not have to sell and will not accept low offers.
We are preparing an NDA for interested parties - most of the information you need is displayed above but we will be prepared to answer additional questions (including the obvious one) once we have a signed NDA in our possession.
In the first instance please e-mail me at [email protected] with your details - we require information on who you are and the company you represent so we can do our own research before issuing an NDA.
Thanks for your time and we look forward to hearing from you.
Apologies to all that have replied for the delays in getting back to you but we're holding on for a few more days to ensure we have heard from all interested parties and will then be contacting / sending out NDA's all in one go to keep things straightforward.