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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    279
    What's the typical scenario for a one-person web hosting company (if that's even possible!). If one person was looking after running the business, marketing and advertising, and customer support (server maintenance and business web site would be done by someone else), then how many clients could reasonably be managed -- in 30-40 hrs per week, for example?

    Thanks for any insight (even if the answer is "just one or two clients!" ).

    Rehan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Wichita, Ks, USA
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    1,984

    If you want your business to grow

    If you want your busines to grow look at putting in 80 hour weeks. Im pretty sure just about everyone will agree with me, heck, were a fairly large company, and my self alone just for sales I put in prob 60 hours every week. And we have 2 other sales staff besides me, it just depends the more time you can put in the more money your going to make no questions asked.....
    affordablecolo.com carrier grade colocation at a affordable price!
    Charles Baker - Company Operations
    1-866-316-HOST

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    279
    Well, my view is that if you have 80 hours of work to do per week, you should hire another person and split the tasks.

    I wasn't thinking of anything big... Maybe something like 100-200 clients, growing at a rate of 5-10 new clients per week. How much time would that take to manage?

    I'm trying to get an idea of the web hosting business model, and whether it's worthwhile for one person to try to run it.

    For example, if 300 clients is reasonable then: 300 virtual hosting clients at $15/client = $4500/month. Dedicated server and software cost would be around $500-$750/month. Business operations (including advertising, etc.) would be another $500-$750/month (?). So the net is around $3000-$3500 per month with those numbers.

    How far off the mark am I?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Wichita, Ks, USA
    Posts
    1,984

    info

    1. Another person can not do it and will not do it as good as you can, even if you hire another person, if you want your business to be successful you will still be working long hard hours....

    2. Anything above 200 clients is unmanagable when you consider support.

    3. I think with 300 clients your looking at quite a bit of bandwidth hence your monthly service, server, software cost would be more. It all depends on how you work your packages...
    affordablecolo.com carrier grade colocation at a affordable price!
    Charles Baker - Company Operations
    1-866-316-HOST

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    687
    You may consider becoming a reseller first, a lot of people get into hosting that way and then upgrade to a dedicated server.
    Matt Kaufman
    mkaufman@techboost.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    337
    I would have to respectfully disagree on the limit of 200 clients.

    I go by a general rule of 1 support hour per day for each 100 clients, and that has worked well for QWK.Net. Mind you, this number completely falls apart if you don't have a good control panel and as many self-service tools as possible for your customers.

    The numbers will change, though, depending on what type of clients you're trying to attract. I know we keep our support burden substantially down by not supporting FrontPage extensions.

    We see average usage of well less than a gig per month per domain, so I don't think server costs will really amount to that much. Your budget estimate is probably pretty reasonable.



    [Edited by Travis on 03-02-2001 at 09:28 PM]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    578

    Thumbs up

    Rehan,

    I think for upto 200 clients of so you alone shall be fine.
    And from my personal experience if once your clients site is up and running there are hardly any support calls. what you can do is invest in a quality server , reasonably good control panel , have real exhaustive Faqs on your site, and you should be fine.

    And yes, you will still have to give 70-80 hours per week,
    Thats how i do , We used to be a one man company till not so long ago, now we are a team but still the hosting part I am handling personally. we have around 210 sites split across 2 servers and i am not recving more than 2 support calls daily.

    Also i have noticed that many are now asking for support through email which makes your job much more simple.

    Wish you good luck for your business

    Regards
    Manish Kapadia
    Bombay-India


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    279
    Thanks a lot for the responses, folks. It's very useful information.

    Travis: Which control panel do you use for QWK.Net?

    Manish: If there are hardly any support calls, then what takes up the majority of the 70-80 hours per week? Is it mostly sales & marketing?


    Rehan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    578
    Yes Most of it is Sales and Marketing,
    That too not about just hosting, and this includes field marketing , and my other office staff back me up when i am out for hosting.

    Also most of our clients are very satisfied with our service and support.

    Regards
    Manish Kapadia
    Bombay-India


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    337
    Rehan:

    QWK.Net uses a control panel developed in-house called QWKMin.

    Ours doesn't yet have all the features of something like CPanel, but we do have billing completely automated, which saves a huge amount of time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    9,576

    and you thought you were busy.

    Here's something to put a perspective on things. It's a small part from an article in January/February 'E-Company Now'

    "Multi-tasking doesn't even begin to describe what John Arnold does: Five flat screen monitors bombard him with a constant stream of news, national weather data, and prices for natural gas futures. A headset pumps more prices into his right ear, a regular phone dedicated to customers is cradled to his left; and a squawk box links him to other traders at other desks. Meanwhile his colleagues within earshot are also shouting orders at him"

    To top that off this guy does all this with other people's money. He's a day trader for Enron, and is personally responsible for moving $1 billion worth of energy stocks ever single day. He's also only 26 years old *lol*

    - can you say 'dead by 40'

    Greg Moore
    Former Webhost... now, just a guy.

  12. #12

    Re: and you thought you were busy.

    Originally posted by akashik
    - can you say 'dead by 40'

    I think he is already dead
    The Php Support Desk
    http://www.phpsupportdesk.com
    Custom programming - kunal @ e-phoria.com
    http://www.pingzine.com - Ping!Zine. the FREE, FRESH and EXCITING Web Hosting Magazine...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    419
    Day Traders have a very short professional life. Burn out is around 95%.
    Ocean View Host - http://www.OceanViewHost.com
    Affordable web hosting and E-commerce solutions for any size business.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    48
    hmmm... I think professional life is over soon Been working about 10 positions, mostly Support, 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week for the past 6 months, I did however take a 3 day vacation in there though. Guess how much I make? I make enough to pay rent, truck payment, various bills and insurance. Then I live off of $1.18 boxes of Pasta Roni, struggling to await the next pay day. Why do I work for so little? Success. The more dedication you show, the more you are the leader. As business grows, my spot goes nowhere but up. Im only 20 years old, and when working for a small web hosting company (2200 accounts) you can learn more in 6 months, than you can working for some big Corporate establishment. Granted it is very stressful to work these kind of hours, but it will pay itself off. My boss, the owner, he is 28 years old, started getting grey hair at 24. He hasnt taken a day off in just about 500 days. But damn, Id like 10% of the money he makes. But alls you have to do is looking into the future.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    337
    You know, no offense... I can imagine doing that to yourself if it was your own business, but why would you if you're working for someone else, especially if you're not getting reimbursed well for it? I sure hope there's a payoff in the end for you... I've seen too many people in your position get taken advantage of.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    48
    Because my boss is my older brother Suprisingly, we proved everyone wrong. We work really good together. Sadly, sort of sadly you could say, the guy which he founded our company with, quit and gave him his share. So we are down to 2 people to take care of 2200 accounts. But once we get the accounts off Alabanza servers, we are looking to hire 2 Tech Support people and 1 System Admin. We need a day off

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    337
    Just getting off Alabanza servers should free up enough money to let you hire a few people.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    48
    Going to save $4500 a month at current rates and client size and the nice thing is, our new line of servers are more dependable, faster connection, and very reliable. They are also a much better system.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington
    Posts
    9,576
    Marq,

    Just a question... If you're doing 18+ hours a day for next to nothing and you wish you made 10% of what your brother makes, it seems a little bias towards his end of the income situation. Experience is a great thing, but you should be getting paid for that experience. Sounds like there's enough for you to get a wage out of it, even if it's put in trust if you're too young to officially work (just guessing there)

    I mean we all do something for nothing at times, but there's a point at which you have to feel you're getting paid for the time and effort.

    Greg Moore
    Former Webhost... now, just a guy.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    419
    You may want to discuss the business relationship more with your brother. Maybe now you're happy to work so hard but in a very few years you'll want more than just knowing you're doing good hard work. And you're brother may be thinking something else.
    Ocean View Host - http://www.OceanViewHost.com
    Affordable web hosting and E-commerce solutions for any size business.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    48
    Well we have discussed this quite abit, but nothing will happen for at least 2-3 months. We need to migrate our clients over to the new servers first. Then he is going to finally start advertising. Which we have yet to do. All 1800 of our 2200 clients came from our affiliates, and I would like to say, they have done a great job. From these advertisements, I get 40% of the profit from these. So this will help things out a bit for me to. Then once we get a 3 more people working for us, I am hoping to get out of Support for a little bit and spend my time giving our site an overhaul. It is much needed. Then within 3 months from now, I will also be paid by incentives, not salary. So hopefully it will pay itself off. As long as predictions stay on track, everything will be good within the next 6 months.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    279
    Marq, how long did it take you two to build that customer list? What's your company web site?

  23. #23
    I'm a one man band still and running nearly 400 sites. I use the Alabanza server which works like a dream. I only put in about 30 hours per week too.

    I take care of all the support, sales, web site, graphics, marketing, IT Shows (now going interstate), content, brochures, promotions, I do it all!

    I also do more than fulltime university. I've been studying IT and Marketing for the past 3 years and into my fourth and final year. I started my business when I finished high school going into uni. Normal students do 4 subjects but I'm doing 5 so I can finish this year.

    I also teach 3 or 4 nights a week and clean out fishtanks (of all things) for extra money. They are both cash in hand jobs.

    My turnover for my business has hit over $100,000 now. ($55k USD). I pour all my funds back into the business to make it grow. I am now getting 50+ sites a month.

    So how much can one person do? You can do as much you feel motivated to do. I'm only 21 and still have time to have a social life on top of this as any normal uni student. I go out thursday, friday and saturday nights often. I don't study very much where as many other people do but I pass which is the main thing.

    I predict that the way the signups are going, I will have around 1000 sites by the end of the year and a degree.

  24. #24
    are you human??
    The Php Support Desk
    http://www.phpsupportdesk.com
    Custom programming - kunal @ e-phoria.com
    http://www.pingzine.com - Ping!Zine. the FREE, FRESH and EXCITING Web Hosting Magazine...

  25. #25
    I guess I just like to keep busy. I'm now off to uni from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm with a one hour lunch break. I will try and respond to emails between classes using the webmail interface. This will hopefully be transparent to any clients who are trying to contact me. Many of my resellers know exactly how busy I am and know to avoid Thursdays and other times I'm at uni.

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