You should be able to handle around 100-300 customers without any problems; of course it depends on what kind of customers you target (casual internet users, expert users, etc.). Until you break even depends on your pricing structure and how many clients you have. Don't set your prices too low even if you have 5 competitors that have lower prices because you'll end up with no revenue at all.
How much money can be made? Again, depends on your pricing ..we have customers making between $800 to $1000 and others making $3000+.
Don't expect a flood of customers the first day ...but maybe start out by offering a special with a money back guarantee. Keep your clients happy and they will refer you to others.
Marc Wyss - [email protected]
MCHost Inc - Experts in Private Label Reseller Plans
As Marc said referrals is probably your best route to expansion when you are small. Word of mouth is probably the best advertising tool you can get. Of course it can work for you or against you depending on the level of service you provide. An example of a company this really works well for would probably be Ventures Online and a company which is works against would be CyberWings. As you can see it works both ways. However as long as you provide a reliable service with good support word of mouth is your best tool
Chris Adams - CEO - Rochen Ltd. - chris (at) rochen (dot) com
Now offering both US & UK premiumbusiness hosting, reseller hosting and managed virtualized services. rochen.com | rochen.co.uk | blog.rochen.com | forums.rochen.com | Twitter: @rochenhost
As a reseller, I think 100-300 customers are quite a few to be handled by own person. As kiwi stated, it does depend on what your customers are (casual internet users, etc.), however I personally cannot see myself dealing with more than 80 or so customers. Maybe you can handle more if you stick to one form of support communication, instead of having a forum, trouble ticketing system, live chat, IM, and email; just choose one (most likely trouble ticketing system). Once you notice you are getting overwhelmed, you should probably hire a staff member. Hopefully, by the time you need to hire one, you will have the money to do so.
I got my first customer on my first day of advertisement, however after that, it went a bit slow. Advertisement is a lot easier if you have someone to help you, such as a partner. It might take a few months to break even, but it all depends on how well your advertise and market your product. Myself (I will just blurt this out to the WHT community for who knows why), I have an okay customer base for only being in business for a month and being a reseller (around 7), however I had a free hosting promotion for two free months of hosting, so I am not currently making too much money. Oh well, I am hoping this free hosting offer will turn into some good $$$ for me. You might want to think of trying such an offer. Who can resist free?
As to answer your third question, you will probably make more money doing everything yourself rather than having an entire staff. Staff can really gobble up your income if you don't watch out. After being in existence for a while, you will probably find some kind of customers to staff member ratio which will work for you. Of course, it also depends on how much you are paying for your reseller account. You should price your packages so that you can bring in some money.
As I said, it took me only one day to get my first customer. Also, as I said, it was sort of slow after that. Do something of the sort like what kiwi stated. I had my free web hosting account offer, and that did and didn't work. I won't go into the specifics.
I'm not sure what you mean by local advertising. If you are really looking to grow rapidly (which can sometimes not be so good), you will spend a money advertising on directories (which BTW, I found my first host from a directory) and maybe even some banner ads on different sites. Pick and choose where you advertise. Of course, you can advertise for free at WHT, however you won't want to centralize your advertising at WHT. As many people have said before, WHT can bring you alive and the kill you. However, I started by just advertising at WHT, and I still am.
Woohoo! I just felt like I just spitted out my company's entire profile.