A common question I'm seeing is "how do I start a hosting company"... well, that's a good question but not the one I'm going to ask. Instead, I want to know:
How fast did you see a ROI?
For those of you that have plunged into the world of web hosting, I want to find out how soon you were breaking even based on the your intial investment. How much $$$ did you put into it, what were your rates, how many customers did you have that made you break even, etc.
I don't really want to start a successful full time hosting business. What I want to do is setup a web server, and have enough customers on it to pay for itself... so all of the websites I want to make for myself are hosted by me for no cost.
"I don't really want to start a successful full time hosting business. What I want to do is setup a web server, and have enough customers on it to pay for itself... so all of the websites I want to make for myself are hosted by me for no cost."
Out of curiosity, will you share this information with your customers?
Do you believe sharing such information is important for your customers to make a sound business decision as to whether to host with you or not?
if you just start as a reseller, you should be able to get maybe 3 clients or so to pay for your amount, in exchange for taking care of their support problems, etc. Just let them know what you are doing up front, and they should be fine with it. You should have plenty of room left over.
just make sure you host with someone who will support you, or you'll not be able to hold up your end of the bargain. Not the time to skimp on who you host with. pay the extra few bucks it takes to get someone good.
I believe as a matter of ethical practive, I would at least explain that "tech support" is email-only and would not have immediate responses.
Now it would be really cool if I could get the server put in where I work... then I could support it full time given that it's used for our company...
Anywho, yes I would be honest as to the nature of the server - I would not say "the only reason I need customers is to pay off my upstream provider" - just as any business wouldn't declare "the only reason we sell you stuff is to make money"... but I would not tell anybody I have 20 full-time reps handling phones...
does that make sense? The majority of people or companies I would sign up would be people I personally know or have worked with in the past.
When i first started out about 5 years ago, i did exactly that. i had a few friends that wanted websites and told them that i would set up everything for them, do all the research, and then support them as i learned, letting them know that i wouldn't have the answers right away. after i got that down a while later, i started another reselling account and 'went into business.' it took a while, and a lot of hours, but it worked.
I would imagine most customers signing up under the impression that the business they pick as a vendor or partner will grow and grow with them.
I would imagine that a number of businesses would have a concern over being a customer of a company whose only intent was to have enough customers to pay for equipment and services for their own use.
They may be concerned over the longevity of the business, and the ability to support their needs.
Since the #1 rule of customer service is the customer is always right. I would imagine it would be hard to follow that rule if the goal is self support rather than growing with the customer and their needs. Not sure.