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Finding The Right Reseller Plan
by Eric Lester | Published Feb. 08, 2007
 
Article Rating: 3 Stars ( based on 3 votes)
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Thinking of being part of the growing website hosting industry? There are a variety of entry-level reseller solutions that offer different benefits to different types of user. Two common ones are briefly discussed here.

The website hosting industry continues to grow, despite the well-known "dot com bust" at the turn of the century. Though there is far less venture capital flowing into the hosting market, the demand for websites has not abated. As internet access spreads the number of potential website owners grows. Offering website hosting allows entrepreneurs the ability to tap into this market. A quick search will reveal thousands of potential website hosting companies, and it's a sure bet most these companies, are, in fact, resellers of another company's hosting services. To one degree or another, most hosting companies are resellers at some level. Even large companies may be leasing their datacenter space or servers from a separate provider. This article will examine 2 types of entry-level reseller plans, which will be designated "fixed" and "flexible". Each type has benefits according to the kind of reselling in which a potential customer wishes to engage.

Fixed Reseller Plans

Fixed reseller plans provide a single, discrete selection of "products" for the reseller to offer. The reseller is given access to a set of plans with predetermined resources, such as disk space and monthly transfer, and features. Instead of receiving a single "chunk" of disk space to divide as they choose, fixed plans are sold "a la carte" to the reseller and have their own discrete resources. These plans are provided to the reseller at a steep discount. The reseller marks up the price for sale to their customers. Responsibility for technical support falls directly on the reseller, and is generally the reason the original hosting service provides the discount. This is an important consideration for prospective resellers.

When plans are resold, the customers essentially belong to the reseller and become their responsibility. A reseller's customers will be calling them for technical support, not the originating hosting company. Resellers should be able to contact the hosting company's technical support directly if need be. Resellers should be sure their hosting company provides detailed support materials on their website that will allow them to answer most general questions and provide basic troubleshooting if the need arises. The reseller's provider should have some form of 24/7 live support available if the online support materials are not enough to solve a customer's problems.

Fixed reseller plans are ideal for resellers who are new to the business or just starting out and do not have a great deal of customers lined up. They are generally easier to administer and troubleshoot, as the plans are maintained by the parent hosting company, not the reseller. Fixed reseller systems should provide more automation in billing and upgrading as well. The downside to fixed plans is primarily economical. As business grows, profits will always remain a percentage of the fee charged by the reseller's host. There is also a danger the reseller host will be slow in updating plans and prices to move with the current market. Without the ability to custom tailor plans, a reseller is at the mercy of their host.

Flexible Reseller Plans

Flexible reseller plans allow resellers to create and price their own plans. Their resources are made available from a single, large pool out of which each plan they add will deduct space and transfer. For instance, a flexible reseller plan may provide a total of 50 Gb of disk space, and each customer a reseller adds deducts from that 50 Gb total. The disk allotment can be in the form of a virtual private sever partition, or even an entire dedicated server. Flexible reseller plans give the reseller ultimate control over how their plans are created in terms of disk space, transfer and price. This allows the reseller the opportunity to maximize profits as their company grows. One key similarity between fixed and flexible plans is the reseller's Responsibility for technical support. Resellers looking for a flexible plan should keep in mind the advice about tech support provided above.

Flexible plans are more suited to larger resellers with more technical expertise. The trade off in terms of profit will be felt in the complexity of the management systems running flexible plans. Instead of simply choosing a pre-set plan and adding it, the reseller will be responsible for setting up their own plans, providing a billing solution, and creating an ordering system for their customers. The primary question a potential reseller must ask is whether the trade-off in automation is worth the potential increase in profits. Sever management software is generally not simple and intuitive and many flexible solutions require the reseller become proficient with it before they can add customers. Those willing to put in the time and effort have the opportunity to reap much larger rewards.

Conclusions

Fixed and flexible reseller plans suit different needs. Simple and straightforward, the fixed reseller plan appeals to the entry level reseller without a great deal of clients. Flexible reseller plans are best suited to tech savvy resellers who can understand complex server management software. Both types usually require the reseller provide their clients' technical support. Choose reseller providers who offer strong online support materials and 24/7 live support. Such materials and services will help the reseller better serve their own customers. Happy customers are long term, profitable customers.

About the Author:

Mr. Lester has served for 4 years as the webmaster for ApolloHosting.com and previously worked in the IT industry an additional 5 years, acquiring knowledge of hosting, design, and search engine optimization. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, vps hosting, and web design services to a wide range of customers.

Established in 1999, Apollo prides itself on the highest levels of customer support.

Note: These articles are provided for general interest and content purposes only, and should not be construed as "support" materials. Apollo Hosting does not guarantee the information contained within. All articles are free to reprint so long as they remain unchanged, the "About the Author" section remains, all hyperlinks are preserved, and the rel="nofollow" tag is not added to the hyperlinks.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Eric_Lester


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