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I'm starting out as a small web design and development business. I'd prefer that after I launch a site for a client, they then own and be responsible for the management and recurring payment of their domain name and hosting.

I'm just curious how some of you handle this. Do you have them handle the sign up and registration of their own domain name and hosting through a provider of their own choosing, and then just turn over the website files for them to deploy? Or do you assist them in getting a domain name and hosting setup and if so how do you go about making sure that they are the ones that receive support and billing notifications from the hosting provider after you've set it up for them?

Any guidance or experience in this type of client interaction would be invaluable, thanks!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most often what I do is send the client a link....

Hi Client,

Here is a link to the hosting package you'll need:
(insert link here)

Please follow the steps to sign up, including paying for the hosting. You can register your domain at the same time, so it should be a simple one-time processes.

This hosting provider is one of the best I've found. You get unlimited email and FTP accounts, a control panel .. (etc. etc. etc.. about the account - this is done to combat the "but I heard GoDaddy is good" arguments)

By having you do this rather than myself, it ensures you get the notices about renewal or issues with the account rather than relying on me to act as a middleman to relay such information. This also ensures that you are in control of the accounts and you don't have to be concerned about unauthorized access due to users you aren't aware of.

Once you are done signing up, you'll receive a "Welcome" email from (company). Please forward that email to me. It will contain passwords and log in information I need in order to upload files and set up the web site.

Thanks!

With that, I wait for the "welcome" email.

While developing the site, I host the dev site on my servers until everything has been paid. Once payment is received, I upload everything to their hosting account.

I'd recommend not providing hosting yourself unless you don't mind being the IT person for the client and dealing with the off-hour phone calls about email not working or some other random web issue.

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or you could charge like 80/hr to client for maintenance and $40/mo for hosting...which will make you happy and the client..because from client's perspective one guy doing all things is much better than to scramble to all 5 people involved in the project saying that this is not their responsibility or in skillset..& then getting sold extra premium services..it's understood that the more of something you buy the better rate you get. Client could spend researching that there are somewhat cheaper solutions but that mean more out of field work and less efficient time spent on running business. –  Muhammad Umer Jul 18 at 9:07
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Once you start reselling hosting for clients you become IT support for them. You get calls for email problems, calls for every little hosting issue. If that's your business model and you WANT to deal with that stuff, fine. But if you do not want to deal with all the IT support associated with hosting... simply don't have anything to do with hosting other than recommending a service. –  Scott Jul 18 at 11:06

I have a friend who is part owner of many hosting companies throughout the USA and Canada (he has dual citizenship), and he is able to have the customers sign up directly through him. I assume this is not the case with you.

When you are creating the websites, you should be running everything off of YOUR servers, so you maintain control until all the bills have been paid. Once the client has decided on a domain name, though, they should be the ones to register the domain themselves, or you can do it on their behalf if you get all their information (including the credit card numbers needed, which could be dangerous!).

My recommendation? I sit with them as they are typing it in, to make sure the information is accurate. I usually set myself up as the Technical Support contact for domain names with my customers, as the people who would call that contact are usually technical themselves. For the Administrative contact and Owner, I'd put your client's personal information there, for their company.

Obviously, for billing, NEVER use your own credit card. What happens if the client doesn't pay, and the registrar takes payments from your card automatically? It becomes a nightmare, and I'm not willing to deal with it again. Have them do it, and stick to the development and designing of the web site.

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I will usually recommend a domain and web hosting provider for my clients, since they normally do not have any existing hosting, and don't usually know enough to choose one themselves. I will sometimes give them a couple of options to choose from and let them select which one they prefer.

I am normally remote from my clients, so I will email them detailed instructions on how to sign up (including the details of exactly which package to sign up for). If there is a maintenance contract in place, I will tell them to use my details as the technical contact, otherwise I will tell them to use their own contact details for everything. That way they are the owners and are responsible for biling.

Once they have signed up, I then have them forward the details on to me, including the password they used to sign up. I can then log in to the hosting, create the database, configure everything and upload their site. After everything is set up and they have verified everything is working, I tell them they can change the password for the account. If there is a maintenance contract in place, I'll first create another login for me to use when I need to make any changes.

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