Open thread about building website for selling to offline businesses

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by xcubic, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. xcubic

    xcubic Regular Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Likes Received:
    So, since I'm interested in webdev, for some time now I've been wanting to venture into selling websites to offline clients.

    Recently I saw a thread about someone who seemed to know much about this so I ended up pming him...

    He suggested me to open a thread so that others can benefit from the info so this is what I'm doing.

    Between all the categories of this forum there seems to be an endless source of info directly or inderectly related to this (web hosting, Domain names and Parking, etc).

    I would like to make a few question though.

    1. Any advice before starting this?

    2. What are you using to build websites for the client? By hand with an editor, with somekind of editor online or using something like wordpress?

    3. Is your service to those bussineses legal? By that I mean if you can send invoices/receipts to them? If no, what do you do if they ask for one or are you explicit about this to them from the beging. I know this can vary from country to country but here in Portugal, it's hard to go the legal way without being ripped-off by the state for sometihng like 50% of our income.

    4. What do you usually ask before building the website? Content? Images? Another website for inspiration?

    5. Cold calling, emailing, what is your method of choice to make contact?

    6. If they need it, you purchase the domain/hosting or ask them to do it?

    Any tips, advice would be very welcome. Also, if other have questions, please post them, there might be other with the same doubts about this.


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  2. hits79

    hits79 Regular Member

    Feb 11, 2011
    Likes Received:
    HP Customer Engineer
    New Jersey
    I just started as well again (for the 3rd time). I don't want to go over why I am doing this again for the 3rd time, let's just say I failed and I am starting again. But this time, it's a bit different and it seems to be working so far. Basically, I made a few website (wordpress) for clients which I bought the theme off I am not web designer, so I don't know how to make it from ground up. However, I know enough to customize the theme to suit the clients.

    So far, i have made only 2 website. One of them was for a friend, and the other one was for his business. However, I expect more to come now, that I helped him out a bit. As he knows alot of people who also would like a website, and possible even SEO services which I am aiming for. My best advise to you if you are getting started is to look to friends/family and ask them if they want website done. Use that as your portfolio which will help you later on when clients ask you if you have done any design before. This extactly what I am doing. The two websites I made for my friend were for free, but will be added to my portfolio. I will also add my own personal blog to my portfolio. Start off free, build some experiences and then start charage money. You have to struggle to make some money at first, and this is normal.

    Oh before I forgot. For my friend's business, I made him purchase the domain and hosting and gave him my affiliate link. He charged it on his credit card and i get a few dollars for my time :). I don't you should be responsible for domain/hosting. It should be up to the client for that.
  3. skyrider008

    skyrider008 Junior Member

    Nov 8, 2012
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    Online Marketing Manager
    United Kingdom
  4. DominantMarketing

    DominantMarketing Newbie

    Dec 14, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Owner of Dominant Marketing
    I used to do Local Web Design, But have since branched off into SMS Marketing and Reputation Management.

    As far as billing and invoicing goes, Get started off on the right foot. Keep your books in order and you'll thank yourself in the long run. Income, Expenses, Receipts... If you're going to keep this very small, It's not a huge deal, But if you want to treat this as a real business then get into the good habits now.

    I personally use Freshbooks to manage my invoices/customer bills. They even mail them out for me so I don't have to deal with the monthly mass of paperwork associated with having clients on a recurring monthly bill cycle. You'll obviously have to load your account with funds for postage. It's free at first, as long as you remain under 3 clients. The monthly charge after 3 clients is pretty tiny, And with 3 paying customers you should be able to pull it off.

    I process credit cards and recurring payments through Merchant Warehouse. I don't feel like posting an affiliate link, As I'm not really here to squeeze a few bucks out of you. A quick google search will get you there. The rates are decent and the staff is more than friendly when it comes to any issues you might have.

    Go to your local bank and speak with a banker about getting a DBA form for your checking account. DBA = Doing Business As. It will let you take checks and cash them under your business name, Which looks very professional to other business owners. They can walk you through it. I think the one time fee is like $20 or less, Depending on your bank. This is basically a Sole Proprietorship, Which will work for the time being but if you start pulling in a pretty decent income you're going to want to be under an LLC. It will be cost effective and will protect you and your personal assets in case anything were to happen to your business legally. That's a vast subject and I won't get into it.

    As far as creating Websites...Too broad of a subject. Pick a direction you want to take it, and commit. If you want to do Wordpress/Joomla style Template Sites, Go for it. They are easy to setup and even easier to sell.

    Sites coded by hand are great for larger clients in my experience, As they are completely customizable. They will generally make you more money up front, But the amount of time required to get the site together and online is also much greater. I chose not to offer them.

    Also, Put yourself in charge of their hosting... They are busy running a business and letting them deal with the site will complicate matters 9 times out of 10. Get them on recurring monthly billing for it and handle it yourself, It makes you more valuable to them and makes you residual income over time which is a beautiful thing.

    Follow up with them on a semi regular basis. Keep your name and your business in their mind. Businesses talk to other businesses, And the more your name is out there the higher the chances of you getting referral customers looking for quality work.