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  Post #16 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 06:19 PM
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We have a total of 4 people (1 sales(myself), 1 design, 2 24x7 tech support/server admins)
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  Post #17 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 06:41 PM
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There is four of us total, many contractors, and alot of chaos.
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  Post #18 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 07:09 PM
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The trend of this topics seems to be that the majority of hosts have 3-6 staff. Depending on how large your client base, this is a decent size.

Also, I wanted to see how many staff you think you should have? Anyone think the following figure it correct?


1 staff member = 100 clients
12 staff members = 1000 clients

Does that seem accurate? A former host buddy of mine told me that is how it should be.
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  Post #19 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romes View Post
The trend of this topics seems to be that the majority of hosts have 3-6 staff. Depending on how large your client base, this is a decent size.

Also, I wanted to see how many staff you think you should have? Anyone think the following figure it correct?


1 staff member = 100 clients
12 staff members = 1000 clients

Does that seem accurate? A former host buddy of mine told me that is how it should be.
From my consulting experience one system admin during normal situation should be able to handle 150 - 200 dedicated servers. The same system administrator should be able to handle 1,000+ shared clients. That does not factor in 24/7 support, etc. It depends on your business model too. If you have clients who are cheap in my experience they tend to abuse support.

Let's do the math on this ratio real quick. Lets say each staff member makes $30k per year. Which by industry standards is slow. To have 12 staff on board you would need to do $360,000.00/year in sales and that doesn't include hardware, space, power, bandwidth, taxes, etc.

Currently shared hosting accounts are selling for $5.00/month. If you had a 1,000 clients you would make $60,000.00/year. You would lose $300k each year. Now lets say you have 1,500 accounts per tech. You would then have $30k in expenses and $90k in revenue. This works out a little better.

In order to break even on the staff alone you would need to have 500 clients per 1 staff member based on the $5.00/month and $30,000.00 per year.
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  Post #20 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 08:31 PM
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Yeah, I told him that those figures seem kind of weird, but he insisted that is how it should be. Well, thanks for going into detail.
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  Post #21 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romes View Post
Yeah, I told him that those figures seem kind of weird, but he insisted that is how it should be. Well, thanks for going into detail.
My pleasure! How long ago was it that he told you that? There might have been some truth to it four to five years ago. When I started in the industry there was $20.00 - 30.00/month shared hosting plans with 500 MB of space & 1 GB of bandwidth. I miss those days.

When you look at it in that sense a customer is paying $180.00/year and they would be making $180,000.00. The server may have costed $6,000.00 per year. You would still be at a stretch with 12 employees but I'm sure with the write high end clients your friend could be correct. That sure is not happening these days though.
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  Post #22 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 09:00 PM
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1500 clients per tech would be an insane environment and likely lead to a high turnover of staff (depending on issues that come up etc).

We don't put more than 100 clients on a server and only 12 customers on an ecommerce server. This is so that if an issue does come up on a server, we can isolate it without causing widespread headache for employees. Ever had 300 people asking why their site is down? Ever wish there were only 10 asking the question?

We have 3 system admins to cover 300 servers, but it all depends on what is going on, and what tasks are automated.

Our support staff run double shifts as sales staff. 12 employees to handle 1000 accounts would be nice, but hard to do on a shoestring budget.
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  Post #23 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by handsonhosting View Post
1500 clients per tech would be an insane environment and likely lead to a high turnover of staff (depending on issues that come up etc).

We don't put more than 100 clients on a server and only 12 customers on an ecommerce server. This is so that if an issue does come up on a server, we can isolate it without causing widespread headache for employees. Ever had 300 people asking why their site is down? Ever wish there were only 10 asking the question?

We have 3 system admins to cover 300 servers, but it all depends on what is going on, and what tasks are automated.

Our support staff run double shifts as sales staff. 12 employees to handle 1000 accounts would be nice, but hard to do on a shoestring budget.
handsonhosting:

You think 1,500 accounts per tech would cause to hi turnover? I'm not sure how many of your servers are shared & ecommerce; however, even if you had 12 clients per server you would have 1,200 accounts per server. You also charge $37.00/month/ecommerce account which allows you to utilize your strategy.

If you placed 100 accounts that were at $2.99/month your strategy does not work well.
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  Post #24 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:07 PM
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When I started in the industry there was $20.00 - 30.00/month shared hosting plans with 500 MB of space & 1 GB of bandwidth. I miss those days.
Sure, but then hardware was equally expensive.
 
 
 


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  Post #25 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Zachary McClung View Post
however, even if you had 12 clients per server you would have 1,200 accounts per server.
I think something is missing there, and I do want to know what you're saying. Can you fill me in?

I think I ended up going on two different tangents in the one post

The techs per customer being 1500 is just high (at least to me). It means that customers are being treated as a number and not as an individual. Difference between small business and big business. I couldn't fathom having a single rep with that many accounts. 500 I can see, but 1500 is high I think - to me anyway.

The 12 people on a server versus a few hundred or thousand just had to do with sanity. Nobody likes a burnout, and in the support world, we all go through it every now and then and need a complete break away from the computer. The turnover was more in reference to the employee rather than the customer. Running a staff at 65-75% capacity usually equates to happier environment. It SOUNDS like money wasted, but sanity of personel is a key priority for us anyway.
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  Post #26 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:28 PM
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Sure, but then hardware was equally expensive.
I wouldn't say the drop in hardware was in the same portion that the drop in shared hosting fees were. I seen an Ev1 Server had from years ago and they were running $99/month. You could hold 500 - 1,000 on those old P3 - P4 when the site was only 10 MB. Even the big 8 GB dual-core at that time was $399/month. You could make more money back then, then what you can now.
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  Post #27 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handsonhosting View Post
I think something is missing there, and I do want to know what you're saying. Can you fill me in?

I think I ended up going on two different tangents in the one post

The techs per customer being 1500 is just high (at least to me). It means that customers are being treated as a number and not as an individual. Difference between small business and big business. I couldn't fathom having a single rep with that many accounts. 500 I can see, but 1500 is high I think - to me anyway.

The 12 people on a server versus a few hundred or thousand just had to do with sanity. Nobody likes a burnout, and in the support world, we all go through it every now and then and need a complete break away from the computer. The turnover was more in reference to the employee rather than the customer. Running a staff at 65-75% capacity usually equates to happier environment. It SOUNDS like money wasted, but sanity of personel is a key priority for us anyway.
Yes, you did have two rants there. I agree with you that 1,500 accounts per tech is high. It is happening though. You cannot sell $0.99/month hosting and pay a tech if you don't have 10k accounts per tech. It just doesn't financially work.

I like your strategy of 100 per server for shared and 12 for ecommerce. Your ecommerce pricing structure allows you to accomplish this. Your shared service with margin allows you to do it as well. You also do not provide unlimited everything (I checked your site). Clearly you have websites that understand quality.

Not everyone has that. Many of the datacenters that I do consulting work for has 140 servers per tech. They are mostly made up of dedicated server clients so the support load is not that high; however, shared hosting companies now a days with overselling and competition has to increase customers/tech. I was there once on a smaller scale I know how to lose my mind.
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  Post #28 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:46 PM
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Doing homework on me eh?

Limiting things means less profit, but overall happier customers, and in the world of the hosting business, customer service and satisfaction are the main things that separates anyone these days.

Unlimited is a myth as you know and those low priced packages with every feature, bell and whistle just can't be supported if a site becomes popular.

Years ago (early and mid 90's) when we were all dealing with static sites, sure you could cram a few thousand accounts on a server, but these days with blogs, shopping carts, forums etc, a low end server oversold to the hilt screams "run away" faster than the Knights that say Ni I miss those days
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  Post #29 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by handsonhosting View Post
Doing homework on me eh?

Limiting things means less profit, but overall happier customers, and in the world of the hosting business, customer service and satisfaction are the main things that separates anyone these days.

Unlimited is a myth as you know and those low priced packages with every feature, bell and whistle just can't be supported if a site becomes popular.

Years ago (early and mid 90's) when we were all dealing with static sites, sure you could cram a few thousand accounts on a server, but these days with blogs, shopping carts, forums etc, a low end server oversold to the hilt screams "run away" faster than the Knights that say Ni I miss those days
Doing the research is what leads to solid discussions. A low end server what is that? When I was in the hosting industry I always had customers on dual-core, 2 GB or better. When the dual 5130's, 4 GB came out we switched our boxes over to it. We were one of the first. It costed a pretty penny but your write customer service is the way to go. We ran 200 - 250 accounts per server. They always were below .2 with plenty of room for bursts. I never could say lets jam 1,000's of service on a P4. I'm just saying it was possible. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed to see some still doing what your doing Conor. There are very few hosts like us still around.
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  Post #30 (permalink)   04-27-2009, 11:04 PM
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My friend told me this I'd say a year n half ago...Not sure..might've been a lil longer but yeah, 100 accounts per server is not a lot. If you buy a good server ranging from $300-$600 per month you can have over 400-500 accounts per server and still have optimal performance. If you have a good server admin and good server, you could increase that number to 600-800 clients per server.

Servers now-a-days are cheap and still maintain their power which is good for us hosts...This means more clients on a server and higher returns.


Also, for those who can afford it, it is good to have a back-up server that would have the exact files your current server has but the only diffirence is that when your main one goes down, all you have to do is have your clients point their domains to the other server and their sites will be just fine. In my 5 years in the industry I've seen a few hosts do this and it works. But, a server failing is not likely as servers are maintained to the highest standards (depending on your DC).
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