5 Things I Wish I’d Known When Starting a VoIP Reseller Business

While we’re proud to be a key figure in VoIP today, we started from small beginnings as a VoIP reseller. Back in 2004, I found myself on a steep learning curve and discovering how the UK VoIP reseller channel worked as I went.

Building Hostcomm and, later, our own network infrastructure from scratch, I was able to see first-hand the way VoIP businesses worked - what was good, what was bad, and what it would take to grow as a successful service provider. If I could go back, I wish I’d had the advantage of that knowledge when I was starting out.

To give you a head-start in the business with everything I learned, here are just five things I wish I’d known in the earliest days of the VoIP reseller business.

1. Specialist VoIP expertise is the foundation of everything

VoIP has always been a fast-growing sector, but with the global VoIP services market predicted to grow at a CAGR of more than 9.1% until 2021, there are many new service providers looking to capitalise on demand. Unfortunately, not every service provider has the expertise to deliver the best quality of service.

While the right VoIP service is simple and seamless for businesses and end-users, the underlying technology is highly sophisticated. As a VoIP reseller, you’ll want to partner with a service provider that really understands how the technology works – from the underlying network infrastructure to how your customers’ office bandwidth might affect call quality and performance.

A partner with a solid foundation of technical knowledge is a vital asset as a reseller – and, without that expertise, you’ll be at a disadvantage in taking a high quality product to your customers.

2. Expertise doesn’t guarantee great support services

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that technical knowledge and technical support are very different things. It’s not enough to be confident your service provider knows their stuff – you need to be confident they’ll share that knowledge and put it to work if something goes wrong.

There’s nothing worse for your customers than unexpected downtime or technical faults, and nothing worse for a VoIP reseller than not having the answers or timelines they’re asking for.

Look for a service provider that is proactive in sharing information and building your expertise as a reseller. After all, turning your team into VoIP experts is in the interest of your customers, your business, and your provider.

3. Not all VoIP services are built the same

Technology has come a long way since the earliest days of the VoIP reseller business. Now, you and your customers should expect crystal-clear call quality and highly reliable connections. However, performance across different service providers can be surprisingly inconsistent.

The service you are reselling should include:

  • A high-bandwidth infrastructure that can support high call volumes

  • High redundancy in hardware to ensure uptime and consistent availability

  • Dependable hardware like routers and switches from a reputable brand like Cisco

  • Robust security including effective firewalls

You’re more likely to find all of those elements from a provider that owns, manages and maintains their own infrastructure.

4. VoIP reseller margins vary hugely across providers

Outside of VoIP technology, one of the most important criteria in choosing a service provider will be the size of the margin you get. However, the amount of recurring revenue you can expect differs considerably from provider to provider.

One thing I wish I’d known is that a higher margin isn’t always a better deal. Some service providers offer high margins to attract resellers – but pass that expense onto end-users through higher pricing. As a result, you get a better share of fewer sales.

Ideally, try to strike a balance between a margin you feel is fair and a price point that will attract new customers.

5. Managing relationships with providers can get complicated

Finally, I wish I had understood how important it is to keep an eye on the various relationships that sit between a customer using VoIP and the network infrastructure that carries calls. The VoIP market can be a complicated web, with layers of resellers that make it hard to know who is ultimately responsible for service.

If your chosen provider retains complete control of its network with little reliance on third party support and no complex partner processes, you can be sure that they can react quickly and efficiently when you need help – not simply forward your issue up the chain.

The Hostcomm Reseller Programme is the easiest way to start selling trusted, high-quality VoIP with expert support and service.

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