Online selling is hot, and you know it. Starting your own online store is still one of the best ways to make money online while offering value to customers from around the world. But did you ever think about reselling a service instead? Selling a service has some obvious advantages; little set-up time and no shipping at all. But is it worth it?
I’ve run many service websites myself and it’s one of the easiest things to do online. When you own a reseller business (or service arbitrage) you provide a service, like web design, but you outsource all the actual work to a professional web designer. This allows you to focus on the marketing and growth of your business while a remote worker or team takes care of the actual service.
Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. I am not talking about affiliate marketing or lead generation for an existing freelancer or service company. I’m also not talking about hiring an independent contractor, like a cleaner, to go clean people’s houses while you do the marketing and lead gen.
When I say service reseller business, I mean a business where a service can be bought through your site and where the deliverables can be sent over email or web. This includes most services on Fiverr.com, for example.
The order process will look something like this:
- Your client places an order on your website
- You place that same order on Fiverr.com (or wherever you outsource the tasks to)
- You get the deliverables over web
- You forward them to your customer
See? You act as the middle man
Pros and Cons of service reselling:
Why would you want to run a service reseller business? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of the service arbitrage business model:
Pro: you don’t have to provide the service yourself.
It’s no secret that people and companies pay good money for the services they need, so why not sell the service without actually having to do the work? This allows you to focus on important things, like growing the business, customer satisfaction and marketing campaigns to attract new and existing customers.
Con: less control
Unfortunately, outsourcing means you give away control over the actual creation process. If you want to outsource web development services for example, it’s best if you already know some basics about websites so you can check the work and correct your remote staff before you send anything to the client.
Pro: your skills don’t need to match the business.
Now that you’ve outsourced the craft, you can run any business you like. You don’t need to be an expert SEO linkbuilder in order to start your own SEO company, or be a vetted copywriter in order to start a copywriting business. This frees up loads of possibilities for businesses you can start, and even allows you to combine different reseller services in one place. Awesome!
Which services can I resell?
Not every service is suitable for this type of website. Because this is a web-only business, all services that require physical contact, like a mechanic or public speaking, are not suitable.
Some popular services that can easily be outsourced:
- SEO Linkbuilding
- Web design
- Web development
- Article writing
- Resume writing
- Voice over
- Animated video
Some services you probably can’t outsource include coaching and consulting, physical services or anything that’s done over the phone or in person. Why? Because these services tend to be too personal for people to just buy through a button online. Besides, the customer will quickly find out that they overpaid for the service through a “third party” (you) and won’t be happy. Just remember: the deliverables must be over email or web only.
How to fulfill orders:
Fulfilment for service reseller sites is usually done manually. When you resell services from Fiverr.com, People Per Hour or Upwork, you manually place the order for each order you get through your site. This can of course be outsourced to a virtual assistant if you like.
For your own website, all you need is a site that can easily accept payments. When you use WordPress, I suggest using WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. Shopify can also do this without the need for paid addons.
An even more lucrative way of doing service arbitrage is to sell monthly recurring services, bill your clients monthly, and keep placing the order once a month to keep the service going.
Great, but how do I find a supplier?
You can subcontract any freelancer you like and you can find them through freelancer platforms like Upwork or Freelancer. You can also find more specialized services directly on LinkedIn or sites like PeoplePerHour.com.
For an ever easier way to start, consider outsourcing the work to Fiverr.com.
Pricing your service:
It is not uncommon for people to resell $25 freelance gigs for $200 or more through their own website. Sounds impossible? You’d be surprised at the possibilities when it comes to re-pricing the services at a good mark-up.
People pay good money for services and the convenience of ordering online. This may be hard to understand at first; why would they “overpay”? But in reality it works surprisingly well.
If you are not convinced that you can easily mark prices up 400% and up, I suggest you simply start at double the price and go from there. If people are happy with your products then you can always increase your prices later.
Where to promote:
Services can be promoted virtually anywhere and it’s pretty similar to promoting a physical product store. Want some quick first sales before you invest in paid advertising? These are sure to get you started:
- Guest blogging
- Cold emailing
Alright, let’s build a reseller site
So, how to get started? First, let’s pick a niche. What type of service do you want to resell? Services like logo and web design have a huge demand, but there’s also a lot of competition. More obscure niches may work better but too targeted can make it difficult to find buyers.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to niche out. Instead of selling web design, why not sell websites to comedy clubs? Instead of selling article writing, why not sell articles to local businesses? Niching down makes your job at marketing the service later much easier as you’ll know where to promote, and SEO will pick up quicker too.
Next, find a supplier. Who provides this service already and what sort of quality can I expect? Places to outsource to include:
- LinkedIn (approach freelancers directly and make a deal)
If you want to build a service reseller site yourself, I suggest you use WordPress. Building your own site is relatively simple or you can outsource the work to a WP developer. There are also plenty of free and premium WP themes available if you’re building the site yourself.
For ecommerce functions, I suggest you use WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads to fulfil orders and take payments. You can accept payment through PayPal at no extra charge, or use Stripe to accept credit cards (you need an SSL certificate for Stripe though).
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