Setting Up Multisite – Total Newbie question

I have been playing around with WP for a couple of years now for my own sites, as well as developing a few sites for clients.

I’ve gotten enough inquiry that I’d like to set up a way for local clients to be able to have a “start-up” wordpress install that I host for them, complete with a selection of plugins and themes so they can get to the point of just activating a few things and adding their content. (The Brella Bee showcase site is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to what I’d be trying to do, except I’d have a smaller number of options in the “out of the box” package and basic set-ups that are niche oriented.)

I had previously used a cloned site package to accomplish this, but it required people to go “behind the veil” too much and often put them off. Basically getting into cPanel was too “techie” for them.

It seems that Multisite combined with the video tutorials and several of the WPMU Dev plugins (and some other GPL compliant pieces parts) is the way to go. However, I am still a bit confused about where to start and just what I need to have set up in order to make this work. Where can I find the most complete information about how to build this from the ground up?

(I’ve historically used both Hostgator and Bluehost for hosting on shared IPs, if that information helps)

I really appreciate your help and input with this.