How to Start a Referral Service Business

by Sam Williams; Updated September 26, 2017
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Some people have it in their blood to help others and give advice. If that’s the type of person you are, then starting a referral service business could be the ideal business for you. People contact you to get referrals for which businesses they should use for home repairs, landscaping, legal services and more. Put your research and communication skills to work in your very own business.

Items you will need

  • Telephone
  • Headset
  • Chair
  • Database software
Step 1

Plan thoroughly. Barbara Whitaker writes on NYTimes, “...any business or financial plan is only as good as the information it is built on.” Create a system for evaluating businesses. Pick a selection of business types or industries to specialize in. Plan your day-to-day operations.

Step 2

Pick a business name. Register a fictitious business name. Your county municipality may have an online name registration application for you to fill out your business name and contact information. A registered business name will allow you to open a business checking account as well as give you a more professional image.

Step 3

Save up your money. According to an Entrepreneur profile of referral services, you can start this business from home with as little as $2,000. Set up your home office with information database management software, a comfortable chair, a headset and a reliable telephone.

Step 4

Use the services you plan to refer. Collect brochures, fliers and business cards. Contact the owners of the businesses that you might want to refer.

Step 5

Send out introductory letters to businesses in your chosen industry. Explain that you are interested in sending business to them. Follow up with a phone call. Ask their permission to be listed in your database. Work out a commission agreement with them.

Step 6

Build relationships with service providers. Referral services are similar to concierge services; they get things for people who are in a hurry. Work out discount deals with your business connections for the customers you refer so they will come to you the next time they're looking for a service.

Step 7

Market your referral business to consumers. According to the Entrepreneur profile, “The best way to go about this is to place prominent ads in the Yellow Pages under each category where people might look...” Leave fliers with tear-off tabs at grocery stores, laundry mats and high-traffic shopping centers. Print your telephone number and website on the tear-off tabs

Resources

  • How to Start and Manage a Referral Service Business: Step by Step Guide to ; Jerre G. Lewis; 2007

About the Author

Sam Williams has been a marketing specialist and ad writer since 1995. He has been published in magazines such as "Reaching Out" and "Spa Search." He served in various sales and marketing positions with major corporations such as American Express, Home Depot and Wells Fargo. Williams studied English at Morehouse College.

Photo Credits

  • mobile phone image by Vladimirs Koskins from Fotolia.com