If you’re looking for a profitable and rewarding home based business, then starting a referral service is a great option! Referral services can be operated on a part-time or full time basis, they don’t require a lot of start-up capital or overhead and the majority of your business can be generated through networking and word of mouth.
Your first step is to determine who you want to refer. If you’re passionate about decorating or home improvements, perhaps you’d like to start a contractor referral service. Or, if you’re a teacher or retired educator, you might want to consider a referral service that represents tutors. When choosing the type of service providers you’d like to refer, don’t just consider your expertise but also keep in mind the needs of your community. Is there a growing number of seniors in your area? A thriving home improvement market? Are there a lot of young families moving in?
Next you need to research what the state and county licensing and insurance requirements are for the service providers you’re going to refer and then use that information to create a thorough screening process. Each of the contractors in your network needs to be properly vetted to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction.
Your next step is to determine how you’ll get paid. Do you want to charge the contractors you refer or your clients for your service? Will you charge a flat monthly fee or will your service be commission based? Or, would you prefer to be paid per lead? To determine which compensation model will work best for your business, you should research similar referral businesses in your industry. Also speak with a few industry professionals to get their feedback on what type of compensation is fair and/or customary in your industry.
Once you’ve assembled a network of providers to refer, you’ll need to determine who your potential customers are and how you will reach them. Start by creating a market segmentation study and identify key characteristics your ideal customers. For example, where do your target customers live? Is your prospective client male, female or both? How old are they? Are you targeting young families or seniors?
In order to promote your business to a wide audience, you’ll need to communicate with customers online and offline. A well designed website with concise and informative copy is a must. You can also participate in online social networking sites and communities, start a blog or a monthly e-newsletter to help boost web traffic.
Offline promotional campaigns may include direct mail to your prospective customers, advertising in strategic publications and public relations to generate press attention about your business.
And, networking to build word-of-mouth referrals is another great way to generate buzz about your referral business. Investigate local trade organizations and networking groups in your area where you can meet other industry related professionals who can refer clients to you.
If you’re outgoing, enjoy helping people and think you have what it takes to succeed in the referral service business, don’t hesitate! With low overhead and substantial financial rewards, a referral service is an ideal home-based business!
Interested in starting a home improvement contractor referral service? The Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Remodeling, Working Mother and Entrepreneur magazines to name a few. An HRN is a home based business that pre-screens and refers local home improvement contractors. If you’re looking for a viable home based business with low overhead that offers a flexible schedule, an excellent income with complete training and support