|How to Start a Home Based Referral Service Business
If you’re looking for a profitable and rewarding home based business, then starting a referral service is a great option. Referral businesses can be operated part-time or full time from home, they don’t require a lot of start-up capital or overhead and with some careful step-by-step planning, you can be up and running in a matter of weeks:
Step One: Determine who you want to refer.
Take into consideration what interests you and also what would serve the needs of your community. For example, if you’re passionate about decorating or home improvements and you see a lot of new homeowners moving into your area, maybe you’d like to start a contractor referral service. If there a growing number of elderly people in your community, maybe you’d like to start a referral business that helps seniors take care of home-related jobs and errands that may be difficult for them.
Step Two: Research local laws.
Investigate what the business requirements are for people you’re going to refer. Do your service providers need to be licensed or insured? You’ll need that information to screen people for your network.
Step Three: Create a screening process.
Each of the contractors in your network must be properly vetted to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. Create a system and ongoing procedures for checking licensing and insurance credentials, customer service, etc.
Step Four: How will you get paid?
Determine if you want 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? To help figure out which compensation model will work best for your business, speak with professionals to get their feedback on what is fair and/or customary in your industry.
Step Five: Identify your market.
Once you’ve assembled a network of professionals to refer, identify who your potential customers are and how you will reach them. Start by creating a market segmentation study that identifies the key characteristics of your prospective clients. For example, where do they live? How old are they?
Step Six: Create a marketing plan.
To promote your business, you’ll need to create a marketing plan. A well-designed website with concise and informative copy is a must. To help drive traffic to your site and engage our customers, you may want to start a blog or an e-newsletter. Offline promotional campaigns include direct mail, advertising and reaching out to local reporters to generate press attention. And, networking to build word-of-mouth referrals is another great way to generate buzz about your referral business.
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.