If you’ve ever needed help finding someone to perform a service, you know how handy it would be to have a single source to call. Even though the Yellow Pages may offer some assistance, how will you know if a company or service is reputable or a rip off? A good referral service is the answer. A referral service finds, qualifies, selects and promotes businesses that meet a specific criteria and then refers this information to potential customers. Many HomeWorkers Net members are currently operating their own referral services specializing in the following areas: Baby-sitters and Nannies, Child Care Workers & Day Care Services. Home Repair, Contractors, Automotive Repair, & Pool Contractors. Roommate Finders, Apartment Locators, & Real Estate Agents. Doctors, Dentists, Mid-Wives, Nurses, & other medical specialists. Tourist information, Travel, Restaurants, Hotels & Attractions. Schools, Colleges, Universities.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
A referral service is paid for knowledge of resources. Therefore, the more knowledge and resources that you have, the more valuable your services will be. All you really need is a business phone line, a database program for storing information and detailed knowledge of the industry that you will specialize with. You should choose a specialty that matches your own background and experiences or in an area of special interest to you. If you have vast knowledge of the tourist industry in your area, you could offer a referral service that specializes with recommending local hotels, tours, attractions and restaurants.
A service ad in a local newspaper can easily and inexpensively promote your child care or home repair referral service. You should also distribute flyers, brochures and business cards to stores or local facilities that might benefit from your expertise. A Yellow Page ad in your local telephone directory is almost mandatory. Such advertising will not only attract calls but also make it easier to sell your services to vendors because they see you making an investment to reach people. And don’t forget, the HomeWorkers Net membership directory offers free advertising for current members and is a great way to network with other business owners!
START UP COSTS:
If you do not already have them, you will need a computer and database management software. You will also need a business telephone line and a Yellow Page advertisement. You should also prepare a marketing package with your business cards, brochures and letterhead.
Referral services may be set up to receive income in one of several ways. Probably the most common is for the referral service to charge the business a fee to be listed. The referral service is then free of charge to consumers. If your customers will save thousands of dollars by using your referrals you might decide to charge them a small service fee too. If you decide to offer an online service, you will also be able to charge for advertising space on your web site. Some referral service owners make $100,000 per year after they have been in business a few years.
Pick a service and a group of customers you enjoy working with. Set your rates and start contacting businesses in your area to find out if they would be interested in a referral listing with you. Begin compiling your database and advertising your services.
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