For many freelancers and other web workers, referrals are a vital part of business. And sending referrals can be just as important as receiving them. When we can’t take on every aspect of a project ourselves, it’s good business to be able to direct clients to someone who can. Refural is a new tool that can send and receive referrals, and may even make you a little money in the process.
Refural’s approach to the question of how to pass along clients is simple enough. A business or individual can post a listing on the web site for free, noting the types of referrals they’re interested in, as well as the compensation they’re willing to offer for each. That compensation varies from $25 per lead to well over $100. Refural users can search for businesses by name or by keyword, and then send referral information to the company of their choice. The site screens each submission to make sure that it’s legitimate and complete, and then gives the business the option to accept and pay for the referral. Businesses are protected by being able to cancel payment if the referral proves false.
There are several ways that such a tool can help out a web worker. First of all, if you operate your own business — freelance or otherwise — it may be well worth your while to pay $25 or $50 for a referral that leads you to a client who will give you hundreds of dollars worth of work.
Refural does give you the option of setting provisions, like requiring that a referral must become a paying client in order to necessitate a finder’s fee. Even without that condition, if you have to pay for several referrals before you get a truly solid one, a good client may be able to cover the expense of several leads and still result in profit.
You also have an opportunity to make a little money by referring clients to others. Just last week, I was working on a blog for a client, who decided that he needed a fancier web site overall, including some Flash elements. Flash isn’t one of the services I offer, but my client asked me to give him a recommendation or two for companies that could handle his needs.
I searched a couple of keywords on Refural and found three different companies who would work, and who, based on their portfolios and client lists, I’d be comfortable sending him to. Each of these companies was offering $50 for a referral. I wouldn’t suggest sending a referral to any company that you wouldn’t be willing to work with yourself, but I found more than a few companies that fit that description listed with Refural.
There are a few things I hope to see as Refural evolves. Easier ways to check out a business before you send a referral is one crucial component. I used Google to check up on the businesses I was looking at, but having some direct links from Refural or other users would have made the whole process much easier.
How do you usually get/give referrals? Do you generally offer compensation for leads or referrals? Do you expect it from others?